In light of my ongoing blood feud with my virus infected laptop, I figured it would be a good idea for me to take the time type up an article (or 2) regarding a therapeutic topic.
In this case, said topic would be songs that keep me from stabbing people AKA songs that, for whatever reason; make me feel happy.
Being as I am indeed an Azn Badger, with relatively Azn interests; much of my song library consists of Azn tunes.
That being said, I foresee this post being part of a series, so I’ve thusly labeled this one the “Japanese Edition” of this particular Top 5 list.
Anyway, the only requirements for entry on this list, are that the track must indeed be a song; meaning it must have lyrics, and in this case, it must also be Japanese.
Expect other versions of this post for the next couple of days.
Apologies in advance to those that truly don’t give a shit about music, much less of the Azn variety…
Anyway, let’s make with the list!:
*PLEASE NOTE, I DID NOT WATCH ANY OF THE VIDEOS BELOW, SO DON’T COMPLAIN TO ME IF THEY’RE OBNOXIOUS, STUPID, ANNOYING, OR ALL OF THE ABOVE.*
5. Sanpo (A Walk) – Azumi Inoue
That’s right folks, #5 on my list of Japanese songs that keep me from stabbing people is the opening song from My Neighbor Totoro.
Honestly though, you can’t mention “happy” without including Totoro, can you?
This song brought me much joy as a child, both in English and Japanese, and it continues to put a smile on my face to this day.
Hell, being as it’s written for kids, it’s one of the few songs on this list that I can actually understand 100% of.
Azumi Inoue has a wonderfully sweet voice that’s perfectly suited for the Blue’s Clues-y, Wiggles-esque, sugar-coated pre-schooler nursery rhyme feel of the song.
The only other song I’ve heard her perform was Chiisa Na Inori (Tiny Prayer) from the Guyver Image Album, (yeah, I actually went and bought it…) and I’ve gotta’ say, the woman’s got some pipes.
Not necessarily of the “strong” or “booming” variety, but I think “sweet” describes her sound pretty well.
4. Yume De Aeta Nara (If We Met In A Dream) – 175R
DISCO POP = FUCK YES.
Yume De Aeta Nara was a song featured in the first film in the Kamen Rider Den-Ou series.
Around the time the movie came out, I was knees deep in my own personal period of “Tokusatsu Revival.”
Just a year or 2 before, I had rediscovered Ultraman and Kamen Rider; and so when the movie came out, I was really fuckin’ excited.
Like, REALLY excited.
Anyway, while Den-Ou was perhaps one of the best Tokusatsu series I can recall, the first movie of course turned out to be kind of “meh,” leaving me with a sour taste in my mouth until fairly recently when the Den-Ou franchise miraculously resurfaced.
That’s a story for another day though…
So anyway, the movie sucked, but the one awesome thing I took away from it, was this song, Yume De Aeta Nara, by 175R.
I’ve never heard any other songs by the group, but honestly I don’t feel I need to, as this one has since provided me with more than enough enjoyment.
Like I said man, disco pop is THE SHIT.
When it comes to making an Azn Badger happy, few things do it better than a disco beat and nostalgic ties to Kamen Rider.
3. Yuke! Tiger Mask! (Go! Tiger Mask!) – Hiroshi Nitta
Tiger Mask is the fuckin’ MAN.
Initially starting as a manga, and then later serving as the inspiration for countless videogame characters, an anime series (or 2), and even a legacy of real-life pro-wrestlers, Tiger Mask is brilliant to the point in which I’m actually jealous that I didn’t come up with the idea.
Really, I ask you, who the fuck wouldn’t enjoy a story about a man in a tiger mask wrestling the shit out of dudes, while protecting the children of the world from an evil Illuminati-esque organization?
Anyway, the song I chose for this list comes from the 1980′s anime series, and as such, it’s sound bears the remnants of the enka style of vocalization that was popular in the post-war period.
By the way, enka is THE SHIT.
