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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Kozo Murashita -- Gozen Reiji(午前零時)

It's been a good long while since I put up a Kozo Murashita(村下孝蔵)song so to prepare, I listened to his first BEST compilation "Utabito - Song Collection -"(歌人〜ソングコレクション〜...Poet)from May 1984. I only have three of his albums including "Utabito" so it's nowhere near his total output so my image of him includes that lovely cover above which was illustrated by Tamotsu Murakami(村上保). My other image is of him strumming on the guitar in a business suit while sitting on a stool.

Over the years, I've come to realize that the late singer-songwriter also had a distinctive sound. It wasn't just his unique voice but also how Murashita melded the folksy flavour of his music with synths as was the case with his most successful pop hit, "Hatsukoi"(初恋), and also a bit of urgent rock. This would apply here with "Gozen Reiji". Now I was going to translate this as "12 Midnight" but I also saw some YouTuber write it down as "AM 0:00" which looked cooler so I went with that.

Murashita did indeed write and compose "Gozen Reiji" originally as a track for his 2nd album "Izuko e"(何処へ...To Where)from April 1981. But despite the first few notes of gentle piano, a cool rock rumble suddenly floods in thanks to an echoing electric guitar and some crashing percussion. It's not exactly the balladeer Murashita I've come to know but that's perfectly fine. He and his work here are kakkoii!

I would even posit that the song kinda takes him and us into the territory of Yosui Inoue(井上陽水)or Shogo Hamada(浜田省吾). A sports car doesn't even enter my mind when imagining the setting for "Gozen Reiji". It has to be a motorcycle bombing down that other conveyance will do. And according to the lyrics, the rider isn't in a happy place right now. It's not a sleepy and peaceful midnight; the poor guy is going out of his mind due to a possible crash in his relationship, and he's kicking himself in the head for being such a wuss...and if he doesn't stop by a McDonalds somewhere, he and Yamaha may end up wrapped around a pole permanently.

One commenter on YouTube also made the point but I have to toast my glass to Murashita in terms of the clever way he put the words "kurai, kurai"(暗い暗い...dark, dark)in the chorus to also sound like "cry, cry". Well played, sir! And I have to give my compliments to the guy who made the video directly above...very slick.

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