Top Seven Favorite Akina Nakamori Albums

Welcome to the Top Seven list of my favorite Akina Nakamori albums. I've spent the entire month of April reviewing them and I suppose it's only fitting that I give my list of favorites. As I mentioned in the introductory post, this is my very first time listening to Akina Nakamori's albums in chronological order. It certainly changed the way I thought about a lot of albums. When you just go from something like CRIMSON to DIVA and then back to D404ME it's a little strange. I recommend doing it sometime if you happen to own all of her albums.

The only rule I made for myself for this Top Seven list is that I am covering the twenty five official studio albums only. This unfortunately leaves Cage and true album akina 95 best out of the running. Both are great, but if I include those, I would have to go through her entire side-catalog of cover albums and bring those in as well. Let's just stick to the twenty five official albums for this list...


07. Femme Fatale (1988.08.03)

I know I was kinda down on this album in my review of it, but I kinda realized after that I listen to it way too much for it not to be considered a favorite. Songs like Reversion, So Mad, La Liberte, Heartbreak, and Jive keep me coming back.


06. Cross My Palm (1987.08.25)

You might think I'm crazy for having this one on the list, but it's an honest album that really bridged a lot of Nakamori's past and future. She had been recording in California prior to this, but I think she may have taken a strong preference to recording in New York following this. If you can't get over Nakamori's broken English, you probably won't ever get into it. The effort is absolutely there, however. She carries herself well throughout and it's certainly a unique sound. I keep this album in regular rotation.


05. la alteración (1995.07.21)

Of the five studio albums that Nakamori released in the 1990s, this one has always stuck out as the brightest. 1995 in general was an awesome year for Nakamori music. We had some great singles and the self-cover album. All work this year tended to oscillate between rock and jazz while keeping things upbeat. It has the balance that the appropriately ironically titled UNBALANCE + BALANCE kinda lacks. UNBALANCE + BALANCE is made up of some great songs, but is short and just a little too random. la alteracn gets it right, though.


04. FIXER (2015.12.30)

After the somewhat lackluster DIVA and the subsequent alarming announcement that she would taking an indefinite leave for health reasons, Nakamori was BACK. This album is not only the strongest that Nakamori has sounded in years, but really takes her to the next level. I really can't get over how great Rojo -Tierra-, unfixable, and FIXER -WHILE THE WOMEN ARE SLEEPING- are. This album has so far proven to be a solid foundation that Akina and Cage were then built upon in 2017. All three albums are completely different, but it really is a treat to have Nakamori back in top form.


03. BITTER AND SWEET (1985.04.03)

I think a lot of fans will agree with me on this one...what a great album. While I love all of the songs, I feel like it was somewhat neutered toward release. The version of Babylon is not nearly as bonkers as the version that later ended up on a single with the rejected first version of Meu amor e... and I also suspect the album cover was a last minute change. The whole Bitter and Sweet persona is explored more outside of this album than it was in it...

That doesn't really stop this album from being great. Contrary to my previous gripes, this does have two modes: Sweet and...Bitter, I guess. It's really the first album that Nakamori perfected her sound and it happened to line up with a great production. I also love it's follow-up, D404ME, and it's predecessor POSSIBILTY, but this album is just way more complete.


(this may be #2, but it's definitely the #1 album cover)

02. Fushigi (1986.08.11)

Once the initial confusion of this album was washed away, it could only be destined to be a cult hit--even something of a curiosity that music fans outside of Japan had to check out. Fushigi is an album that never clicks on the first listen, but something that really gains appreciation when you're in the right mindset. A lot of historical reviews hit on something to take into consideration...treat Nakamori's voice as an instrument rather than vocals. Her voice is kinda woven in and out with slight variances in clarity, but only ever verge on being intelligible.

Major props go not only to EUROX for being the band behind the majority of the work, but also for Warner for letting their top selling artist try something so experimental and bizarre at their absolute peak. This album really needs to be heard to be believed. If you do decided to check it out, you're in for a treat.

 If you know the album and are left wanting more, I have you covered! Check out my Part 2 post that covers Nakamori's self-covers and even the self-covers that EUROX did on their album MEGATREND.


01. Stock (1988.03.03)

Whenever I make these top seven lists I usually have the most difficult time writing about my number one pick. How do I justify something that gives me this visceral feeling?

I don't see as much love for Stock as I do for other albums, but that just makes it a set of ten perfect songs, just for me. I truly appreciate the harsh energy behind this album. FAREWELL, FIRE STARTER, NIGHTMARE, I WANNA CHANCE, and FOGGY RELATION are absolutely some of my all-time favorite songs from Nakamori on this album. The whole thing is expertly assembled into, really, the best forty-four minutes of music I've ever heard.


So that's it! That's the end of this absurd experiment!

I started writing these reviews in February and I am typing this final post up the night before it is going live on the site. It's been a long ride, but I'm happy to have finally done it. I will be getting back into my regular wackiness on the site shortly. In the meantime, you can now read through all of my reviews without having to wait.

I hope I at least shared some wisdom in doing this. I feel like I've grown up a lot just by doing this, so hopefully that parlays into more interesting reviews in the future. I always had a nagging feeling when I summed up an entire album in a paragraph or two. Things should be different going forward...

Thank you for following along during this crazy month and I hope to see you again on my site!



PREVIOUS: true album akina 95 best
START OVER: Prologue [Jomaku]



BONUS: true album akina 95 best (1995.12.06)



01. Kazari janai no yo namida ha (Renewal)

The fun thing about this album is that it features a lot of self-covers of Nakamori's singles and album tracks from her days at Warner with a mix of new stuff. The covers are all done in new styles to shake things up a bit. For example, this track is kind of a rockabilly version of Kazari janai no yo namida ha, a song I already love. This song gels well with the style of music.

02. Tokyo Rose (From 1995 single)

I'll get to this single someday...I promise. It's crazy cool.

