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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Takao Horiuchi and Kye Eunsook -- Tokai no Tenshi tachi (都会の天使たち)

I saw "Tokai no Tenshi tachi" (Angels of the City) performed on a recent episode of "Uta Kon" (うたコン) and rather enjoyed its somewhat nostalgic mood music harking back to the 1980s. It was originally sung by Takao Horiuchi(堀内孝雄)from 70s folk group Alice and Korean enka singer Kye Eunsook(桂銀淑). Over the past few decades, Horiuchi has been transitioning from the folk genre into general kayo genres such as enka and Mood Kayo. As for Unsuku, I had always wanted to include her in the blog so I had been rather surprised that I had yet to find the proper introduction for her but luckily I found this smooth tune.

In researching for "Tokai no Tenshi tachi" which was released as a single in March 1992, I found out that the two singers were now entered in this Japanese pop music genre that I saw on J-Wiki known as New Adult Music (ニューアダルトミュージック) along with other artists such as Rumiko Koyanagi(小柳ルミ子)and Masatoshi Nakamura(中村雅俊). Perhaps I could relate it as the Japanese version of Adult Contemporary, mixing together Mood Kayo and City Pop. But I'll muse on that for now.

Still, I did enjoy this song since it has that modern take on Mood Kayo. It has that City Pop musical arrangement but I can only envision the Mood Kayo environment of a well-stocked bar when I listen to this ballad of lonely strangers in the metropolis dreaming back to happier days. Horiuchi came up with the cool melody while Toyohisa Araki(荒木とよひさ)provided the lyrics.

"Tokai no Tenshi tachi" peaked at No. 33 on Oricon and won the Golden Disc Prize at the Japan Record Awards among a few other accolades. It also got Horiuchi and Eunsook onto the Kohaku Utagassen. My impression was also that the arrangement was lush enough that it could have made for a nice enough theme song. Well, sure enough, it was one of the many theme songs for a detective series titled "Hagure Keiji Junjoha"(はぐれ刑事純情派...The Pure Clan of the Wandering Detective).

As for Kye Eunsook, she was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1961 and made her debut as a model during her high school years after which she then made her debut as a singer in 1979. Then in 1984, she was invited to come to Japan by composer Keisuke Hama(浜圭介). The following year, she debuted with her first Japanese song "Osaka Boshoku"(大阪暮色...Osaka Twilight). Since then, she has become known for that husky and slightly halting voice.

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