Review

Meiko Kaji

Gincho Wataridori

WeWantSounds • 2024

Pop culture’s rewind loops sometimes take strange paths. They bring to the fore musicians who no one has been interested in for decades. Take Meiko Kaji, for example. The Japanese actress starred in dozens of Japanese exploitation films in the 1960s and 1970s. Her role in »Lady Snowblood« inspired Quentin Tarantino to make his two »Kill Bill« films. As Meiko Kaji also sang the theme songs for her films—two of which ended up on the Kill Bill soundtrack—she started a music career on the side. Tarantino is partly responsible for the fact that the singer has been making music again for the past decade, and that people are interested in her old records again half a century later. Meiko Kaji’s 1972 debut album »Gincho Wataridori« is now being reissued on vinyl for the first time. It is a collection of seemingly easily digestible songs that have been considered typically Japanese since the city pop revival of the last decade. Their music is a mix of traditional Japanese pop, tamed rock, funk influences and jazzy easy listening. Pompous strings, mariachi horns and saxophones create an atmosphere on the album that conveys an idealised image of the 1970s.