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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, April 7, 2016

Kasumi Matsumura -- Solid desire


As a big fan of 90s anime songs, it was quite thrilling to discover such a great song as “Solid desire” a couple of years ago. Singer Kasumi Matsumura (松村香澄) was no stranger to me, even though I only knew one of her songs, “MASK”, which also happened to be a duet with fellow anime songs singer Masami Okui (奥井雅美).

In the 90s, when it comes to anime songs, King Records was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, record label around. Besides the aforementioned Kasumi Matsumura and Masami Okui, but also Yoko Takahashi (高橋洋子), Hiroko Moriguchi (森口博子) and my beloved Megumi Hayashibara (林原めぐみ) were big stars of the label’s anime songs section.

About the anisong genre, one interesting thing is how it became more mainstream-sounding with the passing of years. At first, and I’m talking about early 90s here, the songs were quite disjointed with the period they were released (they sounded more like 80’s J-Pop than what was actually being played in the mainstream scene), but starting around the mid-90s famous anime themes were on par with J-Pop trends, such as Eurodance, for example.

Back to Kasumi Matsumura, she was probably the least famous among the names I mentioned before. As far as I know, she only released one studio album (which was more a compilation of previously released singles), called “KASUMI the serious joker”, and some singles, but her career as a singer never really took off. Even information about her is very scarse these days.

Besides “MASK”, which I consider more a Masami Okui song than a Kasumi Matsumura one (it’s an unfair notion, I know), “Solid desire” became my favorite song from the girl. It’s that typical song from an adventure/fighting anime series (in this case, “Shadow Skill: The Movie” [影技 SHADOW SKILL], which is an OVA series, if I’m not wrong) that makes a teenage boy feel pumped up. And, well... I may not be a teenage boy anymore, but I still like this nostalgic and edgy sound.

Personally, I find the chorus quite powerful, and I also like how the melodic guitar hook follows the chorus pattern. Other interesting things are the sharp synths in the arrangement (they’re kind of muffled and not in your face like most songs from its time, but they’re still there) and also the very active background singers. As for Kasumi, her vocals are suitable for the type of strenght required by the song.

It’s a pity the girl didn’t achieve more fame at the time. As I could see, she still performs for small audiences, though. Maybe one day she gets to performs “Solid desire” live (I’d love to see it). As a side note, she's as beautiful and classy as ever.


“KASUMI the serious joker” was released in March 1999. I don’t know if “Solid desire” was released as a single at the time of the anime’s release, but it was included in some Shadow Skill’s soundtracks. Based on this, I think the song is probably from 1995 or 1996. However,  based on this inconsistency, I just decided to follow the album release and put the 1999 tag.

"KASUMI the serious joker" (funny name for an album)

11 comments:

  1. Hello!

    I have two of Kasumi's songs in my Ipod Shuffle hehe. To me this singer is very reminiscent to Masami Okui but her songs are not so edgy like Masami ones.

    It is curious how most of the 90's jpop sound was eurodance oriented music, being the anisongs the icing of the cake!

    Saludos!

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  2. Hi, Mineko.

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

    I've been a fan of Megumi Hayashibara for more than ten years now. Based on this, I've also listened to a lot of Masami Okui's songs over the years. People say she's a better singer
    than Megumi, but I'm not a fan of the rock style she began developing around 2000~2001 (not a rock fan here). On the other hand, Hayashibara is my favorite singer ever.

    As for Kasumi Matsumura, I like her voice a lot, but her songs are quite rare to find. The only thing I have from her is the "KASUMI the serios joker" album. What songs from her do you have on your ipod?

    About Eurobeat/Eurodance, Japan started adopting the genre in the mid-to-late 80s, with peaks of popularity in the 90s. The rising anime songs indstry took a lot of clues from the genre, and I'm a big fan of the results.

    There's a tag for Eurobeat on the blog, and I've written about many songs of the genre. There's also a tag for Megumi Hayashibara, and one for Masami Okui (I only covered her song "Energy", though).

    One last thing... where are you from? I'm from Brazil! =)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Marcos!!

    So,you are a eurobeat fun like I am! I love the cute voice + eurobeat/dance fusion that jpop delivers...

    I love Megumi Hayashibara too.Her early albums are full of eurobeat influenced songs and many of them are into my Ipod :).Do you know her song "Ganbatte!"? OH,it is one of my faves! It is from her album "Shamrock".

    By the way I am from Spain :).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Marcos and Mineko.

    That's also been my observation about anison over the past couple of decades in that the genre has kinda held onto aspects of the past. Whenever I listen to anime music at my friend's place, I've often thought that a particular anison made in the 90s sounded more 80s.

    As for Matsumura, this is the first time I have ever heard of her. Her dynamic style and the arrangement for "Solid Desire" reminds me somewhat of the songs of Maki Ohguro. Quite catchy.

    Two questions from me since the two of you both like Eurobeat. What would be your favourite Eurobeat anison and what would be your favourite non-anison Eurobeat J-Pop tune?

    I also have to admit that "Kasumi The Serious Joker" is a rather unique title. I wonder how that came about. :)

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  5. Hello!

    You are right. Anisons (most of 90's Anisons) sound so eighties!! The synths,arrangements...

