Over 1.2 million copies sold! The Secret of Nostalgia in Miki Imai’s Hit Songs | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Over 1.2 million copies sold! The Secret of Nostalgia in Miki Imai’s Hit Songs

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Miki Imai and Atsuko Sendo at a press conference for the production of the 1991 drama “Ashita ga arukara” (Sankei Visual)

This is a series of articles in which I talk about hit songs from just 30 years ago in detail, even more so now, 30 years later. This time, I’m going to talk about Miki Imai’s “PIECE OF MY WISH,” which was released on November 7, 1991.

It was a huge hit. It sold a whopping 1,254,000 copies (Oricon). The reason for the hit was not only the appeal of the song itself, which I will talk about later, but also the tie-up effect with the drama. Miki Imai herself starred in the TBS drama “Ashita ga arukara,” which started in October 1991.

–An ordinary office worker who is about to get married becomes the head of the special planning office through a scheme by the president. She is troubled and hurt by various adversities, but manages to carve out her own destiny on her own. According to the official website of TBS Channel, this was the first collaboration between Miki Imai, who starred in a TBS drama following “Until the End of Time” (1990), and Atsuko Sendo, whose popularity skyrocketed in “Christmas Eve” (1990).

As far as TBS dramas starring Miki Imai at that time, I think most people remember “Until the End of Time” from the previous year rather than “Ashita ga aru kara”. In this drama, Imai’s feelings are torn between Junichi Ishida and Kazuo Zaitsu, a former member of Tulip.

In fact, the highest viewer ratings were 22.1% for “Ashita ga Aru Kara” and 21.4% for “Until Memories Come Back”, with “Ashita ga -” having a slightly higher rating. Incidentally, the theme song of “Memories” is “IF WE HOLD ON TOGETHER” by Diana Ross.

My memory of “Ashita ga aru kara” was a bit hazy, so I watched it again on Paravi. The story is about Miki Imai, Ryo Ishibashi, Atsuko Sendo, Tomoko Nakajima, and Masaharu Fukuyama, who is making his first appearance in a drama, in an office set in Hamamatsucho Seavans.

To be honest, Miki Imai’s acting is not extremely good, but her fluffy sobage hairdo (see photo), fashion that makes the most of her long arms and legs, and the way she delivers her lines with her unique sweet voice are very attractive, and I can understand why she became the charisma of “office workers” (another half-dead word) at that time. I can understand why she became a charismatic figure among “office workers” (which is a half-dead word).

Umin’s masterpiece embedded in a pleasantly nostalgic chorus

That’s right. I think the essence of the appeal of the song “PIECE OF MY WISH” is the quality of Miki Imai’s voice – sweet and soft, like a creamy substance.

In an article on the Uta-Net website, music critic Nobuaki Onuki wrote, “In the jazz world, vocalists are often called ‘horn-like,’ meaning that they sing like a saxophone or trumpet, but Miki Imai is the J-Miki Imai is the J-Pop version of that.

It is the elegant and flowing melody by Chika Ueda that makes the most of the appeal of her voice.

For our generation, Chika Ueda is best known for “Purple Monsoon” (1980) under the name “Chika Ueda + KARYOBIN. KARYOBIN is not a band but a string quartet, and the exquisite melody with strings in the background grabbed my heart as a junior high school student at the time.

In 1991, I was at a karaoke bar, which was becoming quite popular, when I saw the composition credit on the screen and realized, “Oh, it’s Chika Ueda! I’m sure there must have been hundreds of “ex-new music boys of 1991” who recognized it.

Yes, although I was a male, I used to sing this song at karaoke boxes. The chorus of the song, “Why can’t you live more honestly with yourself,” is really pleasant to sing and gives me a nostalgic feeling.

In order to write this article, I listened to “PIECE OF MY WISH” and found out the reason for its pleasantness and nostalgia — I can hear Yumi Arai (Yumi Matsutoya)’s “Hikouki Cloud” on the other side of “PIECE OF MY WISH”!

Of course, I’m not talking about “plagiarism” or “pastiche” (the melodies are fundamentally different), but both songs are in the key of E-flat, and the chorus is made of a simple pentatonic scale (also known as the “47-note scale” often used in enka) consisting of (almost) only do, re, mi, so, la. The simplicity of the music is very pleasing.

In addition, the choruses “Why can’t I be more honest with myself” (from “PIECE OF MY WISH”) and “I long for the sky, and the sky is my home” (from “Hikoukikumo”) are based on the unique chord “B♭m7” (in the key of E-flat), including the melody that goes down from La to Do. Including the melody that goes down from La to Do, the two songs are quite similar in the sense of hearing.

Just 30 years ago, the “ex-new music boy” who was singing “PIECE OF MY WISH” was pleasantly and nostalgically reminded of Yumi Arai’s “Hikouki Cloud” beyond the karaoke screen.

Speaking of which, Miki Imai is also a fan of Yumi, and in 2001, she released a Yumi cover album called “Dialogue -Miki Imai Sings Yuming Classics. So Miki Imai herself may have been singing this song with a sense of nostalgia, feeling the respect of Yumi on the other side of the song.

  • Written by Suzy Suzuki

    Music critic, born in Higashi Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture in 1966, currently appearing on bayfm's "9 no Otoiki" on Mondays. His major publications include "80's Music Kaitai Shinsho" (Sairyusha), "Checkers no Ongaku to Sono Jidai" (Bookman Publishing), "Intro no Horitsu 80's" (Bungeishunju), "Southern All Stars 1978-1985" (Shincho Shinsho), and "Koisuru Radio" (Bookman Publishing). He is a regular contributor to Toyo Keizai Online, Tokyo Sports, Weekly Baseball and other publications. His new book is "EPIC Sony and Its Times" (Shueisha Shinsho).

  • Photo Sankei Visual

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