When I first heard and heard of Tatsuro Yamashita（山下達郎）, I didn't know anything about the fact that he was one of the big names in not only New Music but also in City Pop and that he was married to another fave of mine, Mariya Takeuchi（竹内まりや）. My first experience with the singer-songwriter was through a couple of songs on a tape that I had borrowed from a friend in university. And when I listened to "Ride On Time" and "Your Eyes", I just thought, "Man...what a voice!" And there was something so smooth and comfortable with his arrangements. At the time, much of my dalliance with Japanese pop music was on the sugary-sweet aidoru stuff of Seiko-chan（松田聖子） through rental videos and the technopop of Yellow Magic Orchestra via the small collection of tapes that I had gotten, although from time to time, a third way did pop its head via some of the material of Yuming（ユーミン）and Mariko Takahashi（高橋真梨子）.
But then came this contemporary balladeer in the form of smiley and shaggy Tatsuro Yamashita. And on hearing "Itsuka" (Someday) for the first time a couple of days ago, those original feelings from the 80s came back once again. You might say that I had a re-epiphany of sorts. Actually, this wasn't the first time that I had actually heard the song. EPO did a cover of "Itsuka" on her 1987 album, "Poptracks" and I actually highlighted it in the article but unfortunately the YouTube video for it has been taken down. However and happily, I was able to find Tats' original.
The above video is a cover version by Koshaband, by the way. I guess my re-epiphany was due to not only those distinctive vocals by Yamashita but also the friendly and familiar Yamashita arrangement with the thumpy bass intro, the horn section and his good buddy Minako Yoshida（吉田美奈子）backing him up. Yoshida was also the one behind the cheery lyrics about not giving up on love and that there was always another great chance to finding the love of one's life someday soon. It's the singer's brand of chicken soup with a spritz of lemon juice to brighten things up.
It's not surprising then that it is the lead track for his 1980 album "Ride On Time" which hit the top spot on Oricon. I'm just a bit disappointed that it didn't get selected to be on the latest BEST album that I got for him. Still, that can be rectified easily enough with a Xmas purchase of the CD.
(December 31st 2015: And it has been rectified!)
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