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, May 5, 2016

Rie Tomosaka/Ringo Shiina -- Cappuccino (カプチーノ)

A couple of things led me to write about this song tonight. One was writing about "Escape", the hit single by the band Moon Child that also served as the theme song for the suspense series "FiVE" starring actress Rie Tomosaka(ともさかりえ)who was at the time seen just about everywhere on TV. And even recently, I saw her in some drama in period dress as a youngish-but-wiser character which is how I usually see her nowadays during the relatively few times that I catch her now. But her claim to fame was when she acted alongside Kinki Kids' Tsuyoshi Domoto(堂本剛)in the live-action adaptation of the kid detective series "Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo"(金田一少年の事件簿...Kid Kindaichi's Case File)as the high school sidekick to Domoto's teen sleuth.

The other thing was that I had been trying to find Ringo Shiina's(椎名林檎)latest effort, a song called "Juudamu"(ジューダム)that has become the new theme song for NHK's long-running variety information show "Gatten"(ガッテン). I gather that I'm too early since perhaps the song hasn't even come out publicly but I did come across another number by her called "Cappuccino" many years back.

In her early years, Tomosaka also had her time as a singer, releasing 8 singles between 1996 and 2000 (she also released 3 singles under her "alter ego" of Eri Sakatomo). Her 2nd-last single to date was "Cappuccino" released in January 1999. Shiina wrote and composed the song right on the eve of her big splash in Japanese music. In fact, it was so early that her name was written down in the credits in katakana(シーナ・リンゴ)instead of the usual familiar kanji. I kinda saw this encounter between Tomosaka and Shiina as somewhat being like the passing of two ships: one leaving music to fully focus on acting while the other about to make it big in music.

I also found the arrangement by Seiji Kameda(亀田誠治)interesting since the original song sounded as if it was following the work of Swedish arranger Tore Johansson. At the time, his sound was permeating music in and outside of Japan as he helped out singers such as Tomoyo Harada(原田知世), Bonnie Pink and The Cardigans. The bossa nova is quite nice and I have to admit that young Tomosaka crawling and wrapping herself around a pole like a human Slinky in the video wasn't too bad either.

And apparently, she was also willing to put on the same sort of evening wear for her live performances (although the video has been taken down). Well, from what I could understand of the lyrics, it was about a young lady who was pretty much willing to do everything to get her guy to notice her. "Cappuccino" went as high as No. 67 on Oricon and it was apparently the lowest top ranking for any of her singles so perhaps the writing was starting to get on the wall as far as Tomosaka's music career was concerned. The song did get on her 2nd album "Murasaki"(むらさき...Purple)from February 1999 which peaked at No. 40.

Still, for Shiina, it was the humble beginning to way bigger and better things. The singer-songwriter performed a cover of the song she had originally created for Tomosaka in 2014 via an album of self-covers titled "Gyakuyunyu - Kowankyoku"(逆輸入 〜港湾局〜...Reimport: Ports and Harbours Bureau)which hit No. 3 on the charts. I think this one has that familiar Shiina-esque bluesy flavour.

I don't drink cappuccino so here's a latte instead!

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