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, October 26, 2017

Naomi Sagara/Saori Yuki/Masako Mori -- Ii Janai no Shiawase Naraba(いいじゃないの幸せならば)

Last night, I was writing about Hiromi Go's(郷ひろみ)"Samui Yoake"(寒い夜明け)and mentioned that I couldn't find a number by the fellow that had been written by Tokiko Iwatani(岩谷時子)who was given that lovely tribute on "Uta Kon"(うたコン)on Tuesday night. Well, there was one song by her that got featured on the show and it is a lovely kayo ballad.

I'm happy to introduce this one, too, since it would be my second song on the blog belonging to Naomi Sagara(佐良直美), someone whom I had only known thus far for the classic "Sekai wa Futari no Tame ni"(世界は二人のために)"Ii Janai no Shiawase Naraba" (Why Not As Long As She's Happy), her 9th single from July 1969.

However, I didn't just opt for this song purely for quota's sake. "Ii Janai no Shiawase Naraba" is also a beautiful, bittersweet and haunting kayo that contrasts rather nicely with "Sekai wa Futari no Tame ni". Sagara's debut is gently optimistic but this particular entry in her discography is gently sad and wistful as the protagonist describes his ultimate parting from a woman who may have a bit of history behind her. Perhaps the relationship couldn't continue because of the innuendo surrounding her or she's dumped him for someone else but his love still remains for her. As long as she's happy, that will be fine with the fellow (I hope).

Listening to the original at the top, Sagara's deeper vocals and the tempo really give "Ii Janai no Shiawase Naraba" that gravity as heavy as the footsteps of the sad fellow as he schlumps through the streets mourning his loss. As I said, Iwatani was responsible for the lyrics and Taku Izumi(いずみたく)took care of the introspective melody.

The song was fully in the age of Oricon so it actually hit No. 2 and became the 22nd-ranked single for 1969. It also won a Japan Record Award for Best Song and earned Sagara her 3rd straight invitation to the Kohaku Utagassen.

(excerpt only)

There have been a lot of covers done of "Ii Janai no Shiawase Naraba". Fellow singer Saori Yuki(由紀さおり)provided her own version of the ballad in her 2011 album "1969" with Pink Martini. The album hit No. 4 on the Oricon weeklies. It would later become the 99th-ranked album of the year and even greatly improved its ranking the following year as it hit No. 26. On iTunes, it actually even hit No. 1 in Japan, Canada and the United States!

As well, Masako Mori's(森昌子)version amped up the Latin jazz flavour. It appeared on her album "Ano Koro"(あのころ...Those Days)which was released in August 2007.

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