歌姫伝説〜90’s BEST〜 Cover Art


ladies and gentlemen, just how wrong can an album cover get? brace yourselves for a major disappointment. the cover art for 90’s Best has been released on the Universal Music Official Site, and i’m afraid to say it’s super duper hideous. very circa “Everlasting Love” when she sported one of her most outdated hairdos in history, even for back in the 90s. image colour looks washed out and the terrible choice of fonts has to be the last straw. see the disaster for yourself after the jump.

now if you’d excuse me, i’d like to go hide in one corner and cry. Akina, please, don’t do this to us. i feel so offended.


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.

43 thoughts on “歌姫伝説〜90’s BEST〜 Cover Art

  1. I wonder if Akina is even involve in this production at all.

    In any case, this picture has already been used for one of other NON-COPYRIGHT or Unofficial Collection. Isn’t it?

    I’m surprised that nobody try to do harder on this. As we know, CDs don’t really sales now so packaging is really one of the main attraction.

  2. Like I said on the other thread, they really should have put more effort into this. This just looks like a cheap bootleg. The same photo was already used for 2001’s “Super Value” and 2006’s “Very Best” compilations. I wonder if Akina herself had any say in this – or maybe she couldn’t be bothered either??

  3. if not for the “unreleased” DVD (although we already seen the TV telecast of that concert), I would never pay for this “recycled” cover-art and a compilation which I have already owned all the songs!
    it is only for collection sake. Wat a disappointment!

  4. Yeah, i wonder if Akina is involved or even “invited” to have input on this. I really doubt it. When Akina is involved in a project, her creativity is rivaled only by some of the best in the industry, Enka is a good example.

    It is disappointing and disrespectful to a Utaheme of Jpop history. The CD looks “unofficial” Just like Ranbi, if not for the True Live DVD, I will not even considered getting it.

  5. I doubt she is, but does she even care? She isn’t even internet savvy, and has anyone seen her official website lately. The discography section is dismal. It is so disgusting that they seem to have “scanned” a very poorly photocopied version from the previous site and pasted it. If you looked at how sad that is, then this becomes a relief … at least.

    Maybe she is more focused on the Pachinko Part 2, that is going to funnel money into her pockets without lifting too much of a finger. According to Jasone who spoke to Leslie during CNY, Leslie said that he didn’t even get to speak to her. He was stopped by her manager who prevented any further interaction. Akina is apparently too private now and a bit of a recluse, I’d say, after all her past experiences, which is sad.

    It’s a lazy cover but it could be worst. Imagine them taking a photo off the “Will” photoshoot. I think I will take the discs out and then throw the cover out.

    I am curious as to why she omitted “Ophelia” and “Trust Me” and instead added “It’s Brand New Day” and “Stay in Love” instead. One Chinese blog had a thread that said that “To Be”, the coupling song on “Ophelia” is actually a remixed version of the latter. Does anyone know this is true or analysed the song long enough to discover.

    Lastly, I think we should hold a contest. It is going to be a new thread on our forum, which will hopefully spark more entries than our Enka contest. No prizes because the experience itself would be the true reward. So, login and design away!

  6. Akina doesn’t sell many records these days, which is why they have to keep the production cost of any of her release to the minimal. I was disappointed about the sales of Enka which was a major project for her but only 60,000 copies were sold. I don’t really blame Universal Music for the cover art. I really have no idea how Akina is going to do to salvage her career since Utahime 2 Zero album. Well, i should be more optimitic, considering her rival Seiko’s career these days (hardly any).

  7. Don’t Worry so much, Akina is always beautiful whatever picture is choosen. Look at her smile, isn’t she lovely ?

  8. the extra production cost of creating a decent cover art (choosing ONE good photo outta her entire 90s archive, including i believe a gazillion previously unreleased shots, plus ONE good typeface) compared to a sacrilegious one (read: current album cover) is minimal. i mean, just how difficult is it to find a designer who is schooled properly in the principles of good design?

    if production cost is a concern, i have the perfect solution for her – hire me! i’d do a cover so good and so free of charge. besides, i’m sure there is a long queue of talented fans willing AND ABLE to do a much more respectable job.

    low budget doesn’t mean you throw creativity outta the window. many a times, the best works are birthed due to constraints in resources.

  9. I totally agree with Danny. Now, let’s see what we, the fans can do if we were the management team. Come into the Forum and join in the fun. MG has submitted a first entry and I dare say it is way more creative than this.

    I agree with CPS that the smile is nice, but it is a lazy effort, considering how much they are trying to siphon from us. A little more effort won’t kill.

