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.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi -- Junko (順子)

Considering the image over the past number of years of singer-songwriter Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi (長渕剛)as this hard man of Japanese popular music and the acting business (chiseled body, Clint Eastwood taciturnity, tough guy roles), it's almost rather soothing and surprising at the same time that his 5th single from June 1980, "Junko" is such a lovelorn ode from somebody who would most likely be the easy victim of Nagabuchi's recent characters.

It definitely hit a chord with the fans back then as it hit No. 1 and would eventually be the 5th-ranked single of the year. I gather that might have been because there were more of the guys to get sand kicked in their faces than the ones who were doing the kicking. The way Nagabuchi sang this struck me as being symbolic of that Tokyo school dweeb in the Coke-bottle glasses and ill-fitting uniform who pines for her pretty and completely oblivious Junko. So much for the tough guy act back then.

What I love about "Junko" is the combination of that early 70s J-Folk melody and the especially silky strings that accompanied a lot of early 80s ballads whether they be sung by aidoru or other pop singers. And just how Nagabuchi delivers in that sing-song style reminds me of all of us at that certain age when our voices were starting to break and our emotions were starting to roil. There is also that last part of the refrain where he repeatedly implores Junko in spirit not to knock on the door of his heart almost in a comical way.

"Junko" actually started life earlier in 1979 when it was part of Nagabuchi's 2nd album, "Gyakuryu" (逆流...Counter-Current)which came out in November. The album would be given the Best Album honours at the 1980 Japan Record Awards.

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