We've been reading and writing about Meiko Nakahara（中原めいこ）on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" all these years so I think it was about time that I purchased an actual album of hers rather than depend on individual songs on compilation albums. And looking at "Japanese City Pop", I really loved the cover for her 3rd album "Mint" from September 1983. I'm not a graphic artist by any means but there is something about the color and the typography that pushed me to get this album first to represent the singer-songwriter. However, I did do my due diligence and listened to excerpts from the album via Amazon.jp (and you can, too). At the same time, though, I did manage to find a few videos with some of the tracks represented; all of them were written and composed by Nakahara.
For as long as I've known about Nakahara, she's had that sprightly voice that reminds me most of another City Pop princess, EPO. One definite aspect of hers is that she loves her Latin; it's popped up on some of her tunes and not surprisingly, it's also imbued into her the first track of "Mint", "Nagisa no Daydream"（渚のDaydream...Daydream on the Beach）, some snazzy Latin jazz about ogling and getting into all sorts of trouble on the coast. Nakahara sings an excerpt of that song in her medley above at about 5:30.
Nakahara has also shown that she loves those disco tunes of yesteryear. With Track 3, "Nemuri Hime"（眠り姫...Sleeping Princess）, there's a hint of Donna Summer as she sings about being kissed on her feet by that Prince Charming.
Track 6 is "Tsukiyo ni Ki wo Tsukete!"（月夜に気をつけて!...Beware of the Moonlit Night!）, a bit more of an innocent City Pop tune which mixes that night drive song with a tongue-in-cheek warning about boy-meets-girl, although I think both boy and girl are just a bit nervous about the interaction. The song was also Nakahara's 4th single from July 1983.
I swear that the opening keyboard for "Sexy Dandy" (Track 7) sounds downright Yuming-esque but then Nakahara brings in her brand of pop and bossa nova. At the same time, there is also something in the arrangement and that saxophone that also had me thinking whether the singer was channeling some 1970s Billy Joel, notably through his ballad "Just The Way You Are".
Fell in love with the cover but now I also have a lot of love and respect for the content of "Mint" as well.