After a month laying low due to restrictions on some platforms, we’re back! You probably are seeing some reposts and more will come along the way, these are actually all-time bests of the ‘IM’ so don’t miss it, ok? Moving along our Top 5 entries since 2014, having Akiko’s and Slađana’s posts already listed, its time for our third entry, and it is a very singular one; a brief but dashing turning point that was not well comprehended by its main audience ergo the (almost) failure of the sales and single-digit weeks at the radio-charts.
Debuting on the production control, with only 21 years old, rising as the artist of the year and a complex idea in terms of sound, 不思議 remains one of the greatest albums of an era by an underestimated singer, performer, and actress. We’ll be only commencing on Akina’s bio, so please attend to the rest on future entries, though today’s are the REAL deal for us.
Let’s go to our artist:
Nakamori Akina (中森明菜), born July 13, 1965, in Kiyose, Tokyo, Japan, is a multiple award-winning Japanese pop singer and actress who debuted in early 1982. She is the face of the idol era of the 80s alongside Seiko Matsuda (her supposed rival) with hits such as the extraordinary “Kazari Janai No Yo Namida Wa” and world-wide hit “Desire”.
As a singer, Nakamori came to be known for her mature yet rebellious style and powerhouse vocals, but also for her ever-changing image both visually and musically as opposed to the (very) conservative J-Pop scene. She is also known as “tragedy queen” for most of her serious or sad tone songs unlike the happy and carefree sound of pop music.
She was highly successful from her debut to 1989 when she attempted suicide after a failed romance with Masahiko Kondo, with the scandalous involvement of Seiko Matsuda as the third part and mostly to stress induced by the tabloid media. Even though she has never regained the same success, she has still managed to carry on a steady career.
Today Nakamori has built her image more like a cover artist with her Utahime cover albums, also with the award-winning Enka one and recently a comeback with unedited studio material being Fixer (2015) and Cage (2017) her last cover one. With a career almost as long as 30 years, and millions of records sold she has explored many different music genres including pop, rock, R&B, jazz, folk, blues, enka, and Latin music. (!)
Let’s go to our album:
In 1986, at 21, Nakamori matured in her singing style, choice of songs and partnership over its musical arrangements. The first single of that year, “Desire (Jōnetsu)” proved to be one of the highlights in Nakamori’s career, this was awarded at the Record Taisho Grand Prize at the 28th Japan Record Awards, her second in a row, in an unprecedented achievement at the time, stating Akina’s as the #1 artist of Japan that year. (!)
Then she released Fushigi, an experimental album that is considered to be one of her most artistic works ever. Inspired by Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, this conceptual album differed from her previous works with a more mysterious and eerie sound both music and vocal-wise. On the album, Nakamori sang more dramatically and her vocals were also mixed into the background. This unusual mixing caused some confusion among consumers and some actually contacted the retailers thinking the record was defective.
Despite the riskiness of trying something so avant-garde the album still reached #1 and sold over 464,000 copies. By the cover, you can tell something is darkling about everything and sure there is! After hearing it for the first time, I was sure there was something wrong with the files and had to download them again and again until I realize how magnificent the proposition was. The dark and gothic beauty of the entire project oddly caught me and how good it is to be able to feel this. Now the ‘IM’ is proudly presenting this to you all, come check this unique experience and also watch some terrific live renditions between 1986, 1987 and 2003, it is a joy to see her perform!
The ‘IM’ highlights are マリオネット (Marionette) and Teen-Age Blue.
A1 Back Door Night
A2 ニュー·ジェネレーション (New Generation)
Lyrics By: 竹花いち子
Chorus: Katsumi Fujikura
A4 マリオネット (Marionette)
Lyrics By, Music By: 安岡孝章
A5 幻惑されて (Genwaku Sarete)
Chorus: Minako Yoshida
B1 ガラスの心 (Glass No Kokoro)
Arranged By: 井上鑑
Bass: Chiharu Mikuzuki
Drums: Hideo Yamaki
Guitar: Tsuyoshi Kon
Keyboards: Akira Inoue
B2 Teen-Age Blue
Chorus: Etsuko Yamakawa, Kiyoshi Hiyama
Keyboards: Satoshi Nakamura
Keyboards, Chorus: Kazuo Shiina
B3 燠火 (Okibi)
Arranged By (Brass): 椎名和夫
Drums: Anton Fier
Keyboards: Haruo Togashi, Minako Yoshida
Saxophone: Jake H. Concepcion
B4 Wait For Me
Lyrics By: Show
B5 Mushroom Dance
Chorus: Keiko Aso
Music By: 井上ケン一
Arranged By: Eurox (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5), Kazuo Shiina (tracks: B2, B3)
Bass: Haruo Okano (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5)
Chorus: Anri Sekine, Eve, Haruo Okano, Isamu Hasegawa, Yoshimi Niikura
Guitar: Tsutomu Kurihara (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5)
Keyboards: Anri Sekine (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5)
Lyrics By: 麻生圭子 (tracks: A1, A3), 吉田美奈子 (tracks: A5, B2, B3),
Sandii (tracks: B1, B5)
Music By: Eurox (tracks: A1 to A3, A5), 久保田真箏 (tracks: B1, B5),
吉田美奈子 (tracks: B2, B3)
Trumpet: Shin Kuzuhara (tracks: B3, B4)
Violin: Anri Sekine (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B4)
Design (Cover): Yasuo Mochida
Directed By: Katsumi Fujikura
Engineer: Hiroyuki Satoh, Motonari Matsumoto, Yasu Itohbrass, Mr. Kenmochi
Photography By: Kazunori Tsukada
Producer: Akina Nakamori
Remix, Mastered By: Nobuo Ishizaki
Management: Fusanori Nakoh, Hiroyasu Chinone
Phonographic Copyright: Warner-Pioneer Corporation
Made By: Warner-Pioneer Corporation
Recorded At: Sedic Studio, Sound Inn Studio, Freedom Studio, Sound Atelier,
Cherry Island Studio and Music Inn Studio
Mixed At: Sedic Studio and Warner-Pioneer Studio
Mastered At: Warner-Pioneer Studio
Reprise Records – L-12595 – 1986.08.11