From the medleys I had seen on YouTube, I was very aware that "HELLO" is one of the most well-liked songs in ASKA's 3rd album "NEVER END" from 1995, and in a fan-favourite poll ASKA held in 2017, it even managed to emerge as one of the top 20 out of all his solo works. But strangely, I couldn't get its appeal and was quite averse to listening to it for the longest time and would always skip it without much hesitation. However, this time round, while stuck in traffic in Hong Kong a few weeks back and thinking that enka didn't fit the environment all that much, I decided to give it a second chance and let it run its course after listening to my personal favourite, "Senten wo Homeru nara Yugure wo Mate" (晴天を誉めるなら夕暮れを待て). And by golly, the thought of, "Hey..., this song is actually great!" felt like a hard flick to the forehead.
Besides its chorus, "HELLO" has got the tropes I like most from ASKA's songs: A melody with a nice light rhythm, church bells clanging away, and synths that are reminiscent of horns and strings that create a western flavour - this sound is most notable in the "NEVER END" album. Upon hindsight, I think the only reason that kept me away from "HELLO" was that I did not like its intro. With rolling drums and crashing cymbals, I found it way too loud and overly dramatic and I couldn't get over that. Right now, can't say that I've fallen in love with it in the same way as the rest of the song, but I'm getting used to it. Actually, with a more positive look at the opening and the constant "Hello-s", the first thing that came to mind was the image of parents introducing their little kid to a whole new world and its wide array of characters.
Moving on, in terms of what the lyrics in "HELLO" are all about, I don't exactly know, but my guess is that it could be about how the titular greeting is the first step to getting to know someone and that it can be quite a daunting task to do just that in the beginning. As a victim of social awkwardness myself, I can attest to that.
Well, as I continue to (slowly) sift through the portion of ASKA's discography I've yet to touch, I wonder what other songs will turn out to be the same case as "HELLO" - I have a feeling that there are many more to come.