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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, October 20, 2017

Some [Early] Works of Tetsuya Komuro (小室哲哉)

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Earlier this week I was discussing with a fellow Brazilian friend about Tetsuya Komuro’s works before his heyday as a producer in the mid-to-late 90s. As I told my friend, TK was already an accomplished producer before he started working with TRF, Ryoko Shinohara (篠原涼子), or Namie Amuro (安室奈美恵). In fact, besides being a member of the famous and glittery band TM NETWORK, he was also one of the rising composers during the 80’s aidoru era, and these are the works I want to introduce a little bit here. For a more well rounded view of his career as a Creator, here's J-Canuck's original article on the topic.



Starting with one of my favorites, TK produced an entire single for sexy aidoru Minako Tanaka (田中美奈子) in 1990. Released in May of that year, it was called “Yume Mite TRY” (夢見てTRY), a lovely and very aidoru-like pop song full of sharp synth stabs in the arrangement, just like was the norm in the late 80s. The coupling song, “I Say Hello Again”, was also a song created by TK, and it’s a little bit more adventurous than the tame “Yume Mite TRY”. Let’s say it was more club-ready than the a-side, which is comprehensible. For me, both songs are very nice, and, as a big fan of the beautiful Minako Tanaka, I’m very happy with them. “Yume Mite TRY” is catchier, though.


Eternal aidoru Seiko Matsuda (松田聖子) also had a song composed by TK for her comeback album “Strawberry Time”, in 1987. Called “Kimono Beat”, this funky and cute melodic piece with its singalong chorus is easily one of my highlights in Seiko’s late 80s phase. Based on that, I’m more than satisfied when I see her performing it during concert tours, even nowadays.


Another one of my favorites, CoCo’s “Haru Milky Way” (春・ミルキーウェイ) wasn’t a song produced by TK for the group. In reality, their song is a different version of “I WANT YOU BACK”, a song TK recorded himself for his debut album “Digitalian is eating breakfast”, released in December 1989. I don’t know if he sold the song for CoCo, even if it wasn’t entirely new, or if they simply agreed to release it, albeit with different title and lyrics. Well, strange things aside, “Haru Milky Way” was included in CoCo’s debut album “Strawberry”, released in March 1990, and it’s a fine synthpop tune coming from the aidoru group.


Yuko Imai’s (今井優子) second single “Niji-Iro no Aura” (虹色のオーラ), released in December 1988, was also composed by Komuro, and I just love the uplifting melody in the chorus. In my opinion, it could easily have been a hit by Misato Watanabe (渡辺美里), since they were already famous for songs like “My Revolution” and “Kanashii ne” (悲しいね). Nothing against Imai, of course, since she was a cute girl with a pleasant voice, but just a little reminder that maybe Komuro’s songs were purposely similar to what he did with Watanabe back then.



Cute aidoru Chiemi Hori (堀ちえみ) also recorded one Komuro song, and it was “Ai wo Ima Shinjite Itai” (愛を今信じていたい) back in 1987, when her aidoru career was already close to an end. Like J-Canuck acknowledged in his original Tetsuya Komuro post, it’s interesting to notice how different those 80s songs were from the more hard-hitting Techno he created in the 90s.



Finally, Miho Nakayama (中山美穂) was another example of top aidoru who recorded some hits composed by Komuro. One of them was the Latin-tinged “50/50” in July 1987, and the other was “JINGI Aishite Moraimasu” (JINGI・愛してもらいます) in July 1986. While “50/50” was a bouncy song full of stereotypical Mexican or Caribbean sounds, “JINGI Aishite Moraimasu” was more on the cute side with the twinkly keyboards and overall cheerful tone.

In the end, these are just some examples of what Tetsuya Komuro was doing during the 80s. At the time, he also had commercial success with his band TM NETWORK, with hits for Misato Watanabe, and, by 1989, launched his own solo career with some nice songs as well. However, today I wanted to concentrate just on the female aidoru side of his work here. To a couple more examples of female aidoru singers he produced back then, there was also Kyoko Koizumi’s (小泉今日子) “GOOD MORNING-CALL” (1988), and also Rie Miyazawa’s (宮沢りえ) “DREAM RUSH” (1989).

