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.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


It's been well over a year since I put up a globe article. To be honest, I've put up pretty much all of the songs by Tetsuya Komuro's(小室哲哉)band that I've really enjoyed, so "FACES PLACES" wasn't exactly one of my favourites with the biggest proof being that I never bought the CD single when it came out in March 1997 as the band's 9th single. I think the biggest reason was that the music was more in a rock format instead of the technopop that I had usually associated the band with.

However, it was a song that got lots of airplay on the various music shows in Japan whether they were the late-night ranking programs or the performance shows. globe was still very much a band on a high in the late 90s, and it seemed as if it took up permanent residency in the wee hours for some reason. I always saw Komuro's proteges, Namie Amuro(安室奈美恵)and Tomomi Kahala(華原朋美), as being the early evening entertainment followed by the prime time TRF. Not that I thought that globe was too subversive for the early hours but it just looked like they popped up past midnight.

In any case, there were a couple of things I did wonder concerning "FACES PLACES". One was the significance of the title and the other was the significance of the years that popped up in Komuro's lyrics (as usual, TK was responsible for words and music with co-writing credits going to bandmate Marc Panther). The years 1970, 1981, 1984, 1994 and 1997 were sung by lead vocalist KEIKO, and I was wondering whether they were thrown into the song in the same way certain years were plugged into the Pet Shop Boys' "Being Boring".

Well,  I could finally find out thanks to the article on the actual song on J-Wiki. They all signified important landmarks in Komuro's life. So, to translate that particular excerpt:

1970: Osaka Expo 70. A 12-year-old Komuro discovers electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita(冨田勲), synthesizers and multi-monitors.

1981: Komuro joins the rock band Speedway, a predecessor of sorts to TM Network.

1984: TM Network debuts.

1994: TMN (the name of TM Network from 1990-1994) disbands. Komuro starts work as a producer.

1997: The year that Komuro changed psychologically.

I translated the above statement from "Seishinteki na switching no toshi"(精神的なスイッチングの年). And I couldn't quite glean any further insight from this even though I checked Komuro's own article in J-Wiki. However, in the Wikipedia article on him, he started his overseas career as a musician-composer by creating his own version of the theme song for Keanu Reaves' "Speed" for its sequel. I remember his version fondly although it was too bad that the movie itself sank underwater.

As for the title, I felt that Komuro was talking about all the people and places that had influenced him through the years whether it was Tomita, his old bandmates from TM Network, and perhaps even his young padawans in TK World.

"FACES PLACES" peaked at No. 3 on Oricon and eventually became the 82nd-ranked song for 1997, going Platinum.


  1. I always wondered what the deal was with the "since 1970" lyrics in this song... thanks again for providing crucial background!

    1. No problems here. I was quite happy to find out myself.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.