03. TATTOO (Renewal)

Another rockabilly-jazz version of a song I already love so much. While I definitely love the original of TATTOO a thousand times more, this version is also still very good. If anything, I think this version is what inspired Demon Kogure's cover on the first GIRLS' ROCK cover compilation. His version is actually probably a little more rockabilly since it completely abandons what jazz is present. Check his excellency's version out while you're at it...

04. GAIA ~Chikyu no sasayaki~ (from la alteración)

From my review of la alteración...

"After a prolonged intro, the song finally kicks in...and it's a rockin' tune with a surf tinge to it. It's just another one of those things that makes more sense than it should. Akina Nakamori singing over surf music. You can give her any type of song and she just kills it."

It certainly fits in very well with this disc of this compilation.

05. BLONDE (Renewal)

This song keeps popping up, huh? It originally appeared as an English song on Cross My Palm and then a completely new Japanese version was released, this time called BLONDE, as a single that same year.

While this cover is great, this is where the album strays away from the rock tone to a more poppy one. The music is completely new, but it doesn't stray a whole lot away from the original version outside of the catchy intro.

06. Aibu (from UNBALANCE + BALANCE)

From my review of UNBALANCE + BALANCE...

"Yes! This is Nakamori's first collaboration with super-producer Tetsuya Komuro of TM Network/TMN/90s JPOP fame. I would also consider myself a super-fan of Komuro's work, so this is a match made in heaven.

TK provided a pretty solid dance track for Nakamori as well. Granted, his songs tend to sound alike a lot of the time, but I absolutely love this one. The funny thing is, the two of them made a TV appearance to perform this song...and it's somehow even better than this album/single version. The TV version is just a little bit more complete. TK even provides some backing vocals.

Goddamn...I wish Nakamori and Komuro worked more together. Up until very recently it could have been a possibility. Tetsuya Komuro announced his retirement in January 2018.

Seriously, this is a solid song. The beat is just so slick, Nakamori is her usual perfection, and it has the usual TK over-production. I wouldn't say that this is my favorite single of Nakamori's from the 90s (this was a Double A-Side with Kataomoi), but it's waaaay up there."

07. DESIRE -jonetsu- (Renewal)

One we make it past the lame intro, this is a solid cover of a favorite to many fans. It honestly doesn't stray too far from the original version of the song outside of adding some 90s elements (fake drums and horns). Nakamori matches the energy of the original, and that's absolutely best I could have hoped for. Such a damn good song...and this is a worthy cover.



01. Meu amor é... (Renewal)

This version kinda removes the pop element and makes it more of a pure Latin track. Remember that Long Intro version from D404ME? This is kinda the version of that song if the style of music in the intro kept going the entire duration. I love it. It's kind of the "what if" that doesn't disappoint. The singing is on-point here as well.

02. Gypsy Queen (Renewal)

Similar in style to the previous track, this cover of Gypsy Queen kinda has more appropriate music to the mood of the song. It's jazzy, but not as pop. I like it quite a lot. It might not be better than the original, but it definitely has a little bit more dimension.

03. Genshi, onna wa taiyo datta (from la alteración)

From my review of la alteración...

"Intensely catchy is a good way to describe it. There is probably a good reason for that as this track is heavy on the fast strings and faux-claps. Yep. This one is a Latin themed song. I love it! Nakamori has done some of her finest work with the genre."

The review also explains that the single version of this has different vocals. That's why it's from la alteración rather than the single.

04. TANGO NOIR (Renewal)

Great cover of another song from the time when Nakamori's singles were just on fire. While it isn't a slow song, it's just a tad less energetic than the 1987 original. This is mostly done through music, though. The singing is spot-on eight years later.

05. Gekka (from 1994 single)

I will have to cover this one someday as well. Do I feel a post on all of the 1990s singles coming on? Perhaps it will be coming soon......

06. Futari shizuka (Renewal)

I am sooooo happy to see this underrated single getting some love. Futari shizuka feels like it was kinda swept under the rug since it was released at the very end of Nakamori's time at Warner and when musical tastes in Japan were moving far away from the bubble-era.

This cover is done in a very similar style to the original, but the bass and guitar is what makes the cover memorable. I kinda wish some of the other elements of the song were produced a little better, but this is a cover that definitely doesn't disappoint for me.

07. Shangrila (previously unreleased)

I'm willing to put money down that this song was originally intended to be the introductory song from la alteración. The long intro that this song would be perfect to lead into an album with, but I think it may have just lost out to GAIA~Chikyu no sasayaki~ for being an awesome song that also sounds like an intro track. It definitely fits the style of the album better than any of her other albums during the MCA Victor years.

The song itself has a very chill intro that has a world sound to it (fitting considering what disc this ended up on) and doesn't start until after the three minute mark. Nakamori's soft singing is contrasted by some shredding that comes in to close the song out. I like it a lot, but I can kinda see how it was shelved. Considering how short some of her albums were in the 90s...you have to wonder what else never saw the light of day...



01. Slow Motion (Renewal)

More of a softer jazz cover of Slow Motion, which was Nakamori's debut single in 1982. It's nice to hear a solid cover of the song considering how stiff her vocals were during her earliest years. That said, I can't deny the overall production of the original over this.

02. Second Love (Renewal)

A smoother and jazzier cover of the ballad that propelled Nakamori into super-stardom. If I recall correctly, this is edges out Meu amor é... as her top selling single of all time. This is a worthy cover it.

03. LIAR (Renewal)

One of the final singles from Nakamori's time at Warner, and one of the darkest as well. Following up with the theme of this album, it's a softer jazz version of the song. Some of the mystique is missing here, but it's sung in probably a more appropriate tone after being year's removed from the mindset she was in when the song originally came out.

04. Kagerou (from UNBALANCE + BALANCE)

From my review of UNBALANCE + BALANCE...

"This album kinda ends on the same note that it began. This is the only truly mellow song on the album, though."

Yeah, I didn't have much to say about the song, but you can kinda see what I thought about it if you can read through the context. I probably should mention that the hidden track was removed from this version.

05. Nanpasen (Renewal) 

This is a cover of a cover. Heh. I kinda explain the history of this song in my review of the single if you want to check it out.

