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】