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.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Takako Shirai -- Namae no Nai Ai demo Ii(名前のない愛でもいい)

One of the most famous musical cues on Japanese TV ranking with the American "Dragnet" brass blast was the intro for "Kayo Suspense Gekijo"(火曜サスペンス劇場...The Tuesday Night Suspense Drama)on NTV, which finished its long run in 2005. With the dramatic "BAN BAN BAN...", the viewers were taken into quick cuts, bloody and otherwise, of the episode to come with faces showing emotions ranging from horrified to furious to intrepid, all against musical pacing that seemed like an equivalent of a typical Tarentino flick. Of course, there was often the final showdown on top of a windy bluff overlooking an ocean. Maybe the culprit might have ended up getting a very close look at the water, too.

All this melodic and visual preamble before the titles came on in and an excerpt of the ending theme that changed from year to year. Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美)was once the go-to singer for those suspense drama enders such as "Ieji"(家路)but then Mariya Takeuchi(竹内まりや)brought in at least a couple of her hits with "Kokuhaku"(告白)and "Single Again".

Simply speculation on my part, but I think when the singer was contracted to whip up a "Kayo Suspense Gekijo" ending theme, the request on the particulars probably included that the song be melancholy but with some hope in the refrain. Furthermore, the lyrics were to be rather introspective and the whole ballad took on a tone paralleling the mystery inevitably getting solved with the detective stoically leading the murderer away to justice...just like Sgt. Friday on "Dragnet".

I've heard about Takako Shirai(白井貴子)for years and often mistook her name with the name for Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)for about the same length of time. Sheepishly, I must admit that today is the first time that I've included one of her songs in the annals of "Kayo Kyoku Plus", but don't tell her that, eh?

My first song by her then is "Namae no Nai Ai demo Ii" (A Love Without A Name Is Fine), a ballad which seems to have a couple of themes: doing a full stop and smelling the coffee once in a while, and not taking anything for granted since it may just disappear in a puff of smoke before you know it. "Namae no Nai Ai demo Ii" was Shirai's 24th single from June 1994 and the 13th ending theme for "Kayo Suspense Gekijo" for the bulk of that year.

The dramatic part of the melody is no surprise considering the song's purpose but there is also a noble folk-like feeling, thanks to Shirai's delivery. In a way, she reminds me of folk singer Tokiko Kato(加藤登紀子)and perhaps even a bit of Buffy Ste. Marie, though somewhat mellower. Shirai came up with the music while Yasushi Akimoto(秋元康)provided the lyrics.

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