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.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

TUBE -- The Season In The Sun

Back in April 2012, when "Kayo Kyoku Plus" was but a wee 2 months old, I wrote about one of my favourite songs from the 1980s by a band that has rivaled other groups like Omega Tribe and Southern All Stars for the summer music beat. Of course, that would be TUBE. As soon as I heard "Season In The Sun", visions of white sand, coral reefs and blue water rushed into my head like a wave. I first heard the group's first big hit on a compilation tape and then I came across the subject of the above photo one day when I did one of my usual shopping runs at Wah Yueh.

Sure enough, the cover had everything I dreamed of when I heard "Season In The Sun", so I plunked down the cash and bought TUBE's 3rd LP from June 1986 (great release date). But the album title was "The Season In The Sun" might say it was the definite article (sorry, that was an inside "Doctor Who" joke). The J-Wiki article never mentioned the reason behind the adding of the "THE", but it never entered my mind back then and I won't let it bother me now. Moving on...

As with a number of articles I have done for other albums, there were no videos for most of the tracks on YouTube, except of course, "Season In The Sun". So I'm putting up the video here as well since it is just a great song and also to herald the return of plus-degree weather to my fair city. Just seeing the young Nobuteru Maeda in his T-shirt and semi-pompadour managed to de-age me by a few years. I have to also thank singer-songwriters Tomoko Aran(亜蘭知子)and Tetsuro Oda(織田哲郎)for creating this one.

Ah, before I forget, I should actually make the roll call on TUBE's behalf:

Nobuteru Maeda(前田亘輝): lead vocal and guitar
Michiya Haruhata(春畑道哉): guitar, keyboards and background vocal
Hideyuki Kakuno(角野秀行): bass and background vocal
Ryoji Matsumoto(松本玲二): drums and background vocal

It was nice to put the LP on the platter again for the first time in at least 20 years. Track 1 is "Weekend - NATU - Tsushin"(通信...Communication)which was written and composed by the lead singer himself. It's all about hitting the beach and having as much fun as possible. As I mentioned, "The Season In The Sun" is TUBE's 3rd album, but it was interesting listening to this first song since Maeda's voice sounds a bit like those male vocalists for anime themes back in that decade. I thought he was going to yell out, "YOU THE SHOCK!"

The track that follows "Season In The Sun" is "Ano Ko ni Q-Josho"(あの娘に急上昇...That Girl Really Turns Me On), a bit of a humorous-sounding tune that has a Benny Hill saxophone and a 50s-style beat as Maeda sings about getting a date with that girl walking on the beach by any means possible. Speaking of Benny Hill, I could imagine if there were a music video, it would have Maeda and band running after that poor lass and causing all sorts of mayhem just like on the British comedian's show. Kyoko Hoshino(星野今日子)was behind the lyrics and Daiko Nagato(長戸大幸)took care of the music (Nagato was also the producer for the album).

"Right On!" seems to have Maeda in Keisuke Kuwata(桑田佳祐)mode with the vocal gymnastics (still can't decipher what he blurted about at the beginning)  he plies here. The theme is similar to "Ano Ko ni Q-Josho" except that the singer is much hungrier and more aggressive about his target. And the rest of the band is more than ready to follow his lead. It may start innocently enough but then the guitar just starts wailing away and then the music goes into warp drive. Nagato once again composed here while Reiko Yukawa(湯川れい子)provided lyrics.

Probably next to "Season In The Sun", "Have A Nice Trip" is my favourite song on the album. Hiroaki Sei's(瀬井広明)music takes things to the music of Anri(杏里)and Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎)of 1980s Resort Pop. The beat is mellower and that saxophone was the biggest thing that had me thinking of Yamashita back then. And Shinji Moriyama's(森山進治) lyrics bring up a positive feeling about a breakup for a change. Perhaps the couple may have only wanted a summer fling...some good times on the shore and then head off back to their respective worlds once the fall comes in.

"The Season In The Sun" was TUBE's first Top 10 album, getting as high as No. 3 on the weeklies and ending 1986 as the 12th-ranked album. Selling 600,000 albums meant that TUBE finally broke through. As I mentioned in the article for "Season In The Sun", Maeda was thinking that this would be their final stab at stardom before packing up and going home. I don't think they have looked back since then.


  1. Thanks again for giving me the name of the song I like!

    I only checked blogspot once in awhile and I was interested in this post since I knew TUBE because of their appearance on SmaSma ending song (in 2012 or earlier ). Anyway, I liked TUBE but I didn't really follow them since then, I only like the medley they sang with SMAP then, and since I don't know Japanese, I didn't even try to look up the songs' names.

    In the original post you wrote TUBE (back then, in 2012) is the second longest run in Japanese music history, would you mind telling me who is the longest run in Japanese music history? Thank you! : )

    1. Hi, May. Good to hear from you.

      Thanks for the question since I was also intrigued about who was No. 1 in Japanese music history. I already had some ideas about who it was, but I needed to check for myself. At first, I went to the J-Wiki article on Oricon but though they had plenty of records listed, "Longest Run of Released Albums To Break The Top 10" didn't seem to be one of them.

      So I went through all of Yuming's history on J-Wiki. And apparently, she is No. 1 for original albums (again I'm open to correction). Basically, ever since she debuted as Yumi Arai in 1973 to her most recent album in 2013, her releases have hit somewhere in the Top 10 on Oricon, 40 years...and counting!

      Having said that, I haven't been a huge fan of hers for her recent work in the last 2 decades (her voice just got a little too reedy for my liking). I'm more for her 70s-90s work.

      The other musical act I was thinking about was B'z. According to their J-Wiki entry, Inaba and Matsumoto are listed at No. 3 with an 8-year run. There's quite a gap among Yuming, TUBE and B'z so I'm not perfectly confident about my findings, but it looks like the Queen of New Music is the Queen of Oricon as well.

    2. Thanks for the detailed answer! Since I don't know Japanese, it's really hard to explore real Japanese music, most of them aren't really popular or I can hardly find English information.

    3. Hi, May.

      Always a pleasure here. The blog has always been a platform for music that I just wanted to talk about, but I'm glad to help out with any questions fellow fans might have.

  2. Well...perhaps I shouldn't be saying "....and counting". There were no album releases in 2014. Even a Queen needs a break.


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