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.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Yasushi Nakanishi/EXILE/Kumi Koda -- Saigo no Ame (最後の雨)

(cover version)

Knowing about soulful singer Keizo Nakanishi(中西圭三)all these years, I also heard about this other artist by the name of Yasushi Nakanishi(中西保志), but for some reason, I never really got to hear a whole lot about this fellow aside from the fact that he was quite the balladeer. He was born in the ancient capital of Nara in 1961 and joined a glee club during his university years and even became a vocalist for a band while he was in second year. Apparently from what I could gather from his J-Wiki bio, he is a big Billy Joel and Steve Wonder fan.

Nakanishi made his debut in April 1992 with "Ai Shikanai yo"(愛しかないよ...Nothing But Love), but it was with his second single, "Saigo no Ame" (The Final Rain) that he made his big splash. Released in August of that year, this was the song that got him pegged as the balladeer, and several weeks ago on NHK's "Uta Kon"(うたコン), either it was Nakanishi himself or one of the guests that night who performed what is probably his most famous tune.



Written by Jun Natsume(夏目純)and composed by Takashi Tsushimi(都志見隆), what I liked about this song is that it reminded me of some the older pop ballads from the US back in the 1980s such as Laura Branigan's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" and some of the love songs by Chicago during that decade. And lyrically speaking, there is a resemblance between "Saigo no Ame" and "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" in that both talk about a romantic breakup that perhaps only one imminent ex-partner is willing to accept. Also with all that rain in the song, I couldn't help but remember some of those climactic scenes in Japanese dramas which took place in a torrential downpour just before the commercial.

"Saigo no Ame" managed to get as high as No. 16 and became the 52nd-ranked single of the year. And by the time 1998 rolled around,the single managed to sell around 900,000 copies. The single is also included in Nakanishi's debut album "Voice Peaks" which came out in September 1992.


The ballad has been covered quite a lot over the years. Atsushi of EXILE sang it during one of his concerts which is included in the band's DVD "Premium Live ~The Roots~" from 2011. Just judging from this performance above, I think he sings it even better.


Kumi Koda(倖田來未)gives a slightly more R&B version in her 2003 maxi-single, "Gentle Words".


4 comments:

  1. J-Canuck, long time. Very busy with work this year. How're you doing?

    This song was covered by Hong Kong singer William So (蘇永康) in the 90s. You can listen to him here: https://youtu.be/YktJkxXcpQY

    The Chinese title of the song is "Give me warmth".

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Larry.

      It's been a while. I'm glad that you've been getting lots of work. I've been quite busy myself this summer with the translation work. A real scorcher of a summer here in Toronto. How about in San Francisco?

      William So's cover is very good, especially with that soprano sax in the intro. But man, that is one huge fur stole around his neck! Many thanks.

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    2. Glad you like William So's cover. And yes, William is known for his crazy outfit at times.

      Bay Area is unusually hot this summer. And we also have very little rain this year. I don't know whether global warming is true, but to me the weather pattern in the past 10 years got a bit weird.

      SMAP is dismantling after all. Maybe you can write a special op-ed about it :)

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    3. Hi Larry.

      Yeah, rain has been rather scarce lately here. It's much better today but I am hoping that things will start cooling down for good as we approach the end of August.

      I got the news last weekend about SMAP. Perhaps until the end of the year, the group should be called SMDP (Sports, Music, Disassemble, People). I was never a huge fan of KimuTaku and Co. although I liked some of their songs, so perhaps if any of us know a die-hard fan, he/she can write the op-ed.:)

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