    As for Canterbury, 「艶歌 – Enka -」 only sold 61,000 copies or so because Akina did not promote the album on TV, or maybe no one invited her, I’m not sure. She may have been afraid of the criticisms from the hard core enka fans, which is why she didn’t do it, we don’t know. Comparatively with Zero, when she actually attended TV shows to plug the album, she did nothing on TV last year except some talk shows. Sang absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero.

    The reason why the 「Vocalist」 series is still selling is because 徳川英明 keeps appearing on TV, and they keep bundling those together, as Ranbi has pointed out before, for sale. Even though they only deserve to be in the $2 bin, you cannot deny the extra effort that 徳川英明 has put in, and the marketing effort too.

    Only if Akina would step out and do something about it. You are also right to say that in comparison with Seiko, who released three singles and an album last year and appeared on TV shows more regularly, the total sales of these releases didn’t even match 「艶歌 – Enka -」 , so why would Akina feel a need to step out. She might be laughing behind her comfort blanket.

  10. Oops! I forgot to add that the $2 bin was, in my opinion. I know that many people liked the series, so I apologise if I unintentionally offended anyone. I just can’t withstand the thought of a 4th release of the series, massacring the songs I love so much.

  11. I don’t know about Japanese Entertainment Business. Is it possible that Universal only has a limited approved picture to use. I know that usually artist in US will need to approve what picture can be used.

    I don’t think Warner has this problem because the contract was done since Akina’s early career. Universal contract is much later so it might have a lot more limit in order to prevent Universal taking advantage by releasing thousand of collections like the way Warner does.

    I’m just speculating it because I really don’t know but I think it’s possible.

  12. Actually, the sales of Enka’s CD is not too bad considering less people are buying CD nowadays. Like the case in Canto pop, nobody would expect CD sales of Alan Tam exceed those of Eason Chan. And I would not be surprised if Eason’s CD sales is 5 or 10 times better than those of Alan. However, being a fan of both Seiko and Akina, I think since Akina is still in the music business, she should at least appear in a few TV shows or hold mini-concert to promote new releases so as to thank you for her fans who has been supportng her in the past 25 years.

  13. it’s sad so see her vocals go to waste… I hope she’s gonna release at least 1 more thing this year…

  14. I think she might do something for her new Pachinko Part 2 release, because I think that would be under the contract. Plus, if she wants to sit at home, not answer phone calls or do any work, she needs to earn money through other means.

    She still has her looks and voice now, so she should do everything she can. I wonder what she does with all that free time? Probably living her dreams as a housewife. Maybe she can contact Momoe and Momoe can teach her how to make a Japanese quilt.

  15. i won’t be surprised if the majority accept anything she puts out and avoid criticising her altogether. but not me, and not here in Vamp. trash deserves trashing. i have always been objective, even when it comes to my number one love – Akina. never love blindly.

    much as we are desperate for a plausible explanation as a form of comfort – whether she’s directly involved or not is besides the point. to the average consumer, a release is a release. it’s got her name and face emblazoned across. it’s her release. it’s Akina Nakamori. you ARE involved, honey. you are only as good as your last work. nothing sends me into a downward despair more than her inconsistency in quality of work. “Enka” was world-class. “Destination” was a solid offering despite the rehashed cover (when we enter into rehash territory, a fan’s only wish is that it’s tastefully done – and it was). but she has to intersperse her credible pillars with crappy lumps of turd.

    and even if we put that aside, and treat this solely as a record company’s lone efforts in milking her catalogue without Akina’s blessing, i think it takes real great effort to actually come up with a cover that horrible. one must really want the worst for Akina to hire a designer with no design merits, and to agree on publishing that cover (if that was selected, imagine what the other mock variations must look like. but wait, they might not even bother with having alternative designs). i wonder if their true motive is in moving sales at all or putting people off?

    and don’t get me started with their often illogical track listing for compilations. for me, Akina only had 2 true compilations – Best and Best 2. Best 3 at a stretch. the rest were just lame.

    you wanna release an epic Best. do it properly. is that too much to ask for? as a singer she has a responsibility towards herself and her fans. i’d expect more professionalism and quality control even though she may prefer to be reclusively sipping red wine at home, watching tv and shining her parquet floor.

  16. Danny, i like that – love but not blindly. I think some of the Jpanaese fans do not like the cover either. ( I just briefly browse through the blog site of Akina Nakamori Fun Site).

  17. I bet a SINGER has not much says in her past catalog as the record companies own the publishing & songs rights.
    These company will MILK the COW out of anyone especially after the singer leaves for another record company…& release a new album…they will always counter with a greatest hits.

    THE CAKE has been BAKED…only it turn out not as perfect…

    I am very very puzzled & disgusted by this cheapo-cover…But its not her fault i guess.

