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, June 27, 2017

Hiromi Go -- COOL

You go, GO!

Well, here I was thinking that I may have exhausted the Hiromi Go(郷ひろみ)file after so many years but I'm starting to realize that the dandy man had a good dalliance with City Pop and the more urban contemporary style of music during the 1980s. Yup, I remember nikala's 2015 article on "Irie Nite"(入江にて)which had the Go man singing the urban genre as early as 1979, but I've always seen the lad as the regular face on Japanese TV, including his long stay on the Kohaku Utagassen, while singing those Oricon-friendly dynamic teen aidoru hits back in the 1970s and those man-about-town favourites in the early 1980s.

My memories of the Kohaku Utagassen go pretty hazy beyond 1983. I guess those three years of 1981, 1982 and 1983 will be the only golden ones for me so it was with some surprise on finding out that Go had sung the cool "COOL" on the 1985 Kohaku. I think I barely remember this one and I rather felt like giving myself a slap on the back of my head a la the Gibbs Smack from "NCIS" since on hearing the original recorded version here, I wanted to exhort "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!"

This was Go's 56th single from October 1985 and apparently it didn't quite chart too highly or at least J-Wiki didn't want to bother posting the results this time. However, it still registers with me as a fairly slick City Pop production (J-Wiki still has the song categorized as an aidoru tune!), and the YouTube commenters seem to be comparing it favourably to Vaporwave. I think there's even a bit of technopop in there although it wasn't enough for me to categorize it thusly. But no doubts...I think it is cool.

Maybe it was just that it seemed rather out of character for Go when I originally saw his performance on the 1985 Kohaku that the memories of it didn't really stay on in my head. Considering how soon to the New Year's Eve show its release was, I was surprised that he did get onto the show for this particular song, but then I read on the J-Wiki article that Go had announced his departure from entertainment activities from 1986 for a while (I believe he wanted to head to New York for several months) so his 13 straight Kohaku appearances would be coming to an end on December 31 1985. I gather that NHK was feeling rather sentimental so the network let him on for one final go (no pun intended). However, he would return to the Shibuya stage for the 1990 show.

The one other surprise was that singer-songwriter Senri Oe(大江千里)was the man behind the words and music to "COOL"! He always struck me as the one to create those happy-go-lucky pop tunes for singers such as Misato Watanabe(渡辺美里)at the time and for himself so I didn't realize that he was able to create something as funky and downtown as this one. I'm not sure whether "COOL" ever got onto an original album although it may be on one of his BEST compilations. This would be another one that I would like to track down someday.

As a P.S., the single has the Japanese version as the B-side. The A-side has the English version of the song with Linda Hennrick providing the lyrics. Would be interesting to hear that version.

(English version)

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