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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MAX -- Ride On Time

Nope, this isn't a MAX cover of the Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎)classic. This is a wholly different animal. I've always wondered what the deal was with those three words since although they are grammatically sound as a title, I don't think they would ever be used in an English-speaking country, except possibly on an episode of "Doctor Who". Still, the powers-that-be must have mused that if it could headline one of the most famous examples of City Pop, then it should have enough cachet to serve some catchy dance-pop.

In any case, this version of "Ride on Time" was released as MAX's 10th single in July 1998, and it was a song that was all over the airwaves for months and months, especially when I was regularly watching "Countdown TV" on TBS early Sunday Morning. It was a regular ritual to see the video excerpt of Nana, Mina, Reina and Lina tripping the light fantastic in those shimmery dresses, and the group did the rounds of performing on live TV as well (they were as much tarento as they were singers & dancers). At about the same time, another M-group, Morning Musume (モーニング娘。)were also becoming quite popular so it was an interesting contrast seeing the Hello Project munchkins traipsing about while their "older sisters" were also boogeying away.

Goro Matsui(松井五郎)of Anzen Chitai(安全地帯)fame wrote the lyrics to MAX's "Ride on Time" and singer-producer Kiichi Yokoyama(横山輝一)provided the kinetic Latin kick to the music. The song peaked at No. 4 and earned a Japan Record Award that year as well as an invitation to perform on the Kohaku Utagassen. It was also the ending theme song for a TV Asahi drama, "Sweet Devil", that starred the group. Man, they were really getting around those days.

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