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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, April 8, 2018

Rajie -- Rajie All Time Selection, Disc 1


Considering that she may not be all that well known anymore, I was not only surprised to find out last month that there was indeed a Rajie BEST album but that it had been released only in February of this year. Not that I'm complaining at all. I think of Atsuko Souma(相馬淳子)as one of the hidden unsung gems of the classic City Pop era, and now that I've got this compilation, I can get to know some of the other songs that I've yet to discover outside of the albums that I've already gotten by her, "Heart to Heart" (1977) and "Quatre" (1979).

The 2-disc set of "Rajie All Time Selection" doesn't have Rajie's best songs scattered all over the place or categorized into some arcane order. It just starts from her early years on Disc 1 and goes to her final album in 1985 "Espresso" by the end of Disc 2.

First off, let me introduce her albums: a) Heart to Heart b) Love Heart (1978) c) Quatre d) Mahiru no Hodou (真昼の舗道...1980) e) Acoustic Moon (1981) f) Gogo no Relief (午後のレリーフ...1984) g) Espresso (エスプレッソ)

As I said at the top, I've got a) and c) while nikala who gave her opinions on "Mahiru no Hodou" has d).

Now here is the lineup for the first disc of "Rajie All Time Selection":

1. Hold Me Tight
2. It's Me...It's You (a)
3. Ai wa Tabun(愛はたぶん)
4. The Tokyo Taste
5. Suteki na Feeling(素敵なフィーリング)(a)
6. Kibun wo Dashite Mou Ichido(気分を出してもう一度)
7. Heart to Heart
8. Kaze ni Yosete(風によせて)
9. Cool Down(クール・ダウン)
10. Love Heart(ラヴ・ハート)
11. Fuyu no Shouzou(冬の肖像)
12. Last Chance(ラスト・チャンス)
13. Just in the Rain(ジャスト・イン・ザ・レイン)
14. Quatre(キャトル)(c)
15. Tokidoki Mahou(ときどき魔法)(c)
16. Watashi wa Suteki(わたしはすてき)
17. Kaze no Michi(風の道)

Tracks 1~7 are a), 8~13 are b), 14~17 are c). Also, if the particular track above is linked, it has its own article, and if a track is lettered, it means that the album article features that song.



"Ai wa Tabun" (Love is Probably) is one of the songs from "Heart to Heart" that hasn't been covered at all so allow me to rectify this. It's quite the breezy pop tune by Keisuke Yamakawa and Nobuyuki Takahashi(山川啓介・高橋信之), and that is probably because it was used as the campaign song for the Nissan Skyline back then. Nice for a drive. Incidentally, "Ai wa Tabun" was also the B-side to Rajie's debut single of "Hold Me Tight".


I never got to the title track for the album "Heart to Heart" so I have a chance to write about it here. Very pleasant song thanks to Rajie's vocals and creamy arrangement by Tsugutoshi Goto(後藤次利)with all of the instruments on languid mode. Yukihiro Takahashi and Chris Mosdell(高橋幸宏・クリス・モズデル)took care of the lyrics while Takahashi created the melody. I could drink a glass of wine to this.


Have yet to get "Love Heart" so I'm glad that I've got the opportunity here to talk about at least some of the tracks represented on this BEST disc. If the tracks there all sound like "Cool Down", then I can be enticed to invest in that one as well. As the title hints, it's the relaxing mid-tempo to bring a person down from a hard or overly exciting day. Yoshitaka Minami(南佳孝), who duets with Rajie here once again, composed the music with Etsuko Kisugi(来生えつこ)providing the words. "Cool Down" is a bit of a sangria of a song with some bluesiness, AOR and a hint of Latin.


Yeah, I think I will get that "Love Heart" now, especially when "Last Chance" sounds so good. Takahashi took care of words and music and he knows how to weave a cool City Pop number along with co-creating those technopop hits as one part of the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Speaking of YMO, Ryuichi Sakamoto(坂本龍一)was on the electric piano and rumbling bass synthesizer. For those listeners who have only heard of The Professor through his later solo works and his Oscar-winning soundtrack for "The Last Emperor", I would be happy to introduce "Last Chance" to show some of his cool funky chops.

(15:08)

My last paragraph here will be devoted to "Fuyu no Shouzou" (Winter Portrait) with Goto providing a melody that initially, at least, reminded me of something Eagles-ish or perhaps something poppy from the West Coast. Rajie's vocals are especially soaring in this power ballad. Machiko Ryu(竜真知子)wrote the words.

I will see about getting an article on Disc 2 sometime in the next 24 hours.


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