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, October 31, 2014

Hitomi Shimatani -- Perseus -ペルセウス-

Thanks to Noelle Tham, I had my very first Hitomi Shimatani (島谷ひとみ) experience with "Falco -ファルコ-". Although a very famous J-pop singer of the last decade, I had never listened to a song by her before. I explain this by admiting that I do have some kind of prejudice with Avex 00s artists (the lovely aidoru group TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE [東京女子流] is a notable exception, but they just came out in 2010). For me, the agency is the one which relies heavily in copying Western's style of pop artists. With Hitomi Shimatani, my main thoughts were not different. I always compared her to Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎あゆみ), Kumi Koda (倖田來未) or post-TK’s (小室哲哉) Namie Amuro (安室奈美恵), but Noelle’s post about “Falco” proved me that I was somewhat wrong (not totally wrong, though) about the girl.

Just like “Falco”, I realized very quickly that a lot of Hitomi’s songs are a mix of exotic and Asian melodies with standard dance pop, and that’s ok for me. After hearing from five to ten of her early-to-mid 00s singles, one that caugh my attention was “Perseus”, which was released in July 2003.

In “Perseus”, the steady clubby dance beat is there, but the synths and the main melody are pure Asian music estereotypes in the most Orientalist of the ways (and I’m not complaining here). Based on that, it’s not a surprise that my favourite parts are the instrumental sections. Somehow it made me remember of Chun-Li (春麗), from the Street Fighter (ストリートファイター) video game series. If she didn’t have a proper theme (click here), sung by Maki Miyamae (宮前真樹) from aidoru group CoCo, this one would fit very well. Also, Orientalist J-Pop songs are not rare to find at all. Some fantastic examples are Chisato Moritaka’s (森高千里) “Hong Kong” (香港) (listen here) and “RESCUE ME” (listen here), a song composed by TK for Kylie Minogue’s younger sister Danii Minogue, and later recorded by Chinese singer SUIREI (翠玲 [スイレイ]), also under TK’s wings.

“Perseus” reached #8 on the Oricon charts, selling 72,384 copies. Lyrics were written by BOUNCEBACK, while music was composed by Shigeki Sato (迫茂樹). As for the arrangement, h-wonder was the responsible.

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