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.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dreams Come True -- Million Kisses

A couple of years ago, I did an article on Dreams Come True's most successful album, "The Swinging Star" which came out in 1992, and there were some great tracks on that one. But I think it also ended up overshadowing another pretty decent album...their preceding one, "Million Kisses" from November 1991. And I have to say that the cover for DCT's 4th album is the quintessential photo of Takahiro Nishikawa, Miwa Yoshida and Masato Nakamura(西川隆宏・吉田美和・中村正人). Whenever I think of the trio, that's the pic that hits my mind.

(empty karaoke version)

The inspiration for the title of the album according to J-Wiki comes from the group's expression of gratitude in the form of a million kisses for the million people who bought their 3rd album, "Wonder 3" (I bought that one, too, and I will choose Miwa to do the honors).

As for the first song to be profiled, that would be the 2nd track of "Kare wa Tomodachi"(彼は友達...He's A Friend)which was the coupling song for Dreams Come True's 9th single, "Eyes To Me". Unlike the breezy nature of the main song, "Kare wa Tomodachi" has got an urgent beat to it and it's a song that I haven't heard in a long time. It's not one of my favourite DCT tunes since the refrain seems to go a bit off-kilter for some reason.

(cover version)

Strangely enough, the one track that repeatedly courses through my head whenever I think of "Million Kisses" is "Anata ni Salada"(あなたにサラダ...A Salad For You). It's just one of those intentionally cutesy and silly songs that reminds me of some of those novelty tunes or commercial jingles that popped up in the early years of television...kinda along the same lines as "How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?" I think Miwa's performance with the backing dancers hit the nail on the head...if I'm not mistaken, the excerpt is from DCT's variety show from the early 90s. I only caught the bloopers from the show via rental video and my impression was that it seemed to follow that old US variety show style. It would have been nice to have seen at least one episode.

"Wasurenai de"(忘れないで...Don't Forget Me)was DCT's 10th single from October 1991 which I think was the big ballad of the album. The album version has the sad and brief telephone call between Miwa and the probably newly-minted ex-lover before the song revs up. It has that beat which creates that scene of a tearful Miwa walking through an otherwise gala festival while she is in her own bubble of grief. There seems to be that drama running in parallel with all of the frivolity. It peaked at No. 5 on the singles charts and became the 78th-ranked single for the year.

(cover version)

The final track is the longest one at 6:50 with "Ginga e no Fune"(銀河への船...Ship to the Stars). It's quite the epic ballad to finish the album as the verses start off with R&B/gospel before the melody transits into something akin to music from a merry-go-round and then it launches off into a musical flight into the heavens. There is even a feeling of a waltz especially near the end. And once again, Yoshida provides the fine rocket power with those vocal cords of her. Despite the length of the song, it doesn't feel all that long; I guess all those genre shifts keep our ears from getting bored. As I mentioned for "The Swinging Star", there is a segue of sorts from "Million Kisses" over to the next album as "Ginga e no Fune" gets a Big Band treatment at the beginning as the title instrumental track.

"Million Kisses" not only earned a million kisses from Miwa but it even garnered a million more. By 1994, it sold around 2.4 million copies. It hit the top spot on Oricon and lasted a good long while on the yearly charts. It may have come out on November 15th 1991 but within those last 6 weeks of the year, it became the 11th-ranked album, then the following year, it was the No. 9 album of 1992 and finally by the end of 1993, it was still hanging in there at No. 67. It also earned a Best Album prize from The Japan Record Awards.

Still for me, it's that wonderful cover of the three. It was the one thing that got me to write out the bank draft to send over to Japan.

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