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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, November 30, 2015

Chage and Aska -- if

Single version.

Ah, at last, I'm able to think clearly again... A cold can do more than just clog one's nose, as I had the pleasure of finding out, and simple tasks like the spelling of the word "fungus" took some time to register in the noggin. Well, but at least I'm glad to say that I feel a lot better right now.

During the week when I was down with the flu, I had the urge to listen to the more mellow sounding stuff that come from the genre of Pop as, at that moment in time, I thought of enka as being too... depressing or just too much, to put it very bluntly, for my state of mind and I didn't want to feel any worse than I already was. So who would be better to listen to than Chage and Aska? I stuck to some of my favourite tracks from assorted albums, and there were these two songs in particular that would constantly be on replay: "NATURAL" and "if". The former due to its relatively quick pace and overall cheerful vibe - makes me think of a sunny and windy autumn day for some reason - and the latter for its comfortable and interesting melody.

Album version.

Composed by the taller half of the duo, most of "if" is rather quiet with the piano tinkling away and the strumming of the acoustic guitar and Aska's delicate vocals; it's only at the chorus after the chiming of the bells when this Checkers-like doo wop beat comes in and spices up the song. This, of course, is only in the single version of "if", which was released on 1st July 1992. In the other version, which was released in C&A's 15th album "GUYS" a few months later in November, "if" becomes more ballad-like and laid-back, but at the cost of that doo wop beat that I like so much from the single version. I wonder if its to allow this song to fit in better with the other tracks in that album as the other tracks in there do have that similar style. The album rendition of "if" is still enjoyable to listen to though. It gives off that same feeling of having the summer breeze blow through your hair.

As for its lyrics, I recalled not being able to make sense of them and I was desperately trying to find the "if-s" in what Aska had written. A few years down the road, when my understanding of Japanese improved and when I found the English translation (can't seem to find it now though), I realised that the "if" in "if" (haha) came in the form of "Moshimo", which is, you guessed it, if in Japanese! Glad that was settled. Anyway, the lyrics basically revolve around the fellow asking the question of what would happen if he hadn't met this person, or at least something on that line.

"if" (single version) did very well on the charts in 1992 and wound up becoming a million seller. It peaked at 1st place for 2 consecutive weeks and was best selling song for July before dropping down to 4th in August. By the end of the year it settled at a respectable 8th place.

auction.rakuten.co.jp

2 comments:

  1. Hi, Noelle.

    It was quite fascinating listening to the original and album versions for "if". I think the original would have been the one listened to during the mid-afternoon while the album version would have been the sunset or evening take on the ballad. What's interesting about the song overall is how at one point before the refrain, "if" almost achieves a certain operatic theatricality. Aska certainly did have the flair for some innovative melodic twists.

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    Replies
    1. Hi J-Canuck.

      Yup, Aska did have a knack for creating some interesting melodies, and I tend to like that, which is why "if" and a number of his other works, most notably "WALK", are some of my favourite C&A songs.

      For the single version of "if", I thought of it as more of a morning song, with the start of the song being the musical equivalent of the sun rising. But I have to agree that the album version does go well with a sunset too.

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