Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Taiyou to Ciscomoon -- Gatamekira (ガタメキラ)
Thanks to obscure aidoru Chinatsu Miyoshi (三佳千夏) and her lovely "Unchain My Heart", I’ve been giving attention to some old Hello! Project acts, and surprise, surprise, they’re pretty nice... and probably even nicer than the myriad of similar groups that flooded the agency after the new millenium started for real. Based on that, I decided to watch some old Utaban (うたばん) episodes featuring members of Morning Musume (モーニング娘。) and Hello! Project I have stored in my HD.
The first vintage Utaban episode I came across was one Momusu and other girl groups from Hello! Project were divided in units and competed among each other in silly games like skipping rope, musical chairs, etc. Besides the usual jokes with Kaori Iida’s (飯田圭織) and her nickname Johnson (I laughed hard every time Takaaki Ishibashi [石橋貴明] hit the girl in the butt while she was running around during the games), members of a group called Taiyou to Ciscomoon (太陽とシスコムーン) called my attention.
Taiyou to Ciscomoon, unlike flagship group Morning Musume, was a more mature girl group which consistently released R&B and funky tunes in the late 90s. Being fair, Momusu also took this kind of direction until the release of “Furusato” (ふるさと) or “Manatsu no Kousen” (真夏の光線). After that, though, the success of “LOVE Machine” (LOVEマシーン) came and their songs became poppier and sillier (in a positive manner). Back to Taiyou to Ciscomoon, from what I heard so far, “Gatamekira” is easily one of their standouts singles.
Apparently, Tsunku (つんく♂) wanted the girls from Taiyou to Ciscomoon to get inspiration from Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey, two American powerhouse vocalists. It’s obvious that none of them had the proper vocal to match neither one of the two ladies – and they shouldn’t have, in the first place – but they surely tried with their hearts, as we can see in the way they sang some of the high notes in “Getamekira” and their other songs. Let’s say they were the Japanese counterparts of Destiny's Child, or something like that.
“Gatamekira”, which is an abbreviation of “gotta make it love”, is an infectious and funky song that offers a fat bass line and catchy, yet weird-sang, hooks, such as the “Spend the night together” line, or even the chorus with the call and response “Gotta Make It Love” or “Oh No Break My Heart” hooks backed by other lines. The sexy vocals are also interesting, even if a little bit forced sometimes.
“Gatamekira” was their second single, being released in June 1999. However, after a year of activities, in March 2000, the group’s name was changed to T&C Bomber. Unfortunately, at the same year, after the release of their second album in September, the group disbanded.
Among Taiyou to Ciscomoon’s four member, two of them were very interesting. The first is Miho Shinoda (信田美帆), who competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul as a gymnast.
The second interesting girl is the Chinese-born RuRu (ルル), who gained Japanese citizenship while in the group and was, then, called RuRu Honda (本多ルル) by Tsunku. Also, besides being very cute, she started a career as a singer in China after T&C Bomber’s disbandment. She released two albums in 2001 and 2002, respectively, and a best of in 2003. My favorite song from her ended being one from her second album, and, apparently, is called “Single Girls’ Club” (單身女子俱樂部) in English. You can watch the lovely RuRu below.
“Gatamekira” reached #6 on the Oricon charts, selling 48,490 copies. Lyrics and music were composed by Tsunku (つんく), while Ken Matsubara (松原憲) was responsible for the arrangement.