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, February 11, 2012

Mariko Takahashi -- dear
(excerpt only)

Keeping on the City Pop scene, I just wanted to introduce one of my heavy rotation discs. This is "Dear" by chanteuse Mariko Takahashi高橋真梨子)which was originally released in April of 1982. After coming back from Japan in 1981, I started listening to a radio program on multicultural CHIN-FM on Saturdays called "The Sounds of Japan". Most of the program seemed dedicated to enka but once a month, the DJ would spin some more "modern" fare.

(cover version)

One of the first tunes I'd heard was from Mariko Takahashi who was definitely no aidoru. She has this beautifully rich and deep whiskey-and-cigarettes voice...perfect for jazz. And in fact, she had first debuted in the early 70s with folk/latin/jazz band, Pedro & Capricious, before striking out on her own in 1978.

Takahashi, who hails from Hiroshima Prefecture, jointly produced "Dear"with her former bandmate and husband, Henry Hirose(ヘンリー広瀬). It's an album of torch songs and City Pop mid-tempo tunes. Although there are two other tracks which have become included on any hits package of hers, the above song is one of my favourites. "My City Lights" highlights her voice wonderfully; vocally, she illustrates the end of a wistful love affair in the big city. You can almost see her nursing a whiskey-on-the-rocks by herself in some empty bar in Roppongi. The other highlight is the electric guitar solo by veteran session artist, Tsuyoshi Kon. Chinfa Kan(康珍化)and Kingo Hamada(浜田金吾)created the song.

One of the big hits from the album (and perennial karaoke kayo kyoku choice) is "for you..."This is a recent concert of her performing the song, and going with the album's overall theme, it's a song of pining for someone who's already been taken. The famous refrain is "Anata ga hoshii..."(I want you..). Some years ago, Hikaru Utada may have lobbed a verbal grenade at Takahashi or kayo kyoku in general by stating that that particular lyric was frankly too sentimental, and truth be told, probably a lot of songs in that era made liberal use of it. But that still doesn't take anything from the song.which musically and unabashedly puts its heart on its sleeve. Takahashi bats this one out of the park. As a postscript, the song also received the Gold Award at the 11th Tokyo Music Festival in 1982.

I've created the follow-up to the album right here.

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