As much as I enjoy this cover, it doesn't have the utterly haunting tone of her 1987 version. It's done in the same style, but is just a little more minimal and doesn't have any of the effects that are lightly spattered through the original.

06. Mizu ni sashita hana (Renewal)

Another somewhat neglected track from the end of Nakamori's time at Warner. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of the original, but I've always enjoyed it's flow. This cover does a very nice job updated it just a little bit. It's only a smidge fleshed out, though. It certainly belongs on the Whisper Disc like everything else here.

07. Yokan (Renewal)

I suspect Nakamori is a fan of this song. It's originally from BITTER & SWEET and even there I pointed out that it was also included on her My Best Thanks mini album. I love this song in all forms. This cover has to be the biggest departure from the original version on this disc. Rather than the slow pop song that it was in 1985, it is now a light orchestral track. The singing isn't a whole lot different, however.

OVERALL: I felt that this was a worthy entry as the remaining bonus CD review for this crazy month of experimental reviews. I picked this one up out of sheer curiosity since it was really the first time Nakamori had covered her own work. She's done so many, many, many times since...but I wanted to hear how she was going to handle her Warner songs not long after she had parted with the label. You know what? It's great. I really don't even mind the "new" MCA songs being snuck in since they help establish tone for each disc.

That is probably the biggest praise I can heap upon this set...the consistency is excellent. The three discs each have a theme and each disc doesn't stray even a little. While the first disc kinda changes things up midway through, it still fits the bill of being the "Wild Disc".

Definitely pick this one up. The three-disc part is a little misleading since it's only twenty one tracks total, but the prices of used copies are incredibly low. I managed to pick up a non-rental copy that was only missing the obi for like $9 sometime last year. It's something of a forgotten compilation, but I think it deserves a listen if you're a fan of her singles from the formative years.

NEXT: Top Seven Akina Nakamori Albums



BONUS: Cage (2017.11.08)

01. BE MY LOVER [Originally by La Bouche]


Seriously. This album immediately wins. Nakamori's cover of this is absolutely the greatest thing ever. I mentioned waaaaay back in my review of Shaker that I would be revisiting a topic I brushed upon. Nakamori missed out on being the power house dance singer she was clearly meant to be. The energy of this track is unreal and totally crushes the original version of this song. Seriously, why didn't Nakamori give us an album of songs like this?? She clearly has it in her...

A few notes...and none of them take away from how much this kicks ass. One...Nakamori's singing is better, but not quite as intelligible as the Germans taking a stab at this English thing. Two, the male singer is absolutely better here and I never noticed how creepy those lyrics are ("Not like your brother, wanna be your lover"). Three...this song doesn't quite fit in on this album. Yes, these are all covers of old songs, but the following eight songs are all 80s and this is very much 90s. 1995, in fact.

Who cares, though. This song is flippin' awesome. It's on regular rotation for me.

02. VENUS [Originally by Bananarama]

Definitely not as fussy sounding as the original. The beat is a bit more chill but still poppy as hell. The lyrics are half-translated this time. This one is alright, but I don't see it ending up in a commercial for ladies razor blades any time soon.

Besides, we all know that Cruel Summer is the true Bananarama song. What does that have to do with this review? Nothing. I just felt the need to state that.

03. INTO THE NIGHT [Originally by Michael Fortunati]

OK, I can credit Nakamori for introducing me to the world of Michael Fortunati. Yeah, I'm not much into the whole Disco Italo thing, but this cover is a perfect update to a solid anthem. The lyrics are, again, half-translated. It also features that killer synth solo. I really like this one and am glad to have discovered the original version of the song through this cover.

04. CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU [Originally by Frankie Valli, but likely inspired by the Boys Town Gang version]

You've likely heard the 1967 original of this song...or at least one of the 87,000 covers of it. Ehhh, you might as well stick with whatever version you're familiar with. This is the only song on the album I can't seem to get into. The auto-tune is a bit too much and likely exists to hide some of the broken lyrics. The Boys Town Gang version that inspired this is a damn good listen, though. I used to hear it on the radio a long time ago, but I guess Japan is where it endured the most.

05. Give Me Up [Originally by Michael Fortunati]

Another Fortunati jam. Once again, I was introduced to the killer original version which even has a somewhat confusing music video. Really, this a great cover of a song that is just a belter. Whhhhhooooaaaaooooooaaaaa! Nakamori's version is a Japanese-English hybrid to keep in line with the previous Fortunati song. Catchy as all hell......

06. Dancing Hero (Eat You Up) [Originally by Angie Gold, but is a cover of Yoko Oginome's cover]

A cover of a cover. Yoko Oginome's cover of Angie Gold's Eat You Up gained a new title as Dancing Hero and MASSIVE success. It was one of those perfect storm things. The Japanese economy peaked alongside the release of Dancing Hero and the excessively upbeat song became the theme song of the Bubble Economy. Crazy. You know what, though? Oginome has been a total champ about this song becoming something of joke (and eventual meme once the internet became a thing). I don't really like Yoko Oginome that much, but I definitely appreciate this song and her sense of humor. This video with Tunnels sums it up perfectly...

So this cover? It's great! It absolutely nails everything there is to nail. The overbearing beat, the slick singing, the overall earworminess...it's all present. This song in particular is one I was stoked to listen to when I got this album. Nakamori covering a song from Japan that was a hit during her own peak. How fitting!

07. TWO OF HEARTS [Originally by Stacey Q]

I *haaaaaaaate* the original version of this song. I don't know, it's just one of those songs that irritates me for no particular reason. I suppose that it's popularity has kinda miffed me more than anything. That said, this cover is awesome. It's in the same spirit of the original song, but just a little more modern sounding. It's also a reminder that Nakamori has still got it down.

08. SWEET DREAMS (ARE MADE OF THIS) [Originally by Eurythmics]

This is another one I was absolutely stoked to hear. This is actually a pretty faithful cover. The music is largely unmolested from it's original version and Nakamori just gets it. The vocals aren't quite as dead as they should be, but the cover as a whole is just perfect. Lyrically, Nakamori is probably the most qualified person on the planet to sing this song. Who am I to disagree?

