Originally posted October 29th, 2008.
I’ve been in a sort of an anime* mood recently and so I thought I’d feature an older Vox post here @ WordPress and in terms of a J~pop idol♥ who better to exemplify an “anime” voice than CoCo’s Miura♥Rieko ＾ ＾。
(edit: all audio & video clips which were lost during my move from Vox to WordPress have been re~uploaded to this post. If there are any other older posts dated before September 12th, 2010 (originally “Vox” posts) in which you’d like to hear or see the audio/video clips restored to please leave a request in the top page tab titled “Requests.”).
While some of my earliest J-Pop purchases were of individual artists such as Morikawa Miho, Moritaka Chisato and Sakai Noriko…my very first J-Pop idol group love came with the experience of CoCo. I had only purchased two of their albums (“Sweet & Bitter” & “Singles”) on a recommendation from a friend as they were currently at the time charting on the Oricon chart when I first was introduced to a co-worker and it was he whom had already been deep into their music catalog and already a serious fan and collector of their works. And through our chance encounter I was introduced to what would become my very first J-idol group ♥. Back then in the latter part of 1994 Coco had just recently broken up and much like what has occured so many times through the years in discovering new J-Pop it was a case of catching up and trying to desperately track down all of their releases and with the internet back then being nothing like it is today…it wasn’t an easy task by no means. The majority of CoCo’s releases were already out of print and without the help of online music stores it became really a search through second hand shops and here’s one of the most amazing second hand stores in Japan, Otokichi Premium where I was able to find numerous rare and out of print CDs over the years! And it took nearly 10 years to finally be able to complete their music collection. While a CoCo post may be one for another day, I’d like to share some of the music releases by one of their most beloved members…Miura Rieko.
Miura Rieko “Rakuen no toriko” mp3
Long before Ishikawa Rika took the reins of the cute art of J-Pop “anime” vocals, Miura Rieko reigned supreme as both a member of Coco and in her own capacity as a solo artist. The track above, “Rakuen no toriko” remains as my most favorite but it serves as just a small taste of what the power of possessing such a unique voice brings. “Rakuen no toriko” was released on August 19th, 1994 and would be the final solo single in which she would perform while still being active as a member of CoCo. By using the expression “anime” vocals to describe Rieko’s voice it is in reference to the often ultra cute brand of vocalization heard in anime as she isn’t a voice actress by any means although I’d imagine that career choice would have worked out just as charmed had she chosen that path into the entertainment industry instead. While listening to her catalog today I imagine that the following is true vocally…Ishikawa Rika + Tsugunaga Momoko= Miura Rieko. ^-^ Riekochan possesses the ever present ambience of helium and having that coupled with a bit of “nyan nyan”…and wallah!..one of the cutest voices ever to grace the J-Pop landscape no doubt! In fact while on a visit on the Kinki Kids t.v. program Domoto Kyoudai, Ishikawa Rika while being interviewed candidly was compared to Miura Rieko in this very sense when “anime” style vocals in music was brought up. I remember sharing this t.v. clip with my mom and a friend on two separate occasions but the initial reaction both times was in reference to somoene else on the show….recalling it vividly: Mom’s reaction was: “What is that?” while my friend’s reaction was: “EEEEWWWwwwwwww!” as that one member of the Alfee appeared on the program. :O Of course both reactions are interchangeable as they pretty much say the same thing. LOL! Miura Rieko would go on to release a total of 12 solo singles, 2 original albums as well as concert, idol, and pv collections which to this day are still only on the formats of laserdisc and VHS…something that I’m hoping Pony Canyon, her parent label, remedies one day soon with the transition to DVD. Recently Pony Canyon has reached the time period of CoCo in their re-release program so updated Miura Rieko releases may not be too far away. 🙂
Here’s a couple scans from her shashinshuu “Atashi” which was released during the latter part of her music career…
…and some shots headed towards a more “gravure” approach.
Baseball has never looked so cute! Here’s Riekochan in an adorable little clip….hmm I think the Rays could use her right about now :)!
