Title: Teenage Dream

Release date: 1998.03.25

Catalog nr: WPCV-7419
Label: Warner Music Japan

First press: yes, cardboard case

First press

First press

 

«Teenage Dream» is Michiyo Heike‘s awaited debut album, and also the first album produced within the branch that was to be called Hello! Project. 

Heike won an audition aired on the music television show ASAYAN (which goal was to find talents and launch them as new artists) on August 31st, 1997. The price of the audition was to become a singer with the band Sharam Q, but plans were diverted, and Heike became a solo singer instead.

Her manager and producer was Hatake, from the (then) famous band Sharam Q, who composed all the music and arrangements on the songs on her debut album. Fellow bandmates Makoto and Tsunku wrote several of the lyrics to the songs.

The album has 11 tracks, and includes both songs from her debut single, and the lead track from her second single. The 10th track is an instrumental song. It sold a total of 10.962 copies, and ranked at #50 on the Oricon music charts.

Interview from Hello! Fan Magazine #1

Start!

Q: The first track was written by your senior colleague, Noriko Kato, who is from the same prefecture as you. The sound is nice, energetic, and it’s got some rock’n’roll vibe to it.

A: My image and Hatake’s image were perfectly met for this track. I was asked to be more “rock’n’roll”! Noriko stopped by at the recording studio one day. On that day, I was so nervous because she was watching me and I wanted to sound really good in front of her. But my brain went literally blank and my body froze up.  I couldn’t perform well at all. I recorded the same song again on a later day, when I felt more relaxed and groovier, and I am happy with the final product. My favorite part about this song is the adlib part at the end. I cannot wait to sing my heart out during the live show!

Skip

A: This is the track I sang among all the songs in the album. I know there are so many people in Tokyo, and on weekends, some couples display their affection in public, right? I actually don’t mind watching them. (lol) I feel rather envious of their happiness.

Onna No Revolution (Woman’s Revolution)

A: This song was not supposed to be featured in the album at first. They let me listen to a few songs, and this was just one of them. I personally asked them if this could be included in the album. I was feeling my inner revolution, like a fierce warrior of Genghis Kahn. I was looking forward to the lyrics as well. Makoto, to my pleasant surprise, prepared a jealous-type love song for me. I thought that was interesting.

Prepare

Q: This track was featured as a b-side of “GET”, right? I heard you struggled a little bit.

A: When I was recording the album, I was told by many people that my singing skill had improved. Still then, I was a little nervous about this track and so were those people. I realized once again that I needed to improve a lot more when I sang this song. I am still improving, but this is sort of a good memory from the past when I was still struggling.

Q: This is another song about departure.

A: All my friends from my hometown love this song because they share the same feelings. 

Furimukanaide (Don’t Look Back)

Q: This is a real original version for the album, isn’t it?

A: Lyrics reflect the feelings of a matured woman, which is a signature of Tsunku’s work. At the recording session, Hatake told me to read the lyrics carefully and take my time understanding them. As I read them more carefully, I realized how sad the lyrics were. I thought, “if I were in the same situation, I would’ve cried so much.” Then I became feeling very sad.  At the beginning, I was able to sing, but soon my feelings were too overwhelming to sing. This was my first time when I felt too emotional to sing.

Q: Tsunku is doing the chorus, right?

A: Yes, he happened to stop by during the recording session. Hatake asked him if he could do the chorus. The chorus during interlude was done by Taise, his agent, colleagues from the same record label etc. it was full of rock stars. (lol.) The chorus members changed every day. And I saw Tsunku sang for the first time there. Actually, it was the first time to see anyone besides me recording their voices. In my case, I was always relieved when they said that the recording take was perfect and I didn’t have to do another try. On contrary, Tsunku proactively tried again and again until he was satisfied with his own sound. I learned a lot about professional musician’s attitude from him on that day, 

GET

Q: According to Hatake, the emotion was the mixture of anger, teary sadness and sweetness. I thought they were well expressed in this track. I remember some candidates for ASAYAN’s audition sung this song.

A: At that time, I was in a greenroom of the ASAYAN studio. Suddenly, I heard the familiar intro and I knew someone was doing the audition right away. I really felt like I finally achieved to become a professional singer.

Q: This was your first song. What did you think back then?

A: I was singing this song during the audition process too, so it reminds me of the hardship and fun I experienced during summer intensive training camp. It has so many memories.

Hitorigurashi (Living on My Own) 

Q: Is this track about your current private life?

A: That’s right. After graduation, I moved to Tokyo and I really felt how hard it was to live on my own. I was very lonely and since it was the first time for me, I called my friends frantically almost every day.

Q: Was it like, “I just said goodbye to you but…”?

A: Exactly. “I feel so lonely…” was how I felt. They’ll say, “I just walked you to the train station, didn’t I?”. Many friends, colleagues and acquaintances walked me to places so it was really difficult to spend time by myself at home. My mom came with me to Nagoya and she was in tears. But I was the one who really wanted to cry. When I was by myself at home, I had to find something to do so I was cleaning the house.  When I used to live with my family, I seldom cleaned my own room. This song might not be a very encouraging song for the women who are prepared to live on their own, but maybe they can share the similar feelings with me. 

Akai Tsuki (Red Moon)

Q: This melody reminds me of Shizuka Kudo’s songs.

A: Yes, it’s like the matured, big sister’s song. I don’t think I’m allowed to call her that way though. (lol) But I thought the melody went very well with the rest of tracks, and the lyrics are so cool, like a matured, grown-up woman. So yes, the song has the characteristics of Shizuka Kudo’s songs for sure. All the songs in the album were sung with lots of efforts, but I felt a special connection with this song, so I could sing it effortlessly. Maybe the final result is the best of all in the album.

