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.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Junk Fujiyama -- The Best of Junk Fujiyama: Kazemachi(風街)

After listening to that surprise entry of Junk Fujiyama's(ジャンクフジヤマ) summer-happy "Hoshikuzu no Pipeline" (星屑のパイプライン)at the end of the 6th episode of "Space Dandy", I was convinced that I needed to get that song into my collection. I tracked it down as one of the new songs on the Junk's "The Best of Junk Fujiyama: Kazemachi" (Windy Town) which was released just at the end of January 2014. And following a trial listen to some of his past stuff at, I decided to pull the credit card trigger.

And since this is a BEST album, here are the tracks:

1. Overture for Driving
2. To the Sky
3. Ano Sora no Mukogawa e  (あの空の向こうがわへ)
4. Morning Kiss
5. Schedar (シェダル)
6. Sokubaku (束縛)
7. Courage - Honno Sukoshi no Yuuki  (ほんの少しの勇気)
8. E.G.A.O.
9. ONE
10. Himitsu (秘密)
11. Miwaku no Kuchibiru (魅惑の唇)
12. Hoshikuzu no Pipeline (星屑のパイプライン)
13. Yuuwaku (誘惑)
14. Summer Breeze
15. Boku no Megami (僕の女神)
16. Kaze ni Nari (風になり)

"Morning Kiss" is Fujiyama's 1st single from July 2010. Although it didn't come out on CD, it was available through download as would be the case for his next 5 singles until June 2012. One of the reasons I decided to purchase his BEST album was his vocal resemblance to that King of Summery City Pop, Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎). And anyone or anything that brings back those happy days of the late 70s and early 80s is more than welcome in my collection. Heck, even the CD cover by Seizo Watase(わたせせいぞう) brings that feeling. "Morning Kiss" is just one of the examples of that good-feelin' Yamashita sound again. Written and composed by Junk with collaborators Hitomi (or Miru) Shirai(白井未留) and Junpei Kamiya(神谷洵平), the keyboards throughout the song just makes it sound like an AM tune.

The video above has Junk providing the song in concert, and his movements reminds me of those by the late Joe Cocker. I wonder what Mr. Fujiyama can do with "You Are So Beautiful".

"Ano Sora no Mukogawa e" (To The Other Side Of That Sky) is Junk's 1st official CD single release from June 2012, and as the cover for the song illustrates, the lyrics by the singer encourages getting on that plane for some fun in the sun and leaving all that stress behind. Ryuta Sakamoto's (坂本竜太)melody and the horn arrangement make it mighty tempting to hail that taxi for Haneda Airport. The song also got onto Junk's second full album, "Junkscape" which came out a year after this single and also includes the above-mentioned "Morning Kiss". "Ano Sora" itself managed to peak at No. 47 while "Junkscape" got as high as No. 81 on the album charts.

"Sokubaku" (Restraint) is Junk going funk. Fujiki alone was responsible for the lyrics and music, and I got memories of British band Level 42 when I listened to this for the first time. I wonder how Chikuzen Sato(佐藤竹善) or Keizo Nakanishi (中西圭三)would sound tackling this song together. "Sokubaku" is a track on his first full album, "Junkwave" from April 2011.

"Himitsu" (Secrets) is another slowly grooving mid-tempo song by Junk through his 2nd album, "Junktime" from April 2010.

Another "Junktime" addition to his BEST album is "Miwaku no Kuchibiru" (Captivating Lips), a rousing song that has Junk really pushing his vocal cords and a great sax solo.

"Kazemachi" has only gotten as high as No. 90 (so far) since its release a little over 2 months ago, something that surprises me somewhat but then again my City Pop bias is pretty much out there. Currently, the alphabet aidorus (AKB48, SKE48, etc.) might be holding sway at the top of the Oricon iceberg, and that's fine with me, but I'm also happy with the fact that underneath the surface, there are also singers like Junk Fujiyama and Hitomitoi that are keeping the adult contemporary musical movement alive and kicking.

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