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Gamingforce Music Exposure Club™
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Life @ 45RPM

Member 2299

Level 38.16

Mar 2006

Old Oct 25, 2007, 12:27 PM Local time: Oct 25, 2007, 11:27 AM #1 of 201
Mako Ishino - New Best One

Artist: Mako Ishino (石野真子)
Album: New Best One
Year: 2004
Label: Victor Entertainment (ビクターエンタテインメント)
ASIN: B0002V012O

Track List

01 - 狼なんか怖くない
02 - わたしの首領
03 - 失恋記念日
04 - 日曜日はストレンジャー
05 - プリティー・プリティー
06 - ワンダー・ブギ
07 - ジュリーがライバル
08 - 春ラ!ラ!ラ!
09 - ハートで勝負
10 - めまい
11 - 彼が初恋
12 - 恋のハッピー・デート
13 - 彩りの季節
14 - 恋のサマー・ダンス
15 - バーニング・ラブ
16 - めぐり逢い
17 - ガラスの観覧車

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This time, we will look into the career of Mako Ishino, the idol with a bubbly personality and her characteristic "million dollar smile". While the album put here is the alleged "Limited Edition" release, there is a cheaper one under the Colezo! series that is the exact same thing. Regardless, Ishino's path to pop music fame began when she was a contestant in the talent show Star Tanjou (as was many others at the time) in 1977. Her appeal was infectious and she began an agressive regimen of performance and recording, releasing up to 5 singles on a given year (not unusual at the time either). This album is a collection of most of her A-side singles from 1978 to 1981, when she temporarily went into retirement, and 1985 & 1987, during her return to showbusiness.

For the most part, her songs have the quality of being exceedingly happy, with strong emphasis on beat (she would later be one of the icons of Japanese disco) and tunefulness. They range from the whimsical (狼なんか怖くない "Wolves Aren't Something to be Afraid Of") to teasing (ジュリーがライバル "Julie's Rival") and even simply toe-tapping exuberance (日曜日はストレンジャー "Sunday Stranger", 春ラ!ラ!ラ! "Spring La La La!", or ワンダー・ブギ "Wonder Boogie"). But she can also show her more mature facet in songs such as 失恋記念日 "Commemoration Day of Unrequited Love" and めまい "Dizziness" as well as take on sincere ballads like 彼が初恋 "His First Love".

Mako Ishino is one of the more prominent idols of the late 1970s and early 1980s, one of the several that lead the way to the wave of idols in the 1980s that exude sweet and positive girlish charms. Her position between the two decades have given her the chance to appeal to a wide audience.

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Classic J-Pop Volume 31
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Last edited by Dullenplain; Nov 11, 2007 at 03:05 PM.
Life @ 45RPM

Member 2299

Level 38.16

Mar 2006

Old May 30, 2008, 12:26 AM Local time: May 29, 2008, 11:26 PM #2 of 201
Happy End - The Three Studio Albums

Artist: Happy End
Label: URC Records
Albums: Happy End (1970) / Kazemachi Roman (1971) / HAPPY END (1973)

Track Listing:
はっぴいえんど (Happy End) [1970]

01 - 春よ来い (Haru yo Koi)
02 - かくれんぼ (Kakurenbo)
03 - しんしんしん (Shin Shin Shin)
04 - 飛べない空 (Tobenai Sora)
05 - 敵タナトスを想起せよ! (Teki Thanatos wo Souki Seyo!)
06 - あやか市のどうぶつえん (Ayaka Shi no Dou Butsuen)
07 - 十二月の雨の日 (Juunigatsu no Ame no Hi)
08 - いらいら (Ira Ira)
09 - 朝 (Asa)
10 - はっぴいえんど (Happy End)
11 - 続はっぴーいいえーんど (Zoku Happy End)

風街ろまん (Kazemachi Roman) [1971]

