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, August 19, 2015

Kiyoshi Maekawa -- Yume no Tonari (夢の隣り)

It feels rather odd for me to say this, but I've noticed that Kiyoshi Maekawa's (前川清) usual singing face has varied slightly over the decades. Way back then during his Cool Five days and some time after, he looked awkward with that frown and stoic expression. Fast-forwarding to the late 90's and mid 2000's, the frown fits the Mood Kayo singer better and he actually looks pretty fierce as he belts out a song - it's probably why that's my favourite phase. And finally coming back to the, as of today, 67 year-old fellow, I find that with more wrinkles and a more gaunt look, he appears more sad than angry and to my entertainment, he may seem very unamused, especially when he raises both eyebrows while his mouth remains down-turned.

Alrighty then, let's continue on to the main topic before this article takes a turn for the weirder. A few days ago when I did an article on a Yujiro Ishihara (石原裕次郎) tune, I mentioned that I had also got myself Maekawa's latest (49th) single, which happens to be "Yume no Tonari", released in June 2015. I could've waited for his new compilation album to come out as it would most likely have "Yume no Tonari" in it, but I was curious about the B-Side and the bonus track the single had to offer - these would most likely not be found in compilation albums - and from previous experiences, the other tracks could be as good or better than the A-side.  

Beforehand, I read that Tetsuya Gen (弦哲也) was the one responsible for the music to "Yume no Tonari", and though not one of those cheerful and festive-sounding scores that I'm so used to hearing from this composer - it would be a surprise to hear Mae-Kiyo sing something like that - it's got the elegant, enka feel to it and has the instruments Gen typically incorporates into his works - strings and the accordion. The moment I heard that familiar sound I went, "It's done by Gen alright." Teruyuki Sakamoto (坂口照幸) wrote the lyrics.

(cover version)

Moving on, "Yume no Tonari" wasn't something I took an immediate liking to on the first listen due to its slow and wistful pace, but I have to say that it wasn't bad either so I continued to listen to it because of that. Eventually it grew on me and the chorus gets stuck in my head quite often, and I found a part of the song that I enjoyed - the instrumental bit after the first chorus. Oh, one more thing, "Yume no Tonari" peaked at 77th place on the regular Oricon charts and 17th on the enka-yo charts.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I do agree on the elegance of the song thanks to the strings and that instrument that sounds almost like an accordion (adds a certain Gallic flavour), and I think all those lines and wrinkles on Maekawa's face now lend a more well-worn and authentic gravitas to his singing. The man has probably seen it all in over 40 years in show business.


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