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.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Misato Watanabe -- Lovin' You

Although I'd known about Misato Watanabe's(渡辺美里)key song, "My Revolution" for a few years, the first albums I purchased by her were her turn-of-the-decade releases, "Tokyo"(1990) and "Lucky"(1991) when I was in Gunma, since I enjoyed the two singles that came from them respectively, "Summertime Blues" and "Natsu ga Kita"夏が来た...Summer Is Here). However, just before heading back to Canada in 1991, I'd decided to get that one breakthrough album of hers which contained "My Revolution", "Lovin' You" which was her 2nd album released in July 1986. The above video is for the very first track, "Long Night", an upbeat power pop declaration written by Watanabe herself and composed by Yasuyuki Okamura (岡村靖幸). It was one of three songs to be released as singles from the album with "My Revolution" being the first one in January 1986. An edited version of "Long Night" was released a few weeks after the album's release in July; it made it up to No. 11 on the Oricon weeklies.

"Lovin' You" works on two levels. First, it's a showcase for Watanabe's vocal talents. She may have looked like an aidoru with the huge eyes and cute face, but she also had a voice that could do more than just the run-of-the-mill tune. She could also belt out lyrics on a rock level which she would later demonstrate as her voice continued to develop, but at the time of this album, she could also sing sweetly in the higher registers. "Teenage Walk"is another Misato classic which shows this other voice.

The song also illustrates the overall message of "Lovin' You" which is the second of the two levels. The album just radiates positivity through songs like "Teenage Walk" and "My Revolution". The former song talks of trying to slough off the bad times and move forward with the help of the good. The official music video above has Watanabe looking very much like a junior high school student. I can just imagine her being the student council president with her optimistic take on life. "Teenage Walk" was the 2nd single to be released from the album in May, and got as high as No. 5. Norie Kanzawa(神沢礼江) was behind the lyrics, and Tetsuya Komuro (小室哲哉)composed the music. In addition, it would become the Hokkaido campaign song for All Nippon Airways during the summer.

"Suteki ni Naritai"素敵になりたい....I Wanna Become Wonderful) wasn't released as a single, but it's one of the songs that still sticks in my head whenever I come across the album. It's a teenybopping, kick-off-those-shoes, bouncy tune which has Watanabe in pure fun mode as she enjoys throwing her voice around off the horns, percussion and guitars who seem to be following her lead for swinging around the bedroom. I consider it my "orange juice"song of the album. This one was also composed by Okamura and written by Kanzawa.

And to finish it all up, the title track finishes off the whole album. "Lovin' You" is a lovely ballad written by Watanabe and composed by Okamura. It has that gospel feel and shows off that rich Misato voice which would become more prominent as the years went by. It's a song that can probably end any of her concerts very satisfyingly.

I mentioned this fact about the album for my profile on "My Revolution", but "Lovin' You"was unprecedented since it was the first time that a 2-CD album was created for a singer who was still, according to Japanese law anyways, a teenager. And only on her 2nd album for that matter. It hit the No. 1 spot and became the 7th-ranked album for 1986.

Misato -- Lovin' You

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