Miyuki Nakajima
Tanpenshuu


5.0
classic

Review

by discovolante USER (79 Reviews)
December 1st, 2013 | 14 replies | 819 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A flawless piece that follows a dramatic old fashioned folk sound with a lovely, crisp modern punch.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

As far as it goes for female Japanese songwriters, no artist even holds a candle to Miyuki Nakajima. First debuting in 1975, she quickly developed a knack for creating emotion-driven folk songs with her strong vocal style, and with a career spanning over three decades, Nakajima released dozens of albums and numerous singles, all with a distinct sound from the next. By the late 1990's, she was heading towards a downward spiral in success, and her sales gradually lessened. However, in 2000, the artist had a tremendous comeback with the 2000 album, "Tanpenshuu", her 28th studio album, which came with the powerful track, "Chijou no Hoshi", which would stay in the Japanese charts for over two years. The remarkable success of the track brought Nakajima back to the spotlight, and also would churn out one of her best efforts to date.

"Chijou no Hoshi" in particular is a grand track, and is arguably her best track to date. The album opens with the song, and you are greeted with pounding drums and theatrical orchestral instrumentation. Nakajima then comes on, and her razor sharp vocals cuts deep into the heart of the listener. Her dead-on wails and croons work wonders with the dramatic tone of the song. Hands down, the song is probably the best on the album, and is probably the best work she has done yet. The next track, "Kisei", is much more mellow in comparison, and follows a gentle tone, with Nakajima lightly crooning along the gentle piano track. A beautiful song with tons of emotion and feel, and proof that Nakajima can strike a chord without her signature razor-sharp wails. "Yume no Touri Michi wo Boku wa Aruite Iru" is a folk-inspired track that beams sunshine in the rather serious, more adult tone of the album. The song's bright sound adds a new layer to the album, and adds even more substance to the album's canvas, much to its benefit. "Koukai" brings back the serious side of the album, and it follows a ballad-y tone, with Nakajima crooning delicately along the track's emotion-driven tone. Nakajima's characteristic vocals adds a sense of appeal to the song's faceless, ballad nature, and the song turns out to be one of the album's most beautiful moments, along the aforementioned "Kisei" track.

"Tenshi no Kaidan" is a tender piece which successfully manages to tug at the listener's heartstrings. Its straightforward melodious ring proves to be as insightful as it is moving. "Sugiyuku Natsu" is one of the album's only straightforward rock songs, and its sound is one that is both gentle and lively. The song's bubbly nature is surprising, but very welcome due to the album's serious, introspective sound. "Konayuki wa Wasure Yaku", like "Koukai", follows a more ballad-centered sound. Its levitating tone concocts fantastically with Nakajima's strong vocals, and its progressive, orchestrated sound is quite impressive. "Tell Me, Sister" is a brilliant piece with uplifting guitar and piano riffs coagulating with Nakajima's tender vocals to create a shear upbeat sound. Its hopeful pounding is quite addictive, and the songs are one of the best ones on the album. "Headlight Taillight" is the album's final track, and what a closer the track turned out to be. It starts off with a light piano working with Nakajima's vocals, with a drained choir backing her up, before it slowly transitions into a highly atmospheric tone. "Headlight Taillight" is a wonderful song, chockful of emotion and spaciness, and its potential puts it near the same league as the opening track "Chijou no Hoshi". A fantastic track that works wonderfully to close up the brilliant album.

In short, "Tanpenshuu" is a beautiful album that slyly slides its way into the consciousness of the listener with its keen focus on melody, drama and breathtaking vocalization from Nakajima. This album proves entirely that very few artists in the Japanese mainstream can even come close to the brilliance of Nakajima, and her cunning sense of vivid songwriting and whimsical instrumentation comes out on top. A highly entertaining album for all, and especially for serious music critics who can admire fantastic songwriting and breathtaking musicianship. "Tanpenshuu", clearly, is in a league of its own, and its serious tone remains unmatched to this day.



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user ratings (2)
Chart.
4.5
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Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
December 1st 2013



20049 Comments


what would be a Western folk/singer-songwriter touchstone for this album, if any?

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

FadedSun
December 1st 2013



1260 Comments


"As far as it goes for female Japanese songwriters, no artist even holds a candle to Miyuki Nakajima"

Haven't listened to her yet, but that's a bold claim. It's going to take someone really special to overtake Shiina Ringo for me.

discovolante
December 1st 2013



667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's hard to say. Since Miyuki has been around for over thirty years on the top of the charts, it's hard to pick a Western folk songwriter in her realm. Also, her style can be so Eastern based, it convolutes it even more. I guess she's in a league of her own.

