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.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Original Love -- Asahi no Ataru Michi (朝日のあたる道)

Apparently, the singer (and only member) of Original Love, Takao Tajima(田島貴男), disliked being labeled as Shibuya-kei. In fact, according to the J-Wiki write-up on the group, he had once screamed into the microphone at a concert in 1994, "I AM NOT SHIBUYA-KEI!!!" Message received loud and clear, sir. And I heartily concur. I'm surprised that the band was given that genre label since I don't think Tajima sounds at all similar to Pizzicato Five or Flipper's Guitar. If anything, I think Original Love is more in the fusion/funk category of things. But strangely enough, although the band itself started up in 1986, Tajima did a couple of years as P5's second lead vocal from 1988 to 1990 before the iconic Maki Nomiya(野宮真貴)took over.

The first time I heard of Original Love was while I was in the car with a couple of friends in Japan. One of them just had the CD playing on the stereo, and it turned out to be OL's 4th album, "Kaze no Uta wo Kike"風の歌を聴け....Listen to the Song of the Wind). And the song playing at that time was "Asahi no Ataru Michi"(The Street In The Morning Sun), also known as "As Time Goes By". It was a good ol' stomp mixing in pop, soul and jazz with Tajima strutting his distinctive vocals like he had complete ownership of the sidewalk. I loved the horn section, and especially the trumpet solo....I just wondered at that point if Stevie and Dizzy collaborated again. At the time, the Tetsuya Komuro music machine was at the top of J-Pop, so to hear something old-school again was pretty refreshing.

The song was released as Original Love's 6th single (written and composed by Tajima) in April 1994, just a couple of months before the album came out. It peaked at No. 12 on Oricon (the album itself hit No. 1). After listening to the CD on my friend's car stereo, it wasn't too long before I got that very album and some more discs by the man. Although Original Love had at least three members including the lead singer at the time the song came out, by 1995, Tajima ended up going his own way as a soloist but still retaining the band name.

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