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.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Yumi Matsutoya -- Dasanai Tegami (出さない手紙)

I've been throwing out quite a few of the 78s this week. Nope, not referring to the really old records but the fact that I've been writing about songs that came out in 1978. I think this might be the third in as many days. Well, perhaps it's a vintage year.

Furthermore, this is a Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実)song and I've not written about the Queen of New Music in some time so I think this would be the ideal song to finish off June 2017.

Around 18 months ago, I wrote an article on one of her tracks from her 5th original album "Benisuzume"(紅雀)from March 1978 which was also her first album after officially changing her name from Arai to Matsutoya (marriage can do that to you in Japan). I had said that the album didn't exactly light any fires under me on first listening which was quite surprising but I also allowed for the fact that it would most likely grow on me over time.

Well, perhaps it's a matter of listening to each track separately. This song "Dasanai Tegami" (A Letter I Won't Send) is from Side B of the original LP, and listening to it away from any of the other tracks, I have found it to be another lovely Yuming(ユーミン)ballad. I love the lush piano (I'm assuming that it is the singer herself on the keys) and the harmonies created by her and the backup chorus. Plus, back then, her voice wasn't quite as sharply nasal so there was that wonderfully mellow delivery.

There's even a bit of Bacharach in the arrangement as Yuming sings about getting on in life after a romantic breakup. The lady in question was feeling stifled in the relationship so she felt it was time to move on in separate directions. The letter in question was perhaps an emotional request for help to her old flame to be sent out at a point of weakness but as long as she's getting back on her feet again, it will probably stay firmly gathering dust in her drawer.

Yes, perhaps it's time to give "Benisuzume" another listen.


  1. I love your Yuming write-ups! And I've discovered a lot of great new Japanese music thanks to this blog, so thanks for that too. I'd agree with you that "Benisuzume" takes a few listens to come around to, but I personally really appreciate its more pensive, thoughtful tone. I don't necessarily consider it one of Yuming's best albums, but I do consider it one of her more underrated. I don't think she's put out an album quite like it (though her two singles from 1977 are similarly introspective, and likewise overlooked), and that alone makes it really interesting to listen to. Anyway, thanks for highlighting both the famous hits and more obscure gems of Yumi Matsutoya's career! The "Yuming" tag on this blog acted as a field guide of sorts when I was first delving into her music, and she's become one of my favorite artists, Japanese or otherwise.

    1. Hello, Jonathan.

      Thanks very much for your comments and I'm happy to hear that you have been able to find out about some of the various singers and bands through the blog, including the divine Yuming. Considering how long she's been performing, listening to her creations over the decades have kinda provided signposts about how pop music sounded at different periods.

      I just bought her 1979 "Olive" recently so hopefully I will get an article out there soon. Anyways, looking forward to hearing from you again.


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