09. CALL ME [Originally by Blondie]

While the first track on this album was clear outside the 80s, this one just baaaarely manages to sneak in with it's 1980 release. You know the original, and this cover is an excellent send-up to it. It's just as you know it, but with Nakamori singing instead of Debbie Harry and some minor modern trimmings added in. I couldn't have picked a better song to finish this incredible album with.

DVD - 35th Anniversary Memorial Image

I ended up getting the CD+DVD release of this album. For my troubles I received a bonus region-free DVD featuring a six minute and change video. The memorial video is made up of several 1-2 second clips spanning from the 1990s to 2017 and set to the single version of Hirari -SAKURA-. Lots of fun moments like this...

OVERALL: Blown away. This album is sooooo gooooood. As I mentioned in my review of Akina, this album was released on the same day but managed to peak higher on the Oricon weekly chart. It deserves it because this is just an excellent time start to finish. I can even over look it's relatively short run time. Maybe this could have been remedied with a cover of Haddaway's What Is Love or, if it *had* to be an 80s song, the anthem of a certain red-headed one.

Since Nakamori's cover albums tend to get sequels, we can only hope for Cage 2. Pleeeeeease! I so want this to be a thing every other year or so. So much untapped goodness to be had. For now, just be sure to pick this one up. The cover of BE MY LOVER is absolutely worth the price of admission alone.

NEXT: true album akina 95 best


Standard release cover


25. Akina (2017.11.08)

01. Merry Christmas -yuki no shizuku-

A well-produced ballad. While I may have criticized the previous album for it's lack of actual orchestra in it's ballads, this one puts it right on front street. Given the time of year that this album was released, it's only natural that it is a Christmas ballad. It has very little to do with Christmas outside of the lyrics however--just some very slight sleigh bells in the background. For that, I applaud it...I hate overbearing Christmas music.

02. Amar es creer

This one is a little tough to describe. I really dig the singing, though. It's kind of a ballad, but it does take off just a little bit. It's unique, but not in a weird way. Really, though...this is an excellent showcase of vocal talent. The flow is just so tight.

03. Amaoto

This song also has a great vocal flow, but is a much more intense song. It's a bit of a ballad, but has an edge of pop to it. Again, this one is very well done.

04. Maboroshi

Another ballad, but this one is more on the light rock side. The haunting piano gives it a teeny tiny bit of darkness to it. I know I made this point early on, but the production is fantastic on this album. It's all real music coming from real instruments. This one just has that nostalgic edge...kinda... Slow Motion like...

05. La.La.Bye

A nice mix of the classic ballad and 2017. It may not have a name like the next track, but it is closer to the Latin side. There is some more great singing as well. Nakamori has seemingly gotten into tongue-twisters and complex vocal streams.

06. Amore

Not to dissimilar from the previous track. This song is another ballad that moves along nicely and has a slight Latin sound to it. It isn't as memorable as the previous track, but I think I like this one better. The bass is really good.

07. Hirari -SAKURA- (Akina Version)

Oddly enough this is the B-Side track from the single for FIXER -WHILE THE WOMEN ARE SLEEPING- that was released way back in the beginning of 2016. It's a bit different from the single version, however, in that this is a ballad and the single version is a full-on pop song.

This is a grand sounding ballad with some killer strings and bass to it. Given that this song originally lived on a single to what is a really big song, it makes total sense that this song is hair out of place on this album. It's very good, though. Those strings especially... This one demands a good set of headphones to listen to. It's worth it for the little details.

08. fate ~Unmei no hito~

This is more or less the final track of the album. It's a softer ballad this time, and one that kinda revisits the Christmas theme. Actually, this one is probably more Christmasy than the actual song called Merry Christmas. Nakamori's breathy vocals are absolutely on it. Again, she is in better shape now than she was in the entire 2000s decade.

09. Merry Christmas -yuki no shizuku- (Orgel Version)

An instrumental Orgel/Music Box version of the lead track from this album. I was half expecting it to be just a small bit of the song, but this is actually over three minutes long.

OVERALL: While ballads aren't really my thing, this is the type of album I looooove to put on the background when I'm working on something like a toy review or just reading articles online. The last time Nakamori released an album of strictly vocals was 2003's I hope so. I likely had the same thoughts about that album as well. Though, I do recall that one having some more variety to the types of ballads.

The only real grief I can give this album is how short it is. Nine tracks, only eight of which are vocal. Now...this can kinda be forgiven as a second album of covers called Cage was released on the same day...but you had to pay full album prices for both seemingly brief albums. A tinier issue I have with this album is the lack of unique content on the limited edition version. While the limited edition came with a 2018 calendar, I prefer the cover of the standard version so I went with that. It's just a little more cheerful.

I'm happy to report that this album did really well upon release. It peaked at number nine while Cage simultaneously peaked at number eight. That's a pretty sweet achievement. While Cage isn't an official album...I suppose I should check in and see what all the commotion is about...

NEXT: Cage


Limited Edition Cover


24. FIXER (2015.12.30)


She's BACK! While I regret writing the review for this song and album so close to it's release, it's safe to say that the EDM thing has been divisive. I kinda dig it when it's done well. A good song can come from any dated style. There is good and bad 80s...grunge...whatever the hell the late 90s was...

FIXER is a jam and I truly enjoy the mood. It has auto-tune moments, but it doesn't fester. It has some anthem-style energy, but still kinda feels like a rainy day. In the future it will be easy to look at this song and say that it's a good snapshot of it's time...but that won't necessarily be a bad thing. This was the third single from this album, but it just as easily could have been it's first. It's that good.

02. Rojo -Tierra-

Speaking of singles, this track is the lead single from this album. While FIXER could have been first, this one was the right choice to bring Nakamori back with after her kind of abrupt retirement-ish announcement. Hot damn...this song is fire.

