Pink Lady Mie Presents Duo’s Top Songs in New Light

The Yomiuri Shimbun

To mark the 40th anniversary of her solo debut, vocalist Mie — one half of pop idol duo Pink Lady — has released a live album titled “Shinshun ‘Pink Lady Night’” (New Year “Pink Lady Night”).

The album, comprising two CDs and a DVD, features a 20-plus member band and new renditions of Pink Lady’s most celebrated songs, including Western-style rock arrangements and tracks featuring irregular meters. Mie said the new versions were possible because she is “a solo Pink Lady artist.”

Among the familiar but attention-grabbing songs are “Tomei Ningen” (Invisible person) played in a Deep Purple-like style, “Pepper Keibu” (Sergeant Pepper) rendered in a 5/4 rhythm, and songs that feature Japanese flutes and drums. “It’s often difficult to tell what the song is from the intro alone,” Mie said with a smile.

Mie has held annual “Pink Lady Night” concerts at restaurants and other venues since 2010. The latest album — released by Sony — is a collection of performances recorded at a concert hall in 2020.

The album was produced by Kiyohiko Semba, a percussionist with a background in traditional Japanese music. After watching a DVD of Haniwa All Stars — a group led by Semba that includes dozens of musicians — Mie asked him to produce her album. She said she instinctively felt it would be interesting to perform the songs using the visuals and sounds in Semba’s style associated with a live performance.

Mie said that since her concert was a solo show, not a performance with her Pink Lady partner Kei (Keiko Masuda), she was able to “play around” with well-known Pink Lady’s songs.

Pink Lady’s choreography and costumes are some of the most notable and unforgettable aspects of the nationally popular duo’s output. “Thanks to the combination, we were able to create a world of fun for children,” Mie said. “But I also wanted people to know how great the songs themselves are.”

Setting aside the regular choreography, Mie poured her energy into singing and bringing out the musicality of the songs. “I thought I’d be able to emphasize the power and wonder of the music created by [lyricist] Yu Aku and [composer] Shunichi Tokura,” she said. The powerful rhythms produced by the drummers and percussionists underpin the band, and Mie talked happily about the different ways she sang the well-known, but revamped tunes.

“I usually sing ‘UFO’ in a bouncy way, but this time I sung it in a more relaxed style,” she explained. “I had to practice a lot to sing the quintuple rhythm of ‘Pepper Keibu.’ I’d never have been able to sing it properly if I hadn’t let the music sink into my bones.”

“It’s probably difficult to imagine ‘Sausupo’ (Southpaw) working so well with a Japanese folk-music vibe,” Mie added.

The album presents Pink Lady’s songs in a new light and Mie hopes to target discerning listeners, saying: “Pink Lady has a strong image as a pop-idol duo, so people might think that true music lovers don’t listen to the group’s songs. This album is meant for those people.”