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.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Junko Hirotani -- Blendy

Well, better late than never. One of my favourite catchphrases especially when it comes to this blog. However, this not only applies to the acquisition of Junko Hirotani's(広谷順子)2nd album from 1980, "Blendy", which has just become part of my collection. It also involves the fact that I ordered this CD along with 2 others all the way back last December during the Holidays only for them to take a 3-month odyssey to finally arrive at my place. Yep, it got here on April 6th. Frankly I gave it up for lost 8 weeks after I had gotten the notice that CD Japan sent off the package. But when I got that ring from the postman a few days ago, my jaw just dropped when he handed me that familiar cardboard package. I can only be grateful that Canada Post at least kept the thing intact. Perhaps I ought to splurge for the tracking option.

Anyways it's finally in my possession and I have already taken a first listen. I was enticed to purchase "Blendy" in the first place due to smooth pop numbers such as the atypically sunny "Blue Rainy Station" (ブルーレイニイステーション) and the wistful "Mizuiro no Machi"(水色の街)which is a tribute to Venice. As for the latter song, I can answer the question that I posed there in that all of the tracks on the album were composed by Hirotani.

Listening to "Blendy" that one time will, of course, not give me a hugely deep insight into Hirotani and her musical machinations but I can say at this point that she provides some solid middle-of-the-road pop. If I were focusing a little too much on the aidoru or enka stuff from that time, "Blendy" would be the compensator. She seems to fill in that space floating between the European feel of early 1980s Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)and the softly, softly approach of Ruiko Kurahashi(倉橋ルイ子).

Track 2 from "Blendy" is "Sayonara wa Watashi kara" (さよならは私から...The Goodbye Is From Me), a song that is closer to the Kurahashi side of things with the arrangement of keyboards and bass to bring that atmosphere of life in the big city. Yumi Morita's(森田由美)lyrics relate a bitter end to a relationship.

"Period" (ピリオド) is a funky piece with bass and snazzy drums which once again covers the darker side of relationships or the end of them. Hirotani and Machiko Taya(田屋マチ子)co-wrote the words which describe one such romance as one big hokey game with the singer sneering "If you break the rules, game over. You knew that".

Geez, I guess there must be an overall theme to this album since the final track on the original album, "Maku wo Tojite"(幕を閉じて...Close The Curtain)also talks about the end of love. This is another Morita and Hirotani collaboration with the melody taking on that grander Ohnuki feeling although I could still pick up a bit of Kurahashi in there as well. The interesting thing, though, is that closer to the coda, the music sounds more uplifting as if hope is around the corner. Other fish in the sea and all that.

The last song for tonight is "Waratte Sugoshitara"(笑って過ごしたら...Laugh It Off)which has Morita and Keiko Kawabune(川船圭子)providing lyrics for taking a more proactive stance on recovering from heartbreak. Why take on the self-pity when you can get on with your life? But it's the music here which attracts me since Hirotani seems to be channeling some Junko Yagami(八神純子)with the city funk including the horns.

Of course, there are some more tracks in there, including some bonus ones but I will leave those for later. Suffice it to say that "Blendy" is a keeper for me. I'm not sure how it did on Oricon but the album provides that nice pop sound from the early 1980s.


  1. Glad you got You're CD's J-Canuck. Been a real problem for me as well getting CD's and Lps from japan. I've used EMS 2 or 3 times in the last few months and gotten the goods in 2 to 3 days.Just regular air now seems to be a month or more.From what i've heard and this is only hearsay is that the CBSA and Canada Post are severely underr-staffed and have been since 2015.I know it only used to take about 10 to 12 days in 2015 to get items i ordered from japan.Well I hope you enjoy the CD's :)

    1. Hey, Trevor.

      Oh, tell me about it! When I inquired about my long-lost package about a month ago, the lady from CD Japan sent me an extensive list of folks who hadn't gotten their discs for around 8 weeks. I think I probably broke the record at 12.

      Now I no longer have to wonder. As for the CDs, yup, I'm happy with them. I'll have to talk about one of them with Jin Kirigaya.


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