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.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yasuhiro Abe -- Irene (アイリーン)



One of the very last singers that I discovered before coming home was Yasuhiro Abe (安部恭弘)who has been around since 1982. I only found out about him via my guide on Japanese City Pop, although the man has had this solo career for a few decades and has been a backup singer for some of the biggest names in kayo kyoku, such as Mariya Takeuchi, EPO and Jun'ichi Inagaki.

As far as I know, the Tokyo native and Waseda University grad has never had a Top 10 hit but listening to his tunes via his Best CD and his 1985 album, "Slit", he's got this crooner's voice which can hit the high notes almost to the extent of Michael Jackson. He's got a rugged handsomeness; looks like a cross between Karl Malden and Jackie Chan...really you ought to take a look.

He's also the composer and lyricist of his tunes, much like his contemporaries listed above. His work is very much City Pop...the Japanese equivalent of American AOR. City Pop is called as such since the music supposedly gives that sound of big city life, namely life in Tokyo during the 70s and 80s when Japan could do no wrong economically. Apparently the representative instruments for The Economic Miracle were Fender Rhodes keyboards and Steely Dan's guitars.

"Irene" is a representative Abe tune...as far away from an enka song or an aidoru tune that one can get. Having become the City Pop fan over the past number of years, I really enjoy the overall arrangement of the song: from the opening piano to Abe's high-stepping vocals to the synths & guitar often punctuating the proceedings. Get out the Perrier and the Polo shirt!

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