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.

Friday, March 3, 2017

CHARA/HALCALI -- Yasashii Kimochi (やさしい気持ち)

As often as I have mentioned about the Tetsuya Komuro(小室哲哉)boom and Shibuya-kei happening during the 1990s, I also should state that J-Pop back then was also about a return to strumming guitar pop-rock. The late 1980s and early 1990s had their Eurobeat and synths (which I also liked) but it was nice when bands like Spitz and Mr. Children came in with their more organic sound. As I mentioned in my first article about the singer-songwriter CHARA, I never became a huge fan of hers but for the songs that got onto the charts and therefore onto music programs like "Countdown TV", I believe that she also contributed to that down-to-earth sound to a certain extent as well.

That first article, by the way, was for "Swallowtail Butterfly" by Yen Town Band (1996) which was a huge hit for CHARA. The one other song that has sealed itself into my memories of her is "Yasashii Kimochi" (Kind Feelings) which was released almost a year after "Swallowtail Butterfly" under her true geimei.

Different in tone from the earthy "Swallowtail Butterfly", "Yasashii Kimochi" had that rather spacey feeling to it; that air was further enhanced by those quintessentially whispery vocals of the singer who wrote, composed and arranged her 14th single from April 1997. The song and the original music video seemed to have been up on the charts for months on end. Excerpts of that distinctive video were always being shown on "Countdown TV" and "Music Station" with CHARA shown in different costumes by a carousel. She was absolutely striking in her guises. Unfortunately that video doesn't seem to be allowed to be shown on YouTube outside of Japan but an alternate video labeled the Special Kiss version is right above...mind you, sans CHARA.

With that spacey melody and the intriguing video, I had wondered what "Yasashii Kimochi" was all about. Looking at her lyrics, I realized that it was about a woman inviting a man to love her without having to put on any attitude. The big line is "te wo tsunagou..."(手をつなごう...Let's hold hands). For the longest time, because of her soft and whispery delivery, I had assumed that she was saying "Sayyy, hello!" which was also inviting but also not accurate. Indeed I now stand corrected.

Although "Yasashii Kimochi" didn't hit the No. 1 spot like "Swallowtail Butterfly", it was still a smash hit when it peaked at No. 7, going Double Platinum. But like that song, it also earned a spot on the annual Top 100 when it ranked in at No. 56. Not surprisingly, this will probably be the trademark song for CHARA, and to date, it is her most successful single.

In 2009, the Okinawan singing and dancing duo HALCALI did their own cover of "Yasashii Kimochi" titled "Re: Yasashii Kimochi". It was a light rapping tribute without any dancing.

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