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.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Ikue Sakakibara -- Slow Memory(スロー・メモリー)Album

When I wrote about Ikue Sakakibara's(榊原郁恵)"Arrangement" back in 2016, I had wondered about whether I would be able to get its originating album "Slow Memory". Well, hooray! I was able to get it along with her 1980 release "C'est Drole" which I have already written about. Along with "Arrangement", I've also gone into the title track.

As I mentioned in the article for the track "Slow Memory", that album cover with a profile shot of Ikue-chan in front of a romantically lit dining room set with the planets peeking in through the window had me thinking of something more urban contemporary rather than my image of her as the ever-smiling aidoru. Certainly, both "Arrangement" and the title track have a more mature pop sound.

Sure enough, the track that I'm starting with is "Yoake no Loneliness"(夜明けのロンリネス). Written by Sonomi Ari(阿里そのみ)and composed by Tsunehiro Izumi(和泉常寛), the ballad is a torch song about what seems to be a tug-of-war between two women who probably have not met each other but they are vying for the same guy, and the protagonist is the one perhaps on the losing end. It's got quite the epic arrangement including those strings which remind me of songs by Mariko Takahashi(高橋真梨子)at the time.

Having listened to "Slow Memory" the album a couple of times already, I have to say that the standout tracks have been the ones created by songwriter Kyoko Matsumiya(松宮恭子). For example, here is "Gozen Ni-ji no Good-by"(午前2時のGood-by...Good-by at 2am). I love Sakakibara's vocals here especially when the refrain of "Stay by my side" comes in and the chorus is just wonderful. This ballad is even more sorrowful since a lady is at home waiting for her paramour in vain.

"Secret" (シークレット)is written by Etsuko Kisugi(来生えつこ)and composed by Shogo Hamada(浜田省吾), the same tandem behind "Arrangement", and seeing that Kisugi's brother, Takao(来生たかお), was also involved in the creation of the title track, I had already known beforehand that the album would be filled with some solid pop tunes. There is that old-style breezy feeling to "Secret" which reminds me of some of the earlier discography of Mariya Takeuchi(竹内まりや)and Naoko Kawai(河合奈保子). Interesting adoption of DeBussy at the intro.

My last number is the final track and this is the other Kyoko Matsumiya gem, "Hopelessly", an acetylene torch song with a full-out refrain, an electric guitar solo and an anthemic feeling to the proceedings. I couldn't help but get that memory of "Desperado" when I first listened to this. Also, it's the first time that I have ever heard Sakakibara sing in English. Geez, I'm such a sucker for Japanese love ballads from the early 1980s.

Just before I forget, "Slow Memory" was released in April 1982 as her 12th album. And perhaps true to one word in its title, almost all of the tracks go at their own languid pace. Unlike "C'est Drole" in which Sakakibara took a trip around the genres, "Slow Memory" is basically a solid pop album.

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