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.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Masayuki Suzuki -- MARTINI II


I've been checking the pageviews over the past week and it looks like the winner has been the opening theme for this season's anime "Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~ Tensai-tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen"(かぐや様は告らせたい〜天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦〜), "Love Dramatic"(ラブ・ドラマティック).

So, all I can say to the main singer is:

Congratulations, Masayuki Suzuki(鈴木雅之). You are now the proud father of an earworm! Please feel free to get your sunglasses at night by the door.

I've been checking out for any comments on "Love Dramatic" online and most of them have been very positive about the song. The other thing that I've found is that a number of folks have only discovered Martin just in the past few weeks because of the theme song.

So although I was already thinking about doing this first BEST article for 2019 since I discovered that Suzuki did provide his first anison, the comments that I saw over the past few days have pretty much cemented my decision. Therefore, without further ado, I introduce the second of his BEST compilations, "MARTINI II" released in October 1995.

1. Wakare no Machi (1995 acapella version)(別れの街
2. Koibito(恋人
3. Mou Namida wa Iranai(もう涙はいらない
4. Sayonara Itoshi no Baby Blues(さよならいとしのBaby Blues)
5. Chigau, Sou Janai(違う、そうじゃない
6. Adam na Yoru(アダムな夜)
7. Midnight Traveler
8. Liberty
9. Come On In
10. Shibuya de Go-ji(渋谷で5時
11. Ai no Okite(愛の掟)
12. Glass Goshi ni Kieta Natsu 1995(ガラス越しに消えた夏1995)
13. Yume no Mata Yume(夢のまた夢 (1995 Remix Version))

As you can see above, about half of the songs have already been spoken for through past articles, so feel free to link on those. Let's go on with the ones that I have yet to cover starting with the smoky "Sayonara Itoshi no Baby Blues" (Farewell, My Beloved Baby Blues), a track from Suzuki's 5th album, "Fair Affair" from 1992. A whisky-on-the-rocks-worthy soul & blues song about a love gone wrong, the aforementioned drink would be one of the libations needed at that bar with a sympathetic mixologist.

Martin's recording of "Sayonara Itoshi no Baby Blues" was actually a cover of the original song by singer-songwriter Hideki Andoh(安藤秀樹)which was his 17th single from December 1991. The concert video above has all of Martin, Andoh and Chikuzen Sato(佐藤竹善)from Sing Like Talking performing the song, although I think the evening is probably the ideal setting instead of what looked like the afternoon in the video.

(karaoke version)

"Adam na Yoru" is interesting enough just for the title. If I were to translate it as "Adam's Night", perhaps the Japanese would be "Adam no Yoru"(アダム夜), but with that "na"(な)in there, maybe it's "An Adam-esque Night"?

In any case, Martin's 20th single from February 1995 was written and composed by the songwriting couple Ryudo Uzaki and Yoko Aki(宇崎竜童・阿木燿子), who were behind a lot of Momoe Yamaguchi's(山口百恵)later hits in the late 1970s, and though it sounds like the perfect tune to hear while prepping up for a banner night out in Tokyo, Aki's lyrics actually portray a scene right from the "Penny for your thoughts?" moment following a tryst in some bedroom. Looks like Adam and Eve took a huge bite out of that apple.

"Adam na Yoru" was also the theme song for a TBS drama titled "Watashi, Mikata desu"(私、味方です...I'm A Friend)which was televised between January and March of 1995. It peaked at No. 17 on Oricon. Do love those horns. Heck, I think it would be great listening on the car stereo while driving through West Shinjuku.

"Liberty" was actually Suzuki's 3rd single from March 1987 but it has been included here in "MARTINI II". Written and composed by the great Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子)with AKI, it's a gospel-influenced tune performed in English, and Yoshida provides some of the background vocals. Peaking at No. 64, "Liberty" also made it onto his 4th album "mood" from 1990.

(karaoke version)

Martin can really rock those suits, can't he? "Midnight Traveler" was his 17th single from October 1993. It basically has the same flavour as the aforementioned "Adam na Yoru" through Yoshiyuki Osawa's(大沢誉志幸)melody but Kitsuma Ohshita's(大下きつま)lyrics provide more mystery in the story of two lovers on a journey for parts unknown, perhaps unable to come back. I already talked about "Midnight Traveler" through its album "Perfume" but my write-up doesn't have the full version that is right above this paragraph.

In 1991, Suzuki and 80s pop mainstay Paul Young got together as a duet to sing Sam & Dave's 1969 "Come On In" for a bit of that old-time soul. Originally written by Isaac Hayes and composed by David Porter, the Suzuki/Young single got as high as No. 79 and was also included on "mood".

The final track on "MARTINI II" is "Yume no Mata Yume", which I can think can be translated as "Dreams On Dreams". As much as "Liberty" sounds like a Minako Yoshida creation, "Yume no Mata Yume" feels like Kazumasa Oda(小田和正)and the way that he made his songs back in the early 1990s (and he's in the background vocals as well). And yep, it was written and composed by the Off Course(オフコース)singer as Suzuki's 19th single for release in October 1994. In a way, Oda's lyrics can almost describe the tensions in "Kaguya-sama". Peaking at No. 17, it is included in his 7th album "She・See・Sea" which came out in the same month.

"MARTINI II" hit No. 1 and ranked in at No. 27 on the Oricon yearly charts. It also hung in there for 1996 at No. 68. I will have to do another BEST for Martin's immediate predecessor, "MARTINI", since there are some great tunes in there, too but perhaps next month. So until "Love Dramatic" gets out officially on February 27th, you can do a bit of exploration here and on some of the other Martin songs.

In the meantime...


One wonders whether he consulted
with Corey Hart.

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