The song in the clip is her 5th single “Kamisama kara moratta chance” which was released on September 18th, 1992. This may not be an official pv for this song but I’ve always thought of it as being just that. CoCo was a group comprised of very distinct vocals, something which isn’t always true of today’s idol groups and whether it was the original five member lineup or the latter four members performing together there would never be any doubt which member was singing a line and a bit of CoCo’s ensemble vocals albeit subtle, can be heard in the following track “Anata to ita kisetsu” which is from Coco’s album “Share” which includes 5 songs which feature each individual member as the lead while the remaining members support the songs with backup vocals….this being a Miura Rieko post, “Anata to ita kisetsu” which I’ve chosen is Rieko’s lead. 🙂 And whenever you hear….”meow meow meow meow….” you know it’s Riekochan. ^-^ I’d really love to post a few CoCo songs here but I’m trying to restrain myself from getting off course here plus adding CoCo in any kind of substantial way here will without doubt make this post become what some may fear…the neverending post. Okay I’ve done a few of those in the past but I’m trying not to distract too much from the task at hand…Riekochan Riekochan Riekochan. Seems that’s become easily interchangeable with Kamei Kamei Kamei…okay I’ll stop before it’s too late. 😛
Miura Rieko “Anata to ita kisetsu” mp3
Above is a most awesome live performance of “Rakuen no toriko” and following it are the closing credits for her “Yume de aitai~Sweet Dreams~” pv collection…I just had to leave that in because the “meow meows” are just too adorable! ^-^ Perhaps budgets were just larger back then but the inclusion of live bands at these concerts was quite commonplace and with that comes of course great improvisations on familiar compositions as well as interaction between idols and band members both of which are qualities that more of today’s idol groups should take a note of as it just energizes concerts into a level which is just unattainable without live bands versus pre-recorded material which has become far too common today.
Miura Rieko “Yakusoku no ponytail” mp3
“Yakusoku no ponytail” is the b-side to “Tenshi no iru nagisa” (pictured above) and was released on March 19th, 1993. There are a few instances where I find the coupling with tracks to be superior to their title tracks, this being one of those singles. That’s of course is not to say that “Tenshi no iru nagisa” isn’t a beloved song as well! Definitely not the case and here it is below…
Miura Rieko “Tenshi no iru nagisa” mp3
While all idols must eventually grow up and with that comes the inevitable change in vocal chords and image, something fascinating about Riekochan’s voice is that while it did indeed change (less helium) hers is still of that “nyan nyan” nature…seems you just can’t take the “meow meows” out of her. ^-^ But with that also comes the realization that some of those legendary pitches and notes hit live in concert become unreachable and by that I mean much higher and squeakier than even Berryz Koubou’s resident helium dispenser is able to reach even now at her young age. XD The following tracks “April Fool”, Matterune”, “Anata to iru dake de”, and “Ai wa sugao no mamade” are all from Riekochan’s latter original album titled “Kiss” where you can hear the gradual changing in her voice towards a more mature sound. All of the cuteness remains intact but if only there were a way to have sent her vocals to Never Never Land where it would never grow up! Kidding! 😛 Now for any Rock fans out there…think of the word “kiss” itself and what comes to mind immediately? This is a bit interesting and perhaps even borderline bizarre and it wasn’t something that I was aware of until…I think it was a co-worker whom originally pointed this out to me as this little instrumetal has a lot in common with another song of rock ballad fame. Have a listen to the instrumental prologue “Kiss” which bookends the album and you’ll hear something really interesting and perhaps familiar. Seems that Riekochan was humming this one day in the shower?…or masaka?!! Is she a……
Miura Rieko “Kiss~Prologue~” mp3
…Kiss fan?!! :O
Somewhere Gene Simmons is thinking…”what the?…” O__o Okay back to the songs.
Miura Rieko “April Fool” mp3
Just after Riekochan’s…um Gene Simmons fantasy instrumental is the lively mid tempo track “April Fool.” This track would be my favorite on the “Kiss” album had it not been for…
Miura Rieko “Matterune” mp3
…track 5 “Matterune.” All around such a well composed gem and the string arrangement really adds a nice touch here along with the ringing bells! This song is just pure “genki” with both the verses and chorus portions soaring with an aura of happiness. ^-^
Before getting to the rest of the audio uploads here’s a couple of her pvs which are both from her “Yume de aitia” pv collection.
