Fuyumi Sakamoto

Asia No Kaizoku/Mata Kimi Ni Koi Shiteru

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Enka is a deliberately nostalgic musical genre, steadfastly looking backwards to the days of lounge singers in Tokyo nightclubs. There's melodrama galore, older instrumentation, and unnecessary string sections filling every space behind an overly affected vocal line. Fuyumi Sakamoto is one of the relatively few female stars of the current genre. The main track on this EP is a masterwork of over-production and melodrama. Shamisens roam violently in the background of the track while Sakamoto uses a slightly strained but powerful voice over the top. She becomes more forceful as the track moves onward, eventually breaking into a small shouting match with stereotypical exclamations from Noh theater. The follow-up is a more traditional ballad, all strings and light bells. There's little to separate the track from other elements of enka balladry, but it's a pleasant listen that highlights the softer side of Sakamoto's vocals. For the true fans, the EP includes a pair of karaoke versions of the tracks as well.

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