This song has the energy of a song from avex, but Nakamori is definitely still very much signed at Universal. I know a few of you will understand that and have a pretty good idea of what this song sounds like, but let me explain a little further... This is another EDM style track, but it's full force to the point where it verges on becoming irritating. It could the theme song to just about any type of TV show as well.

While FIXER was the more appropriate song to open this album with, Rojo -Tierra- was absolutely the correct choice for lead single. When you go alllll the way back to my introduction post to this series of reviews I kinda alluded to a moment that absolutely jump-started my interest in Nakamori. Sure, I've always liked her music...but there when this video showed up on Youtube, I was actually really curious. I absolutely picked up the single...and from there I was obsessed. This song is what single-handedly forced me to go back and fill all of the holes I had in my collection and what eventually inspired me to write this massive series of posts.

03. Endless Life

This one is a bit slower, but a really good song. It's somewhat a long the same line as FIXER, but has a much smoother flow to it. The smoothness kinda trades off between the music and the singing.

04. unfixable

This is the second single from this album...and also her 50th single! It's also kind of a bummer of a song as the title would certainly imply. While this song is quite a bit darker, it still has some of the lashings of EDM that the previous songs on this album have.

Weirdly enough this song also brings memories of the past. Remember Nakamori's album Cross My Palm? This SOOO reminds me of that album. For starters, this song is in English and was recorded in America (this entire album was, actually). It also has a sound that really took time to grow on me. It sounds entirely Western. While songs like FIXER and Rojo -Tierra- are the same genre, they are definitely have more of an Asian spin to them, the "that's so avex" take on Rojo -Tierra- in particular. I enjoyed Cross My Palm quite a bit and this song feels like it's a 2015 continuation of a forgotten 1987 experiment.

Love this song...probably more through listening to the entirely catalog.

05. La Vida

A sudden 180. This song is just Nakamori, a guitar, and some clapping at times. Her affinity for Latin music has finally popped up on this album. While the songs on this album so far are definite hits...this is the one you'll be humming when you finish listening. It's fantastically catchy...

It's also the B-Side track for the single to Rojo -Tierra-. While a complete opposite in sound, it's a surprisingly good pairing.

06. Ugetsu

A really good ballad. At this point in the album Nakamori had been putting mostly her pop persona on, so this is the return of what made her popular in the first place. She nails it. This is MUCH better singing than what we heard on 2009's DIVA.

07. Todoketai ~voice~

Another ballad, but this one is just a little bit quicker. I really enjoy the production on this one. While the majority of the music likely came from software, it's doesn't sound cheap or anything. Overall, this is another good one.

08. Yokudo

Another slight dance track with some 90s flavor to it. I like this one a lot. The singing is on-point, it has that Latin sound that Nakamori shines well with, and is a solid overall production. This could have easily been a solid B-Side track to one of the singles, but only lives here.

09. kodou

Another Latin-based track. I don't like this one as much as the singing doesn't quite match the tone of the music. It isn't a bad song, it's just a litttttle bit off. Maybe a little bit generic as well.

10. Lotus

This song...this song sounds SO familiar. I can't put my finger on it, but the melody at the start sounds like something I've heard before... I want to say it sounds like a song from Tetsuya Komuro I've heard before, but...yeah...I'll have that moment of discovery someday.

I would classify this one as a slower ballad that honestly is kinda failed by it's music. It's...alright. The singing is good, but the music just sounds largely fake.

11. Re-birth

A nice track to end with. This is a lighter ballad that really digs back into the 80s and 90s well. I love the singing and overall pleasant music.

12. Rojo -tierra- (Album Version)

The single version of Rojo -tierra- is six minutes long. This is eight and some change minutes thanks to an extended intro and interlude.

13. unfixable (Album Version)

Like the previous track, this album version of unfixable is done through extended an already great song by a few minutes. I can't complain...


Since I picked up the limited edition of this album, I got myself an alternate album cover and bonus region-free DVD! It isn't too much to write about, though, as it's only the music video for FIXER -WHILE THE WOMEN ARE SLEEPING-. Can't complain...I think this version of the album was actually the cheaper option. It also has the better version of the strange cover.

OVERALL: Love, love, love this album! Most people seem to agree with me as it turns out. FIXER reached number nine on the Oricon weekly chart. For perspective, the last time one of her albums made it into the top ten was in 1995 with the also fantastic la alteración.

This is actually a really encouraging story. Outside of that official teaser for Rojo -tierra- that I posted earlier, there are some other clips of the recording sessions from this album. Nakamori looks...really nervous. She'd been away since 2009 and only really reappeared in 2014 before this album started coming together. It's kinda hard to watch anyone have a hard time returning to something they once mastered, but the results kinda speak for themselves. A lot of effort went into this album.

While I don't necessarily agree with the order of the songs on this album (it's definitely front-loaded), I absolutely approve. It's a complete album with some amazing variety. I highly recommend picking this one up. It's a great album and a perfect victory lap for Nakamori turning 50 that year.

NEXT: Akina


Standard Edition Cover


23. DIVA (2009.08.26)



I can't quite put my finger on this one. It's certainly a uniquely neat song. It kinda reminds me of NOT CRAZY TO ME, but is more of an anthem. I'm kinda on the fence...but you know what? Yeah...it's a good song. Interesting choice for an intro...

02. DIVA

The titular track and also the lone single from the album. The single version is different, however. This one is a little more graceful in proving that Nakamori can adapt with the times. It's a dance track with a nice little rock tinge to it. Maybe the singing could have a little more force, but it definitely works well.

03. thinking of you

A softer track, but one that doesn't let up on the pop theme of the album so far. The beat is a little more subtle than what she was working with at the start of the decade and for that I would say that it has aged much better. Not exactly timeless, but still a really nice song to jam out to at any time.


As the title suggests, it is the exact opposite of the previous track. Well, it has it's good moments when it picks up speed, but the rest is just 2000s sludge.

05. Aena kute

A decent ballad. Nakamori sounds just a little bit tired. It's more on the verge of singing rather than full-on singing. I give it points for being pretty original. Kinda like those rare times Michael Jackson sang with his natural deep voice.