Miura Rieko “Suiheisen de tsukamaete” mp3
“Suiheisen de tsukamaete” and “Nichiyou wa dame yo” are both literally sketched storyboards brought to life. Keep in mind that these were made awhile ago but definitely when it comes to creativity both are outstanding representatives of J-Pop in the nineties…now if only we could get Momusu to present us with something as creative in the future! 🙂 “Suiheisen de tsukamaete” was just Rieko’s second solo single released on July 3rd, 1991 and it would become somewhat her trademark live performance song of choice in concerts.
Miura Rieko “Nichiyou wa dameyo” mp3
“Nichiyou wa dameyo” was Riekochan’s 3rd solo single released on November 7th, 1991 and this is really helium at some of it’s best! Her vocals here are too cute!! ^-^
Miura Rieko “Anata to iru dakede” mp3
Also from her “Kiss” album, “Anata to iru dake de” is a sweet and catchy mid tempo ballad possessing some beautiful hooks in it!
Miura Rieko “Ai wa sugao no mamade” mp3
“Ai wa sugao no mama de” is pure ballad heaven and is also from her “Kiss” album…love this song so much too, really sweet.
(Sawara Yuri has nothing on Riekochan’s cute dimples!)
Miura Rieko “Kanashii himitsu” mp3
When I consider the coupling with track “Kanashii himitsu”, it really makes her single “Rakuen no toriko” appear to be a double A-side in the truest sense. As a whole, without doubt this makes “Rakuen no toriko” my overall favorite solo single release from Riekochan. (“Rakuen no toriko” was embedded earlier in the post) There’s a sweet melancoly feelling to “Kanashii himitsu” which really drives the melody making this one of her most memorable single tracks for me personally. And staying with B-sides…
Miura Rieko “Towa no hitohira” mp3
…”Towa no hitohira” is the coupling with track to “Kamisama kara moratta chance” (also embedded earlier) which was Riekochan’s 5th solo single release and perhaps also has her prettiest cover.
Here’s a little clip of Rieko with “Nekochan”…watch for Nekochan to attempt his escape and Rieko’s amusing reaction! 🙂
Clip is from CoCo’s “Deluxe Edition” release as it’s an interlude between performances. Hehe I found this “psuedo” DVD at an online seller awhile back as it really just appears to be a laserdisc transfer but the quality is pretty good and it’s so much more durable than my VHS copy. 🙂 (edit: CoCo complete DVD collection is now available!!)
Miura Rieko “Tender Christmas” mp3
And with Christmas drawing ever nearer each day here’s Riekochan’s adorable track “Tender Christmas” which is from her solo debut album “Belong to You” released back on December 15th, 1991….hehe I know Halloween hasn’t even arrived just yet but you wouldn’t know it by what the stores are already selling! Christmas merchandise is already everywhere, gets earlier every year it seems….maybe I should get one of those artificial Christmas trees and keep it out all year. 😛
Miura Rieko “Sennen no biyaku” mp3
Another big favorite of mine is “Sennen no biyaku” which is actually a CoCo song and is from their final original album “Sweet & Bitter.” Each member was given a final solo song on this final original album and here it’s all Riekochan, including all back up vocals…it’s a Rieko seranade. ^-^
Miura Rieko “Shiawase na hibi” mp3
“Shiawase na hibi” was Rieko’s 10th solo single, released on February 10th,1996 this song also appears on her “Kiss” album and is a nice representative of her latter ballad releases. A sweet song for winding down after a long day with Rieko’s soothing vocals. 🙂
A perfect song to end this post would be Miura Rieko’s 4th solo single “Omoide ga hajimaru”, released on February 26th, 1992…as it served as the ending for her “Yume de aitai~Sweet Dreams~” pv collection…
…this ending clip also served as a mini making of segment which can be watched above. Really cute and candid footage from behind the scenes of her pv making of and the song itself…
Miura Rieko “Omoide ga hajimaru” mp3
Just a few Miura Rieko music releases are still available and you can find them in this listing at Cdjapan.