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Panam

Taeko Ohnuki - Sunshower

$70.00

Panam

Taeko Ohnuki - Sunshower

$70.00

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Look, I don’t know about you, but the emergence of City Pop in the past few years haven’t been all too kind to the genre. Originally, it was something associated with luxury and sophistication; in correlation with a bustling economy and the Japanese city life, the niche genre was something aimed at a contemporary audience with, shall we say, equally sophisticated tastes. In the present day, the target audience has grown older and in the age of mass media spreading content worldwide, City Pop has found a home on internet forums, blogs, and most notably, Youtube. If by chance you were to stumble upon something like Mariya Takeuchi’s “Plastic Love,” you’d be subjected to a flood of similar songs you’d never know exist otherwise; which is why the reappraisal of the genre does not surprise me. It could be something totally alien to Western audiences – that being the combination of a variety of genres not regularly associated with 21st century pop music – and something entirely unique, despite the accessibility of City Pop as a whole. 

 

One of the stalwarts of the genre in its second wind, and like many of them, unappreciated on its initial outing, Sunshower is a diamond in the rough: it’s quirky, it’s clever, and is certainly eclectic, which cannot be said for a solid third of the array of City Pop records that have found their way to a many persons’ internet collections. City Pop was incredibly conceited back in the day, and even now, reflects upon a lifestyle that dwells in its fantasies and is honestly bland no matter how you want to put it. Many of these albums you see being touted as some obscure gem, at best, contain one hell of a single and very little else to entice someone to listen to it more than once. It’s not encouraging to say the least. That I can’t say about Onuki’s body of work, fortunately enough. 

 

Taeko Onuki, once a member of Sugar Babe, was onto something with 1976’s Grey Skies. While it wasn’t all that it sought to be, it was a record with surefire ambition; it had personality in spades and tended to overachieve when it fell short of the mark and into the grey area of adequacy. For an artist setting out on her own, Onuki had yet to reach, nor comprehend the heights she could reach as a solo musician. The hard part was recording an album that could set her apart from the rest; she had an all-star lineup returning from Grey Skies, the most notable being Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra fame, with Sakamoto bearing the duty of putting together the arrangements and musical direction for the recording of Sunshower. Grey Skies could be easily seen as Onuki and Sakamoto’s dry run, an album that tested the brawn of its composer and those who accompanied her but at the end of the day, it was your average City Pop album. Sunshower benefits from two things in exact; it has the infectious catchiness of your regular old pop song in unison with soothing harmonies and a smoking hot band laying down grooves bound to worm its way into your head, and it has the capability to experiment with the pop art form and could afford to take risks with deep cuts such as the delicate ambiance of “Sargasso Sea” and the classical-meets-funk fusion “Furiko no Yagi” to back it up. – Sputnik Music

Label: Panam ‎– CRJ-1011

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue

Country: Japan

Released: 02 Aug 2014

Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul, Pop

Style: City Pop, Funk, Jazz-Funk, Soul