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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Saki Takaoka -- Yabanna Yuutsu (野蛮な憂鬱)

Recently, I watched a special drama comprised of four episodes called “Kenja no Ai” (賢者の愛), starring two 80s stars, the almighty aidoru Miho Nakayama (中山美穂) and the not so famous Saki Takaoka (高岡早紀). Both of them were great in their respective roles, but Takaoka just conquered my heart with her envious, spoiled, psycho, middle-aged woman role. She just nailed it and even overshadowed Nakayama, in my opinion. Based on that, my next step was to revisit her discography, which I kind of did, starting with the debut album “Sabrina”, from June 1989.

Right from the start, the album caught my attention with “Yabanna Yuutsu”, an Euro-infused song full of dated synths and Takaoka’s very thin vocals. In fact, since the singer is quite weak, production and composition are everything here, and I like both, with a special nod to the production for being typical of its time. The song can be quite long in its 5 minutes plus form, but I like the instrumental sections, especially when it adds a little bit of drama to it (we can’t rely on Takaoka for this, so the synths have to work hard).

Unfortunately, besides this first song, the single “Nemurenu Mori no Bishoujo” (眠れぬ森の美女) and a tune called “SLEEP WALKER”, the album didn’t quite succeed in maintaining my interest. Personally, I wanted the album to be full of late 80s Eurobeat, but there are some pretentiously laidback songs and quite a few ballads, which I think are weak spots thanks to Takaoka’s vocals. In my opinion, for this type of (not so talented) singer, the production must be big and ear-grabbing. Fans seems to like it, as I could see in the comment section, but the album is not for me. I’m pretty satisfied with “Yabanna Yuutsu”, “SLEEP WALKER” and “Nemurenu Mori no Bishoujo”, though. And now I want to see more of Takaoka’s acting, because that’s what she does better.

Lyrics for “Yabanna Yuutsu” were written by Yukinojo Mori (森雪之丞), while music was composed by Nobuyuki Shimizu (清水信之).



  1. Hi, Marcos.

    As you said, the production was everything in compensating for Takaoka's vocals, and the production was quite catchy and nostalgic. But as we agreed before, the late 80s just had a lot of great arrangers and composers backing up the aidorus then.

    Man, Takaoka is now middle-aged! Time indeed flies.

    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      Sakaoka is still very beautiful, in spite of the age (with only 46 years old, she's far from being old, but it's always interesting to see how past aidorus are ageing). Nakayama, on the contrary, is not ageing very well, in my opinion. Besides this 2016 drama, I saw her performing "Waku Waku Sasete" back in December on "FNS Kayousai" and her face was quite puffy. She's still quite charming, but I imagined something else for the eternal Miporin.

      As for Sakaoka's singing career, her thin vocals are weak, but she's not a bad singer (technically speaking). In fact, she still releases music to this day, which is quite surprising. Also, based on the title alone, I suspect "Yabanna Yuutsu" is not very happy, but I need to see the lyrics.

    2. Hi, Marcos.

      46 years old, eh? I remember 30 years ago when I saw her regularly on a Wednesday night variety show that was one of the popular programs of the week. Good golly, she was only 16 back then!

      I took a look at the lyrics for the song, and yep, they are definitely sad. The woman seems to keep losing boyfriends due to some perceived impression that she's simply not very good at commitment.

      As for 80s aidorus now, I think Shizuka Kudo and Marina Watanabe among others have been doing fine over the decades.


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