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.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Yuki Koyanagi -- be alive

A bit sheepish to admit, but I haven't heard this CD in a long time. And yet, Yuki Koyanagi's(小柳ゆき)5th single, "be alive", from July 2000 is her most successful song according to the Oricon charts.

Perhaps it's just my impression but her star never quite reached the heights of other similar singers at the time such as Misia and Hikaru Utada(宇多田ヒカル)for some reason. That is a pity since she does have a glorious voice. Looking at her discography, Koyanagi has released 27 singles up to 2015 and 7 original albums up to 2007, and though she hit the Top 10 on the Oricon weeklies 5 times early in her career, she subsequently ended up more in the 20s and 30s.

But still, as I've pointed out above, that doesn't negate her talent and she is not alone when it comes to underrated singers...I'm thinking bird and Monday Michiru, for example. "be alive" was well-deserving of its No. 1 status, Koyanagi's only top-ranking single up to now. It's an R&B power ballad that I enjoy even more than her debut hit single "Anata no Kiss wo Kazoemashou ~ You Were Mine"(あなたのキスを数えましょう).

I guess it's because it reminds me of some of the power ballads that I knew from the past in the 1980s and 1990s through Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. I still have a soft spot in my heart for the R&B of those days. Perhaps it doesn't push any envelopes melodically speaking, but it's still a solid song for me and it was the first single that I got by Koyanagi.

Along with hitting No. 1, "be alive" also managed to become the 47th-ranked single for 2000. Yu Higuchi(樋口侑)and Koyanagi wrote the lyrics while Kazuhiro Hara(原一博)came up with the music. The song also showed up on an album for the first time via the singer's 2nd release "EXPANSION" in August 2000 which was also a No. 1 hit, eventually becoming the 12th-ranked album of the year, becoming a million-seller.


  1. Hello J-Canuck!

    Wow, it's been that long ago...

    I remember listening to the late, great Toronto CKLN Full Moon show via podcast.

    They would play a lot of the Japanese dance, hip-hop, J-POP and J-R&B from the 80s, 90s and the aughts.
    I remember them playing Monday Michuru, bird, Namie Amuro, Hikaru Utada, Kumi Kudo, etc. They would play a lot of remixes and obscure stuff.

    A sample:

    There was an album from Sandy Lam called Piece of Mind that was created, and only released, in Japan that just encapsulated that sound. I would kill or die to get my hands on it, even though it's so obscure. But I would have never heard of it if not for this show.
    And for the people who do have it? Well, they are asking for a little too much money.

    Here's a sample:

    I like hearing little known artists from that era too!


    1. Hello, Chasing Showa.

      Yep, it's been that long. Even the beginning of the 21st century is starting to look pretty ancient now. That time was quite the time for J-R&B. Would like some of that soul to return, to be honest.

      I did hear of Sandy Lam. One of my first friends who accompanied me down to that Chinatown store told me about some of the HK singers such as Lam.


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