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, June 11, 2017

Satoko Shimonari -- Keep In Touch

I mentioned about a week ago that I had gotten another couple of CDs, one of which was the amazing "Yoshino Fujimal". The other one was Satoko Shimonari's(下成佐登子)"Keep In Touch" from December 1987. I purchased that one on the strength of the opening track "Time Goes By".

"Keep In Touch" hasn't had the same immediate impact that "Yoshino Fujimal" did but listening to the former album a second time, I can confidently say that the tracks are starting to grow on me. This was Shimonari's 5th and final studio album to date, so perhaps that title had some meaning when it was released.

As a whole, "Keep In Touch" has got that urban contemporary atmosphere of the late 1980s mixed in with a few ballads. "Game" is one of those songs that would take place in the city although I probably wouldn't classify it as City Pop in terms of melody. Written by Junko Sato(佐藤純子)and composed by Hitoshi Haba(羽場仁志)with Shimonari singing about a rather flirtatious lady with a devilish streak holding court in the dance clubs. Her J-Wiki profile also stated that she has contributed some anison so I figure this track could have been something played for a show such as "City Hunter".

"Yasashii Kaze"(やさしい風...Gentle Winds)is the original final track on the album and it's my favourite of her entries here. Sato also provided lyrics with Shimonari composing the song herself and it sounds quite inspirational. I only have one tiny pet peeve in that the usage of a "haunting" synthesizer near the final refrain makes it sound a little too dated. "Yasashii Kaze" was also her 15th single from June 1987, and it served as the ending theme for an NTV travel program "Watching Nihon Retto"(ウォッチング日本列島...Watching the Japanese Archipelago).

My final contribution to the article here is "Haruka naru Shangri-La"(遙かなる桃源郷...Far-Off Shangri-La), her 16th single from November 1987. It was placed as a bonus track on the original album to exhort the masses to the travel to those exotic lands. Considering the Bubble was probably already in Japan or on it way, the song probably didn't have to push too hard to get folks buying those plane tickets. In fact, it was used as the campaign song for Japan Asia Airways that year. The aforementioned "Game" was the B-side on the original single. Ren Takayanagi(高柳恋)and Yasuo Kosugi(小杉保夫)created the song.

So "Keep In Touch" isn't a home run out of the park but I think as an example of where Japanese female pop singing and songwriting were heading from the late 1980s, I think this final studio album by Shimonari hits the spot. I always like to find some of these more obscure efforts.

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