    I hope our QUEEN wakes up from her recluse & put in more effort-have better original songs…or else more will shift camp…i had not enjoyed any of her last few albums besides I HOPE SO, the UATAHIMEs series & ENKA.
    Dear AKINA…you are not young anymore.

  18. I agree with the general consensus. This concept must have taken all of 1 or 2 minutes tops to slap together.

    While I don’t have a problem with the photo in itself, it IS pretty sad that the same exact image should be recycled so many times. Each release should warrant a previously unpublished shot at the very least–if an old photo has to be used at all.

    On the flip side, we should be glad that there are still releases of ANY kind–disappointing or otherwise. It’s fair to say Akina’s sales have simply been too low to allow for any real consistency in the level of her productions. Even her best efforts of late have produced rather underwhelming results.

    She needs other people besides us die-hards to buy her CDs.

  19. I think the poor desgin, fair selection (without Ophelia) and unattractive cover is not Akina’s fault and she has no say. Take a look at Universal HK producing dozens of ‘collections’ of HK singers repeating and repeating the same group of songs. The HK singers have no say at all. However, I should give good credit for Sony for producing ‘Seiko Suite’, ‘Seiko Momument’ and other great collection. (P.S. I am both a fan of Seiko and Akina). And I look forward to some big comeback hits of Akina this year!!

  20. A PLAIN WHITE COVER could had done better.
    Let’s see her next effort…songs, CD cover, etc…

  21. Benjamin, you mentioned you are a fan of both Seiko and Akina, but reading between your lines, it seems that you are more of a fan of Seiko….. – Kiki Chan

  22. yes… when i picked up the CD in the shop last week, so disappointed about the cover design…. still thinking of buy or not because of the DVD. signn…….

  23. Dear Kiki,

    Thank you for your comment and concern. I know you don’t mean any harm but I wanted to stop any possibility of a misunderstanding happening.

    We welcome all fans of Akina and I think we shouldn’t fight over why Akina should be No. 1 in all our hearts. There is always space in the heart for more love and No.1s. I am a big fan of Seiko too before she came out with those crappy albums, and though I still like her very much, she will never take over Akina’s position in my heart. Still, I like Seiko very much and Danny and Hamu san are fans too. So are Jerry and Anthony who seldom comments. Only Ranbi and Kenji, and many others dislike her more.

    To be objective, I agree with Benjamin that Seiko Suite and Seiko Monument are the best “Best Collections” that Seiko ever had, besides “Seiko Matsuda”, which is just like the reissue of Akina’s LPs in a box set. She had many “90’s Best” which are crap and I think Benjamin is just trying to draw comparisons in relation to Danny’s comment. For those who don’t know the collections, “Seiko Suite” is an eight CD collection with the best songs from her career and Seiko Monument has all of Seiko’s A and B single songs, besides “Complete Bible”, which Benjamin missed.

    I think Benjamin is saying that UJ should release good or complete Bests like this. English may not be his first language (correct me if I am wrong, but I think you are from HK), so he may not express it as eloquently as some of us can.

    Love to Akina!! Now come out and do some promotion!!

  24. thanks for Kiki Chan and JamesZ’ comments. I’m from HK. In addition to new songs, I do look forward to a Complete and Beautiful package of ‘Akina Best Collection’ from 1982 to 2008. I think it is what other fans in this website are looking for too. I have bought ‘Utahime 2 & Special’, ‘Enka’, ‘I hope so’ as well as ‘Destination’, but I do not have a CD best of Akina (they were all album (Best) and cassette (Best 2)). I think my only option now is to buy the thin version of ‘Best’ and ‘Best II’.

  25. Ben, I think you should get the compilation called “Recollection” that was released back in 1998 and is still available today:


    It contains all her singles from the Warner era and, as such, covers both “Best” and “Best II” (minus “Non-Fiction Ecstasy”), and then some.

  26. No offense to Benjamin Chan, and thank you for your comments JameZ. Although I live in the U.S. now, I am a Honkee, and yes let’s keep supporting our diva Akina Chan!

  27. I must say that Akina has a few great collections as well.

    1. The Century of Akina – Anniversary Box –
    2. For Dear Friends ~Akina Nakamori Single Collection Box~

    These two are big boxes with great pictures in large size.

  28. What about the ‘sound’ quality? Which one is better, ‘Recollection’ or ‘Best – thin version’ or ‘Best – GOLD CD released back in the 80s’ ?

  29. Sounds like Benjamin is a relatively new fan of Akina. If you ever feel rich enough to explore her works in the 80s, her better albums are from 「Anniversary」 onwards.

    Otherwise, 「Recollection」 is a good deal indeed. Coupled with this 「’90 Best」 , you will only miss out songs like “Non-Fiction Ecstasy”, “Ophelia” and “Trust Me”.