Q: I see! I can tell that this is your favorite song. Melody is a little complicated and some words are more difficult to understand, but you seemed to have done it with ease.

A: Yes, it was surprising for me too. I didn’t think I could sing with such a cool style.

Sotsugyo (Graduation)

Q: This is such a popular song. I heard you visited U.S. for the first time and met Richard Carpenter. How was it?

A: I don’t know how they decided to make this song as mine, but when I heard the rumor of singing Japanese version of “Top of the World”, I never really had time to question myself. I was way too excited; actually, I wasn’t sure if I was even entitled to do such an important job. When I found out it was real, I felt like I had to do a very good job now that the responsibility is on me. Younger and older generations alike, we all love this song. So it was very important for me not to taint the image of the song. Even though my singing skill wasn’t good enough, I wanted to sing gently with emotions. I believe that gentle emotions will help deliver the message to people, so that’s what I constantly focused on.

Q: Was there any advice from Richard?

A: He didn’t actually hear me sing, but told me that he was very proud of me singing “Top of the World”.  I told him I was having difficulty since the song has a wide range of keys. And he said, “Karen was having hard time as well.” That was interesting to hear since Karen was such a talented singer. I also felt much relieved and realized that I didn’t have to think too hard. I should rather enjoy singing this song. So it was definitely a positive experience to meet with Richard. When I told him two of my favorite songs, “Yesterday Once More” and something else, he instantly played the songs on the spot. And I began crying like a baby.

Teenage Dream 

Q: “Teenage Dream” is in fact an instrumental piano track by Hatake.

A: The meaning behind this track is after listening to track #1 to #9, we would like the listeners to reminisce their own memories from teenage era. The melody also expresses how hard I’ve been trying to become a better artist. It’s really a gentle melody, isn’t it?

Hey! Hey! Hey! Girls Soul

A: According to Hatake, this is so-called the “bonus track”. Yet, the bonus track is the longest track. (lol) I was asked to sing with a very high energy. Chorus was done by “Super!? Tensions”.   When I heard the song for the first time, I literally laughed till I fell off the chair. The song surely brings great fun energy to all of us.

Q: What’s the best part about the song?

A: Both lyrics and melody are simple.

Q: Some lyrics are in Kansai-dialect.

A: Yes, that was Hatake’s idea.

Q: Were you okay with saying such things?

A: At first, I was a bit shocked. I mean, they wanted me to say the lines. And when I saw exactly what kind of lines I was supposed to say, I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to show that much of the real side of me. I think this song is the closest to my real personality.

Promo poster

Promo poster

In the booklet there is a written message from Heike:

«Thank you very much for listening to “Teenage Dream” till the end. So many dreams and hopes from my childhood went into this album, which was 1st. The dreams and hopes in this album are not only mine but also for the staff and artists who worked with me throughout the process as well as for the fan like yours.

May every single one of your dreams and hopes come true…!

Teenage Dream

Michiyo Heike 1998-3-25″


TRACK LIST


01. Start!
02. スキップ (Skip)
03. オンナのエボリューション (Onna no Evolution; Evolution of a Woman)
04. プリペアー (Prepare)
05. ふりむかないで (Furimukanaide, Don't Turn Around)
06. GET
07. ひとりぐらし (Hitorigurashi; Living Alone
08. 赤い月 (Akai Tsuki; Blood Moon)
09. 卒業 〜TOP OF THE WORLD〜 (Sotsugyou -Top of the World-; Graduation -Top of the World)
10. Teenage Dream
11. Hey! Hey! Girls Soul


CREDITS


Start!

Lyrics: Katou Noriko | Music & Arrangement: Hatake

Noriko also sings the background vocals to this track.

 

スキップ (Skip)

Lyrics: Makoto | Music & Arrangement: Hatake

Hatake also sings the background vocals to this track.

 

オンナのエボリューション (Onna no Evolution)

Lyrics: Makoto | Music & Arrangement: Hatake

Hatake also sings the background vocals to this track.

 

プリペアー (Prepare)

Lyrics: Makoto | Music & Arrangement: Hatake

Hatake also sings the background vocals to this track.

This song was also released as the b-side on Heike’s debut single «GET»

 

ふりむかないで (Furimukanaide)

Lyrics: Tsunku | Music & Arrangement: Hatake

Hatake, Tsunku and ROCKSTARS sing the background vocals to this track.

 

GET

Lyrics: Tsunku | Music & Arrangement: Hatake

Reiko Tanaka (田仲玲子) sings the background vocals to this track.

This song is the lead track to Heike’s debut single of the same name, released four months before the album's release. It is also the song she won the ASAYAN audition with (despite forgetting the lyrics).

 

ひとりぐらし (Hitorigurashi)

Lyrics: Makoto | Music & Arrangement: Hatake

 

赤い月 (Akaitsuki)

Lyrics: Aeri | Music & Arrangement: Hatake

Hatake and ROCKSTARS sing the background vocals to this track.

 

卒業 〜TOP OF THE WORLD〜 (Sotsugyou -Top of the World-)

Lyrics: Makoto | Music: Richard Carpenter, John Bettis | Arrangement: Hatake

Miwako Hamada and Kanako Oguchi (小口かな子) sing the background vocals to this track.

This track is a cover of The Carpenters’ «Top of the World» (released in 1972), but with different arrangements and with lyrics in Japanese. It is also the lead track to Heike’s sophomore single of the same name.

 

Teenage Dream

Music & Arrangement: Hatake

This track is an instrumental, with Hatake playing the piano.

 

Hey! Hey! Girls Soul

Lyrics: Kyouko Tomita | Music & Arrangement: Hatake

Katou Noriko to ROCKSTARS, Hand Clap and Shuu-Makoto-Taisee (Super!? Tensions) sing the background vocals. 


LINKS