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, December 15, 2016

TUBE -- Christmas Rose (クリスマスローズ)

There's been quite a lot of buzz about Kiefer Sutherland's latest show of action and political intrigue "Designated Survivor". I finally got to see it for the first time tonight and it turned out to be the fall finale. Basically, I saw it as a combination of "24" and "The West Wing". It's a tad ironic that Sutherland is actually playing the President of the US this time instead of someone protecting the President or taking him down.

Another one of my weird segues but it's also a tad ironic to realize that TUBE actually recorded an Xmas tune. And this all happened nearly a decade ago. Yup, the Boys of Summer released a mellow 27th album just before winter back in December 2007 titled "Winter Letter". The J-Wiki article for the album states that a lot of the tracks were slow to mid-tempo tunes so it was definitely not the usual TUBE output.

The Xmas tune in question happens to be "Christmas Rose" and it doesn't really break the TUBE mold. What I mean is that it follows the usual pattern of their softer songs such as "Stories" with vocalist Nobuteru Maeda(前田亘輝)starting off with a relaxing croon before hitting the big and proud notes at the climax. However, that's not to accuse the band of slumming here. "Christmas Rose" is a fine addition to the Xmas category of J-Pop/kayo since Maeda really can send a shiver up the spine with the way his voice swoops up at the refrain.

Bassist Hideyuki Kakuno(角野秀行)took care of the lyrics about driving through the snow to reach a loved one. It's another reason I like the song since there is something very sentimental about getting home for the Holidays. Guitarist Michiya Haruhata(春畑道哉)came up with the music and I gotta give my compliments for that riff he does at the beginning of the song.

As for the album, "Winter Letter" peaked at No. 7 on Oricon and ended up as the 204th-ranked album of 2008. Well, it was a bit more of a niche album and I think TUBE's heyday was back in the 20th century. Still, although I stopped buying TUBE albums (aside from BEST discs) in the early 1990s, I am happy to hear that Maeda could still pull off those songs with his boomer of a voice well into the 2000s.

Now for someone else known as a summery singer who came out with an even more famous Christmas ballad, check here.

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