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.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Akiko Yano -- Tokyo wa Yoru no Shichi-ji (東京は夜の7時)

Imagine my surprise when I found out that "Tokyo wa Yoru no Shichi-ji" (7pm in Tokyo), a song that has arguably been the calling card for the Shibuya-kei band Pizzicato Five since the mid-1990s had a title that had already been adopted by another eclectic singer almost 2 decades prior.

That's right. "Tokyo wa Yoru no Shichi-ji" was also a different song created by songsmith Akiko Yano(矢野顕子)way back in 1979. In fact, her 2nd live album (and 5th overall) was also given that title. Moreover while the P5 anthem had the English subtitle of "The Night Is Still Young", Yano's creation had the more enigmatic "God's Loyal Love".

Continuing on with the comparison, the Pizzicato Five song had that theme of painting the city of Tokyo a fabulous red but Yano's "Tokyo wa Yoru no Shichi-ji" was all about what was going on at different points in the world when the Japanese megalopolis' clock struck 7pm. It was 7am in Rio, 12 midnight in Anchorage and 12 noon in Cairo. There was a glorious feeling of reaching out and touching someone abroad within the song that could have made it the ideal jingle for NTT or KDD.

However, I love the music by Yano even more. She may have made quite the added splash when she added the techno to her pop going into the 1980s but her New Music approach back in the 1970s is also very comfortable to me. She even has the members of Yellow Magic Orchestra as part of her band along with Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎)and Minako Yoshida (吉田美奈子) as backing singers (!), but "Tokyo wa Yoru no Shichi-ji" has that homey feeling despite the flying theme and music heading to points overseas. And one reason is that piano of hers. There is a goodly amount of warmth and familiarity emanating from the keys when Yano hits them as if it were her best and more travel-experienced friend. The piano is probably saying "Don't're safe with me". Couldn't ask for a better companion on a journey.

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