Akina Singles Review

Long overdue, I thought this might be a good time for me to start off a segment that I mentioned that I would like to appear on any Akina fansite someday. Inspiration from a Chiemi Hori fansite where 5 of her fans actually gave star ratings (1-5) on every single that she has released, made me realise that we needed to start somewhere. So, here we are.

I understand that this might not be the best platform but I think what I am trying to achieve her is everyone’s opinion of her singles from the very beginning. We have to rate the cover, A and B side songs and try to reveal as many tidbits, down from the selection of the single to promotion, and most importantly your review and maybe even your experience or favourite moment.

I will try to do as much as I can but I open the floor to anyone else to add follow-ups to the post and suggestions as well.

スロ-モ-ション

 

1982年5月1日発売
作詞:来生えつこ 
作曲:来生たかお 
編曲:萩田光雄

C/W.条件反射

作詞:中里綴
作曲:三室のぼる
編曲:船山基紀

最高位=30位売り上げ=17.4万枚 登場週数 = 39

(On another chart, it listed the total sales for Slow Motion as 415,082 枚. It could be the total number shipped because Oricon does not count sales from the smaller retailers)

Fresh from her huge "Star Tanjo" success (you can see her buck teeth from the above photo), Akina flew to Los Angeles to record "Slow Motion" and the songs from her first album "Prologue". Slow Motion’s debut on Oricon chart was not spectacular, hovering around the 60-80th position (I lost my data sheets) but eventually made its climb to 30th around the middle period of its stay.

Though it is not a high position by all means, the fact that it stayed more than half a year (39 weeks) showed that it had a lot of support behind it. Compared to the other debut singles of her peers, it was definitely the diamond of the crowd. I have decided to chart her other peer’s results so that we can do some form of comparison here (not that there i much):

小泉今日子 – 私の16才 (最高位=22位 売り上げ=9.7万枚 登場週数=17)

早見優 – 急いで!初恋 (最高位=36位 売り上げ=6.3万枚 登場週数=13)

堀ちえみ – 潮風の少女 (最高位=27位 売り上げ=8.8 万枚 登場週数=16)

石川秀美 – 妖精時代 (最高位=31位 売り上げ=6.0万枚 登場週数=13)

松本伊代 – センチメンタル・ジャーニー (最高位=9位 売り上げ=34.3 万枚 登場週数=20) – Her biggest hit though technically not the same batch because this single was released on 21.10.1981 but they all seem to be mentioned in one breath. A big issue at that time was also that NHK wanted her to change the lyrics in the song "伊代はまだ" because they did not allow any promotions on NHK TV". Just like they wanted Momoe to change the lyric "Porsche" in her hit song "Playback Part 2" to "Kuruma".

松田聖子 – 裸足の季節 (最高位=12位 売り上げ=28.2 万枚 登場週数=29) – Just for anyone who wondered. It is also the CM song for Shiseido Ekubo cosmetics.

Jamez review:

Cover –  ***

スロ-モ-ション – ****

条件反射 – **1/2 (maybe someone can find better looking stars than this ;-))

A brilliant debut single. Sweet, luscious melody, though I have to admit it grew on me especially after her few remakes (True Best and Double Decade). It is a song that stands the test of time and still brings a tear sometimes to my eye when I hear Akina sing live.

Compared to many other debut singles, it is a mature style that would pave the way of differentiation from the other pop idols trying to make a mark in the JPop world. It is no surprise that Akina and Seiko were marked out for stardom because they had better debut singles than many other singers around them.

I don’t like the coupling song very much though it is more in line with her second single "少女A" with markedly different vocals from the A-side. I think the choice to make a B-side was a good one. It seemed to present a Good girl-Bad girl flip side on the single.

I can’t say I like the sweet voice that she sings her debut songs very much, but they seemed to suit the song, and it is not even a quarter as saccharine/irritating as many other singers who try to sing in a cute fashion … not implying that Akina is doing it here. I think it was her genteel interpretation.

As for the cover, I like the original than the one that I think is a limited press. It’s not too sweet or innocent which paints the right image of Akina.

So, what does everyone else think. Maybe the other VAMPires can offer their reviews via followup, and Hamu can insert her wonderful work of translation to share with everyone this beautiful song and someone on the awards it won.

