Whether you visit, subscribe or find your way here otherwise one thing is for certain. You too love~♥ J-Pop! So this post is for YOU:
Sure, Miura Rieko’s voice may have matured over the years… however hers still remains as one of the single most impact driven which had J-Pop music fans in infinite awe of her “anime” voice for the ages~.
If you’re a fan of AKB48’s music and aura, particularly when it comes to the very essence and roots of their pure to the core J-Pop flavored songs where AkiP hones his deeply rooted love of the J-70’s~80’s~mid 90’s keeping those choice compositions free from Western or any other outer musical influences…. then tonight this will be of the upmost interest to you as we’ll be travelling way back in idol~time to revisit a wonderfully entertaining Japanese culture special which features one of idol’s finest from the legendary Otomejuku era…. our star tonight being a former member of the very popular late 80’s to mid 90’s idol group CoCo~♥!! (Mind you a full onslaught CoCo post has been in cue just waiting for the end of this blog to arrive as with its posting it’ll provide the PERFECT~* finality as in a bookmark for all that I’ve shared and loved here over the past years, my final closure of blogging =)♥.
~my CoCo album collection complete~
You see that distinctly J~pop flavor, style and sound which AkiP has repeatedly derived much of his compositions from doesn’t include those AKB songs which have American influences of rock or R&B or even those influences of the electro~pop or Euro~pop, beyond or otherwise, as those pure J-pop flavored songs of which I speak of are rather a genre of Japan’s and Japan’s alone.
A couple of perfect examples off the top of my head would include SKE48’s “Wimbledon e tsureteitte” or AKB48’s “Shonichi” and if you’re familiar with these songs then you’ll readily realize that Family48’s musical catalog is simply chock full of these 70’s~ mid 90’s golden era influenced compositions ^^. A simple answer as to the why regarding AkiP’s influences…. is that he has direct ties to this musical era of yesteryear dating back to the days of Onyanko Club aka: a landmark of the J-idol culture and music. Oh and speaking of which, did you notice anything interesting about the naming of his unit Watarirouka Hashiritai? Well back in the day there was the idol unit Ushirogami Hikaretai which was a sub group of Onyanko Club (Watarirouka Hashiritai being a sub group of AKB48) which featured one most prominent artist of the time and beyond in Kudo Shizuka =). Kudo Shizuka: also see the wife of SMAP bad boy Kimutaku~♥ ^^*.
Now let’s check out a few live CoCo performances for the ages!!
~CoCo “Sayonara” (live @ Budoukan Spring ’92)~
@ about the 2:12 mark you’ll hear Rieko’s “anime” voice for the very first time in a brief solo…. just so adora~cute!~! And surely you can connect pretty quickly the AKB48 connection here or should I say hear? =P….as the sweet whimsical chiming of “Sayonara” with all of its lovely ensemble harmonies so rich, truly resonates that golden era 80’s~90’s idol group sound so much!… you know that which AkiP has been wielding so mightily all this time with AKB48♥ in select songs!
Also note! CoCo ALWAYS HAD A LIVE BAND PERFORM W/ THEM ON THEIR TOURS ALWAYS, SO MUCH THAT THEY EVEN HAD THEIR VERY OWN GROUP NAME! =)
~CoCo “Naze?” (live @ Budoukan Spring ’92)~
Okay just tap play here and right from the onset I’ve chosen this clip for two very meaningful reasons! Firstly, Miura Rieko is MC~ing the intro to this song and W~oh!~! does her “anime” voice get up there as she does her “Minna Genki?” address…. which btw is her concert trademark, never to be challenged and never to be duplicated!!!!! And secondly “Naze?” just happens to be my undisputed #1 favorite J-Pop song of all-time! Period. ^^ Sorry to spill the beans this way so suddenly but in my defense there will still be a fun buzz when I begin launching a top J~songs list of all-time, which has indeed been in the works for some time now =). This song “Naze?” I mean, you never forget your very first time and love right??! Nuff said as CoCo was the very first idol group to tickle my fancy to the moon and beyond and well this is my favorite♥ CoCo song ^^*.
~CoCo”Chiisana ippo de” (live from concert ’93)~
A powerful performance here captures CoCo in all of their polished glory~*…. and with each little “step~by~step…” let this infinitely infectious melody~high envelope you in J~sundae~heaven with YES that cherry on top~* ^^*.
~CoCo “Minna Daijoubu” (Concert ’93)~
Listen, watch…. I’m sure you can fill in the dialogue here, J~pop/ CoCo at their very BEST. And this is why we love this genre of music so much.
I mean sure, it’s awesome when Idol-J~artists/groups grow and evolve over time, but still isn’t there always that J-FACTOR? What makes this genre of music so unique in itself far from the inevitable outside musical influences…. PURE♥, true to its birth…. J~Pop ^^*.
~my Miura Rieko single collection complete~
Now while CoCo’s entirely of their music catalog breathes of this J~musical era when J-Pop was truly J~Pop, for tonight’s post we’ll be now focusing in on just one of their aforementioned former members in Miura Rieko…. (you’ve already heard that J~”anime” voice for the ages right!!… as she’s the star of the Japanese culture t.v. special that we’re about to watch first.
However! Also included here will be an abbreviated look and listen into the solo musical works of Miura Rieko, that a way it’ll be a dual entertainment feature here as you’ll breath in some fun and most yummy Japanese culture and cuisine all the while also being entertained by the incomparable true J-pop music of this J~icon of yesteryear =).
~my Miura Rieko album collection complete~
~my Miura Rieko shashinshuu collection complete~
~Ii Tabi Yume Kibun Special Part 1~
FEAT. Miura Rieko (CoCo)
If you’re familiar with the long running television series “Soko ga shiritai” then you’ll sense a bit of a likeness in this mini program as it travels to places of interest with the goal of exploring and sharing the wealth of enjoyment as well as hidden treasures to be experienced within these locations. This program even has a male and female host whom both narrate an overview of the program both before and after the travel documentation, here though to help reduce the run time of this video I’ve edited out those host portions of the video albeit those narrations really give this program a likeness to “Soko ga shiritai” that much more.
The clip here runs just a bit over half an hour so it’s a pretty quick watch =). Starring are the aforementioned Miura Rieko (former CoCo girl) and her gal~pal Akimoto Naomi. Their destination is up north where they’ll arrive at the Naruko Hot Springs then travelling to the Akinomiya Hot Springs. The journey is captured as a step by step adventure covering everything from transportation taken to checking in to the hot springs soaking and of course all of the yummy cuisine which these hot springs are so well known for!~! Hot springs are natural wonders of the world as nature has chosen these special locations to spread an endless flow of naturally produced hot water =).
..A walk down J~Pop Memory Lane w/ Miura Rieko… an Anime j~voice for the ages!~! (CoCo)
(the following was Originally posted October 29th, 2008.)
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.
~Miura Rieko “Kamisama kara moratta chance”~
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. 😄 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
~Miura Rieko Music Video Collection~
And now 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 here 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.
~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.
And furthermore you can now totally see and hear AkiP’s J~Pop visions as he has directed AKB48 into bringing the next and next generations of J-Pop fans a fantastic flashback taste of J~music’s past all the while making it all so modern right! ^^