I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Yoko Aso -- Touhikou (逃避行)

Happy Monday! After all of the kerfuffle involving that nutty ending to the 2017 Oscars, the usual Trump hijinks, possibly losing the heart of the Toronto Raptors to injury for the rest of the season and the lead-up to the NHL's trading deadline day on Wednesday, I can certainly use some calming kayo to start the week. Bet that this is the only place online that you'll ever read something like that previous statement.

Well, I found one in Yoko Aso's(麻生よう子)"Touhikou" (Elopement). Actually I bookmarked this song several months ago but never got around to talk about it until tonight. Since I had only heard this once before, I had forgotten how the song sounded like but getting to listen to it again a couple of times, I can understand why I did select it for retrieval.

Created by a couple of kayo veterans, Kazuya Senke(千家和也)on lyrics and Shunichi Tokura(都倉俊一)on music, "Touhikou" is a bittersweet ballad about a young lady making the ultimate choice to join the man she loves and leave all that she loved behind as they begin new lives in a new town somewhere. Released in February 1974 as Aso's debut single, what got me about "Touhikou" is that mix of 70s Showa Era pop with the haunting strings and boppy drums and an arrangement that reminded me somewhat of some of the Carpenters' best hits. Also, there were Aso's vocals. If I were to assign a flavour to them, I could say that they were butterscotch...there was that warm colour and velvety texture. In a way, they were reminiscent of the wonderful voice of Naomi Chiaki (ちあきなおみ).

(cover version)

"Touhikou" had a long run on the Oricon charts, spending almost half a year in the Top 100 and peaking at No. 32. It ended up as the 88th-ranked single of 1974 and earned Aso a prize as The Best New Artist at the Japan Record Awards although the Kohaku Utagassen didn't come knocking. Selling close to 150,000 records, this was the singer's most successful release although she would come out with a total of 26 singles and 6 albums up to 1993. The song was also the title track on the Osaka native's debut album also from 1974.

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