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, June 14, 2014

Love Psychedelico -- Your Song

Going with a lot of the comments I've heard and read about folk-rock unit Love Psychedelico, I was just impressed-the-hell-out by the voice of Kumi. Well, the name of the band was cool enough but Kumi's English and Japanese vocals on the first song I'd ever heard by her and her partner Naoki Sato(佐藤直樹), "Your Song", just had me saying "She just can't be from Japan". In an interview, she stated that her English was not that good and that she was simply from Chiba Prefecture. Well, I lived in good ol' Chiba-ken for 17 years and I don't think there is a NOVA or Berlitz teacher alive who could have taught her that sort of pronunciation. I wasn't aware that California had become part of the prefecture.

As it turned out, from the ages of 2 to 7, Kumi had lived in San Francisco which explains things nicely. Still, hearing her vocalize "Oh sing it to me, oh sing it to me" made an impression on me. The overall demeanor and appearance of Love Psychedelico struck me the same way that seeing Dreams Come True for the first time over a decade earlier had imprinted on me but for a different reason. Both bands sounded unconventional in the world of Japanese pop, but whereas Dreams Come True had me thinking British pop/soul via Swingout Sister, Love Psychedelico came across as American plaid shirt-and-jeans roots rock (although according to the Wikipedia article, the British Invasion of the late 1960s was their stylistic template). Sheryl Crow was another singer whose name was bandied about as an influence.

"Your Song" was the band's 2nd single which came out in July 2000, and it will always be the song that I will associate with them. It was written and composed by Love Psychedelico and peaked at No. 17 on Oricon. I think it's one of those tunes that is comfortable to hear at home or at the park, rain or shine, again thanks to Kumi's vocals. It also appeared on the duo's debut album, "The Greatest Hits" which was released in January 2001 and hit the top spot on the album charts. It would become the 9th-ranked album of the year.

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