5. So Long
Yesterday, I planned to write all these favorites in time order of their releases but I somehow missed it. So Long was released in Bitter and Sweet in 1985, same album as Yokan 予感.
It is a story of a woman who wants to pursue her dreams, and so she bids goodbye to her lover. On the desk, there is her goodbye letter, with only the word "Sayonara" (goodbye in Japanese). Before dawn, she softly kissed her lover, and left the apartment building.
"So Long" reminds me so much of the Carpenters, whom I like since high school.
6. Ame ga Futteta (雨が降ってた)
I listened to this song via YouTube (not this video, the one I watched was taken down long ago and so will this one eventually, I think) first before I bought the album Cruise. It was released 1 week after her attempted suicide.
Chika Ueda (上田知華), who's a singer song-writer herself, wrote the song. As written on this blog before, Ueda Chika has been a prolific song writer for many singers, most notably Miki Imai (今井美樹). To my surprise, she even wrote 2 songs for Hong Kong singer Sandy Lam (林憶蓮). I think that's because Sandy Lam once released a Japanese album and tried to enter the Japanese market (without success I guess).
To be honest, I don't quite understand what the song means after I read its lyrics. Like a lot of Japanese song lyrics, there's plenty of room for imagination. My interpretation was inspired by Akina's live performance on stage, when she finally lay herself down onto the steps.
The song is about the last episode of a woman before she dies in a parking lot. It was raining. Her head was hit (hit-and-run accident in a parking lot?), even though she felt only a little pain. Her lover was by her side, watching her in confusion, despair. Her ring fell into a water pond beside her. She tried to raise her hand, trembling. He picked up the ring for her, staring at her finger. He smiled, as if it would bring her comfort, but he couldn't hold his tears anymore. She remembered that it's also a rainy day when he proposed. She never thought she would meet somebody like him. She felt tired, sleepy, and slowly and softly, he slept in his arms.
I think Akina's voice is perfect for this kind of sad love song. I was especially mesmerized by her live performance. As far as I know, Akina only gave one live performance of this song in her 1991 concert (see my earlier post).
7. Kagerou (陽炎)
The song is about a woman longing for her ex-lover. She remembers the good times they had together. She still loves him so much that she couldn't forget.
I'm pretty sure that this song, like Yokan, reminds her of the heartbreaking relationship with Matchy (Masahiko Kondo 近藤真彦). By the way, the video contains 2 live performances, Kagerou followed by Yokan. She cried while singing both songs.
"Necessary" is about 2 lovers, probably in an affair, where the woman knows she should leave him. Unfortunately, every time they see each other, they're indulged in their lies and each other's body that the affair continued. Even then, she never regret meeting him.
I hope this 2 part article gives you an idea of some of Akina's less well-known songs, because most of her hits have been singles.