06. X lady

Random rock song?? Sure. I know I have a tendency to say that Nakamori can get retro at times, but I'm usually referring to the 80s. This song wouldn't be out of place in her 1995 era of music. This isn't bad at all. Hahaa.


Auto-tune? What are yooou doing here??

A mild dance track this is on par with GIVE TAKE. Has the make-up of a song that would destined to be a single, but it never was released as one. It is certainly of it's time. Late 00s? Yep. You might not be humming it later, but it'll definitely leave an impression.

08. with

OK, we're running out of random words to name songs after.

This one is a little bit smoother, but definitely on the livelier side. Again, this sounds a little bit 90s...outside of the harsh synth tone. It's a pretty decent song, though. I like the light rapping toward the end.

09. Akane-iro no kaze

I can pretty much say all the same things I said about thinking of you above. A softer song that still has some lighter pop elements and good singing.

10. Going home

We're going out on a lighter ballad. This one is pretty breathy and largely generic on the music side. As I mentioned before, ballads aren't entirely my thing given how inoffensive they tend to be. This one is pretty good and has that ever-present comfort of a song you've likely heard already.


01. DIVA -michitomo remix-

I spent a few extra dollars on my copy of DIVA. As a result, I got a purple variant cover and a bonus disc featuring two remixes...

An even heavier and dancier version of DIVA. As far as I can work out, this is the only place to get this version since the single only included the Karaoke version. It's alright if extended dance mixes heavy on the drum'n bass are you thing. It's cool to have on in the background and makes wonderful use of the chorus.

02. Heartache -michitomo remix-

Kind of an auto-tune mess. It slides a faster beat on an existing song and screws with the vocals. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of this type of remix either...

OVERALL: I'm not entirely sure where to begin on this one. While this album isn't as dated sounding as some of Nakamori's work from the other side of the decade, it can't escape the lashings of that whole glam thing that everyone was into in the late 2000s. While it may be an unbalance mix of timelessness and cheese, it at the very minimum missed being an album of pure junk. I can't say that I give this album a lot of attention, but maybe it'll be worth even further examination in the future. I can't say I'll ever pine for the glory days of 2009, but you never know... This album might grow on me more later on.

Unfortunately, Akina Nakamori made an announcement after this album's release that she was indefinitely suspending all activities for health reasons. Will the dark diva rise again??



Standard Edition Cover


22. DESTINATION (2006.06.21)

01. Koya -beniyo-

The start of this album is immediate. Koya is a upbeat song with some equally as peppy singing. You know I'm all for strong opening tracks and this one does not disappoint. It has the energy and is pretty unique.

02. Usotsuki

I like this one as well. It's groovy with a slight jazz tinge to it. The bass is front and center and guides this song well.

03. Seashore

Another great track. This one is a little bit retro funk sounding. The only issue I have, and one that really doesn't matter in retrospect, is that this song would have sounded more at home in the late 90s rather than 2006. That doesn't stop it from being really cool, though.

04. Nemure rumori no cho

Another jazzy track on par with Usotsuki. Lots of smooth bass to carry it along. The singing is also really on-point.

05. Kodo

This track is more along the same line as Seashore. It's weird how this album is cycling like this. Fun song, but the bass sounds extra fake here versus mildly fake on the previous tracks.

06. GAME (Album Version)

This is the B-Side to Hana yo odore. You know what...? This reminds me SO MUCH of Kome Kome Club's Shake Hip. By default that makes this a great song. It's frantic energy is really welcome. Not because this album is slow, because it certainly isn't. This is a speed that Nakamori really doesn't operate at. It's a pretty unique track.

07. Yoru no hana

This one is a little too 2000s. Ehhhh I don't dig it's jerky beat. Nakamori's singing is great, but the music is a little too dated.

08. Hana yo odore (Album Version)

The second single from this album. Both this and GAME make up a great single. I guess the best way to describe this is Latin-lite. The bass, horns, and drums certainly bring it there. It's an incredibly fun song...I seriously dig it.


More retro funk. This song is a lot of fun, but the fake bass is a little bit meh. Otherwise...thumbs up.

10. Rakka ryuusui (Album Version)

This is actually the lead single from the album. Oh man is it slick. The beat just never lets up and the production is incredibly dense. Given that this song was actually released well in advance of the album, it was clearly an isolated endeavor. That means that it kinda doesn't fit in...but it's so good that it doesn't really matter. A strong song is always welcome.

11. Only You

The beat on this one is really jerky and played out. I honestly don't really dig this track. The ending of this song ever just kinda goes "meh.......".

12. Grace Rain

Ending on a jazzy note? Sure. This is uncharacteristic for this album. This would actually fit in a little more on I hope so, but it's here. I like the last minute change of pace even if this song isn't crazy memorable.

OVERALL: While this album doesn't get heavy play from me, I still enjoy it quite a bit. The production isn't the greatest, but the songs are all pretty solid. If Resonancia wasn't your bag and you want some upbeat Nakamori from the era, be sure to give this album a play.

PREVIOUS: I hope so



21. I hope so (2003.05.14)

01. Toki (Instrumental)

Instrumental intro. It's incredibly relaxing.

02. Rain

As Resonancia had a theme, I hope so's theme is ballads. In fact, the full title of the album is "I hope so~Ballad Album~". That said, this first track is a very good beginning.

03. Niji

A slower ballad than the previous track, but definitely a haunting reminder of how Nakamori cut her teeth in the 80s. It's a nice return to form.

04. Hikari (Instrumental)

Brief little instrumental track.

05. Kaze no hate

This song has quite a lot of life to it for it to be considered a ballad. The beat is on 2 and 4 if that gives you an idea of what type of song it is. I like it.

06. I hope so

This album's titular track is more of a rock ballad, which is great. Credit where credit's due...this album has some really good variety in types of ballad. This one in particular is quite chill.

