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.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Yutaka Ozaki -- Sotsugyo (卒業)

This time of year is the time for the emotionally-wrought school graduation ceremonies. Those seniors gussy up their uniforms and somberly receive their diplomas from the principal while their kohai and former teachers look on, and then later on, a lot of the students have a good ol' cry about it. However, considering the winter we all seem to have had this past year, I suspect that there was a whole lot more snow than cherry blossoms surrounding the schools.

In 1985, there also seemed to be quite the influx of graduation-themed pop songs. Mid-80s aidoru Momoko Kikuchi and Yuki Saito(菊池桃子・斉藤由貴) had their hits that year with songs of the same title, "Sotsugyo" (Graduation). Rock balladeer Yutaka Ozaki(尾崎豊) also had his own "Sotsugyo" ready, and his 4th single was the first out of the gate as it was released in January 1985. However, unlike the cutesy namesakes of Kikuchi and Saito, Ozaki's take on the annual academic event was just like him and his songs: gutsy and filled with emotion. And in this case, the emotion seemed to be that of frustration.

According to his lyrics (there is an English translation at "The Last Dream", an unofficial Ozaki fansite), Ozaki sings out loud about all of that pent-up energy that builds up in a lot of teens but has nowhere constructive to some of it may just get distributed into the act of breaking the school windows or fighting. The singer is chomping about this but at the end, he also laments the fact that by the time he finally gets out of the verdamnt educational system, he'll most likely lose that power and end up as that salaried droid. Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire. And yet, his music sounds like a proud anthem. Most of the kids might be growing into the life of corporate obedience but Ozaki is going to make sure that they get at least a warning from him.

The original 45" single of "Sotsugyo" peaked at No. 20 on Oricon, but 5 years later, the 8-cm CD single release managed to get as high as No. 8 on the charts. It was also a track on Ozaki's 2nd album, "Kaikisen"(回帰線...Tropic of Graduation), which was released in March 1985 and went to No. 1. In fact, it also received a prize for Excellent Album at the Japan Record Awards.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.