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, July 4, 2020

Momoe Yamaguchi -- Rinne(輪廻)

Happy weekend as I slowly broil in my own juices. Yes, it's a hot one in the big T.O. today and will be for at least a week. Perhaps I can interest you in a mild segue as I provide another smoldering Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵)song.

Commenter Jim Laker and I were talking about one of the most famous 1970s aidoru and he was kind enough to introduce this first track "Rinne" (Reincarnation) from Yamaguchi's album "This is my trial" from October 1980. As I've probably mentioned before, I haven't been a die-hard fan of hers but definitely knew and enjoyed her hits to the extent that I've got a couple of her BEST compilations, so it's still a time of exploration when it comes to her original studio albums of which "This is my trial" was her 22nd and final album before retiring from show business at the age of 21. It did very well on Oricon by placing in at No. 4.

"Rinne" is a bewitching number. It starts off rather spookily before the late-career sultry vocals of Yamaguchi come to the fore as she purrs about being a woman of ice who will always prefer coming back over and over as a woman so that she can cloud men's minds and wrap them around her fingers in one grand game. I guess that my description almost describes Yamaguchi as a superhero or supervillain on the same level as The Shadow, Dr. Strange or Catwoman. The music by Ryudo Uzaki(宇崎竜童)and arrangement by Mitsuo Hagita(萩田光雄)strikes me as being rather appropriate as a theme song for a larger-than-life figure of the darkness. Of course, if Uzaki is there, then his wife Yoko Aki(阿木燿子)is also there with the lyrics.

Overall, I found "Rinne" to be emblematic of the songs that she put forth when she collaborated with Uzaki and Aki such as "Imitation Gold"...about that cynical and hard-bitten woman wiser beyond her years. And a question popped up in my noggin about which era of Momoe-chan I preferred. Was it the early 70s when I kept envisioning her in that very short haircut and high school uniform while singing lyrics that may have shocked listeners with their rawness a la "Hito Natsu no Keiken"(ひと夏経験)or was it the late 70s when that more mature image of the singer caught up to her and her songs? Mind you, even during that latter part of her time on the stage, she had hits through more innocent entries such as "Yume Saki Annainin"(夢先案内人), which had also been created by Uzaki and Aki, and the classic "Ii Hi Tabidachi"(いい日旅立ち).

For me, although I've enjoyed Momoe all throughout that decade that she held court in the fans' eyes on stage, TV, radio and movies, I would probably go with her late 70s era. The reason for that is because of that collaboration with Uzaki and Aki and that persona of a toughened and older seen-it-all, done-it-all woman in the fancy dress (have I mentioned that she retired at the age of 21?) with the lower and more intimidating voice. When she was performing, she came off as attractive yet hard-to-approach, hard but maybe(?) with a soft centre.

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