So far, "Semete Konya dake wa" is the most boisterous Mae-Kiyo song I've heard, and I enjoy it best with the volume cranked up. The sting of the electric guitar kicks start the song, and that is soon followed by trumpets and Kiyoshi Maekawa (前川清) when he had a stronger, more forceful voice, but it does have its mellower bits too in between the loud choruses. Listening to "Semete Konya dake wa" always makes me envision someone out on the town at night, exploring the bright city and its charms, doing so till the sun starts to rise where he then grabs a coffee to compliment the view. Hmm, that seems like pretty good idea to try out sometime.
Well, the lyrics for this track are were written by Shozo Ise (伊勢正三), who is a member of the Folk group Kaguyahime (かぐや姫) - pretty cool band name, if I don't say so myself. I had only taken a look at the lyrics while writing this article, and from what I understand, our lead fellow is intending to or is drunk in order to forget his sadness of not being able to see his lady again. Quite bitter, I must say, especially when it seemed to be a joyous tune music-wise (composed by Kazuo Wakiyama (脇山和夫)... I'm not sure on his surname).
Anyway, while I was looking for videos for the A-side of Maekawa's 34th single, I discovered that there is an earlier version of this song from 1990, sung by Kazuya Ari (有井和幸), also known as Keisuke Inoue (井上ケイスケ)... Frankly I'm not sure which name he goes by - or who he is exactly, could use some insight here - so I'll just use the former. Ari's version is not as raucous and his vocal delivery is laid-back, especially when compared to how intense Mae-Kiyo sounds. It doesn't really give me the same image as Maekawa's version either, it instead makes me think of the fellow cruising on a quiet highway and admiring the view.
Now, I'd like to talk about "Kokoro ni Kuchizuke te", the B-side to Maekawa's single. I chanced upon "Kokoro ni Kuchizuke te" while I was checking out the abridged MV to Mae-Kiyo's newest release "Yume no Tonari" (夢の隣り). I was looking through the sidebar with his other performances and songs I've not listened to yet, so I decided to give one of those songs a go, and went with "Kokoro ni Kuchizuke te". It didn't disappoint, and when Mae-Kiyo sung that first sentence of the chorus, it reminded me of this one Chinese song I had taken a liking to when I was younger, which was why I accepted it quickly. Yup, I have no idea who sang it (may have seen who it is before but forgot) or what the title of that particular song is. All I know is that it is sung by a man and that it's quite a popular song back then... not very helpful, is it? Oh well. Noelle from 3/8/2015: I found the song! It's a Mandarin song called "Wen Bie" (吻別) by Canto-Pop star Jackey Cheung.
Coming back the main topic, "Kokoro ni Kuchizuke te" seems to have a hint of enka in it and is more relaxed than "Semete Konya dake wa" - I found out both came from the same single when I saw that picture of Maekawa (I... uh... kinda like it...) in the video above that looked similar to the A-side's cover - but the man himself still sings as intensely and the lyrics by Mami Takubo (田久保真見) have about the same level of bitterness. When I read the first paragraph/stanza, I actually went, "Hey, this seems like it's gonna be a happy one for once!" since it's literally describing a usual date scenario of the couple meeting each other at the bar at 8 for a drink. And then everything started to go down hill as something seemed to have went wrong with our loving pair and are now apart. I'm not sure if Mae-Kiyo is singing in the perspective of a man or a woman, but either one of them is trying to relive their bar rendezvous while missing the other dearly. Kazuya Amikura (網倉一也) had composed the song.
"Semete Konya dake wa" and "Kokoro ni Kuchizuke te" were released 1st January 2007, and it did fairly alright on the regular charts, peaking at 63rd place.
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