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Official Review [Album]: AKIKO KOBAYASHI - "CITY OF ANGELS"

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Harry, Jul 1, 2015.

What is your favorite track?

  1. Rainbow, Rainbow

    0 vote(s)
  2. Put Another Memory On The Fire

    1 vote(s)
  3. Hold Me

    2 vote(s)
  4. How Could I Ask For More?

    8 vote(s)
  5. Beg, Borrow & Steal

    1 vote(s)
  6. Let's Fall In Love Forever

    2 vote(s)
  7. Suddenly Love

    2 vote(s)
  8. China River

    1 vote(s)
  9. Only The Angels Know

    4 vote(s)
  10. The Reply

    1 vote(s)

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    I got this CD yesterday. Very enjoyable!
    goodjeans likes this.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    I'd like to see the English translation for: "Rainbow, Rainbow", "Put another memory on the fire", "Hold me", "Let's fall in love forever", and "China river".
  3. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I always enjoy Richard's arrangements and I enjoyed listening to this project. Even though, How Could I Ask For More sounds very close to Karen, you can play and compare Where Do I Go From Here after it and realize what an original gift Karen had with her amazing voice. It just make me appreciate Karen even more, if that is even possible.
  4. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I just got this disc last week. Quite frankly for me the stand-out track is "Beg, Borrow & Steal", and I wish the entire album had been done in that style. And it's funny, but when I listen to BBS, I could easily hear it as being a late-1980's Karen-solo 45 had Karen lived to record it. Whether Karen recorded another solo album, or this was just a stand-alone 45, it would've been interesting to have heard Karen's version, as it's in the same vein as "Jimmy Mack" and "My Body Keeps Changing My Mind".
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I only have a cassette tape of this album,
    thus, I do not listen often--
    nothing worse than playing a cassette tape too much !
    So, I pulled it up on Youtube today.
    I have always been fond of How Could I Ask For More.
    It is in my file for a brilliant Richard Carpenter/John Bettis collaboration.
    Nice saxophone "fill," and the song has a 1980's vibe going on(IMHO).
    Brian likes this.
  6. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Do you have a way to transfer the cassette to CD?
  7. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Akiko is the closest sounding to Karen in this album. And it has some enjoyable songs that don't sound like Karen. It is one of my favorite albums with Richard after Karen's passing. But my favorite is with Claire de la Fuente singing Something In Your Eyes. She makes it her own and Richard seems to encourage her input and it makes for a beautiful collaboration. I wish I could hear the others from the album it comes from. I like Dusty's version too because it is a pretty song, and I like her voice, but it took Claire de la Fuente to give it life. Hats off to Richard for seeing this song through with a singer he helped score a comeback in the Philippines. It finally found the right artist and it was well loved in the Philippines.
  8. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Along with Show Me The Way To Your Heart, this is my favourite of all Richard's posthumous collaborations with other artists. It's also the closest we get to hearing what I think a mid 1980s Carpenters sound would have been like.
  9. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    I found the complete album (titled "Something In Your Eyes") on Youtube:

    She's got a very good voice. Was this album released outside the Philippines?
    CraigGA and goodjeans like this.
  10. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I only saw the video of the single on YouTube. There were two different ones. I tried to get it on iTunes and Amazon but could not find it at that time. I like clear fidelity and will search for originals in songs I crave for repetive listening pleasure. Thanks for the link. I will play it when I get home. On some material I read she is dubbed the Karen Carpenter of the Philippines. It is great to know the lasting tribute to Karen's legacy that exist in the memory of fans all over the world. In this case, it's a success for everyone involved. I can't give it any higher praise!
  11. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Back to Akiko. I think that CD is out of print and I have the CD and will share it with you, GaryAlan, if you leave me your address in a conversation. Music is to share. The project has great songs.
    newvillefan likes this.
  12. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I was in Japan at the end of 2015. I went into countless second-hand CD stores all over the country and asked for Akiko's CD in my not very good Japanese and did the same in several stores selling new CDs. (English isn't understood in Japan anywhere near as much as you might think). The assistants searched for me in all the second-hand stores, but didn't have 'City of Angels'. I finally got a copy on eBay after I returned home. I've just done a search on Amazon.co.jp and can't find the CD. From all this, I would assume that it is no longer in print.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    I've played it a fair bit since getting it.
    Very enjoyable... if you're into this sort of thing. :tongue:
    The way it was mixed is beautiful, imo.
    I wish I knew more of what it was about.
    Haven't a clue what she's saying on some of it. Lol
    Bouncy kinda feel. Pretty melodies.
    How could I ask for more really? Overall I didn't feel disappointed by any of what I was hearing.
    Even though Rich produced it is Akiko's album. She even wrote some of it.
    Yet, still gives me ideas of what Carps may have sounded like in the late 80s.
    Brian likes this.
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I'm not a big fan of her voice or her version of Something In Your Eyes. The song doesn't have the prowess of Dusty's version or the punch of Richard's original arrangement. Her voice is pleasant enough but unremarkable and her diction is quite clipped which ruins the listening experience for me, you can tell she's not singing in her native tongue.

