I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Seiko Matsuda -- Train

"Train" was Seiko Matsuda's(松田聖子) compilation of all of those hits written by Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composed by Yumi Matsutoya (under her alias of Karuho Kureta[呉田軽穂]) released in March 1985. It was also the very first Seiko album that I ever bought. Compact discs were still a few years away from me back in my university days, so when I ran down from Japanese class at University of Toronto to Chinatown (just 10-15 minutes walk), it was to get the original LP at a Chinese record shop. That come-hither face of hers on the yellow cover just seemed to say "Just $25 CDN plus tax! C'mon! You passed the kanji test...treat yourself!" Who am I to refuse the Queen Aidoru?

Since these were the Matsumoto-Kureta hits, "Akai Sweet Pea"(赤いスイートピー), "Komugi Iro no Mermaid"小麦色のマーメイド) and "Hitomi wa Diamond"瞳はダイヤモンド)are all in there (and already profiled). However, I also want to profile some of the other tunes in there, starting with her 9th single, "Nagisa no Balcony"(渚のバルコニー) which was originally released in April 1982 and was also a track on her original album, "Pineapple". As the title hints, it's a summery, breezy song reminiscent of an even earlier hit, "Aoi Sangosho"青い珊瑚礁), one of my favourite Seiko-chan classics. It was her 7th straight No. 1 song and the 11th-ranked song of 1982.

I remember going home from Robarts Library at U of T with a classmate of mine from EAS120Y (1st-year Japanese) on one very cold night, and we were locked into a conversation about this very song, "Rock n' Rouge". My friend just couldn't figure out the significance of the lyrics "Pure pure lips." I merely said to him that there was a $5 all-you-can-eat buffet at Pizza Hut that had our names on it and we could discuss the oeuvre of Seiko over there. As it turned out, her 16th single was used as the Spring campaign song for Kanebo Cosmetics which would explain the reference to those facial features.

Yuming and Matsumoto showed two different sides of a date. Melodically and lyrically, a lot of the song portrayed the cool dude picking up his girlfriend in that sports car while adjusting the grease in his hair before the sweet refrain representing the girl comes in with Seiko-chan lisping "yes" and "please". Probably a lot of her male fans were melting into the tatami by that point.

"Rock n' Rouge" was Seiko's 14th straight No. 1 released in February 1984, and it was also a track on her album, "Tinker Bell". It was the 3rd-ranked song for that year.

The final song for this entry is "Jikan no Kuni no Alice"時の国のアリス...Alice in the Land of Time) which would be Yuming's final contribution to Seiko's repertoire up to now. It's a fun, uptempo song which seems to incorporate a lot of tropes from fairy tales right up to one of the most famous names in Alice. There are apples, horse-drawn pumpkin carriages and witches galore in here. Melodically, it seems to be a kissing cousin to Yuming's "Destiny" and I can imagine both her and Seiko doing a duet with this song easily.

"Jikan no Kuni no Alice" immediately came after "Rock n' Rouge" and was No. 15 in her unbeatable record of consecutive No. 1s. It also placed in 15th place for the yearly rankings and was another track on "Tinker Bell".

For any Seiko-chan fan, "Train" is a must-have. It also hit No. 1 and was the 38th-ranked album for 1985.

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