Credits

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.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Minako Yoshida -- Monsters In Town


It's been nearly 2 years since I put up a bona fide Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子)article. The main reason is that it's awfully hard to find a YouTube video of any of her songs with the scuttlebutt being that Yoshida or her representatives have had them taken them down lickety-split. Obviously she has every right to do so since the videos mean that folks are getting free listens without any compensation to the artist or relevant record company but still it's kinda too bad for folks like myself who like to talk about them and tell other folks about these great songs. And no, I'm not grinding any sesame seeds here (the Japanese language equivalent for buttering someone up) when I say that she is one of the best Japanese singers Japan I've heard, so she is well worth talking about.


To proceed, I would like to devote 2017's final Album article on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" to Yoshida's November 1981 album, "Monsters In Town". The album starts off with the immense "TOWN" for which I've already given an article. As I said there, it's the one reason that I parted with my yen gratefully to get the CD. Yoshida wrote and composed all of the tracks here.

Track 2 is "Lovin' You" which is one soulful ballad and love song perhaps to the city below. "Lovin' You" is as sweepingly romantic as "TOWN" is super energetic, and both reflect a lovely life in the metropolis.


"Mado"(窓...Moment of Twilight)is an even creamier soulful ballad which as the English title says is a tune that is great for those listeners during sunset while contemplating life over a drink.


On the other hand, "Monster Stomp" is a little over 5 minutes of funk and strutting, and as that title may hint, it could be some backing music for Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra literally hitting the town. The only difference here is that each of the monsters would be sporting Sennheisers and listening to Parliament Funkadelic.


If you can't reach Nicovideo, you can try listening to the iTunes page with excerpts from "Monsters In Town"....or try the video below.


6 comments:

  1. Happy new years J-C (or as my wife says, "Happy Your People's New Year")! Thank you for the Nico links (esp. Lovin' You, I may get the album just for that). A week ago she (or her people) asked van Paugam to pull one of his YT City Pop vids down as she was in there. Do you know if Nico has use because it pays royalties, or is it a Japan vs the world issue? I'm not up to date on Japanese copyright / trademark / fair use etc. issues (not that I ever was). I know Sony, Victor, Pony Canyon block YT vids in the US and I've heard YT actually blocks some in order to force users to YT Red. Sigh ...

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    1. Hello, T-cat.

      Yes, I read about Van Paugam getting the "cease-and-desist" order from the singer or her representatives. Your question about Nico actually got me to take a look at the Wikipedia article for the site and apparently, the owning entity for Nico, Dwango does pay royalties to JASRAC. In fact, I will bring over the quotation:

      "On October 30, 2007, Dwango and the JASRAC, Japanese copyright holders' society agreed to form a comprehensive partnership and Dwango will pay two percent of its earnings to JASRAC as copyright royalties." ("Nico Nico Douga and YouTube Copyright Fee Payment" (in Japanese). IT Media. 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2008-07-02.)

      All the best to you and your family for the New Year! Take it easy on the osechi!:)

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    2. Ah, Town.

      After leaving Japan over 10 years ago, I became obsessed with Minako Yoshida. I was searching the internet for anything on her at the time. I ran across links to a playlist on a blog for a podcast on iTunes called the Full Moon podcast.

      They played a extended version of Town and I was instantly smitten. Kind of like Minako Yoshida's "Shooting Star of Love Part II."

      Up until that point, I was always on that Minako Yoshida 70s vibe.

      The podcast episode was really a recording of a one hour show from a Toronto radio show on CKLN. The hosts were DJ San Fran and Christine Miguel.

      They played R&B, hip-hop, reggae and pop not only from Japan but from Korea, Taiwan, China and the Philippines.

      Or as they put it from "far East Asia."

      DJ San Fran found a remix of the song which is to die for. Of course I discovered the podcast a few months after the show went off the air.

      The drama that resulted not only for the end of the radio show but from the decline and fall of CKLN was tragic but very entertaining.

      There was a message board outlining the saga of the hot mess that was the end of CKLN but it has since been lost to time. Full of insiders, whistle blowers, rumour, and scandal it was a delicious waste of time. Now lost to Google's algorithm's herding you to links based on popularity, recent browsing habits, and their advertisers I can't find it anymore.

      However, the podcast does live on at Sound Cloud. I would give it a listen. It has the very best of the genre's I have outlined not not only for the 90s and early aughts but from previous decades as well.

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    3. Good morning, Chasing Showa.

      I actually found out about "TOWN" through the blog thanks to an article by one of our former contributors: http://kayokyokuplus.blogspot.ca/2014/01/nikalas-80s-playlist.html

      However, I had already fallen under the spell of the divine Ms. Yoshida thanks to songs like "Hoho ni Yoru no Akari" after so many years of hearing her name in the wind like Taeko Ohnuki. After that, I started to make an active search for her material in the 70s and 80s.

      I will have to take a look for that podcast you mentioned as well. Thanks!

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  2. Oh, nikala broke my heart. I used to follow nikala's blog until the move to this one and then it was deleted?!

    My first introduction to Minako Yoshida was due to a random Google search which resulted in a link to a abandoned directory on a college website. They had Tobira no Fuyu uploaded and after listening to it I was intrigued.

    This was before I left for Japan by the way. After I got back I found another blog by a person by the name of Patrick Macias. He also had a post about City Pop complete with an mp3 of his favorite songs. It was more 70s-centric and I was so okay with this.

    Of course there were a number of Yoshida Minako songs and the hunt began. This was the late aughts and Youtube was full of uploads, concert footage and variety show clips of the Divine Ms Yoshida.

    Every era she released music into was gold! From the New Music of the 70s to the City Pop of the 80s to the J-Pop of the 90s and beyond. She never stopped reinventing herself.

    I understand Minako Yoshida (or her representatives) taking down her content from Youtube but erasing her presence on line may not be the best thing for her.

    She was truly a pioneer. All of modern Japanese popular music can be traced back to her and her cohorts living on that abandoned army base back in 60s. Honing their craft and literally conquering Japan and eventually the world decades later.

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    1. Oh, I think nikala broke both our hearts when she got married and rightfully decided to get a real life. :)

      Not sure what it is about some of these veteran artists needing to wipe out any presence of their music online. I realize the copyrights and stuff but (and perhaps I'm being naive here), after all their years of recording and performing, I would think that they have enough of a nest egg so that they shouldn't have to worry about some free listenings. Then again, Mariya Takeuchi's "Plastic Love" on YouTube recently broke 1 million views but even though that was some lost opportunity for royalties, I think some of those viewers were inspired to buy the album.

      On the other hand, it could be just Yoshida's representatives or accountants who are ruling with an iron fist.

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Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.