    I've got no idea why Richard obsessed over recording and performing with Asian singers who were unknown to the rest of the world. His talents over the years since Karen's passing could have been much better spent working with more formidable artists.
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  15. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to the Carpenters' sound. Only The Angels Know has always been my favorite track off of this album. Akiko definitely comes close to Karen's timbre in a few spots, and that intro...the doubled flugelhorn and Akiko vocals followed by Richard...pure Carpenters. :)
    Mark-T likes this.
  16. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    ^^ It is also my favorite on the album. A taste of what I think the duo would have done had Karen lived.
  17. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I agree. 80s synth sounds have not aged well, no matter whose recordings they are on. A lot of recordings from that era now sound as if they have a dinky 50 dollar child's keyboard toy playing on them. Richard himself also seemed to go through a phase of liking synthesised low-end bass in unison with clumpy bass drum, which gave some of his 80s recordings a draggy, clomping feel. This sound wouldn't have melded well with Karen's vocals if she was around, I feel.
  18. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I listened to this whole disc yesterday. Pretty darned good!

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    My order of Akiko's "A song for you" album came today.
    I enjoy the different sound of these orchestral renditions of Carpenters songs.
    Hearing her cover of "Lovelines" was worth it and "Somebody's been lying" with a more present vocal/similar arrangement is rather nice. You can tell she's a fan for sure.:)

    Makes me imagine if KC and RC would have ended up doing a bunch of re-recordings of their songs with an orchestra like this... maybe in an alternate universe.

    I really like "City of Angels." It's grown on me a lot.

    You put the pieces together from Rich's 80s productions: "Something in your eyes," "In Love alone," "I wanna get close to you," "Only the Angels know," "All those years ago." Gives you a sense of what he may have been heading towards musically. Perhaps with KC he'd have chosen different material... who knows though.
    He always had an ear for a pretty tune.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  20. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I see your point but it does not keep me from listening to it, and honestly, I would love to hear it in her native tongue. But there is something about this song that keeps it repetition upon a first listen. The recording online is saturated and I would love a clear version of this song. I think its beautiful in whoever sings it. Claire de la Fuente is a good choice for collaboration just out of her respect for Richard and adoration for Karen and with a 20 year plus proven career Richard's choice with her was a good one. I really like Dusty's version too, and I feel Karen would have loved it. But Claire has an echo of Karen that clicks with this song for my personal listening.

    Akiko has her own magic and her CD with Richard has its ups and downs but is actually very good. Sometimes, the CD sounds like a work in therapy, but it is still a good product. Like, I said, I can see your point, but they are still good recordings and I think you would just rather him choose based on different criteria. But he already had the best with Karen. For me, its really hard to like any artist in Karen's "place", but I try to listen with different ears even though they still have a Carpenters sound.

    I really agree with you on most everything and your knowledge and input is of great value to me. Oh, I owe you a big thank you for your input on Ronan Keating and Boyzone. I really like his version of I Won't Last A Day Without You and I am still learning more of his cover songs as the months go by. So far, I have about 12 favorites I keep in rotation. I would like to hear a duet between Ronan and Dami Im on any of the Carpenters songs, even album material like I'll Never Fall In Love Again or hits like All You Get From Love or Hurting Each Other.
    newvillefan likes this.
  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    You’re very welcome! Wow, I remember recommending some of his songs to you and it’s great to hear you liked some of his stuff. Thanks for letting me know :)

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    Does anybody have translations for:

    Rainbow, Rainbow
    Put another memory on the fire
    Hold me
    Let's fall in love forever
    China River

    It'd be interesting to know what Rich is saying as well in the backing vocals.

  23. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    Does anyone know where samples from this album can be heard online? I had them all downloaded from a friend but I lost everything on my laptop and can't hear many tracks now. I want to hear Hold Me again, I forget how it goes but remember that I liked it.
  24. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Discogs has some copies for sale from various sellers. Cheapest is only $9.39

    Akiko* - Akiko
  25. After reading all the discussion here, I finally got a hold of this CD. It was good to hear Richard's productions again (albeit 30 years ago). In my opinion, there are two great songs on this album:

    1) "How Could I Ask For More?" is a quality production through-and-through. Instantly "recognizable" to me as a Richard and John piece and something that made me think "wow, I can totally hear Karen singing this."
    2) "Only the Angels Know" is a great song, too! Catchy and given the right treatment by Richard.

    Other than those, a few other overall observations:

    1) The album did reinforce my opinion that Pamela Philips Oland isn't my favorite lyricist. The difference between "How Could I Ask For More?" and "The Reply," (the former written with John Bettis and the latter with Pamela Philips Oland) is night and day. Richard brings the melody to both but John is the master lyricist for sure;
    2) Richard's impressed me with being able to produce a mostly Japanese-language album and actually sing backup in Japanese;
    3) Speaking of background vocals, there are several moments with Richard and Akiko that sounded almost identical to Richard and Karen. It was very reminiscent and fun to hear;
    4) Akiko is a fantastic song-writer in her own right. Both "Rainbow Rainbow" and "China River" sound fantastic and sounded like Richard had no problem arranging and producing them in his own style (just wish I could understand the lyrics).

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