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, April 11, 2018

Seiko Matsuda -- Windy Shadow

There were two Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子)record albums that always warmly greeted me whenever I entered the Chinatown record store Wah Yueh. One was "Train" (1985), which I later found out was the collection of Seiko songs penned by lyricist Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composer Karuho Kureta(呉田軽穂), which had that cover of the Queen Aidoru giving that come-hither stare.

And then there was "Windy Shadow" from 1984 with Seiko-chan taking on a look that was far more Yoyogi Park teen from those days. The staring contest from the two albums eventually took their toll on me...I ended up buying both of them. That title from her 10th album has always struck me as being quite unintentionally humourous since "Windy Shadow" sounded like some sort of US military operation that would appear in a Tom Clancy novel.

I will have to be honest with you, though. "Windy Shadow" is not my favourite Seiko album by any stretch of the imagination, and that is because I got spoiled on the wonders of the aforementioned "Train" with Matsumoto and Kureta (aka Yumi Matsutoya) weaving so many wonderful tracks. Plus, there is the classic earlier "Kaze Tachinu"(風立ちぬ)from 1981 which stands as my favourite original Seiko album. Mind you, I surprisingly don't have a whole lot of albums by her; just the ones that I've mentioned along with "Citron" and then her BEST compilation. Must do something about that soon.

Once again, Matsumoto wrote all of the tracks on "Windy Shadow", but I guess at the time that I got the album, I wasn't quite ready for all of the different composers and their styles for the 10 tracks there and perhaps my bias has stayed with me since then. Mind you, my feelings for the album have improved somewhat since my first listenings. Furthermore, there is the fact that I've already written about two of the tracks that became singles, "Pink no Mozart"(ピンクのモーツァルト)and "Heart no Earring"(ハートのイアリング).

Anyways, I start off with the first track "Manhattan de Breakfast"(マンハッタンでブレックファスト...Breakfast in Manhattan)which shouldn't be mistaken for "Breakfast in America" by famous band Supertramp at all (I only say this because every time I hear the song or see the title, that iconic Supertramp album cover gets into my head). Composed briskly by Masaaki Omura(大村雅朗), lyricist Matsumoto creates a story that almost comes off as a romantic comedy starring Seiko as she wakes up in a Manhattan hotel or apartment next to a guy she can't quite remember due to some excessive imbibing of bourbon. Try explaining that to your ravenous fans!

(excerpt only)

The one song that got me thinking "Kind of a weird one here" was the second track "Bara to Pistol"(薔薇とピストル...Rose and Pistol). Seiko this time takes off to the Wild West apparently to have a shootout with a rival over a guy; it would have been quite the music video created for this one. I think it was that mix of technopop and saxophone along with what I could understand of the lyrics at the time that had me thinking "Maybe, nah". I shouldn't be too harsh since it was Seiko-chan who composed this one.

Again, this is another track that hasn't exactly lit any dreams of earworms even now, but I wanted to mention it since "Soyokaze no Feint"(そよ風のフェイント...Breezy Feint)was composed by Akiko Yano(矢野顕子). I mean, it's OK to listen to but there are many more fun songs in the Seiko discography.

"Dancing Cafe" has gained a bit more in my ears especially with that "Baby, baby, baby" refrain. Plus, I have to admit that in the original recording, that thrumming of the synthesizer has grown on me. Masamichi Sugi(杉真理)took care of the music here.

My last song here is the last song on "Windy Shadow", "Star". This is another number that has gotten better with me over time due to its ballad arrangement, and outside of the singles, it's the one track on the album that actually finally clicked with me. Tetsuji Hayashi(林哲司)was one master of the pop ballads during the 1980s so I wasn't surprised to hear that he was the one behind "Star".

"Windy Shadow" hit No. 1 on Oricon. It may not have become one of my more beloved albums but there are still some nice minor tracks.

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