01 - 抱きしめたい (Daikishimetai)
02 - 空色のくれよん (Sorairo no Crayon)
03 - 風をあつめて (Kaze wo Atsumete)
04 - 暗闇坂むささび変化 (Kurayamizaka Musasabi Henka)
05 - はいからはくち (High Collar Hakuchi)
06 - はいからびゅーちふる (High Collar Beautiful)
07 - 夏なんです (Natsu Nandesu)
08 - 花いちもんめ (Hanaichimonme)
09 - あしたてんきになあれ (Ashita Tenki ni Naare)
10 - 颱風 (Taifuu)
11 - 春らんまん (Haru Ranman)
12 - 愛餓を (あいうえを) (Aiueo)

HAPPY END [1973]

01 - 風来坊 (Fuuraibou)
02 - 氷雨月のスケッチ (Hisametsuki no Sketch)
03 - 明日あたりはきっと春 (Ashita Atari ha Kitto Haru)
04 - 無風状態 (Mukaze Joutai)
05 - さよなら通り3番地 (Sayonara Toori 3 Banchi)
06 - 相合傘 (Aiaigasa)
07 - 田舎道 (Inakamichi)
08 - 外はいい天気 (Soto ha ii Tenki)
09 - さよならアメリカ さよならニッポン (Sayonara America, Sayonara Nippon)

Happy End is a Japanese folk rock band that was active from 1970 to 1973. While their period of activity was brief, the impact they had on Japanese music since then was enormous, both from them as a band and from them as its individual members. They were one of the first musical groups to truly incorporate the Western rock and folk idioms into Japanese sounds, while others were still into making pop-rock tunes a la Group Sounds. Comprised of Haruomi Hosono (細野晴臣) (bass, vocals), Takashi Matsumoto (松本隆) (drums), Eiichi Ohtaki (大瀧詠一) (guitar, vocals), and Shigeru Suzuki (鈴木茂) (guitar, vocals), Happy End cited contemporary bands such as Buffalo Springfield and Moby Grape as influences to their sound.

By far, their most successful album of the three original studio albums is their second: Kazemachi Roman. This concept album was their presentation of how life in Tokyo was prior to the 1964 Olympics, when affairs seemed simpler and more down to Earth. "Kaze wo Atsumete" (track 3) gave renewed interest to the band when it was featured in the film Lost in Translation, and "Hanaichimonme" (track 8) was considered by the band to be their most definitive song.

from Chin Music Press:
At the time, rock music was largely considered a fringe genre and was performed by young musicians who focused more on playing guitar phrases accurately than conveying their thoughts and emotions. On the other hand, big record companies were marketing guitar-toting boy pop groups (dubbed "Group Sounds") styled after the early Beatles sound to appeal to the emerging youth culture. Happy End broke out of this mold and influenced the course of Japanese music as a whole. While it remained on the margin of popular culture and only lasted about three years, the band, along with the label URC (Underground Record Club) that signed them, showed that independent musicians could put out work that does not conform to the mainstream notion of what's popular and still be viable long before independent labels became a popular alternative some 20 years later.

Kazemachi Roman (Wind City Romance) is Happy End's second album and often cited as their finest. The band set out to create a musical portrait of Tokyo before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, naming the A-side "Wind" and B-side "City." The lyrics by drummer Takashi Matsumoto paint a wistful landscape of the old city and the changes that took place there:

hitoke no nai
(deserted and alone)
asa no koh hee ya de
(in a coffee shop in the morning)
hima wo tsubushitetara
(killing time was all I was doing)
hibi wareta garasu goshi ni
(then, through the broken glass)
matenrou no kinuzure ga
(i saw the skyscrapers' rustle)
hodou wo hitasunowo mitan desu
(filling the sidewalk)

-- "Kaze wo Atsumete" (Gathering Wind)

inaka no shiroi azemichi de
(the country side, on a white dirt road)
hokorippoi kaze ga tachidomaru
(dusty wind comes to a halt)
jibeta ni petan to shagamikomi
(squatting flat on their feet)
yatsura ga bi-dama hajiiteru
(them's flicking glass marbles)

