Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Yumi Matsutoya -- Refrain ga Sakenderu （リフレインが叫んでる）
I was told at least twice by friends in a half-joking sense that Yuming's（ユーミン）"Refrain ga Sakenderu" (A Refrain is Crying Out) is definitely NOT the song to be played at a wedding reception. Well, there are plenty of kayo kyoku songs that would fit that warning.
Still, it seems that the lyrics and the overall arrangement have been notable enough that this Yumi Matsutoya（松任谷由実）track remains the gold standard for bringing down the temperature in a relationship. And the songwriter did come up with something that just screams heart wrenching regret over a lost romance, and with quite the evocative imagery: the sun going down that last spring melting into the car hood while shining on the mackerel sky, hugging the girl until she broke, finally hearing that sad refrain on a scratchy old tape. There's plenty of drama in this song to fill a typical TBS afternoon melodrama. And the melody supporting the words were more than willing to add to it, especially with that electric guitar as the actual refrain repeated itself.
I was surprised to find out that "Refrain ga Sakenderu" never came out as its own single, instead being the first track on Matsutoya's 20th album, "Delight Slight Light KISS" in November 1988. In fact, none of the tracks were issued as singles from this album. For such a dark beginning, the theme for "Delight Slight Light KISS" was apparently jun'ai（純愛）or "pure love", according to the J-Wiki article, and as for the meaning of the title itself, it was "a kiss without tongue". Pure love indeed.
In any case, the album won one of the Grand Prizes for Best Album at the 1989 Japan Record Awards. Not surprising, since it not only hit the top spot on Oricon for 3 weeks in December 1988 but ended up becoming the top album of 1989.