7 comments:

  1. Hi Marcos V!

    I also like the song "Haru Milky Way" he wrote for CoCo but I still feel TK was a bit lazy on this one. He wrote a "TK style" song and not a CoCo's song style. That's why the song is so different from the others on their album; you immediately feel it's different and with a good reason :)

    It's like people have to adapt to TK songwriting style and not him adapting to singers' styles.

    Another song that is interesting to me is the song "Tsuki to Koigokoro" (月と恋心) from Saori Yagi's (八木さおり) 2nd album "Moon & Love". It's a different version of "RESISTANCE", TM NETWORK's 12th single.

    The story about this song is that TK who was a fan of Saori Yagi (her first album is indeed a nice one) wanted to write a song for her forthcoming 2nd album. At that time he was already busy working on TM NETWORK 5th album "humansystem". Among some outtakes from their 4th album "Self Control", there was a ballad. While reworking the song that would finally became "RESISTANCE", he finally gave her another version. Surely a work in progress one where he already had the final chorus in mind.

    You can compare both version:
    Saori Yagi "Tsuki to Koigokoro"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SB4ekq-evU

    TM NETWORK "RESISTANCE"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prTzRyf7m8c

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Daemonskald, and thanks for the comment.
    I don’t know if Komuro created “Haru Milky Way” song specifically for CoCo, since he recorded it as “I WANT YOU BACK” for his debut album, which came out four months before CoCo’s. I just find strange that the same song, albeit with different title and lyrics, was released by different artists in a space of time below six months. I really don’t know how this was treated by Komuro, his record label and CoCo’s management. In the end, I do agree with you that “Haru Milky Way” is a strange song in CoCo’s “Strawberry”. I like how it’s not aidoru-like as the others, and retains Komuro’s mechanical beats. For me, it’s a standout.

    Interesting story about “RESISTANTE” and the surprisingly nice “Tsuki to Koigokoro” (Saori Yagi is a new one for me. Thanks a lot for introducing her). Apparently, Komuro was a fan of recycling some melodies, as was the case with TM NETWORK’s “DIVE INTO YOUR BODY” and his own “RUNNING TO HORIZON”. Also, I remember Chiemi Hori’s “Ai wo Ima Shinjite Itai” received a treatment in his “Hit Factory” self cover album, turning into “Omoide wo Okizarinishite”.

    In the end, he was a good composer, and a very busy one, so it’s probably a common thing to exist some overlapping between songs.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Marcos!

      I agree with you, TK was a very good composer but what is quite astonishing to me is that he composed in a vast array of music genres, from idol pop to trance, with more or less the same level of quality and success.

      For me he even earned the status of music genius with his work for Mademoiselle Mozart ( マドモアゼル・モーツァルト). To be able to compose classical music means he was definitely in another league.

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  3. Hi, Marcos. Good to hear from you again.

    Thanks for the latest on Komuro and it's interesting to hear this proto version of his music from the 1980s. I guess I can divide his compositions into Komuro aidoru (the artists that you mention above) and the Komuro dance-pop (TRF, Namie, Kahala, etc.) There seems to be a softer touch in the former. It's quite the revelation that even Seiko Matsuda was a client!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      Although I've already written about most of the songs featured here before, this talk with my friend make me want to reunite them in a more comprehensible post about Komuro's early works as a composer. Thankfully, I was able to introduce some songs, such as Minako Tanaka's "I Say Hello Again", CoCo's "Haru Milky Way", Yuko Imai's "Niji-Iro no Aura", Miho Nakayama's "JINGI Aishite Moraimasu" and Seiko's "Kimono Beat".

      I'm certain he produced many more hits for female aidoru singers that we don't know or remember, and he surely had a different style back then. As opposed to the more beat-driven 90s, Komuro relied more on melodies in the 80s.

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    2. Hi, Marcos.

      I think even any list on J-Wiki of Komuro's creations is probably an incomplete one. One would have to scour through a lot of singers' liner notes to track down Komuro-created songs.

      It's good that you've been able to dig up some of these songs that are perhaps not well known to even fans of Komuro. I certainly hadn't been aware of "Kimono Beat" and "Niji-Iro no Aura".

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    3. Hi J-Canuck!

      You can dig wiki or you could simply go to JASRAC website ( http://www2.jasrac.or.jp/eJwid/main.jsp?trxID=F00100) and search all of his works as lyricist/composer in "権利者名" tab and you'll soon find out.

      Right now there are about 1041 entries.

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