For the past four days my musical attention has been placed firmly on an idol whom just a week ago I had no previous knowledge of and when it comes to impulse J-Pop purchases it's a definite weakness of mine. A week ago went kind of like this: Read a review by Ray at IW covering said idol…saw some kawaii photos!……ordered her entire available music catalog at Cdjapan. Whenever a "new" idol is introduced to me one of my initial curiosities is whether they've ventured into the music industry as it's notably quite common even if some tenures are quite short lived still there's always the hope of a glimpse!
Akiyama Nana released four singles and one album between July '06 and September '07 and I may have perhaps acted hastily as I ordered all of these releases without hearing a single note or vocal. This was actually a bit odd even for me as I would usually like to hear the artist/group first before taking the plunge into their works but call it wacky intuition but somehow I just had a good feeling that Nanachan wouldn't disappoint. Other memorable "blind" purchases that I've made in the past that worked out wonderfully were the debut of Speed, Morning Musume, Moritaka Chisato, Sakurai Tomo, Nishida Hikaru, Tanimura Yumi and Sakai Noriko to name just a few albeit most these were done while I was working at a music store which well gave me the possibility of a return if I didn't care for them…Nah! I wouldn't do that! 😛 And in the tradition of the aforementioned said "blind" purchases, or perhaps call it blind luck,…….Akiyama Nana is a keeper! ^-^
Just the notion of an idol let alone a gravure idol turned vocalist, one may immediately dismiss them to a land of cutesy melodies and bubblegum pop which admittedly was my very expectation. One can never have enough cute J-Pop so this "blind" purchase was done with that very notion in mind however this past Saturday when I got home from brunch the Akiyama Nana collection that awaited me in the post had something very different in mind from the very instant that I placed her first single into the player. Here hit play before I go on and first up is her second single "Orange iro" which has an amazing piano driven melody which is sweetly complimented with rhythmic lyrical phrases all set over a beautiful backdrop of 60's fuzziness. ^-^
…(note this next song has about a 25 second long intro which is a bit quiet but please don't adjust your volume too much as the music will start soon!)…
…initially "Futari nori" may sound like a typical J-Pop release but after a few seconds the arrangement fully kicks in and all of my false personal pretenses were quickly washed away. At first it was the accompanying musical arrangements that struck me as the writing is in depth, with elaborate and deeply creative songs which draw deep roots of inspiration from periods such as the 60's with an approach which is contemporary perfection…"Futari nori" was also released as the b-side to "Sayonara to hajimari" and the single version is presented without the intro which is on the album version (above).
… and I'm also loving the jazz influences in "Hikari to kage no palette" as well! But Akiyama Nana's vocals are also notably not of the cutesy idol genre at all and while her voice is indeed "cute", her vocals are delivered in more of a sense of musical purpose rather than aesthetic lacing…hmmmmm I just don't know how else to put that and I hope it makes some sort of sense! 😛 And some of the vocal arrangements are quite advanced pieces too! Initially you may not find her vocals to be particularly remarkable but give it some time and I'm thinking you will find hers to be pure <3! Some of the songs are more straightforward but I think you will agree that many of the musical arrangements that will follow here are quite complex with a vast inclusion of various instrumentation and influences and I'm just so impressed by her!! Never in my wildest imagination was I expecting this! I admittedly listen to a lot of cutesy J-Pop because I'm addicted!…but Akiyama Nana's releases are somewhat of a breath of fresh air in a sense and this is mostly a state of self infliction, though not complaining! 😛 though it's just that I rarely come across idol releases of this nature. Please do take note of the larger body of work here as a single song or two just won't do Akiyama Nana justice as her music is so varied and wide spread in gathering together so many different genres of music as you will hear over the next few tracks…okay quite a bit of songs and I really wanted to upload them all but I must save something for your further intrigue into her! ^-^ I do wonder sometimes if I tend to write too much and babble on aimlessly after awhile so instead of putting you through more of my possibly unnecessary words how about more sophisticated, well written, and inspired J-Pop delivered by Akiyama Nana (a new "love" of mine!) and oh! yes more photos of course! ^-^
Here's Akiyama Nana's musical discography which arrived this past Saturday and it's kind of ironic that now that I've fallen in love with her voice and music it appears as though she may have moved on from her music career as her most recent release is a single dating back to September 19th, 2007 which means that she's been inactive for quite awhile now. If it's true that saddens me but at least she's shared with us all of this great music….and I've been listening to it every day since Saturday! ^-^
Some of these editions are first pressings too so a few bonus cute trading cards were included which are designed with a cell phone appearance in mind. 🙂
Ah I love this photo she's just so adorable!!…and idol + guitar = ❤ always!
One of my favorites! "Hashiru"…a happy happy happy wall of psychedelic goodness and I really love Nanachan's vocals throughout this one….fun upbeat with just a touch of her wonderful falsetto. ^-^
Akiyama Nana's debut song is a bright and cheery one and the musical arrangement will have you thinking clear skies and joyous walk outside!
"Yoake mae" is pure 60's inspired!…with those wonderful tones and I just love the bouncy piano arrangement that kicks in at about 45 seconds into the song!
"Aozora" is probably her cutest song melody wise but even in this context the verses are still casual examples of rhythmic complexity but it all leads to the choruses which are definitely written with an aura of cuteness! 🙂
"tiptoe" is the b-side to "Orange iro" but it could have easily been an a-side in its own right. I think you'll love its infectious jazzy influence and Nana's vocal phrasing is a delight in its own.
"Garasu no tobira" ("Glass Door") has Nana performing with a wonderfully sassy vocal to this 60's flavored "alternative" rock tune! I love her phrasing throughout this song…it's strong yet cute! ^-^
"Sayonara to hajimari" is the title track of Nanachan's 3rd single and this one is a lovely ballad…pure, and straightforward with a beautifully composed chorus.
The 12th and final song that I've chosen to upload makes for the perfect closing song for this post as "Kaeri michi" is not only the final track on her album but it's melancholy melody makes for the perfect closer as it has a "winding down" feeling that's a bit difficult to explain in words…imagine a wonderful lazy Sunday afternoon…nothing but you and your CD player…."Kaeru michi" plays in the background………
For anyone interested in purchasing any of Akiyama Nana's music her complete catalog can be ordered here at Cdjapan. ^-^ Her pv is just below!
And lastly here's the pv for "Orange iro" and this pv is available as a bonus track on the first pressing Akiyama Nana's 3rd single "Sayonara to hajimari"….now if only I could get my media player to recognize it which it doesn't seem to want to do! :P….but happily someone else has already uploaded it! She's even more adorable when moving! 😛
I really hope that Akiyama Nana returns to recording more music as I've totally fallen in love with her voice and the music written for her is so refreshing with well written pieces that sport individuality and a vast sense of diversity in them. One can hope! ^-^ Akiyama Nana = pure <3!