Well, it's been a while, Original Love. Welcome back to the blog! Yup, it's been about a year since I last put up a song by the one-man band/songwriting unit of Takao Tajima（田島貴男）.
Getting charmed by his melodies and his vocals, there was a time in the 90s when I was buying a fair number of Tajima's singles and albums. I bought his 4th album, "Kaze no Uta wo Kike"（風の歌を聴け...Listen to the Song of the Wind）on the strength of the rollicking "Asahi no Ataru Michi"（朝日のあたる道）which I first heard on my friend's car radio during a rainy drive through Chiba.
Then, sometime after that, I saw on the telly that Original Love was coming up with another album, and saw an excerpt from the official music video for "Hum A Tune" which was playing while his 6th album "Desire" (July 1996) was getting its ad shown. It had a close-up of Tajima's face sweating away near a fire while hearing a pretty dramatic riff. There was something quite voodoo about it. Well, that was it for me. I bought "Desire" in no time.
As it turned out, "Hum A Tune" was the first track (never a single) on the album, and it started out quite exotically with what sounded like an Indian sitar. I just went, "Sasuga, Tajima-san!" The only other song that I remember starting in a similar way was "Subarashii Yume no Naka de"（素晴らしい夢の中で）by the just-as-exploratory Sing Like Talking for their album, "Discovery" (1995).
Following that intriguing intro, "Hum A Tune" settles into an innocently optimistic, almost celebratory, tone of realizing that as the sun set, joy and nirvana were not far away. Then, in the last couple of minutes or so, the key suddenly veers elsewhere, a big drum starts banging away and things get a bit more intense melodically speaking...which is where that excerpt comes in during the "Desire" commercial. It's almost as if Tajima was trying to say that The Promised Land may be within your reach but you still gotta pay the piper a pretty high premium. I think the music video shows a good description of that.
My first listening to "Hum A Tune" caught me a bit off-guard but I've learned to appreciate it very well since then. And good heavens, the man can come up with some great hooks.
|The cover of "Desire"|
You really don't want to
cross this guy!
For instance, DO NOT
tell him that he's a Shibuya-kei