07. Veil

Another chill song with some power in the vocals. Well, there is some light effects on them at least. This album reminds me a lot of the post-Cruise stuff that Nakamori released before leaving Warner in 1991. I feel a bit of Angel Eyes here.

08. Yoi (Instrumental)

Another quick little instrumental interlude.

09. Yuyami o matte

More of a jazzy ballad this time. Some incredibly relaxed singing on this one.

10. Dokei

This is a slower orchestral ballad. Again, the singing is spot-on during this song.

11. Tsumugi uta

Now we've reached a smoother ballad. It isn't rock, but it's certainly not as opulent as the previous song. The chorus is pretty floaty and almost retro with an early 80s sound through the guitar.

12. Yume (Instrumental)

This is the longest of the instrumental interludes. Honestly, it doesn't sound all that dreamy as the name would suggest.

13. Utsutsu no hana

More of a serious track. It's a tad on the disjointed side, but it's also a little slick in tone. It even has a bit of a pulse to it. I like this one quite a bit.

14. Days

The lone single from this album. It's a good song and it certainly encompasses the Ballad vibe of the album, but I wouldn't say it's my favorite. I can see why it was selected to be the single, though. It just has it all going for it. The balance wins out in the end.

OVERALL: I know I didn't have a whole lot to say about these songs individually, but I do really enjoy throwing this album on in the background while I work. The irony is that when I was working on the review for it, I didn't have a whole lot of words.

Ballads aren't something I really examine too much I suppose. It's just very pretty background music to help me relax. It's a good album, but one that the pop fans might not dig on too much.

PREVIOUS: Resonancia



20. Resonancia (2002.05.22)

01. Carnaval

Great start to this album...and one that sets the tone immediately. The title is also a bit of a giveaway... Yep, this is largely a Latin-themed album. This song in particular is quick and features the usual intense strings and clapping. We're off to a steady start.

02. Eyes on you

A pop song that is a little bit on the quicker side. I could be entirely mistaken, but I believe this song features the first male vocals in a Nakamori song (provided by Ken Hirai). It's a nice little song that is fitting from her first album on this side of the year 2000.

03. Carmesi

More full-on Latin pop. I love the beat of this one. The flow is tight and Nakamori handles it like a champ...are you surprised?

04. The Heat ~musica fiesta~ (Album Version)

This is the album version of the lone single from this album. Well...kinda. I'll explain later.

It's a catchy song, but I'm not entirely sold on this version of it. Sometimes album versions go again the laser-focus of what makes a single version a hit. The extended bits are just...there. As for the song itself, it's not my favorite single...and probably not the song from this album I would have chosen to be the single. It did well, though, peaking at number 20 on the Oricon weekly chart.

Oh, and the rap break-down actually isn't horribly cringe like it tends to be in a lot of Japanese songs. It's largely in English and sung by X-LARGE from Korea. Not a bad song...and it's certainly catchy, but not one I seek out very much.

05. missed U

Oh Jesus... Early 2000s drivel with a fake-ass Timbaland beat. Yeah, I don't really dig this one. It's alright and certainly a good reminder of how bad we had it fifteen years ago...

06. Resonancia (Interlude)

I nice little instrumental interlude...

07. Kaze to Taiyo

A pretty good track of more Latin pop, but doesn't really have much to stick out from the tracks before it. Really, just a solid groove.

08. ibiza

Some great horn work on this track. The name should be a dead giveaway at what type of song this is. This one would have made a decent single to be perfectly honest. It's super-slick and really has those driving horns to give it a strong presence.

09. Deseo

Ehhh...this one is more early 2000s weirdness. Overbearing beat over some random loops. It doesn't really take off or go anywhere...it just maintains.

10. Lost words

A slow-mid song with a questionable choice of piano tone. It's not a bad song, though...just a little bit unusual. Heh.

11. Siesta (Interlude)

Another nice little instrumental interlude. It's incredibly short...

12. It's brand new day (URU Latin Mix)

Ah, so remember how I mentioned I would get back to talking about singles from this album? Well, It's brand new day was actually released independently as a digital single in 2001. Yeah, it was pretty experimental at the time...especially in Japan. It was later given a physical release, but this is notable for being the first song from Nakamori in the 2000s.

This is actually a remix version as the name suggests. It's a very crisp song that was modified slightly to fit the tone of the album. Incredibly chill...it's a really good song.

13. Bonita terra

A nice acoustic song to bring this album to a close.

OVERALL: This album was clearing the slate once again for Nakamori. She had left Tokuma in 2000 and was now signed with Universal Music, which is where she is still signed to this day. The album is definitely fresh and exciting, if not a little bit dated sounding. The heavy use of featured male artists is a little bit unusual, but look at music today. It feels like every pop song is X featuring Y and Z.

I love the energy of the album and the freshness of it. When you look at Nakamori's full catalog, Fushigi is the mysterious haze and Resonancia is the hot and sunny vacation getaway to Spain. The vocals are incredibly prominent and not very deep. Extra points for some extreme consistency.

I don't listen to this one all that often because I think I really have to be in the mood for it. It's still Winter when I'm writing this, so I guess I'm at the wrong end of the calendar. It's a good album...maybe give a little during warmer days, though.

NEXT: I hope so



19. will (1999.12.01)

01. tobira ~OVERTURE

A cool instrumental piece...

02. garnet

An mid-speed and jazzy first *real* track to this album. The synth tone chosen is a tad questionable, but I enjoy the speed of this one.

03. Trust Me ~all espanola

Hey now. Trust Me has a weird story... I'll probably talk more about it when we get to this album's hidden track. This, however, is a remix of it. A good one. It has a really good Latin sound versus the more pop sound of the regular version.

04. Pretend

This song is kinda mid-speed. It isn't bad. I wouldn't say it's as good as garnet, but it does the job well. I like Nakamori's sweet voice. It's nice whenever it makes an appearance.

05. Arashi no nakade ~misterioso "A"

A mid-speed remix of the song of the same name from SPOON. Quite the improvement. It works really well at the speed.