That being said, the enka style of the lyrics, combined with the almost spaghetti western-like music, make for a wonderfully cheesy and over-the-top theme song to a cheesy and over-the-top hero.
By the way, I should’ve included this song on my list of ways I keep sane at work; ’cause I have a tendency to sing it when I’m on the shipping line…
I’m not retarded.
2. My Lonely Town (Mai Roneri Taun) – B’z
Oh B’z, how the fuck did I live without you?
Seriously, B’z is a Japanese band that’s been around FOREVER, but me being me, I didn’t find out about them until 2004 when their lead guitarist, Tak Matsumoto; composed the soundtrack for the movie Ultraman: The Next.
Come to think of it though, news of stupid-ass movies about dudes in rubber monster suits duking it out seems to be how I get most of my news from Japan, so I guess that makes a fair amount of sense…
Anyway, I was really impressed with the soundtrack for that movie, (another one that I eventually bought) so I looked up the composer, which led me to B’z, which led me to finding a mega-awesome band that I hope will continue being awesome for years to come.
My Lonely Town is an unbelievably awesome song from B’z(‘s?) most recent album, Magic.
When I first put this song on, I was reading the Wolverine comic, Old Man Logan; and I gotta’ tell yah’, it just fit too fuckin’ well.
Seriously, My Lonely Town has a big, loud, Bon Jovi-esque rock sound to it, but at the same time it also has some amazing string work that gives it an epic, again, almost spaghetti Western-like feel.
It was a brilliant case of right song, right book, right time.
1. Let It Go – Yuna Ito
This one is special.
I can’t really put my finger on it why, but for whatever reason; Let It Go has been my favorite song for almost a year now.
I don’t have “favorite” songs.
I have songs I like, but never “favorites.”
This song is one of the few exceptions I can name off the top of my head.
Songs from Transformers: The Movie and the Rocky series don’t count, ’cause those are built in.
Seriously, I didn’t “choose” to love those songs, they chose me.
*Ahem!* Anyway, Let It Go is sung by Yuna Ito.
While it lends no credence as to why I like the song so much, it’s interesting to note that she’s a hapa girl.
That is, she’s half Korean, half Japanese, raised in Honolulu.
Way to represent the local people… By leaving the country and making music in a foreign country.
All kidding aside, while the music is definitely the biggest selling point for me in this song, with it’s beautiful, and surprisingly almost country-esque string work coupled with an unrelentingly upbeat tune, I have to say Ms. Ito’s voice is pretty fuckin’ good.
I’ve never really paid much attention to vocals in songs.
Like I’ve said in previous posts, I was a “hummer” as a kid; and thusly kept music in my head rather than songs.
That is to say, while the other kids annoyed their parents by singing “Under the Sea” at the top of their lungs everyday, I was busy pissing off my folks by incessantly humming music from Snow Bros. and Mega Man 2.
I can’t explain it, but for some reason I have a lot of trouble understanding the lyrics to songs, regardless of language.
Despite this, from what I know of Japanese pop music, Yuna Ito is a rare talent.
Near as I can tell, most Jpop stars are, like our own American ones, studio musicians I.E. pretty people that can do just enough of everything to appeal to the core demographic.
They have flat voices, and more often than not; hide behind backup dancers, high production value music and voice modulation.
Ms. Ito, while most likely guilty of all of the above, actually seems to have a genuinely strong singing voice.
While I’m probably wrong, my first thought process was that it may be a cultural difference.
She may be fluent in Japanese, and indeed have lived there most of her life for all I know, but being raised in Hawaii, as an American; would most likely lend some boldness to her style of singing.
It seemed to be the case for Utada Hikaru, who was from New York; so I don’t exactly feel dumb for making this assumption.
Anyway, if ever the Azn Badger seems primed for a stabbing session, just remember to put on Let It Go, or any of the above mentioned Japanese songs, and chances are you’ll be just fine.
Don’t quote me on that though.