I was going to write about how much I appreciate all of you, the readers, who keep visiting this blog and give your precious time to discover music I feel passionate about. It’s been over a year since FOND/SOUND began. It’s because of your encouragement and support that this labor of love keeps going. With that in mind, I wanted to show some gratitude by making a playlist full of love songs, ones that are both easily apparent and some that take a bit to fulfill that choice. In doing so, I was inspired by the words and early life of one Brett Raymond who kicks off the whole mix.
Brett Raymond was born in Ohio, and raised in Utah by his family, in order to get closer to his Mormon faith. As he grew up, sometime in the early ’80s, while attending BYU (Brigham Young University, for all you overseas) he decided to up and quit, and join some New Wave band called Souvenir. In 1984, Souvenir, as an entity, released two singles, floundered, forcing Brett to look elsewhere to continue his passion as a composer.
In Tokyo, Brett upended his whole life to pursue a career writing music for radio, TV, and composing/arranging for countless other artists based in Japan. Finally, in 1986, Brett got an opportunity he never expected — Brett was allowed to record and release his debut. Only Love, released in 1986 (only in Japan and Korea) presented his plainspoken but quite sophisticated/tasteful version of AOR.
Backed by a bevy of heavy session musicians — the names of Steve Lukather, Mike Porcaro, and Jay Gruska immediately stand out — Brett created an album that hints at both the City Pop ideal of his temporary homeland and the American AOR/West Coast sound of his past, albeit with a different sheen. Professional sounding to a fault, Only Love truly shined when Brett was able wrap his vocals around songs, in ways that were refreshingly unexpected. Taking cues, it seems, from the phrasing of Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis, on songs like the “Only Love”, we can imagine how much more intriguing his sound could have gotten if he had something of a hit for him to build on, if he didn’t put out his work in obscurity.
That’s what I’m left thinking of. How sometimes we don’t do things because we can predict the future, but because we really believe in them in the present, regardless of the obfuscation inherent in such thoughts. In the end, love is a choice — not a feeling. Brett sings of this idea so beautifully, and each of the songs that follow, no matter the many borders they cross, keep that thread going. At the end, we’ve got to keep this line of communication open.
In the end, it’s only love.
1. Brett Raymond – Only Love
2. Nito Mestre y Los Desconocidos de Siempre – Algo Me Aleja, Algo Me Acerca
3. Imagination – Mornin’ Lights
4. Boban Petrović – Daj Mi Sansu
5. Larry Lee – Hang On
6. Arsen Dedić – Ti Trebas ljubavi
7. Sonoko – Wedding With God (a Nijinski)
8. Ginji Ito – こぬか雨
9. Mariko Fuji – 素敵なMIO
10. Judith Ravitz – Pney Malach
11. Hiroshi Fujiwara – Let My Love Shine
12. Alain Chamfort – Let Me Try It Again
13. The Brothers Johnson – All About the Heaven
14. Gene Dunlap – It’s Just The Way I Feel
15. Emeline Michel – Chaque Fois Que Tu Reviens
16. Angela Bofill – Tropical Love
17. John Lennon – Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
18. Mioko Yamaguchi – Tokyo Lover
19. Yukie Nishimura – 夕陽のスーベニール
20. Lins & Ford – Lazy Day