06. Genwaku ~amabile "A"

Same thing here--this is a faster and better remix of Genwaku from SPOON. I liked that song on SPOON, but this one definitely has some really good additions to it.

07. Kisei ~Never Forget~ Taste "A" Version

This is almost shaping up to be a remix album, eh? Between the two previous tracks and the Trust Me remix, you'd really think so. These remixes really do bring these songs to life. This one, however, I kinda prefer the slick and mysterious tone of the original. This is fun, but maybe it didn't need fixing all that much. It was a single, after all.

08. Kon'nanimo...

Now back to the regular album...

A nice song on the jazzier side. Mid-speed, naturally. I like this one, though it sounds a little bit generic.

09. Tsukino hohoemi ~Acoustic Version

This song is actually from a video game soundtrack. The game in question is called Wizardry ~DIMGUIL~ for the Song Playstation. There are actually three other versions of this song, but they only ever existed on the game soundtrack. Maybe I'll hunt it down someday...it's pretty rare...but I like a challenge.

Given that this is an acoustic version, it's pretty straightforward on what it's going to sound like. Nakamori does her usual great job.

10. will

Brief little acoustic instrumental piece. Unless you're paying attention you'll just think it was part of the previous song.

11. Tomadoi

More of a light-rock ballad type song. It's really, really good though. Nakamori does some nice little jumps with lyrics during the chorus. Plus it has that killer guitar solo. Thumbs up from me!

12. Ophelia

Technically the final track of the album and also a single track. This one has an inescapably slick beat coupled with a catchy chorus. Definitely a worthy track of single status...and a good track to go out with.

13. -Trust Me (Hidden Track)-

As I mentioned previously, Trust Me is a weird story. This song is a single and a FRIGGIN RARE ONE. When I was working on my collection of Akina Nakamori singles, this one eluded me for the longest time. It was released in a plain sleeve and peaked at fifty-seven on the Oricon chart. The odd thing is that I have other singles from different artists from Tokuma that have this generic/blank cover art. Was this single only released to DJs and Rental stores? It had *some* kind of release for it to chart, but it really just died...

The song itself it really good. It sounds a little bit like MOONLIGHT SHADOW, but it good on it's own as well. As I mentioned during the remix, this is the more polished version of the song. It features some guitars where the remix has more of a Latin groove.

It's a shame this song really went nowhere for whatever reason. I actually really dig it. In my years of collecting I've usually dreaded rare CD/items. There is usually a reason for rarity (the reason being...it sucks). This one kinda miffed me. It's a great song...

OVERALL: The short-lived GAUSS/Tokuma era of Nakamori's career has already come to an end. Two albums and a handful of singles. Based on the drop in sales, I don't think Tokuma was taking her very seriously. It's a shame for this album in particular since it's actually quite good. The awful album cover coupled with the murky story behind the singles kinda sealed it's fate.

I'll recommend it, though. Check this album out for a good time and chance to hear some better versions of some songs from the previous album.

NEXT: Resonancia



18. SPOON (1998.06.17)

01. Your Birthday

An odd choice for an opening track, but it's a great song. It's on the softer side, but it's actually really catchy. I can't help but think that it sounds kinda familiar, though. Someone out there will probably be able to figure out what song I'm thinking of...

02. Ame no hi wa ningyo

Another slower song, but this one isn't sung as sweetly as the previous track. Good, but just a little bit too generic.

03. Rakuen no megami

A more upbeat song, and a pretty decent one. It isn't the greatest production, but the singing is as good as you can expect it to be. An enjoyable track, for sure.

04. Kon'ya, nagareboshi

The second single from this album. This is a slow song, which is largely uncharacteristic of Nakamori's 90s singles. I think she may have missed out by not releasing more singles like this during the decade. Sales would tell another tale, though. This only peaked at Number sixty six on the Oricon singles chart. It's a shame because it's reminiscent of her earlier successful singles done with some much better singing.

05. Kisei ~Never Forget~

Here is the lead single from the album. It's very good, but fairly slower. I don't know exactly how to describe this one other than...very 90s and very Nakamori. I like it a lot.

06. Shukufuku

Not sure I dig this one too much. It's a slower song with a pretty lame choice of piano tone. We get Nakamori's sweet voice once again here at least. It's always nice when that shows up. It was pretty common around this time it seems.

07. Yuki no hana ~White X'mas~

I'm not entirely sure why this song is on this album given it's June release...but here we are. I should also mention that an alternate version of it appears on the single for Trust Me in 1999. I wonder what the deal was. A very slow song with almost haunting vocals. It does lighten up a little bit at least...and it isn't a bad song either.

08. Arashi no nakade

The B-Side to Kon'ya, nagareboshi. Really good song, but it's on the slower side like everything else on this album. It was a great pairing for the single needless to say.

09. Genwaku

Another slow song, but definitely one that you can groove to. Some great structure and equally as strong singing to go a long with it. It's dreamy in a really good way.


Very slow song. I mean...do I really have to say it at this point? It's good in it's simplicity. Just a light music track and Nakamori singing.

11. Hanakumori

This is a slow one, which is fine, but the lousy piano choice from Shukufuku is back. It at least feels like an outro song, which is nice.

OVERALL: There are two things I should probably mention before I really give an opinion about this album. One: Nakamori produced this herself and I give her credit for the consistency of music on this album. Two: Another record label change. Yep, Nakamori was done with MCA Victor and was now signed with THIS ONE...which was a subsidiary of GAUSS Entertainment...which was a subsidiary of Tokuma Japan Communications. I know the US music industry was awash with sub-labels within sub-labels in the 90s but I didn't realize that it was a thing in Japan as well.

There isn't much of a pulse in this album, but it definitely isn't bad. It's just not one for my tastes. I kinda feel like the variety and liveliness of the previous two albums were kinda the result of Nakamori finally being able to branch away from Warner and do new stuff at her own pace with names that she previously weren't able to work with. This almost feels like a return to the Warner days...and that isn't bad thing. I might not be the biggest fan of this album, but it sold pretty well.

NEXT: will