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.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

EPO -- Go Go EPO

After experiencing the soulful "Downtown Rhapsody" and the perky "Middle Twenties" from EPO's 9th album from April 1987, "Go Go EPO", I decided to pull the trigger once more and get it. The singer-songwriter had a hand in all of the tracks with help from various other folks who I will mention below.

Compared to the City Pop of her first albums, it looks like EPO was expanding a bit more into other genres such as R&B. There's the aforementioned "Downtown Rhapsody" and this one called "Diet Go-Go" that starts off a bit like "Dance On Your Knees", the prologue tune before Hall & Oates' "Out of Touch". Kenzo Saeki(サエキけんぞう)co-wrote the lyrics and although I'm not sure where the diet comes into play there, it sounds like EPO providing the recipe to get out of the blues. At the very least, perhaps "Diet Go-Go" made for some good background music to an aerobics session. Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣)of Yellow Magic Orchestra fame arranged the tune.

EPO was solely responsible for "Hachi-gatsu Juu-Shichi-nichi"(八月十七日...August 17th), a mid-tempo tune with a touch of Latin about a woman reminiscing over a past love perhaps somewhere in an old resort area where the former couple used to patronize. It starts off slightly melancholy but then gains some speed as if the lady has used the opportunity to say goodbye to that past and move on into a better tomorrow.

"Kuroi Hitomi no Girlfriend"(黒い瞳のガールフレンド...Dark-Eyed Girlfriend)by EPO and Reiko Yukawa(湯川れい子)is another R&B-infused tune that kinda strikes me with a bit of Motown and perhaps even some brassy 70s New York soul. EPO goes a bit sassy here about a guy who's trying to track down his girlfriend and apologize after a fight. Supposedly, the woman has one killer stare...or glare. The track was also the singer's 15th single from June 1987.

The band Sentimental City Romance(センチメンタル・シティ・ロマンス)had a hand in one track that bears its name, "Sentimental City Romance" written and composed by EPO. Sunny and mellow is how I would describe this pop tune about a couple making their final goodbyes at a bus stop. The now-former leader of the band, Nobutaka Tsugei(告井延隆), arranged this one with the entire band backing her up.

There are a couple of more tracks worthy of note on "Go Go EPO" but I will leave them for individual articles. It took me a second listen to finally cotton onto the album as a whole but the tracks are now settling in nicely into my memories. EPO's 9th has still got plenty of punch and sweetness although I would say that it's more of a mainstream pop release than the City Pop stuff of earlier years.

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