For my first album review on this blog, I will go back to where I feel most of my current favourite artists owe their dues to- that is the infamous and amazing Suki Suki Daisuki by the legendary Jun Togawa.
Easily her most well known release, and one of the prime examples of the phenomenon that is ‘anti-idol’, if not THE anti-idol album. I feel that any person seriously interested in the Japanese music industry should really have this album down-pat if they want to venture forward- it is essentially the bible of what I judge most modern J-pop on. Lets have a look at why it is so important, shall we?
First and foremost, that iconic album art. It’s so simple, but you instantly get an idea of what you’re in for. The red lighting on Togawa’s face gives an immediate sense that there’s something sinister lurking in the packaging, but it’s also something you can’t look away from. There’s also the element of cuteness in Togawa’s expression and ultimately it- like Tamahime Sama before it- is completely unforgettable. Quite appropriate when you know how amazing the album inside actually is.
Musicially- this is Togawa’s most approachable album to a new listener. It’s bubbly and very much idol pop. However, unlike idol pop- this is JUN TOGAWA delivering it. There’s a subversive nature throughout the entire recording- whether it be lyrically or the way Togawa croons, screams, sings off key or goes into operatics. The most obvious and amazing moment for me is her delivery of Angel Baby- never has singing off key ever sounded so RIGHT. The title track is of course, a masterpiece. It’s been covered (BiSKaiden‘s is the most blisteringly obvious in recent years) and even self-covered and remains a staple in a Togawa set even today. Osozaki Girl, the second single, is Togawa having the most fun she’s had in any of her songs- and I feel this is partly due to the involvement of her sister Kyoko. From that messed up opening chord of Herikutsu Boy to the last second of the closing track, this is 28 minutes of pure, focussed anti-idol music that has in my opinion, only been matched by current star Seiko Oomori’s Sennou (which I constantly feel is the new Suki Suki Daisuki- its similar in many ways- except of course that is has more of a modern sound).
While Suki Suki Daisuki may not be the most experimental release Togawa ever was involved with- it certainly is one that displays her at her most diverse, outrageous and interesting. I feel artists such as BiS, Seiko Oomori, Mariko Goto and all the other anti-idol acts really owe a lot to the influence of this album- and fans of those artists should really pay their respects and give this a spin (if they haven’t already- something I kind of doubt).
For those new to the whole scene, make this your starting point.
10/10– giving it anything less would be a sin.