Over the years, I've been hearing that there has been this rather widening divide when it comes to Miki Imai（今井美樹） fandom with the fault line being generated under the tall figure of Tomoyasu Hotei（布袋寅泰）, her producer/husband. A lot of her (former) fans have strongly stated that they liked her stuff before Hotei came into her professional and personal life around the mid-90s. On Japan's Mixi social networking site, there is even a Miki Imai community for pre-Hotei fans only. For me, I've enjoyed a number of her songs since the big change, but I have to admit that I'm more of the pre-Hotei fan. There was more of a light and relaxing feel when it came to her repertoire during the early phase of her career.
"Kanojo to TIP ON DUO"(Tip On Duo and Her) is one example of the breezy pop that characterized Imai's first few years as a singer. Written by Yasushi Akimoto（秋元康） and composed by Chika Ueda（上田知華） (who I had profiled just a few days ago with "I WILL"), it's a slightly synth-jazzy and quick tune which amounts to the J-Pop equivalent of "I'm Gonna Get That Man Right Out Of My Hair" and a musical raspberry to a former beau. Imai sings a comically defiant "nyah-nyah-nyah"as she cares/doesn't care about the jerk as he picks up a new girlfriend. The cute melody has all the air of a break-up comedy starring either Reese Witherspoon or, for those of an earlier generation, Meg Ryan.
"Kanojo to TIP ON DUO"was Chika Ueda's first Imai song and was the beginning of a long list of hit contributions to her career. Released in August 1988, it peaked at No. 8 on Oricon and was used for a Shiseido commercial in that year with Imai herself starring. It never got onto an original album, but was placed in the singer's first BEST album, "Ivory" in 1989.
Still, that TIP ON DUO will continue to haunt me for the rest of my days...