Man, I'm sure glad that the songs on this BEST album by the legendary Kome Kome Club（米米CLUB）lasted better than the plastic cover on my own copy of "DECADE". I bought it as soon as it came out in February 1995 for all those crazy, funky, heartwarming and just plain fun songs that the eclectic band led by Tatsuya Carl Smoky Ishii（カールスモーキー石井）created over those 10 years since its beginnings in 1985. But it isn't just Smoky but everyone else including the larger-than-life James Onoda（ジェームス小野田）, the amazing Big Horns Bee and Mari and Minako.
As I've said, I never got to see a concert by K2C (one of my regrets) but from what I've seen on YouTube, it was a blend of Cirque de Soleil, the most raucous Japanese summer festival, a slice of Carnaval, and good ol' Big Band jazz all led by Ishii who I always saw as the Japanese equivalent of Joel Grey's flamboyant Emcee from "Cabaret". I don't know how expensive tickets were to see Kome Kome but I'm pretty sure the audience got more than their money's worth.
Anyways, the list is as follows (all songs were created by the band):
1. Ai wa Fushigi sa （愛はふしぎさ）
2. Kimi ga Iru Dake de（君がいるだけで）
5. Ganso sure danse（元祖 sure danse）
6. Hitosuji ni Narenai（ひとすじになれない）
8. FUNK FUJIYAMA
9. Shake Hip!
10. Roman Hiko（浪漫飛行）
11. Ai Know Magic（愛 Know マジック）
12. TIME STOP
13. Konya wa Full Kaiten（今夜はフル回転）
14. Gokigen yo! PARTY NIGHT（ごきげんよう! PARTY NIGHT）
"Dakishimetai" (I Wanna Hold You) is your light funk fusion feel-good song by K2C that probably wouldn't been out of place in a Kahoru Kohiruimaki（小比類巻かほる）album. But actually it was the first track on Kome Kome Club's 10th album from November 1993, "Phi".
Not quite sure how audiences first saw the band when they debuted with "I-CAN-BE" in October 1985. Perhaps folks may have saw Smoky and the gang as the second coming of Kenji Sawada's（沢田研二）glam rock period but if they heard this first single, they would have heard good ol' funk. As for the title, I thought it was being inspired by something but reading the lyrics, Ishii is mourning and resenting the end of a relationship, and so I think the title is more of a pun on the expression akanbe which refers to a childish facial expression for dissing. The single was originally placed on their first album "SHARI-SHARITHM" from 1985, but the song was re-released as a single in March 1990 which got as high as No. 67 on Oricon.
"Ai Know Magic" (Love Knows Magic...or just a pun on I Know Magic) is another upbeat tune of disco-soul which was a track on K2C's 8th album, "Octave" from June 1992. Smoky is singing about a fellow who just can't seem to believe his good fortune that the girl he likes actually likes him back and is now doing some comical hemming and hawing. Sounds like many a Japanese comedy-drama.
"Konya wa Full Kaiten" (Firing On All Cylinders Tonight) is a re-acquaintance on this CD that I enjoyed so much that I played it twice on the player. More on the zoot suit jazz side of things, I wondered if the band had dancers in 40s gear jiving away on the stage while Ishii sang this one. Big Horns Bee really brought the house down here. The song in the video comes out at around 6:07 but the previous entries include "Kimi ga Iru Dake de" and "Roman Hiko".
Speaking of that last song, here is "Roman Hiko" once more, a K2C classic and a karaoke favourite.
Not surprisingly, "DECADE" hit No. 1 and broke the million barrier, eventually becoming the 8th-ranked album of 1995. Kome Kome Club had a sabbatical of sorts for almost a decade before coming back for a second round from 2006. Hopefully, that may mean there is some hope that I could make it to a K2C concert if I can scrounge up the funds to make it back to Japan again.
I only have one disappointment when it comes to "DECADE" though and that the band didn't decide to include the fantastic "Abracadabra" from 1994.