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.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hiroshi Uchiyamada and The Cool Five -- Ame (雨)

Lately, I've been racking my brain as to what Christmas song I should write for this festive season. But the thing is, I'm not a fan of Christmas songs and enka and kayo are't the most Christmas-y genres out there. So I changed my train of thought to that of snow-related songs because in my mind, Christmas = Winter = Snow. (Those in the southern hemisphere, I apologize for my simple mind.) However, I realised I'd already talked about snow songs I like - e.g. "Yuki no Wataridori" (雪の渡り鳥) and "Yuki Ressha" (雪列車). It then occurred to me that Singapore doesn't snow (artificial snow or shaved ice "snow" from Snow City does not count) at this time of the year, but rains. In fact, it has been raining almost everyday since December began. With rain in mind, I had just the song.

Hiroshi Uchiyamada and The Cool Five (内山田洋とクール・ファイブ) does have the quintessential rainy number that is "Nagasaki wa Kyo mo Ame datta" (長崎は今日も雨だった), though that feels very area specific. "Ame", from their 1978 10th Anniversary album, on the other hand, isn't. Responsible for the words to "Ame" was Chiko Murofushi (むろふしチコ) and the music, Kaoru Kuramitsu (倉光薫).

I came across "Ame" by chance while rummaging through this YouTube channel specializing in all things Cool Five, and I took to it right off the bat. The lightly tinkling percussions at the start reminiscent of light falling rain and the following smooth strings set a very comfortable tone for this mood kayo; it feels like you're watching the world go by from behind a rain-streaked window inside a warm and cozy abode. The muted electric guitar throughout also gives the melody a nice edge.

Now, this is a Cool Five song, or simply just a song with Kiyoshi Maekawa (前川清) at the helm in the way of vocals, after all, so this tune doesn't stay all that quiet for long. As we progress to the chorus, Mae-Kiyo's gentle crooning swells to an almost resentful and whiny yell as he laments the loss of the one he loves, of whom he is reminded of on rainy days, before falling into a soft and hopeless sigh as he knows that there is no chance of reuniting with her. This is definitely my favourite part of "Ame". Having been surrounded by Hachi's mellowness and Haru-san's jolliness so much these days, it feels good to have the angst dial cranked up from a 2 or 3 to a 10 by Mae-Kiyo.

Man, this was so much better than the perm.


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Very natsukashii feeling when I hear this one. Well, that should be no surprise since it did come out in 1978, but it's that arrangement of music especially those creamy strings. Feels like taking a walk after a rain during the day.

  2. By the way, Noelle...did you hear of this one?

    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      Oh, I have seen "Sayonara no Kanata e" floating about YouTube, but this is the first time I've heard it. Wow, those synths really blow you away at the start! And that Mae-Kiyo angst is pretty good, though not as angry as "Ame". Thanks for introducing this to me proper! :)


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