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 20, 2016

Taeko Ohnuki -- Romantique (Follow-up)

Bohemian (17:01)
Hatenaki Ryojo (21:10)

This is a follow-up on an article I did all the way back in 2012 on singer-songwriter Taeko Ohnuki's(大貫妙子)4th studio album, "Romantique" from 1980. As I mentioned in that article, "Romantique" was a change in direction for the former member of Sugar Babe who had hit a rut of sorts a couple of years back. It was notable for incorporating some of that trendy technopop spearheaded by her friends in Yellow Magic Orchestra and a more exotic European sound compared to the New Music and City Pop that she had been writing and performing. You might say that this was even Newer Music.

In the other article, I covered the synth-driven "Carnaval", the quirky "Decade Night" and the wistful "Ame no Yoake"(雨の夜明け)which has the synths combined with her new European sound. In this article, I have a couple of more tracks, "Bohemian" and "Hatenaki Ryojo"(果てなき旅情).

"Bohemian" continues from "Ame no Yoake" with the combo of Euro and synths. However, it also contains some further and interesting mixing of some gently pulsating Latin rhythms at the beginning followed by an elegiac waltz before those rhythms return to extend into a melody of life in the big city with Ohnuki making shoutouts to New York and Hollywood. According to a 1983 interview in the journal "Music Steady" via J-Wiki, she mentioned that the bohemian in the title referred to her. As she put it, it was about "That one person having the dream and heading out to succeed in one city, and if he/she fails in grabbing that chance, heading over to the next city to try again". Perhaps the song was inspired by those several months between "Romantique" and her previous album "Mignonne" when she was thinking about what to do with her career. Just from listening to the music, it seems as if she were portraying some of that early angst before the melody lightened up considerably signalling her getting back down to brass tacks.

"Hatenaki Ryojo" (The Neverending Mood of Traveling) is another fascinating track that just sweeps through like a romantic epic. It is also reminiscent of "Bohemian" in that Ohnuki describes a woman looking for love and her life's work although instead of moving around America, this lass is jumping from city to city in Europe. There is that sense of her waiting on train platforms for not just the train but also for what could be the next big opportunity in romance. That mandolin in the instrumental bridge might represent one extended adventure in one exotic country.

So it looks like a couple of these tracks shows a bit of wanderlust on Ohnuki's part.

I dunno but this photo makes her look slightly elfin.

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