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, January 8, 2014

Junko Yagami -- Polar Star (ポーラー・スター)

I think Junko Yagami's(八神純子)7th single "Polar Star" was her first one to delve into straight disco pop when compared to her first releases of pop ballads and Latin-infused tunes. Released in July 1979, I first came across it in her compilation album, "Best Of Me" which came out in 1990. On listening to it, there were some parts which reminded me of Olivia Newton-John's "Xanadu" (perhaps it was the soaring strings).

Written by Yagami and Yoshiko Miura(三浦徳子)and composed by the singer, "Polar Star" seems to be a tribute to the North Star itself....perhaps the only song I know that is astronomically disco. It does fly at the speed of light but Yagami's vocals are more than game to soar with the melody. I also enjoy how her voice hums off into the distance at the end, almost like the sung version of the Aurora Borealis. Mind you, she had some good practice with her most representative hit, "Mizuiro no Ame"(みずいろの雨)from the previous year, and this single would propel her into another disco hit, "Purpletown" a year later. Incidentally, the single is also available on her 3rd album, "Mr. Metropolis".

When I first heard the song all those years ago, it struck me as having a heroic theme so I wondered a bit whether the title was actually named after some heroine named Paula Starr. However, the lyrics set me straight. In any case, "Polar Star" peaked at No. 8 on Oricon and was the 51st-ranked song for 1979. Perhaps if there had been a Japanese team at the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race back then, this would have made for a nice inspirational tune instead of just yelling "Mush" across Alaska.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, J-Canuck.

    I became a fan of Junko Yagami thanks to your earlier post about "Purpletown". Based on that, "Polar Star" is not new to me, as I listen to it quite regularly in a compilation simply called "BEST", which was released in 2003.

    As for "Polar Star", it really gives me some Electric Light Orchestra feel, like Olivia's "Xanadu", as you said. And the hum at the end is very beautiful as well. It reminds me of a siren. In the end, this song is one of my favorites when I'm listening to her best album. I'll probably listen to it later. Last time I heard it was on Christmas.


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