    As for my fav eurobeat influenced anison...wow,it is difficult to answer. Maybe I would choose "Shu -Aka-" by Masami Okui (from Cyber Team in Akihabara) or "FUTURE" by Hitomi Mieno (seriously,I love the synths in that song).

    As for not anisong jpop eurobeat tunes... "Next" by Risa Tachibana is great,but I couldn't find it...only a Youtube video..."Who?" by Nitta Eri is delicious too. Both songs are your typical late 80s and early 90s jpop tunes with eurobeat touches!

    Saludos:)

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  6. Hey, guys.

    Mineko: “Ganbatte!” is one of Hayashibara’s classics. I’ve been collecting her CD albums over the years, and “SHAMROCK” is one I’ve been playing a lot recently. Back to “Ganbatte!”, I only saw her singing it live once, which is a pity. I just love her early albums with all the Eurobeat-influenced songs. The first album “Half and, Half”, for example, offers many nice songs in the style, such as “Kimi no Answer” and “Manatsu no Valentine”.

    Oh, nice you're from Spain. At first I thought you were from one of the Spanish-speaking Latin America's countries (maybe Mexico or Chile), as Hayashibara and Okui are pretty big in the continent's anime fandom.

    J-Canuck: Tough question, my friend. I’ve been thinking about it for two days now, and probably my favorite anison Eurobeat song may be Megumi Hayashibara’s “NAGARE BOSHI” (still have to write about this one sometime). Besides her vocals, which I always love to death, the arrangement is pretty heavy on the synth department. For a little of Avex, I could go with m.o.v.e’s “Gamble Rumble”.

    As for my favorite non-anison Eurobeat J-Pop tune, I can say Rie Ohashi's “Shiny Lucky Lady” and Miki Fujitani's "Believe in Myself" gets plenty of heavy rotation from me. Also, Minako Tanaka's "Tell Me" is a very strong personal favorite as well.

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  7. Eurobeat had quite the effect on J-Pop for a number of years as I recall. It was rather interesting since my friends and I were dancing to it in the discos and then I discover that it was also quite the rage in Japan.

    For me, one of the quintessential Eurobeat covers in Japan was "Call Me" by Yukari Morikawa.

    http://kayokyokuplus.blogspot.ca/2013/04/yukari-morikawa-show-me.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello guys!!

    Marcos, I love that song from Rie Ohashi!! It is soooo energetic and danceable! I have watched some videos of her on Youtube and I found most of her songs are eurobeat influenced. Can you tell me more about this singer?.

    "Shamrock" is my favourite album from Megumi H.All her songs in it are heavily touched by synths, including ballads! I love "Kimi no Answer" too.It is not a danceable song at first sight...but the arrangement and synths make it semi-danceable hehe.

    J-Canuck,you are right.It seems japanese music producers and artists love the dance-disco-eurobeat feel and they incorporarte it in lot of her songs.

    By the way,both of you should listen to "Junk Boy" from Kaori 2 Luv. Another classic 90's jpop tune!

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  9. Hi, guys.

    Mineko: I don't know a lot about Rie Ohashi, just that her first album, "Realize", was entirely produced by Mitsuru Igarashi, ex-keyboardist of famous J-Pop band Every Little Things (some early singles from this band also had this Euro-feel we like, so, if you don't know them yet, I highly recommend you start with "Feel My Heart", their most Euro-influenced song).

    Also, Rie Ohashi's songs are quite rare! I bought the "Shiny Lucky Lady" single a while ago, so, if you want it, I can upload for you. Just tell me!

    By the way, I listened to both "Junk Love" by Kaori 2 Luv and "Future" by Hitomi Mieno. Both songs are great in their own ways, but I can tell you "Future" ended up on my cellphone. Like you said, the synths are great, but I also found the chorus quite smooth and pleasant. Definitely a favorite this week. Thanks a lot for the tip!


    J-Canuck: "Show Me" is classic Eurobeat in a Japanese perspective (we all know it was a freestyle song in America, though). Even though I didn't like it very much at first, it grew on me a lot. It has a great Latin feel that Akemi Ishii would also be glad to record (just like her classic covers of "CHA-CHA-CHA" and "Lambada"). Speaking of "Show Me", do you happen to know Company B's "Fascinated"? It's one oy my favorites, and, even though it don't sound like "Show Me", the fact that both songs were sang by Freestyle girl groups in The U.S. just makes me remind of one when the other is brought up to the table.

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  10. Heyyyy Marcos!!

    I would be so happy if you upload "Shiny Lucky Lady" for me! Love that song. I want it into my Ipod.

    As for Hitomi Mieno song "Future"...it is my favourite song from her. I play it a lot and always give me some terrific good vibes. I can tell you I have almost ten songs from Hitomi Mieno into my playlist,most of them very eurobeat influenced. Oh, you should check "Wonderful Bravo" too.

    By the way, do you know about a idol called Yumiko Takahashi?.

    Saludos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Mineko.

      No problem at all. I just love when people have fun with the music I like. Here's the link for the song:

      http://www.megafileupload.com/6w70/01-Shiny_Lucky_Lady.mp3

      I got Hitomi Mieno's best of album "20-sai", but didn't give a proper listen to it yet. But she sounds very nice, and it's quite surprising a didn't come across her name before.

      As for Yumiko Takahashi, I do know her. My favorite is "Whisper" (the sharp synths are awesome).

      Delete

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