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.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Naoko Kawai -- Bessekai (別世界)

I've still been exploring through the huge collection of one Naoko Kawai(河合奈保子)for the past few months and so I got to listen to Disc 3 which includes all of her non-single album tracks. And for a purveyor of the old kayo like me, this is a great way to encounter some of those hidden treasures that don't get to see the light of day via a BEST hits compilation.

Just my opinion here but although she may not have been the No. 1 aidoru in popularity back in the early 1980s (Seiko Matsuda/松田聖子 arguably took the crown there), I think Kawai had the best aidoru voice at that point. Clear and bright and cheerful, her golden tones seemed to radiate the sunny season simply from listening to the stereo. Perhaps audience members needed to wear sunglasses when attending one of her concerts.

The first track on that Disc 3 is "Bessekai" (Another World) which was originally from her 3rd original album, "Diary" (ダイアリー), released in August 1981. With Jun Sato's(佐藤準)melody skirting close to Resort Pop territory, Machiko Ryu(竜真知子)has Kawai trilling her words about enjoying fun and romance on a summer beach. Come to think of it, that boozy saxophone solo also had me thinking about some of that 50s sound that was going around in a number of tunes back in those days, aidoru or not.

Incidentally, "Diary" also had Kawai's 5th single, one of her trademark tunes, "Smile For Me" (スマイル・フォー・ミー), and that was also written by Ryu. That was the first time I heard of the singer via the 1981 Kohaku Utagassen, and that was where I said, "There goes an aidoru!"


  1. Hi J-C:
    Looks like Bessekai is a cover of that old standby "Not available in your country". But I agree: she IS the definition of aidoru. "Smile for Me" may be the most fun video ever: the blue dress, irrepressible Naoko, a galloping arrangement, microphone cables (!) all over the floor, and Joe Cool on the congas. It certainly makes me smile. She holds her own against Seiko in the Furimukanaide duet also - just a wonderful performer.

    1. Hi, T-cat and sorry to hear that the video isn't available where you are. I can feel your pain since I and a lot of other people lost access to music163; that site had a lot of good stuff.

      That Kohaku performance of "Smile For Me" is a true classic...happy tune, happy walk, happy snaggletoothed smile!

  2. She is one of my top 3, the others are Hiromi and Yoshie.
    This album and Summer Heroine are my top favourite albums along with some Seiko.

    1. Hi there!

      Yup, those are some of my first and favourite singers in Japanese music as well. I'll have to try out "Summer Heroine" someday.


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