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Articles Home » 1989 Articles » Akiko - 1989 Akiko
Akiko - 1989 Akiko

ALBUM: Akiko
LABEL: Voss Records
SERIAL: VCD2-72901
YEAR: 1989


LINEUP: Akiko Kobayashi - vocals * Richard Carpenter - keyboards, piano, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rainbow Rainbow * 02 Put Another Memory On The Fire * 03 Hold Me * 04 How Could I Ask For More? * 05 Beg Borrow & Steal * 06 Lets Fall In Love Forever * 07 Suddenly Love * 08 China Love * 09 Only The Angels Know * 10 The Reply

On many occasions we see how life imitates art, or how the clone imitates the original to the point of seamlessness. Case in point - Japanese female singer Akiko Kobayashi, who's 1989 self titled album is as close to the late Karen Carpenter, to the point of being scary! Karen as we recall passed away in February 1983, and if you were to imagine what The Carpenters would sound like six years later, then this is probably it. Akiko was a well established singer/songwriter in her native Japan, having released five albums before this. In 1988, she travelled to the US to record her sixth album 'City Of Angels', which eventually ended up being repackaged the following year as 'Akiko', outside of Japan. Richard Carpenter produced the album, locking down the whole Carpenters comparison even more. The album features a mix of English and Japanese sung tracks, and is a laid back affair swamped in that sugary pop/west coast style which Japanese fans love so much.

The Songs
I'm guessing a lot of readers probably won't be interested so much in this release, but for those of you into huge vocal harmonies and the doppelganger like vocal style of Akiko sans Karen, then this deserves a listen. The English spoken tracks are obviously the pick of the bunch, with 'Suddenly Love' the most AOR of the lot.. a fantastic track. 'How Could I Ask For More?' is as close to the older Carpenters material, and I believe this was written by John Bettis, who had been a longtime collaborator of Richard and Karen, and had a hand in writing many of their past hits. 'Only The Angels Know' is a smooth number with the vocals a real standout. The vocal/piano duet 'The Reply' is very orchestral in nature, while 'Hold Me' is a schmaltzy as it gets.

In Summary
A pleasant album nonetheless. Interestingly, Akiko has collaborated with many successful artists since, though her recording output is not as prolific as before. Akiko now lives in the UK and is married to a Briton, and continues to write music. For longtime Carpenters fans, have a wander around the Net, and check out some of her videos and duets with Richard.

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#1 | Eric on November 07 2009 12:50:43
I'm a big Carpenters fan and this sounds very interesting. Another want list item...
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