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, July 24, 2018

Mr. Children -- Namonaki Uta(名もなき詩)

Oh, I remember this song getting lots of love on NTV's "Yoru mo Hippare"(夜もヒッパレ). In fact, I think that I heard it being sung more as a karaoke tune by celebs than I heard it by the actual band itself.

I am talking about Mr. Children's 10th single "Namonaki Uta" (Nameless Poem) which was released in February 1996. This song was getting plenty of airplay everywhere; certainly it helped that it was also used as the theme for the Fuji-TV drama "Pure"(ピュア), and that show was slotted in the much envied prime time of 9 pm on Monday nights, so I think there was a huge benefit for both series and song.

Vocalist Kazutoshi Sakurai(桜井和寿)took care of both words and music. I hadn't paid attention to the lyrics at all during the heyday of "Namonaki Uta". All I knew was that this enjoyable melodic car ride was the usual Sakurai combination of heartfelt delivery and jangly pop/rock. But looking at the translation of "Namonaki Uta", I've realized that Sakurai was going for a balls-out confession of love but not with any grand promises but an explanation of who he is, warts and all. Apparently, he can't really express this crazy thing called love so it wouldn't do to place a title on his love song.

As I said, the emotion is there in Sakurai's delivery and then there is that one point in which he just speeds through one verse with all of the nervous energy of a kid finally blurting out that invitation for a date with that special someone for the first time. There is that feeling of anticipation and happy giddiness within the song. One other thing that I noticed was that although "Namonaki Uta" is undeniably a Mr. Children single, there is a musical riff included in the refrain that kinda reminded me of some of the parts of music that characterized Anzen Chitai(安全地帯), the big romantic band that was popular in the 1980s when compared to Mr. Children's reign in the 1990s.

No surprise that "Namonaki Uta" was another No. 1 hit for Mr. Children. In fact, in its first week of release, the single sold 1.2 million copies, the first time in Oricon history that any song broke the 1-million barrier in its first week of sales. Ultimately, it ended up selling 2.3 million copies, becoming the No. 1 single of 1996. As of this writing, it currently occupies the 12th rank in terms of the top singles in Oricon history.

The single was also placed as a track on Mr. Children's 5th album "Shinkai"(深海...Deep Sea)which came out in June 1996. It also hit No. 1 on the album charts and was the 6th-ranked album of the year. In terms of historical precedence, it is ranked 31st in the list of top albums in Oricon history. with close to 3 million albums sold.

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