Digging: Sugar Hiccup - Oracle

discovolante
December 1st 2013



667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

FadedSun: Due to Nakajima's longevity as an artist, and her constant appearances on the charts, and for her 2000 single "Chijou no Hoshi" remaining in the charts for over two years? I wouldn't be surprised if Nakajima influenced Shiina's style.

discovolante
December 1st 2013



667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2SlpjCz7uE
My primary example of Nakajima. Just breathtakingly brilliant.

SeaAnemone
December 1st 2013



20049 Comments


It's hard to say. Since Miyuki has been around for over thirty years on the top of the charts, it's hard to pick a Western folk songwriter in her realm. Also, her style can be so Eastern based, it convolutes it even more. I guess she's in a league of her own.


that's fair; I may check this out anyway, it sounds very cool
it's just that the only artist I listen to that might be(?) similar is Shugo Tokumaru -- I find that he has a lot in common with Western artists though

discovolante
December 1st 2013



667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

SeaAnemone: It's brilliant. That's about the only word I can use to describe it.

WashboardSuds
December 1st 2013



4993 Comments


excellent review, I'm checking this out right now

Digging: Gas - Nah und Fern

discovolante
December 1st 2013



667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks man! It's a tremendous album.

FadedSun
December 1st 2013



1260 Comments


Possibly influenced Shiina, but still think the opening statement is bold. I listened to the Youtube link you posted and I didn't find it grabbing a hold of me like anything Shiina has done from her three most popular albums, including Tokyo Jihen's Adult. I guess I'll have to listen to this whole album in full before I form a solid opinion, but as it stands there are a lot of tremendously talented female artists in Japan.

discovolante
December 2nd 2013



667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Indeed there are. But the fact is that unless they were active along the same time Nakajima first surfaced (mid 70's), all female songwriters were influenced by Nakajima. I would say that makes Nakajima an artist's artist. I stand by my claim.

FadedSun
December 2nd 2013



1260 Comments


I don't know how you can say ALL female songwriters were influenced by her. Unless Shiina failed to mention her name, she isn't in any of her lists under people that have influenced her. Just because she's a female singer from the 70's doesn't mean she's influenced every Japanese female songwriter from then on. Artists get their influences from everywhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringo_Sheena

It's a pretty extensive influences list, so if she was going to be on there, she probably would have been.



discovolante
December 2nd 2013



667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Perhaps not directly, but since Shiina and tons of others, like Kana Uemura, Bonnie Pink and even Ayumi Hamasaki, are more modern female songwriters, they definitely owe a big part of their success to Japanese female songwriting pioneers like Seiko Matsuda, Akina Nakamori, Yumi Matsutoya, and more specifically Miyuki Nakajima, due to her being probably one of the earliest (and longest running) examples of serious and modern Japanese female songwriting. I also will point out that she's one of the few songwriters in Japan to win a medal of honor, and the only female Japanese songwriter to do so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medals_of_Honor_(Japan)

Choucho
January 25th 2014



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excuse me for budding into this conversation, just wanted to add a few things:

discovolante, this was an excellent review. I wouldn't say this is my favorite album by hers, but it's definitely worth a listen. i also wouldn't call "Chijou no Hoshi" her best track ever (for me that is Utahime), but it's extremely strong and has such a powerful message. 2 billion times better than mainstream J-pop, for sure.

FadedSun, I agree that some of the claims are bold, but what was said was more or less true (about her being one of the most influential female singer-songwriters out there, along with Yuming). Shiina Ringo I actually love myself, KSK is probably my favorite album from the 21st century. I'm not sure about the credibility of that influences page, I don't even see a source for it. But I do know Shiina idolized Janis Ian (who has a very similar songwriting style to Miyuki. Janis herself covered many Miyuki songs and participated on Miyuki's tribute album). So I think it's very possible she's influenced by Miyuki, even if indirectly!

Also, I doubt you can capture the magic of Miyuki from listening to a youtube link for a couple minutes, especially because you're going into it with doubts. Also, I don't know if you speak Japanese, but a lot of the magic from Miyuki comes from knowing Japanese, because her lyrics are unparalleled. Many people in Japan will tell you she's one of the best lyricists out there.

Shiina Ringo herself is a very talented lyricist/songwriter too, I would definitely say she's among the most talented female singer-songwriters of Japan, so you certainly do have good taste.



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