I see that cover of Ruiko Kurahashi's（倉橋ルイ子）1983 album "Rolling", and I'm thinking that she'll greet me politely before asking me whether I will take another hit or stay at 17. "Rolling" was Kurahashi's 4th album from April 1983, and although it's awfully hard to find any of her songs on YouTube outside of "Glass no Yesterday"（ガラスのYesterday）and "Last Scene ni Ai wo Komete"（ラストシーンに愛をこめて）, I still feel pretty strongly about featuring her material since she is one of my favourite singers.
I've mentioned it before but I found out through the liner notes of one of those kayo compilation albums that there was a really small genre formed in the late 1970s and early 1980s known as Fashion Pop within Japanese music. Of course, being written in the liner notes of an album means that there wasn't too much deep insight into what it was all about, but my impression of it was that it involved female singers tackling languid melodies of a quasi-European nature from yesteryear. The singer that those liner notes were referring to was Asami Kado（門あさ美）, but I think another Asami, Asami Kobayashi（小林麻美）, and Kurahashi would fit into that niche. To be honest, my belief is that the genre could be better titled by something like Chaise Lounge Pop or Sigh Pop since I could imagine any of those chanteuses lying on that expensive furniture while barely breathing out the request "...grape me...".
Putting "Rolling" on the CD player, most or all of the album had that sort of luxurious ennui imbued into each of its tracks. I've already talked about one of them "Kanashimi no Ballad"（哀しみのバラード）, and the two tracks that I'm featuring here have plenty of that feeling. "Amedare"（雨だれ...Raindrops）, written by Fumiko Okada（岡田冨美子）and composed by Kisaburo Suzuki（鈴木キサブロー）, has that sweeping and wistful atmosphere surrounded by all sorts of melancholy as Kurahashi sings about the one that got away. I've always said that the singer had the perfect face to express all that sad feeling with those eyes. I just want to give her my coat in sympathy even if it's -20 degrees outside! No worries, Ms. Kurahashi...frostbite doesn't set in for another 30 seconds.
"Last Tango Steps"（ラスト・タンゴ・ステップス）is another slightly more uptempo ballad about lost love. Okada took care of the lyrics here as well with Kazuya Amikura（網倉一也）providing the music. Listening to this one, I think it's also the quivering in her voice that rather sells that melancholic air.
Not sure what it is. Kurahashi's brand of music often doesn't fall into City Pop or J-AOR (although she has sung such music), and although I could also say it's a form of sophisticated pop from the early 1980s, it certainly differs from the let's-paint-the-town-red variety from the late 1980s. As I intimated above, the protagonists in these songs don't seem to be too active. Yet, I also enjoy Fashion Pop quite a lot. And it seems as if a lot of other people have as well..."Rolling", according to J-Wiki, was the singer's most successful album on Oricon, peaking at No. 50.