  30. Actually, I am not a new fan, I have Ophelia’s used CD single too. My question is the quality of ‘sound’.
    Which one is better, A) Recollection, B) Best I / II – old version, C) Best I / II – 3800 yen Gold CD (used) or 4) Best I / II – new ‘thin’ cover version?

  31. I assume the “thin cover version” you mentioned actually refers to the paper jacket reissues that were released in 2006. If that’s the case, well, they should sound the best as they were digitally remastered using the 24-bit technology.


    “Recollection” sounds pretty good too as it was remastered as well. Forget about the original old version – it sounds pretty bass-less to me. As for the Gold CD, I think it’s just a bit gimmicky.

    There is also another option: http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/316526 This compilation contains all her 27 singles from the Warner era. The sound quality is okay but it does have one big plus: it comes with miniature prints of the original single sleeves.

  32. The prints are each slightly smaller than the size of a CD. Basically, they come in four strips of paper that unfold to reveal the original single covers, with lyrics printed on the reverse side (7 cover images per strip, with the exception of the first one which has 6 images and a cover page). Though this compilation was released in 1994, I didn’t get mine till 2002 when I was in Tokyo with Kenthony to see the Musica Fiesta concert. I had no idea that these prints were included in the package and I only got it for the sake of completing my collection. Kenthony rushed out the next day and got himself a copy too.

    While we are on the subject on sound quality, this compilation also comes in DVD-Audio format:


    It plays on normal DVD players as well and the sound quality is excellent (192kHz/24bit with the right equipment). It’s pretty cool: the corresponding image of the single cover displays on screen when each track is played. However, this edition does not come with the miniature prints like the CD edition.

  33. Jerry – I totally forgot about this cover print things that I had to open my version after reading yours. Now, I remember how much I love it back then. I also got it when I was in Taiwan in 1997, I think. I’m not sure. I remember I was a little hesitate at that time becuase I was not sure if it was a TAIWAN version although it was made in Japan. I just did not hear any information about it then.

    It’s kind of sad for me to stop collecting Akina’s CDs for a sake of collections.

  34. Sounds really lovely. Maybe you could take a photo and share it with everyone on the Forum. If it had a replica of every single cover, then maybe I will consider. I think people would buy because of that. Well, Anthony did!

    I love it when music companies do that. Victor(?) did that for Naoko when she released Naoko 22 in the mid 80s. They didn’t replicate every cover, they used a new photo or a different version of the cover and gave copies in 7″ sizes.

    I don’t own that but I have seen it many years ago. The only collection of this sort that I own is “33 Singles” by Momoe. It was a tip by my friend Zing. Sony replicated every single cover in CD size with lyrics at the back (just like the 7″ singles) and placed them in two special folders. They are my priced possession … still. LOL.

  35. Thank you Jerry and James for the detailed information. It will be a tough choice to select the right one. The one with the original single sleeves sounds very good. BYW, ’90 best w/ DVD’ can be found in one of CD shop in 188 Wanchai, HK.

    One last question, is there a offical or unofficial website with a complete akina’s discography include the cover of the albums/singles?

  36. Done. I’ve e-mailed you some photos of the compilation, James. You meant Zing the make-up artist? I saw him at a local function that featured Maggie Cheung (the actress) last night.

    Yeah, I love that “Naoko 22” LP set. I think it was released by Columbia Records in July 1985. I thought it was pretty cool that they included alternative versions of the single covers.

    Ben, I think CJ’s homepage is pretty comprehensive as far as Akina’s discography is concerned:


  37. Thank Jerry. I will share the photos with everyone. It looks really nice. Thanks for doing that so quickly too.

    It’s so nice when others know what you’re talking about. Naoko 22 was definitely out of my price range since I was only a student then, but I was very envious when I saw that. Especially since Akina’s 7″ single covers never included extra photos with the rare exception like Kita Wing and Kazari. I always envy singers from Pony Canyon where the company would always include more photos, probably to entice others to buy.

    I knew that they would rip that DVD and then release it illegally. It is so irritating because none of the proceeds will go to Akina. For those who wish to see it though, it is a good buy.

    Lastly, yes, it’s Zing the makeup artist. I didn’t know that you attended such grand events as well. I love Maggie Cheung. She is a the best Chinese actress we have, besides Sylvia Chang, whom I adore as well.

  38. It’s amazing how we have very similar taste.
    I’m not surprised that we all like Maggie Cheung.

    For Sylvia Chang Ai Jia, I’m also a big fan. I always enjoy her work, her interview, and her personal life.

  39. When was the original picture for the cover art taken? I know this is an old picture but from when I wonder?

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