Credits

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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sumire Uesaka -- Kitare! Akatsuki no Doushi (来たれ! 暁の同志)


One of my favorite acts of the year is probably the Soviet Union enthusiast seiyuu-aidoru-model Sumire Uesaka (上坂すみれ). Although she debuted back in the first half of 2013, it’s in 2014 that her most notabe songs are being released. First, in January, she released her debut album “Kakumei Teki Broadway Shugisha Doumei” (革命的ブロードウェイ主義者同盟). The album, a colorful extravaganza full of aggressive electronic sounds, quirky aidoru songs and a couple of experiments with Russian melodies, was quicky followed by an awesome single, “Parallax View” (パララックス・ビュー), in March. But different from everything that was presented in Sumire's debut album, “Parallax View” can be best described as an edgy punk-rock song with Eastern elements and anime-ish shoutings. The result was pure gold, even if I'm very far from being a punk-rock fan.

If that wasn’t enough for now, Sumire came back in July with “Kitare! Akatsuki no Doushi” an Eurobeat banger that borrows inspiration from the late 90s/early 00s incarnation of the Eurobeat sound. Although tame (an Eurobeat song is not among the most creative ideas in Japan today) if compared to the outrageous “Parallax View”, “Kitare! Akatsuki no Doushi” is as excinting as every Eurobeat song must be. Apparenty, the original inspiration was Wink’s 1995 single "JIVE INTO THE NIGHT", but the ending result was something similar to Initial D’s Eurobeat songs (source here).

Other than that, what really called my attention was the big fusion of the Eurobeat sound with Communist aesthetics both in the song’s title and the video. Roughly translated as “Come! Comrades of the Dawn”, the song made me remember how the old Italo Disco sound (Eurobeat’s original form) was popular during the last years of the Soviet Union, to the extent of some Italo records being produced in the Soviet Union for real. One nice example is the obscure “Moscow Nights” by the Bazykina Twins (you can listen to it here). In the end, I really don’t know if Sumire’s team or even herself were aware of this fact, but it’s funny to see an Eurobeat song paying homage to the extinct Communist regime since both things were part of the Russian reality back in the 80s.

Lyrics for “Kitare! Akatsuki no Doushi” were written by Neko Oikawa (及川眠子), while music and arrangement were done by Keiichi Okabe (岡部啓一).

2 comments:

  1. Hi, Marcos.

    Thanks for putting this one up. When I saw the reference to seiyuu and Soviet Union enthusiast, I wondered about Ms. Uesaka and then looked her up on Wiki and J-Wiki. Sure enough,I've heard her before...on an episode of the 2013 anime, "Girls Und Panzer" as a Russian tank officer singing "Katyusha" in the original language with her superior. The scene became quite famous in the anime community. The link to the song is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehhitnnB22k

    As for "Kitare!", it reminds me of some of the dance craze of parapara that was sweeping the clubs of Japan years ago.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      Thanks a lot for this tip. It was nice to hear Sumire-chan singing "Katyusha". Sometimes I wonder why Russian elements are incorporated in J-Pop songs. Besides Sumire's songs, I remember of three right now:

      Morning Musume.'s "Souda! We're ALIVE" (2002)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_zmewdR-b8

      Wink's "Haitoku no Scenario" (1991)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mgga7sl32yw

      Koharu Kusumi's "Balalaika" (2006)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF7J78C3aRo

      Right now, I'm obsessed with "Kitare! Akatsuki no Doushi". It has great synth hooks.

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