“Gohan ga Dekitayo” (Dinner is Ready) is the fourth studio album by Japanese singer/songwriter Akiko Yano (vocals, piano).
From 1978 to the mid-1980, Yano had worked in close cooperation with the three members of Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO): Haruomi Hosono, Yukihiro Takahashi, and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
In 1978, Hosono, Takahashi and Sakamoto joined Yano’s “To Ki Me Ki Tour” (a concert tour after her album “To Ki Me Ki” was released) as support members.
Before recording this album, Yano had joined YMO’s first world tour (1979) as a support member (keyboards, backing vocals).
After releasing this album, Yano joined YMO’s second world tour (1980) too.
The album was recorded at Alfa Records’ Studio A in Tokyo and Sound City in Los Angeles, and it was released as a double LP by Japan Record (a label of Tokuma Japan Communications) in 1980.
It contains 14 tracks. The running time is 74:04.
The three members of YMO, Hosono (bass), Takahashi (drums, syn-drums) and Sakamoto (synthesizer, vocoder, piano, electronic piano, organ, syn-drums) fully cooperated with the recording of the album.
Yano and Sakamoto co-arranged 11 tracks and co-produced the album.
Hideki Matsutake, who had been known as the “fourth member” of YMO at that time, operated Roland MC-8.
The lyrics are mainly Japanese. “Coloured Water” and “High Time” are English. “You’re the One” is partly English.
“Gohan ga Dekitayo” is Yano’s masterpiece in the period when she was working in close cooperation with YMO, and one of the most highly regarded works arranged and produced by Sakamoto.
Though it is an electropop-oriented album produced with full cooperation by YMO, it has an organic sound that incorporates synths with analog instruments, such as acoustic piano, bass, drums, and guitar.
This album is characterized by Yano’s flexible musicality. In this album, she centers on her freewheeling singing with a piano accompaniment, and incorporates a variety of styles, such as catchy pop songs, jazz elements, electropop, new wave, Japanese folk music, and children’s songs, into her songs.
Yano has recorded many excellent albums, but “Gohan ga Dekitayo” stands out among others in terms of high musicality and polished musical compositions.
The first CD released by Japan Record in 1982 and the CD released by Midi Inc. in 1986 included only 10 tracks: “Coloured Water”, “High Time”, “Dogs Awaiting” and “Aoi Sanmyaku” were cut. Midi Inc. released the 14-track CD in 1989.
In 2015, Midi Inc. released the remastered edition of this album on SHM-CD. It was remastered by Mitsuo Koike, who has been known as an engineer for YMO-related recordings.
In 2020, Wewantsounds (France) released the remastered edition by Mitsuo Koike as a double LP and a CD.
- “Hitotsudake (Only One)” (Yano, 5:13): The self cover of a lyrical love song Yano wrote for the album “Utsukushii Hibi (Beautiful Days)” (1979) by Hong-Kong-born Japanese singer Agnes Chan. It was released as the B-side song of her third single “Gohan ga Dekitayo” (1980), and it became one of Yano’s major songs after that.
- “Les Petit Bon Bon” (Yano, 6:17): A catchy pop song performed in a medley with “Hitotsudake”.
- “Coloured Water” (Yano, 4:42): A quiet song featuring English lyrics, electronic piano and synth strings. It ends with a part including drums and chorus.
- “Zaikungtong Shonen (A Boy in Guangdong)” (Yano, 6:26): A new wave style song featuring Kenji Ōmura’s guitar. This song was performed in YMO’s first and second world tours.
- “High Time” (Yano, 5:17): A quiet song which is similar in style to “Coloured Water”. It features English lyrics and singing with an acoustic piano accompaniment.
- “Dogs Awaiting” (Yano, 7:35): An experimental electropop song including a sampled dog barking and Yano’s vocals through a vocoder.
- “Tong Poo” (Sakamoto, 4:24): A cover of the song of YMO’s debut album “Yellow Magic Orchestra” (1978). Yano newly wrote the Japanese lyrics.
- “Aoi Sanmyaku (Blue Mountain Range)” (Ryōichi Hattori, 4:05): A cover of the song Ryōichi Hattori composed for singers Ichirō Fujiyama and Mitsue Nara as the theme song for the film “Aoi sanmyaku” (1949).
- “Genkotsuyama no Onigurisama” (Akihiro Komori, 8:35): A new wave style song based on a children’s song composed by Akihiro Komori. It features Hibari Children’s Chorus and Sheena & The Rokkets member Makoto Ayukawa’s guitar.
- “Gokigen Wanisan” (Akihiro Komori, 3:02): This song is also based on a children’s song composed by Akihiro Komori. It includes piano four hands by Yano and Sakamoto.
- “Mata Aone (Let’s Meet Again)” (Yano, 4:10): A lyrical pop song about the sadness of parting.
- “Te wa Tsutaeru – Tetsudaeru” (Yano, 4:20): A song inspired by a poem “Te Te Te (Hand Hand Hand)” by Shuntarō Tanikawa. It was used as a commercial song for Hitachi.
- “Gohan Ga Dekitayo” (Yano, 5:31): A song released as her third single. It incorporates a melody in the Japanese folk music style.
- “You’re The One” (Sakamoto, 4:26): A beautiful ballad composed by Sakamoto.