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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Akina Nakamori -- Melancholy Festa (メランコリー・フェスタ)

Early 80s aidoru pop, or Kayo Kyoku in general, sipped a lot from the mid-to-late 70s disco sound that, after 1980, went downhill in popularity in the United States.

“Melancholy Festa”, for example, is essentially a disco song, but embedded in tragedy. In other words, the arrangement is safe disco in its purest form, but we're talking about Akina Nakamori (中森明菜) here, so the overall sound is still drenched in a painful sadness.

As part of an inside joke I usually do with a fellow friend, which is also an avid J-Pop fan and listener, this song would be perfect if played in what we affectionatelly call Akina's cabaret: a decadent basement full of liquour smell and cigarette smoke where Akina would perfectly shine as the true dramatic and sensual diva in front of a questionable audience.

In this case, though, since she was still a very young lady at the time, her tone, although already distinct enough if compared to the usual aidoru affair, was far from the deep, powerful and vibrato driven voice we would get used to from 1986 onwards.

“Melancholy Festa” was included in the album “ANNIVERSARY”, which was released in May 1984 and reached #1 on the Oricon charts, selling 476,000 copies. Lyrics were written by Etsuko Kisugi (来生えつこ), while music was composed by Juichi Sase (佐瀬寿一). As for the arrangement, Mitsuo Hagita (萩田光雄) was the responsible.



  1. Hi, Marcos. Good to hear from you again. I do love that "Melancholy Festa" because of that exotic kayo melody by Sase and Hagita. It's quite the dramatic song...on the line between aidoru and regular pop, and I guess that it can be another example of how Akina was compared to Momoe Yamaguchi, the queen aidoru of the 1970s.

    Good analogy about the diva nightclub cabaret setting for Akina.:)

    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      I'm not a big fan or early Akina, but "Melancholy Festa" is a song I like very much. In fact, "ANNIVERSARY" is a pretty nice album with songs like "Asylum" and the hit single "Kita Wing". Anyway, I agree that "Melancholy Festa" is a Momoe-like song, which was also something common during Akina's early years.

    2. Hi, Marcos. It just makes me wonder what would have happened if Momoe had decided to continue with her singing. Mind you, she gave us a small taste of that with albums like "L.A. Blue" where she performed AOR. I should give "ANNIVERSARY" another listen!

  2. It's seems early on Akina didn't mind trying different genres or styles and being a little risky(at least for that era), too. That is what in my opinion makes her music fun to listen too.

    1. Very much so, Brian. And for her to do this while still a teen. Again, that Momoe comparison comes back to haunt me.:)


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