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.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tomoyasu Hotei -- Last Scene (ラストシーン)

Tomoyasu Hotei (布袋寅泰)has been popping up in the background, so to speak, in several of the articles here, whether it be for BOOWY, COMPLEX, or Miki Imai(今井美樹). So I gather it's time to have him front and centre.

And it's about time. Any person who can come up with the theme of all themes to accompany an epic power walk such as "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" from the Quentin Tarentino movie, "Kill Bill" should be given his own star on a walk of fame somewhere. Not to mention that Hotei himself back in his younger days looked pretty darn intimidating with that huge hair and costume from "The Road Warrior".

However, I will be starting his file with a song that I enjoyed from his solo career from the 90s called "Last Scene". When it comes to a Hotei single, it first came to my attention through the official music video, and "Last Scene" accompanied the interesting choice of a mini-movie featuring the day in the life of a young woman who has a sideline as a ballet dancer. The song stood out for me because of its rhythm line, which reminded me of the one from Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" way back when. The Boss' classic was a tune that our high school band class had to go over and over, so that rhythm line is pretty much embossed in my brain. And so when I came across "Last Scene", it all came back to me.

And for all those times that Hotei was strutting and thrusting away with his guitar behind folks like Koji Kikkawa and Kyosuke Himuro(吉川晃司・氷室京介), I also realized that as a soloist, he's got a pretty distinctly decent voice....kinda like especially rich caramel laced with a shot of fine brandy. With "Last Scene", he doesn't just sing his words so much as he rather weaves his way through and around them like a bee who hit a fairly potent batch of nectar. Despite the video of that ballerina, the lyrics has Hotei treating the end of a romantic relationship with as much brio as he would a joyous wedding celebration. He's a die-hard romantic as he intends to give the end as much epic bittersweetness as the final scene of a sappy Hollywood flick. However, I'm not sure if Hotei himself is also covering up a massive ball of hurt underneath that layer of bravado.

"Last Scene" was written and composed by Hotei, and was his 11th single released in January 1996. Miki Imai was in there, too, along with singer-songwriter Caoli Cano(かの香織), as backup vocals. It peaked at No. 3 on Oricon and finished the year as the 51st-ranked song, and it also went Platinum. In addition, it is also a track on his 5th studio album, "King & Queen" from February of that year which hit the top spot on the album charts.

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