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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

SMAP -- Sakasama no Sora (さかさまの空)


I never really got into the 15-minute morning drama serials on NHK (known as asadora), but for some reason, I made the exception for "Ume-chan Sensei"(梅ちゃん先生)which was shown here via TV Japan for the majority of 2012 (can't believe it's been 3 years). I guess it was because it took place during a period of Japanese history that I was the most interested in during my university years: the postwar era from 1945 into the 1960s when the nation began its economic rebirth. Also, I enjoyed the characters on the show since they kept the usual histrionics to a minimum.


The one other interesting thing about the show was the theme song by SMAP, "Sakasama no Sora" (Upside-Down Sky). When I first heard it in the opening credits, I thought it was a bit jarring since it sounded like a mellow semi-disco tune out of time with the setting of "Ume-chan Sensei". However, as I started enjoying the show, I also started to get used to the theme and even ended up liking it by the end.

"Sakasama no Sora" was released as SMAP's 47th single in April 2012 and became the group's 14th straight No. 1 song going all the way back a decade to "freebird" in 2002. It also stayed in the Top 10 for 47 straight weeks right from the get-go, becoming the 37th-ranked song for the year. Tetsuro Anjo(麻生哲朗)provided the lyrics while Yoko Kanno(菅野よう子)composed the melody. The tune was also a track on SMAP's 20th studio album, "Gift of SMAP" which was released in August 2012 and also hit the top spot on the charts. It would later become the 19th-ranked album for the year going Platinum.


4 comments:

  1. I've never considered myself a fan of SMAP but I found myself won over by the cheery disposition of this song. I was surprised to see Yoko Kanno's name as composer, since I tend to associate her more with anison than pop. But I think her talents are very well-suited to an ensemble group like SMAP than some other composers they have.

    If you compare this song to their following single, Moment, the differences are striking. I like Moment, a lot, mainly due to the strengths of sakanaction's Ichiro Yamaguchi, who wrote it. But the arrangement merely has the members alternating lines on the verse, then belting it out together in the chorus. Moment ends up being a very good sakanaction song being covered adequately by SMAP. Sakasama no Sora has a lot more interplay between the singers, a lot of call and response in the chorus, many different melodies to follow. It's basically a much more interesting song, and more fun to listen to.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Matthew.

      Yeah, "Sakasama no Sora" certainly took its time winning me over, and the fact that it was Kanno who composed it wasn't lost on me. I've known her much more for the classic "Tank!" but I also realized that she was responsible for the NHK song created in commemoration of the victims of the 2011 earthquake, "Hana wa Saku".

      Sakanaction is definitely one group that I would like to get more acquainted with. Their appearance on the 2013 Kohaku (I think) was a standout that got some pretty impressive applause from the audience.

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    2. If you're interested in trying more Sakanaction, their latest single ("Shin Takarajima") is both a great song with a sly groove and a goofy video that may be up your alley. (The Youtube link may or may not work for you -- it's a no go in the US currently https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIlZCmETvsY)

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    3. Thanks, Matthew. I just saw "Shin Takarajima" with no problem on YouTube and it's a hoot. The video is virtually a copy of the opening and ending credits for an old variety show I used to watch as a kid. The song is as catchy as anything that I've heard so far from Sakanaction and I will have to talk about it very soon!

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