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, October 26, 2015

Yutaka Shimazu/Teresa Teng -- Hotel (ホテル)

Whatever happens in a hotel stays in a hotel.

Yup, I did adapt Las Vegas' famous catchphrase just now but it basically describes this Mood Kayo. I didn't encounter this song on an episode of "Kayo Concert" or "Nodo Jiman", but the fairly uptempo melody struck me as quite familiar, especially with the flute, so I gather that it must have popped up at a karaoke establishment sometime over the last 30 years (perhaps Kuri?)

However, what got me to write about it was seeing the above video with the picture of a sober-sided fellow holding a cigarette while the neon font of "Hotel" in katakana is glowing above him. Yep, nothing says Mood Kayo more than a record cover like that. And as soon as I heard the first number of bars of the music, I realized that I had heard this one in the past.

There seemed to have been quite the sweepstakes surrounding the song by Rei Nakanishi and Keisuke Hama(なかにし礼・浜圭介)starting with its original release in February 1984 as sung by Junichi Tachibana(立花淳一). According to J-Wiki, a number of singers have given their own versions of "Hotel", and although Tachibana's original sold over 800,000 records, it is the one in 1985 by enka singer Yutaka Shimazu(島津ゆたか)that has become the representative version and a hit also for Shimazu.

The karaoke video above explains what the lyrics are all about...and also about how the man in the song feels via my first statement at the very top. One of the big Mood Kayo tropes is about that side tryst in a hotel; have that one-night stand, enjoy a bit of brekkie in the lobby cafe and then part ways without respective family members or work colleagues none the wiser...perhaps. And there is also the one other trope about the enka genre in which female singers have sung from the point of view of the man and vice versa. "Hotel" fulfills both tropes as Shimazu and a number of other male singers have sung from the view of the woman in the affair who actually falls in love with her tryst partner and tries desperately to bring him around to her way of thinking. Meanwhile, the man is trying to put his selfish misdeed in the past. Would love to have heard a sequel song to "Hotel"..."Morgue", perhaps? (Sorry, I am writing this as I watch a particularly dark episode of "Gotham".) In any case, I don't think things will go well for either party.

And on that last part, Shimazu, who debuted in 1970 as an enka singer, had his first big hit 10 years later with "Hana kara Hana e to"(花から花へと...From Flower to Flower)before releasing "Hotel". However, his career imploded in 2002 when he said something inappropriate on an NHK radio program and suddenly found himself with a lot of free time on his hands. And apparently, things haven't changed much since then.

(Sorry, the video has been taken down.)

The late Teresa Teng (テレサ・テン...and I'm sure other female singers) provided her own cover of "Hotel", although it didn't come out as an official single. Unfortunately I don't know when exactly it was released.

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