A couple of days before Christmas my Christmas present to myself dropped through my letterbox. Natsumi Abe’s mega best collection.
It was bloody expensive (well what isn’t these days?) but it was also well worth it. 14 great songs (plus Koi no Telephone GOAL) and 12 great videos (plus Koi no Telephone GOAL). On the dvd I really love the two live songs. We are treated to a live version of 25~Vingt-Cinq~ from 2007 as well as Takaramono live from her recent birthday concert. The accompaniment to both songs is beautifully performed and suits her voice perfectly. Both songs seemed so intimate in their settings. I would love to track down some live concerts on dvd now. Of the proper studio pv’s Koi no Hana being one of my favourite songs is also one of my favourite pv’s. I love Nacchi’s smile and her little ‘shoulder dancing’. Wonderful. Sweet Holic meanwhile finds Nacchi in temptress mood. Or is that just me? I was dying for a long shot because from just the close-up she looked amazing but I think seeing a full shot of her would have been bliss. Really though every pv is great (except Koi no Telephone GOAL) as they are full of Nacchi goodness.
Meanwhile on the cd we are treated to four new or previously unreleased tracks. First up is Soyokaze which is very much in the now patented Nacchi style. All violins and me swooning. We then get a new version of 25~Vingt-Cinq~ (the 27 version). The song again sounds beautiful with a very orchestral sound. It seems deeper, more luscious than the original version. It’s a rare occurrence where an original version has been bettered. And I liked the original version already so that’s saying something. Next up Anata ni Aeta nara which continues in the same vein as the previous songs. Almost becoming jazzy at times though. I think Nacchi would suit that kind of close almost informal environment. Based on her live dvd’s of recent years I guess H!P agree. At the end of the cd we then get her previously unreleased ‘lost’ single Nariyamanai Tambourine. Here we get a completely different type of song. A lot faster paced and despite the fact that at times I’d like to see Nacchi given more variation in her material this doesn’t work that well for me. I think it may be because the music doesn’t stand out much. It’s a bit light sounding. Compared to the unreleased material at the start of the cd it’s a bit like dining at the poshest restaurant in town one night and then microwaving a meal from Netto the next. Even so it’s still better than Koi no Telephone GOAL so that’s something.
I have to say the shots used for the inlay booklet have grown on me. The front cover seemed a bit nondescript at first but I’m starting to like it more. In all the garden pictures Nacchi has a warmth to her that does come across very well. I much prefer the other inlay photoshoot though. Nacchi in jeans, boots and a warm wooly top plays up to my love of wintery clothes on women. I just want to hug her…lots. I want to spend all day indoors with her ‘keeping warm’. Nacchi just has that kind of laid back warmth to her. She always seems to look peaceful, happy and well balanced. Not to mention damn pretty. She doesn’t seem to lose any of her charm as the years progress. Quite the opposite in fact.
Meanwhile my other recent purchase dropped noisily through my letterbox this morning. Now I do love photobooks but generally I just can’t justify the cost. I’d love to support the artists by buying such things brand new but I also love the warmth I get from having paid my energy bills. Oh and I love the warmth that a hot meal provides and these things must come first. That’s where online sellers come good. I have found it’s worth keeping an eye on the various H!P forums around. There are some forums with marketplace sections. The bargains I’ve picked up in the past year deserve a post all of their own but I have made some great purchases. It’s mainly other fans looking to get some cash for unwanted H!P goods. Obviously you need to show a level of trust when purchasing but by reading feedback others have left you can normally tell an honest seller from a more dodgy one. There’s one or two sellers I’ve found in the past year that have given great service. One of those sellers sold me a Sayumi pb a few months ago along with some cd’s and recently she had some Koharu goods on sale. You can look at pb’s on the net and sure the pictures look good but it just doesn’t compare to how good they look in an actual book. So I bought Koharu’s Diary pb.
Koharu is fast becoming a major H!P player for me. In MM’s less than wonderful recent tv shows so often it’s the crack-headed one who has given me joy. Koharu has the kind of energy and personality that just makes me feel good as soon as I see her. She is bloody wonderful. Her Haromoni@ memory tests were the only ones worth watching. Her Yorosen week was sublime fun. Musically she does less for me with her solo stuff (well I’m hardly the target audience). However she still manages to have some songs that do musically for me what she does for me as a personality. Chance is pure happy happy joy joy. I will never get tired of that song or the exceptionally cute pv (well cute up to the point where she unfastens her dress and suddenly…wow. How beautiful does she look in the red dress?) Koharu is one of the people who I’ll be looking forward to a lot more from over the years. As a large chunk of the older H!P members I like so much get ready for a new life with UFA it’s good to know there’s another generation with it’s fair share of stand-out members to provide entertainment. I do hope that many of the graduating members continue to perform under UFA but I’m taking a worse case scenario here!
Anyway as I said looking at pb’s online just don’t do the pictures justice. The pb is wonderful. You need a physical copy to see the true beauty of Koharu. Her eyes alone are ten times more brown and beautiful on paper than on a screen. Even so here’s some favourite pics.