Finally, a little present for all Akina fans. Since I don’t think she sang it on TV, here is the promotional video for "Slow Motion". I tried to attach the youtube video here but it’s not working, so many Dani Baby can help me here. Anyway, here is the link for it:

Slow Motion Promotional Video

dannybunny

Akina fanboy since 14. Still undecided which are his top ten favourite Akina tracks as it's mission impossible. Digs "Everlasting Love" a whole lot more than the average Akina fan.

11 thoughts on “Akina Singles Review

  1. I love Slow Motion. I love it a lot more than Shojo A. I wish Akina sing it more often.

    I thought the arrangement was wonderful and Akina’s voice is clear without trying to make the tiny voice like many idols do at the time. The music arrangement has the combination of pop with a touch of fushion jazz in background. I love the ending. It’s not a typical fade-out ending. It’s very artistic. You hear a lot of work and creative putting in this debut single.

    I understand why it did not get in the high position chart. It’s not one of the catchiest songs but it is surely beautiful and stands on its time.

    The cover is beautiful and tasteful. I always thought Creamy Mami imitate Akin’s look. Isn’t this cover picture like real life Creamy Mami? Again, I love this debut cover a lot more than Shojo A.

  2. I would give as follow.

    4 Star for song
    4 Star for cover

    I think it’s terrific work for a debut.

  3. joining in the fun ^^/
    cover: 3.5 stars
    A-side song: 3 stars
    B-side song: 2.5 stars

    Cover is quite typical of those idol’s jacket in the early-80s… But Akina does look better than the rest ^_~

    "Slow Motion" is very catchy. Before I learnt about the difference between single and album, I didn’t know it is Akina’s debut single! In fact, when I listen to her first album, I like "Sunset T-shirt" more… So in that sense, it sorta fail to accomplish what it starts out to do – introduce Akina, the singer, to the world.

    "Joken Hansha" is really quite a forgetable song… I feel it’s there simply because they need a coupling number…

  4. Cover[the original, not the limited ver] : ***
    Slow Motion : *** & 1/2 *
    条件反射: **

    Slow Motion is indeed a mature piece for a debut song…it still sounds nice till now…as for Side B, I guess it was less promoted and also, more candy pop for that time.

  5. Cover: **1/2
    Slow Motion: ***1/2
    条件反射: **

    When I got the "Best Akina Memoir" album in Jan 1984 (!), this was one of the songs that I singled out as personal favourites (not knowing at the time that it was her first single). I liked the melody, the jazzy mid-tempo arrangement and the fact that it’s not a teeny-poppy song. However, I must admit that I didn’t care for the high-pitched vocals. Well, I first got to know Akina because of "Kinku" and somehow I just couldn’t associate her with that sweet singing voice. I actually prefer the True Album version – it sounds more up-to-date. In retrospect, I love all the songs that Takao Kisugi wrote for Akina. It’s a shame that they stopped collaborating after the Possibility album.

  6. Does anyone know why they did not work together again after that?

    It’s possible that Akina was going in a heavier rock direction. Actualy, I love his Second Love on his CD as well.

  7. Cover: ***
    Slow Motion: ****
    Joken Hansha: ** 1/2

    Like many of the earlier jacket photos, there isn’t much in the way of creativity going on here. Then again, I think the majority of JPop jackets were pretty generic at that time. But any pic featuring a full facial of Akina rates no less than 3 stars.

    Slow Motion was a very good debut effort for Akina, and it’s definitely among my sentimental favorites. It and Anata no Portrait (from Prologue) were probably the first two songs (in reverse order) to really capture my attention. I’m glad that Akina has made a point to revisit Slow Motion as much as she has.

    Joken Hansha doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, so it earns an "average" rating, which would have to be my minimum score for any of Akina’s songs. I don’t think the B-side song should rival or exceed the A-side song. That’s not a problem in this case–it simply provides an interesting contrast in style.

  8. Thank you for all your contributions. Does anyone know what is the best software to use to upload mp3s to listen on this site? I have Takao Kisugi’s version of Slow Motion if anyone is interested in listening.

    The other thing I wanted to bring up is that though I am the "originator" of this Singles Review, it is not only my pet project but everyone’s. I strongly encourage anyone else to post the next single if they feel like they want to do so. It’s all about empowerment and sharing! 😉

    The only suggestion that I have is that we do it chronologically and maybe with albums as well, so that we are covering her career in a more systematic fashion.

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