Believe it or not, Hideaki Tokunaga (德永英明) had my attention before Mae-Kiyo stepped into the picture. I know what you must be thinking. Yes, although I've mentioned time and again that I have a strong preference for male singers with deep, rumbling voices, there was a period of 1 to 2 months where I had actually liked this guy with the voice of a puppy quite a fair bit. Well, now he sounds like a husky rubber duckie, but you get the point. However, I think it's more appropriate to say that I fell in love with his face rather than his voice. I mean come on, that guy is good-looking. And his songs are mostly pleasant and listenable, so that's a plus.
Moving on, I got to know Tokunaga's relatively new single "STATEMENT" when I got the album of the same name quite a while ago. I think it's about a year plus since then. I wasn't that familiar with the singer yet and my impression of him was that his voice (now) seemed to only fit slow, lounge-worthy ballads, and female artiste covers he's so well known for in his "VOCALIST" series. This notion stuck for a while since I hadn't discovered much of his discography until "STATEMENT" came around to prove me wrong.
It started off rather slow with just the tinkling of the piano and Tokunaga's smoky delivery, before coming to life when the rest of the instruments of a typical pop song came into play. I definitely enjoyed this change in pace and liked "STATEMENT" on the first listen... which I shall vaguely assume that it was on YouTube, hence the purchase of the album.
The track was released on 17 June 2013 and Tokunaga wrote and composed it. It did well on the charts, peaking at 18th place, and was used as the theme song for this police drama "Keiji 110 Kilo" (刑事110キロ) that revolves around this overweight police officer, as the title implies.
Y'know, Tokunaga is one of the handful of mainstream pop artistes whom I've seen a number of times on my go-to Tuesday Enka-based show, Kayo Concert. I remember staring the photo of him in awe at the show's webpage a few months ago when checking out the following week's selection. I would say it's a palate cleanser and a pleasant surprise to see something different once in a while.
|The album I got. Released a month after|