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.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Rajie/Taeko Ohnuki -- Kaze no Michi (風の道)

(from 15:58)

First off, for any Joe Hisaishi fans out there, this isn't "Kaze no Tohri Michi"(風のとおり道)from the Studio Ghibli movie "Tonari no Totoro"(となりのトトロ), a lovely song that one of us here on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" will hope to cover someday in the near future.

Actually, this song goes back several years before. And in fact, it's a bit of a follow-up on an article I did a couple of days ago on Rajie's(ラジ)album, "Quatre", an intriguing collection of technopop songs with a feeling of a musical night on the stage in Paris. "Kaze no Michi" (Path of the Wind) was another track from Rajie's 3rd album that I've decided to take care of individually.

For one thing, although the synths are in there, "Kaze no Michi" seems to be more of that plaintive ballad midway through that musical with the heroine singing for that hopeful, better future under that one lone spotlight. It comes in between a couple of the more whimsical tracks so the balladry comes through even further, something that is further enhanced thanks to Rajie's clear voice. What was also notable was the intro which had the air of a gothic thriller before going into the ballad.

(the above is a self-cover from her
collaborative album with Ryuichi Sakamoto
"UTAU" from 2010)

The other reason that I've given "Kaze no Michi" its own article was that it was covered a few years later by Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)who had composed and written the song for Rajie. Her version is a bit shorter with a calm synth entrance but the arrangement is somewhat similar...perhaps a bit spacier. It was a track on Ohnuki's 1982 album, "Cliche", and what surprised me was that Ohnuki's version was indeed a cover and not an original since I had thought that the former Sugar Babe member cornered the market on technopop with a French twist in the early 80s, but it looks like Rajie jumped the gun a year earlier.

For both versions, there is also that feeling of that karaoke chestnut "My Way" which was done by millions of slightly tipsy Japanese salarymen (and by Frank Sinatra and Paul Anka among other professional singers). Plus, the lyrics struck me as being quite ethereal about two soulmates finally finding some contentment in a quiet town somewhere. Perhaps it's a real town or it could be Heaven. Both "My Way" and "Kaze no Michi" have that sort of feeling that an ending to a major era is just around the corner along with a beginning of another different age.

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