Credits

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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Seiko Matsuda -- Aoi Sangoshou (青い珊瑚礁)/True Love



Now, where would a self-respecting kayo kyoku blogger like me be without mentioning the Queen Aidoru herself, Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子)? If I hadn't made any tribute to her, I would've had to hand in my Myojo (明星)magazines (J-equivalent of Teen Beat in America) and my Seiko-chan posters.

Actually, I thought a good bit about which song to start her story with. Do I start with "Natsu no Tobira"(the first time I saw her perform on TV)? "Akai Sweet Pea" (one of her signature tunes from her early period)? But I decided to go with "Aoi Sangoshou"(Blue Coral Reef) since this was the single that catapulted the former Ms. Noriko Kamachi into super-aidoru status back in July 1980. This was her 2nd single which gradually earned her a ranking of No. 2 on Oricon and won her The Best Newcomer Prize on The Japan Record Awards, and her first appearance on NHK's Kohaku Utagassen.

"Aoi Sangoshou"was written by copywriter-turned-prolific songwriter Yoshiko Miura(三浦徳子), who pretty much wrote for just about every singer from the late 70s and well into the 80s. Composed by Yuuichiro Oda(小田裕一郎), it's a very upbeat tune which evokes a good deal of summery nostalgia. The cover shows an 18-year-old Seiko with the haircut that launched a lot of stylists' careers for the next year or two.



The B-side features "True Love", a non-hit but a personal favourite of mine nonetheless. Unlike its more famous sister tune, "True Love", which was also created by the same duo from "Aoi Sangousho", does go for the more conventional boyfriend-based lyrics. It's also interesting for the fact that Seiko had a slightly more amateurish and deeper voice (not that she sounded like Hulk Hogan or anything like that) here, which might signify that this song had been recorded some time before "Aoi Sangoshou".

The record, though, may have arguably not only launched Seiko-chan's meteoric rise but also the 2nd Aidoru Wave with the cute frilly dresses and tonsorial waves and bobs of the early 80s. Musically as well, the new 80s aidoru songs had little of the studio orchestra horn sections and the arrival of the synths.

There was also a passing of the baton as well during this time. A few months after the release of this single, the Queen Aidoru of the 70s, Momoe Yamaguchi (山口百恵), who had cut a far different figure from Seiko, would get married and retire from show business for good.

As a postscript, although Seiko hails from Kurume City in Fukuoka Prefecture, she attended Horikoshi High School, kinda like Hollywood High in Los Angeles, less than a kilometre where I used to teach English in Nakano Ward, Tokyo.


7 comments:

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  3. I'm a picky person about music and I don't listen to J-Pop aside from Seiko. However, I also suspect Seiko had plastic surgery, to your surprise, even before her debut (Hadashi no Kisetsu). I've got one her childhood picture which always gives me WTF moment and strongly tells me she went under knife even before 1980.

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  4. This is more in reply to your comment on the Kaze Tachinu post, but fits here too - actually, this is the song that got me started! We may have our differences but we share a lot in taste!

    Aoi Sangoshou was featured as part of a plot point of relatively major significance in the 1995 Shunji Iwai film, Love Letter. Just by virtue of the themes, soundtrack, acting and story, Love Letter is my favourite Japanese film of all so I had to listen to the song, I had to find the lyrics and I had to understand the meaning. I found an upload of this performance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDXDQX1skFE and she never sounded or looked so good. I was done for...I probably watched the video so many times that I forgot that the song has a third verse until the day I bought the single record and was like ??? Haha

    Not sure why people banged on about plastic surgery up there, she may have done so or she may not...doesn't really matter. Look at the West with botox and Korea/Thailand with the more invasive procedures...for better or worse it's just a huge part of showbiz now. The music is still excellent, the videos are still a joy to watch. I'll just be grateful to be alive!

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    1. Hello there.

      I knew about "Love Letter" but didn't know about the inclusion of "Aoi Sangosho". Yup, Seiko back in those days...was quite the time.

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