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, October 10, 2017

Masahiro Kuwana -- Sayonara no Natsu(さよならの夏)

Saw the trailer for "The Last Jedi", the next installment of the "Star Wars" saga. It's hard to believe that it's been 40 years since "A New Hope" blasted away on movie screens everywhere. I still remember lining up at the theatre up north of my place for over an hour to finally see the original "Star Wars" for the first time...two years after it was first released. That theatre had been playing the movie everyday for over 24 months and it was still attracting snake-like lines! Mind you, those were the days when VCRs were still new so the only source to see the movie was paying those bucks over and over at the theatre. Different times, they were.

Several weeks after the release of "A New Hope" in 1977, the late Masahiro Kuwana(桑名正博)released his 2nd album "Masahiro II"(マサヒロ・II)in July. Of course, the one song by him I know really well is his big hit from 1979, the oddly-titled but funkalicious and disco-y "Sexual Violet No. 1" (maybe I was standing in line for "Star Wars" at the Fairview when it was released).

However, this earlier track from "Masahiro II" is "Sayonara no Natsu" (The Goodbye Summer), a nicely soulful and sunset ballad that does bring up memories of walking along the shore towards Kamakura back in October 2014. I swear, listening to this one had me judging that this could be one of the best concoctions by the team of lyricist Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composer Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平)that I have ever heard. And Kuwana has got more great backup from his fellow musicians such as Yukihiro Takahashi(高橋ユキヒロ)on drums, Masayoshi Takanaka(高中正義)on guitar, and Tsugutoshi Goto(後藤 次利)on bass.

Still, what brings it together are the sweet and mellow vocals of Kuwana himself. He gives "Sayonara no Natsu" some great soul. It just goes to show that great City Pop wasn't just restricted to the 1980s.

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