-- "Natsu Nandesu" ('Tis the Summer)

Musically, Happy End sounds very much like the West Coast folk rock of the 60s (the band's leaders, Hosono and Otaki, wanted the band to sound like Buffalo Springfield). The record does sound pretty dated (unfortunately, the poor sound quality of the re-issued CD I am listening to doesn't help here) even compared to their contemporaries such as the Doors, Zeppelin, Hendrix and the Beatles, but it certainly is a convincing work by accomplished musicians. There are some genuinely timeless melodies and riffs here, such as the folkie "Kaze wo Atsumete" (recently made popular again by the Lost in Translation soundtrack) and the Allman Brothers-esque "Hanaichimonme." The humorous word-play found in "Aiueo" (Love Hunger, or the Japanese ABCs), "Taifu" (Typhoon) and "Haikarahakuchi" (High-Color Fool, "high-color" being a Japanese expression meaning "modern style") is quite refreshing and unconventional for the time, I imagine. The band's intricate, sometimes hard-edged playing, anchored by Hosono's bass and Matsumoto's beats, create a genuine groove over which the enigmatic Japanese words glide somewhat hypnotically. I found myself putting it on repeatedly and daydreaming about the city I'd never known but long for.

The band went their separate ways in 1973, all finding successful careers in music. Two in particular have stood out in exemplary fashion. Hosono would become one of the founding members of Yellow Magic Orchestra in the late 1970s and Matsumoto became a wildly successful lyricist, writing the words to numerous hits for artists across the spectrum of Japanese music.

Regardless, it is worth listening to the band that created one of the foundations that Japanese music today is still built on.

Happy End (1970)
Kazemachi Roman (1971)

There's nowhere I can't reach.

Classic J-Pop Volume 31
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Mar 2006

Old Apr 11, 2009, 09:58 PM Local time: Apr 11, 2009, 08:58 PM #3 of 201
Non Disco Bee Gees

Best of Bee Gees (1969)
Best of Bee Gees Vol. 2 (1973)
Label: Polydor
Genre: Rock

track listing:
Best of Bee Gees

01 - Holiday
02 - I've Gotta Get a Message to You
03 - I Can't See Nobody
04 - Words
05 - I Started a Joke
06 - Tomorrow, Tomorrow
07 - First of May
08 - World
09 - Massachusetts
10 - To Love Somebody
11 - Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You
12 - New York Mining Disaster 1941

Best of Bee Gees Vol. 2

01 - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
02 - I.O.I.O.
03 - Don't Want to Live Inside Myself
04 - Melody Fair
05 - My World
06 - Let There Be Love
07 - Saved by the Bell
08 - Lonely Days
09 - Morning of My Life
10 - Don't Forget to Remember
11 - And the Sun Will Shine
12 - Run to Me
13 - Man For All Seasons
14 - Alive

The two albums were the first two compilation albums of the Bee Gees career, chronicling most of the singles and important songs of their early career once they became known internationally. The first Best album deals with 1967-1969 while the second contains material from 1968-1972.

While they emigrated from the UK to Australia as children, they were pretty much part of the later British rock scene in the 60s, along with contemporaries like The Moody Blues, but the Bee Gees primarily chose more eclectic sources, settling on a pop/rock style that would be their hallmark for their early career.

These two Best albums offer a decent sampling of their work from before the seminal "Main Course" album which marked the major shift towards disco that the band became most famous for. The first one deals mostly with their successful late 60s singles, which showcase their talent for songwriting. The second Best album extends into their tumultuous period when the band briefly only had two of the brothers, as well as a few early solo forays from Robin and Barry.

These should offer a good foundation for the band's early career and help dispel a bit of the bad legacy they obtained during the disco era; probably one of the more overlooked aspects of the band and in rock music history in general.

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Classic J-Pop Volume 31
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