Credits

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, September 14, 2015

SMAP -- KISS OF FIRE





“KISS OF FIRE” is a very old gem from the debut album, “SMAP 001” (January 1992), of famous aidoru group SMAP.

Normally, I don’t pay attention to SMAP’s music with the exception of some singles they released during their peak, such as “Aoi Inazuma” (青いイナズマ), “SHAKE” and “Yozora no Mukou” (夜空ノムコウ), to name a few. However, I was able to listen to their debut album in very good sound quality, and, in retrospect, I guess I was really in a good mood to listen to an entire SMAP album. More impressive was the fact that I could actually take something positive from the album, which, in case, is “KISS OF FIRE”.

I will not be an hypocrite and say it’s a great song, but some of the main sonic features, such as the aggressive and edgy Eurobeat-inspired synths, are enough for my taste. I liked how it sounded and I’ll probably reject it in a few days, but right now I'm still jamming to it. Honestly, I probably like it more because of the surprise factor, as I never listened to a SMAP song with such dated 80s synths before. It even reminded me some early songs from Megumi Hayashibara (林原めぐみ), my favourite singer.

All in all, “KISS OF FIRE” is not even close to SMAP’s best, but it’s nice to see they came from somewhere, just like every other artist. Let’s say it’s a little piece of history.

Doing the basic research for this post, I discovered that “KISS OF FIRE” was actually the coupling song from SMAP’s second single, “Seigi no Mikata wa Ateninaranai” (正義の味方はあてにならない), which was released in December 1991, reached #10 on the Oricon charts and sold 129,460 copies. Ironically, the main song wasn’t included on the album, but “KISS OF FIRE” was.

Lyrics for the song were written by Hiromi Mori (森浩美), while music was composed by Kouji Makaino (馬飼野康二). As for the arrangement, Motoki Funayama (船山基紀) was the responsible.

5 comments:

  1. Hi, Marcos.

    Yeah, it's always interesting where these long-running bands and singers originated. Listening to "Kiss of Fire", SMAP sounded a lot like the previous Johnny's band at the top of the mountain, Hikaru Genji. Nope, it's not the greatest tune but there is still some pretty nice arrangement by Funayama.

    Man, looking at that CD cover...did they really look that young back then?

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    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      I thought about the similarities between Hikaru Genji and them as well, but it was late to make the comparison in the post. Also, the SMAP boys, at least in "KISS OF FIRE", sang the whole song in unison, which became kind of rare for them when they finally reached the stardom. KimuTaku, for example, always had his designated lines, and he was the only one, alongside Goro, that could actually sing some notes.

      I think I'm pretty bold, because I'm downloading SMAP's first live video just to try finding a performance of "KISS OF FIRE". From the previews I watched, they even sang Eurobeat songs in this concert. Now I'm pretty sure that this is a must see.

      I have a friend that hates SMAP, and I'm thinking about torturing him with this concert when we meet next time. It will be fun to see him complaining about it.

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    2. Hi there.

      Very astute observation about how the singing was done back then with the guys. I would be keenly interested how SMAP handled good ol' Eurobeat.

      Well, if you think your friend hates SMAP, just make him listen to the parts where only Nakai-kun sings. He'll need therapy for a month! :)

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    3. Well, I watched the concert and SMAP sang a couple of Eurobeat classics in a very scenic way, and that's not a compliment. In the end, it was weird.

      I remember watching some SMAP x SMAP with this friend of mine and we shared some laughs when SMAP had to sing with American artists, such as Mariah Carey and Katy Perry, for example. Also, there was a time they met with Michael Jackson and it was fun to see Jackson's sympathy towards them. Unfortunately (or fortunately), they didn't sing together.

      If you want, here's Mariah singing "Hero" with SMAP.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQrUm0L8_7A

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    4. I have to admit that I was somewhat of a coward whenever Western artists appeared on SMAP X SMAP to perform with the group. I usually changed the channel....I was more of a fan of Bistro SMAP, actually. I heard about Black-Eyed Peas appearing with the group and just went WOW!

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