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, June 23, 2016

Kobukuro -- YELL (エール)

I remember when I first saw the duo Kobukuro (コブクロ) on TV. It was when they came out with their huge hit, "Tsubomi"(蕾)in the latter half of the last decade. I just saw these two fellows with a huge height differential and remarked "That guy is no singer...he's a basketball player!".

That tall fellow is Shunsuke Kuroda(黒田俊介)at 193cm or 6'4" according to Wikipedia. Nope, compared to some of the guys in the NBA or the NHL, he would be seen as just one of the guys but on Japanese telly, he might as well be Gulliver on the island of Lilliput. But digressing, his partner is Kentaro Kobuchi(小渕健太郎)and the two of them formed Kobukuro at the end of the century when they met up as street buskers in Osaka.

Kobukuro paid their dues on the indie scene for their first few years but then hit pay dirt with their first single as a major act. That was "YELL" from March 2001 and listening to it for the first time recently, the song further confirmed my impression of the duo as mellow but passionate musicians who never quite left the street despite their current fame. Thousands may be in their comfy stadium seats surrounding Kuroda and Kobuchi but I still get that feeling of a few passers-by suddenly stopping in front of the pair and giving them a good listen.

According to the J-Wiki article on "YELL", their debut single was a big hit as it peaked at No. 4 on Oricon and went Platinum in sales. Kobuchi wrote and composed the song which was used as a theme for a couple of variety programs and as a commercial tune for an insurance company. Ultimately, it became the 77th-ranked song for 2001 and it was also placed on Kobukuro's debut album "Roadmade" which was released in August that year. It hit as high as No. 6 on the album charts.

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