Akina and Mariya

It is no secret that if a poll was conducted between fans on their favourite Akina album, a large number of them would have 「Crimson」down as one of the Top 3 choices. It is my personal favourite because it presents Akina in a totally different light from the image that she usually projects with her single releases.

After her mysterious turn with 「不思議」which marks her first mature album, she follows it up with a 180 deg turn into exploring womanhood, with an album full of potential hits, but none released as a single.  山下達郎さん famously criticised her rendition of「駅」in Mariya’s million selling self-cover album 「Request」but retracted his comments later by saying that it was the arrangement rather than the singer.

「駅」is probably one of Mariya’s most covered tracks together with 「元気を出して」, which coincidentally was also originally recorded by 薬師丸ひろ子 in her debut album, and not released as a single. Mariya sings it with a free soul, having moved on totally from her ex-lover with 「駅」, but Akina’s version is painstaking, and in my humble opinion, a better rendition and interpretation of the lyrics, especially the bit where she realises that her ex-lover’s true love was her.

Recently, I started wondering about 山下達郎さん’s comments, and wonder if his comments had more to do with Akina not releasing any of the songs given to her by Mariya as singles, rather than his issue with her treatment of the song in「Crimson」. Mariya is a respected and accomplished songwriter and she brings clout to the singers who usually release her songs as singles, but Akina had chosen only to include it in an album. Did they believe that she showed disrespect this way? Should they have given 「駅」to Teresa Teng, because they thought it would make a nice 歌謡 song?

In my opinion, she should definitely have released 「駅」as a single, but then, I believe Akina preferred 「約束」because she performed that in 夜ヒット, and it would have made a better single than 「Fin」. Anyway, one can’t rewrite history but I think this performance below, which is one of my favourite Akina performances ever shows what a beautiful rendition Akina’s 「駅」is.

 

竹内まりや – 【駅】

jamezle

2 thoughts on “Akina and Mariya

  1. If there really was any disappointment involved in the lack of any single releases I’d say that one might consider that Akina still made it up to Mariya by performing 3 of her songs (and only hers, no 小林明子) on Yoru no Hit Studio around Crimson-era which I think is still a great homage to her. The album also sold pretty darn well so I don’t think it’s like people didn’t get to hear Mariya’s songs but obviously not having any singles kinda leaves something like 駅 in the corner when people get on the nostalgia train and go through Akina’s famous songs. Single or not, I think it’s still a widely appreciated song among Akina fans. One thing I disliked about her 2003 live performance of that song was that I don’t think it fits at all as a shortened version as she seems to like to do with her old songs by cramming everything together. Hopefully, she won’t do that again :D. And yeah, Akina’s version is a more personal one.

  2. Crimson is really a great album. I also love the cover art. Sadly, in recent years, I found the music instrument sounds like a MIDI or those ringtone sounds. I hope Akina will reinterpret this album and release it. That would be another unusual release from her.

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