Happy Aloha~♥ Friday! Our trade winds are finally back as in mother nature has turned Hawaii’s natural air conditioning back on and what a relief it is from all the heat and humidity of the previous work week! Anyway I didn’t come here to share with you just how hot and sweaty I’ve been (-∀-`)．．．so let’s get on with tonight’s Unzipped♥.
Tonight we’ll be going way back to the year 1992, that is June the 19th 1992, the day on which idol group CoCo member Miura Rieko released her very first music video collection!
“Yume de aitai~Sweet Dreams~” has a running time of 26 minutes and includes six chapters including six of Miura Rieko’s songs brought to lovely life through one of my most favorite pastimes, that being the art of the music video of course! The original VHS was produced by Ogi Tohru, the mastermind behind all of CoCo and released by idol record giant Pony Canyon whom represented pretty much the who’s who of idols back in the day and this release (photographed above) in addition to housing that grand old reel to reel of tape we used to clamor for…called a VHS cassette =D also includes a rather lengthy fold out insert (above; left) which doubles as both a mini production pictorial as well as a lyric pamphlet for all of the songs contained herein.
So for tonight’s post I’ve managed to transfer my VHS to DVD and now have uploaded it all here and while VHS does have its visual challenges no doubt I think they still came out pretty good all things considered as this VHS is quite old now =).
~Miura Rieko in CoCo~
(pictured far right)
The music video collection release we’ll be watching tonight in its entirety was released in the midst of the height of CoCo’s popularity during the early 90’s as it was the practice of the producers to feature each member of the group in solo songs, videos, singles and here now with a first solo live release was Miura Rieko whom also had just released a mini solo album titled “Belong to You” just a few months prior to the release of this collection. Currently in the works is a massive all out CoCo post which will appear here sometime into the future as it’s been an ongoing project of mine for some time now and much like the coverage of artists such as Zard, Hirano Aya, Ueto Aya and Princess Princess whom I’ve covered here in the past in rather larger posts, I do hope to have an all inclusive narrative and media feature for this legendary idol group whom closed out the golden age of J-pop all those years ago. And while tonight we’ll be solely focusing on this video collection from Miura Rieko, for much more on her J-pop career in music overall, you can visit the following post:
~Miura Rieko “Yume de aitai~Opening Theme~”~
Okay as I said earlier, I’m literally including every single second of this music video release in this post and so to begin the collection here’s the little opening which is actually chapter one as it introduces Rieko~chan’s song “Yume de aitai” which is actually not sung here but rather hummed very cutely!…but you know I’ve always reckoned Rieko’s humming to being rather that of meowing~♥ instead which will always be adorable, well you know, if you’re either an idol or cat that is =D. So sing along….meow~meow~meow~…meow~meow..meow…meow~meow~meow~…etc. and not to worry as Yume de aitai does make an appearance with its actual lyrics included sung by Rieko~chan as this song here is our theme song for tonight.
~Miura Rieko “Namida no tsubomitachi” (music video)~
Recall that incredible video by A-ha? You know the then ground breaking music video which took the viewer into a drawn world of music and intrigue and I do mean literally drawn as in taking pencil or crayon to paper and drawing it all out! The song was “Take on Me” which in its own right serves as very catchy but those visuals from their music video really in a sense helped to make that song and the group for that matter placing them on the map of mega musical hits. And here tonight with Rieko~chan’s “Namida no tsubomitachi” were treated to a very similar take on when music video meets art literally. In a little side note the bird which she holds in the video which then chirps as it flies away doesn’t have its chirping heard in the actual studio version of this song.
~Miura Rieko “Suiheisen de tsukamaete” (music video)~
One of Rieko~chan’s most beloved of songs and here the producers created a cute comic strip styled music video with of course a real life Rieko playing herself with a mysteriously quiet love interest =P. The variety of scenarios the couple finds themselves in are very romance manga like and you’ll especially adore Rieko~chan’s expressive expressions for lack of a better way of putting it and I always find the little picture taking scene to be quite ingenious in nature and especially when you consider the much earlier technology used here in creating these fun images.
~Miura Rieko “Image Sketch” (interval clip)~
Right between the videos for “Tsuiheisen de tsukamaete” and “Nichiyou wa dame yo” is a tiny interval clip which is really cool in that it shows the sketch art used to direct the videos themselves! If you watch closely this clip literally shows the scenes from “Namida no tsubomitachi” all the way through “Joke ni mo naranai koi”, in essence every music video in this collection showing all of the concept art sketches which directors will typically use to go from the drawing board of ideas of screen play creators to the actual film direction of scenes. In the background plays a music box version of “Nichiyou wa dame yo” as it fittingly leads right into the actual song’s video next.
~Miura Rieko “Nichiyou wa dame yo” (music video)~
Again considering the level of special effects technology available back then for music video producers the video for “Nichiyou wa dame yo” (‘Sunday’s no good’) is very creative in having moving animation set behind Rieko~chan here. From her kitchen to a walk amongst the snowflakes and into a dream boat ride above the city this video is of an upmost cute level, however still the real star of this video is Rieko~chan’s vocals which as a friend used to put it years ago….it’s like she’s being squeezed as each note is sung, Rieko~chan’s voice here very much in adorable~anime mode and to think that a girl could be blessed with such natural adorableness in her vocals~♥! The song’s premise is based upon a guy who keeps calling her asking for a date only to have Rieko~chan turn him down declaring that “Sunday’s not a good day and nor is Monday or Tuesday or even into the next week…” however she still awaits his calls with eagerness as the lyrics suggest a secret interest in him despite her repeatedly turning him down….such a cute song~.
~Miura Rieko “Joke ni mo naranai koi” (music video)~
Matching the serious tone of the song the video for “Joke ni mo naranai koi” presents Rieko~chan in much more dramatic environments against an ever dark background. This song is definitely one of her much more grown up releases and I’ve always loved the styling of Rieko’s wardrobes, makeup and hair as they really capture the time so well.
~Miura Rieko “Omoide ga hajimaru” (credit clip)~
Miura Rieko’s 4th solo single “Omoide ga hajimaru” serves as the video collection’s closing clip which is comprised wonderfully full of candid making of footage from the entirety of the production. In many ways sometimes these types of behind the scenes footage clips make for equally entertaining as well as endearing visual experiences for fans, very much like the music videos themselves when they’re done really well as is the case here…just love Rieko~chan’s true to life reactions to takes gone awry along with a variety of bloopers and one really funny spoof on themselves when the dango makes an unexpected appearance in a case of swapped out props…(^q^)!
Furthermore, after “Omoide ga hajimaru” has finished playing and while the credits begin to roll the afore promised theme song “Yume de aitai” makes a reappearance only this time it’s the original version with Rieko~chan singing the lyrics rather than humming the song’s melody as she did during the opening. I hope these music videos from yesteryear and from that golden age of J-pop have entertained and perhaps even inspired you to go out and search for Miura Rieko’s many releases from yesteryear as they’re sure to be found amongst the many auctions as well as in 2nd hand shops around Japan with just a little luck, persistence and patience.