Credits

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, July 28, 2016

Ayaka & Kobukuro -- WINDING ROAD


The famous line from the original "Ghostbusters" (nope, haven't seen the new one yet) with Bill Murray yelling "Cats and dogs living together...MASS HYSTERIA!!" came to mind when I saw this ad for the Nissan Cube in Japan. There are a lot of those commercials for the Cube on YouTube but for some reason, I couldn't find the one that I was looking for rather ardently.


And it's a pity too since it had the campaign song with the most soul. Popular singers Ayaka(絢香)and Kobukuro (コブクロ) appeared one day on Fuji-TV's venerable "Music Fair" program and apparently enjoyed the experience working together so much that the former visited the latter in their dressing room after the taping. She then asked if they would like to collaborate again at the Warner Music Japan Convention Live concert since the two of them not only belonged to the same label but were also due to perform there anyways. Kentaro Kobuchi(小渕健太郎)of Kobukuro then counter-proposed that they all create a song just for the occasion.

Thus, "WINDING ROAD" was born. It was performed for the first time in the summer of 2006 but didn't actually get out as a single for several months until February 2007. The music video of the three on that rotating stage got a lot of heavy airplay as I recall.


Furthermore, I'm sure that "WINDING ROAD" probably got a lot of play as a karaoke song as well. It's a rousing tune with plenty of heart and that aforementioned soul but when I hear Ayaka and Kobukuro sing their internal organs out for this song that is officially listed as J-Pop, I hear some of the old country songs that used to be performed in grand cooperative style by singers on one of my parents' favourite programs "Hee Haw". And maybe The Grand Ol' Opry comes to mind also. Another reason could be the title itself. When I see that title, I imagine those big rigs traveling across America that were often the topic for a country ballad performed by folks like Jerry Reed and Alabama. However, imagining an 18-wheeler trying to navigate a winding road in the Rockies could be somewhat concerning.

Well, in any case, a cute little Cube car and not a huge truck got "WINDING ROAD". And the collaboration between Ayaka and Kobukuro was very successful. The single went Platinum, broke 2 million in sales, along with hitting No. 2 on Oricon. It just barely missed getting into the Top 10 of the year by peaking at No. 11. The song was even performed at the Kohaku Utagassen at the end of 2007 with the effect being that after it had left the Oricon Top 100 weeklies, its performance helped to gush the song back up to the 20s in the first week of 2008.

If the sheep and wolves had come back for the commercial with "WINDING ROAD", I'm pretty sure that the meadow would soon have been filled with the adorable sight of hybrid sholves and weep.




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