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, October 27, 2016

Yasuyuki Okamura/MEG -- Scanty Blues (スキャンティブルース)

Time for a bit of Japanese funk again...and so once I'm gonna rely on Yasuyuki Okamura(岡村靖幸)with his "Scanty Blues" which he composed. I first came across this musical trip through the city streets when I got my copy of the "Space Dandy" edition of his single "Viva Namida" (ビバナミダ) when it came out in January 2014 (the original single for "Viva Namida" released in October 2013 didn't include "Scanty Blues").

Compared to the funk-it-up dance atmosphere of "Viva Namida", his "Scanty Blues" has more of a subversive feeling although the familiar Okamura vocal whoops and grunts are in there. While everyone is having a grand old time in the disco inside, "Scanty Blues" sounds like it lured Okamura outside into the back alleys for something more dangerous. I'm not sure what the lyrics are all about although the impressions coming into my head are some sub-rosa dealings and negotiations among the night lifers.

And those lyrics were provided by MEG. I have never bought any of her albums or singles although I often saw them on the shelves at HMV and Tower Records back in my Tokyo days. But she is apparently quite the multitasker as not only a singer and songwriter but also as a fashion model and fashion designer who works in both Japan and France.

Okamura and MEG collaborated on her original "Scanty Blues" as her 1st official single from July 2002. The arrangement doesn't sound all that different from the Okamura self-cover but the grunts and whoops are all on Okamura's side. The MEG original probably left quite the impression on listeners that she would be going for the more sultry than sweet sound. In both versions, though, there is that techno element that kinda/sorta renders "Scanty Blues" as this film noir theme from outer space. So it was a good choice for inclusion in the "Space Dandy" edition of the single which peaked at No. 15 on Oricon.

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