Listen: 中森明菜 (Nakamori Akina) – URAGIRI

Like Nagai Mariko’s WASHING, I picked up Nakamori Akina’s CRUISE as a way to explore what Japanese pop had to offer outside of anime soundtracks. The album was released in 1989, a tumultuous time in Nakamori’s life. She attempted to commit suicide when she split with her actor boyfriend, and her pop career never really recovered from that incident.

The album itself is incredibly understated, Nakamori singing so low she barely registers on some tracks. Back in 1991, I really couldn’t get into the very subdued sound, but in 2008, I find that restraint appealing. I remember the salesperson at Shirokiya in Ala Moana telling me at the time she didn’t really like the album. I’ve come around to it.

"URAGIRI" is the opening track, and it sounds like it could be an opening theme to some television drama. Or even an anime.

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