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, October 9, 2017

Michiru Kojima -- Best Friend

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! And for that matter, Happy Sports Day in Japan! It's an interesting confluence of holidays here considering in one country, the onus is on celebrating exercise and other sorts of physical exertion while in the other, it's about eating and physical digestion.

Over a year ago, I discovered singer Michiru Kojima's(児島未散)early years as a deliverer of light summery pop starting from the mid-1980s and wrote about one of those songs, "Ocean Blue". Regrettably, the video was taken down although I was able to scrounge up a link to Amazon there.

Well, I finally bought the debut album on which "Ocean Blue" appeared, "Best Friend", last month. On my first listen, there wasn't anything that really popped up as a contagious earworm but a second listen was able to glean some pleasant pop tunes that are gradually growing on me. In any case, it's nice to hear while doing some work on the computer.

Released in September 1985, all of the songs were written by Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composed by Tetsuji Hayashi(林哲司). Especially with the latter person behind the music, I kinda figured that there would be an overall summery feeling. Certainly, the photo of Kojima in the red convertible on the cover sealed the deal.

I was able to find a couple of songs from "Best Friend" online, including the title track above itself. This particular song was intriguing since the Hayashi melody and the arrangement by Hiroshi Shinkawa(新川博)made it sound like something ahead of its time. The music sounded more like something I would hear around the early 1990s; it didn't quite have that typical Omega Tribe beat that I often associate Hayashi with. Plus, with "Best Friend", Kojima had a light voice which was reminiscent of aidoru Yuki Saito(斉藤由貴). The Matsumoto lyrics seemed to suggest two good college buddies out on a summer vacation and perhaps discovering right then and there that it's time to elevate the relationship to a more romantic level.

The other song was "September Monogatari"(セプテンバー物語...September Story)with arrangement once again by Shinkawa. With this one, I thought that there was another example of foreshadowing since the song almost sounded like a ZARD tune (Izumi Sakai didn't debut as a singer until 1991) with the soaring vocals and the brassy sax in there (although a point can also be made that it is something also TUBE-like). "September Monogatari" rather fluttered between that ZARD sound and one of Seiko Matsuda's(松田聖子)early summer tunes. Incidentally, the song was also Kojima's debut single from July 1985.

Hearing the English by the singer in the intro, there was a part written in Kojima's J-Wiki article which stated that a decade after the release of "Best Friend", she actually had a role in another special for TBS' famous "San-nen B-gumi Kinpachi-sensei"(3年B組金八先生...Kinpachi-sensei of Class 3B)as Iwasaki-sensei, the English teacher in the school.

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