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.

Friday, February 8, 2019

V6 -- Music For The People

Last night on TV Japan, I was watching TBS' "Matsuko no Shiranai Sekai"(マツコの知らない世界...The Unknown Worlds of Matsuko)hosted by columnist and tarento Matsuko Deluxe(マツコ・デラックス). I've enjoyed viewing the show on alternating Thursday nights since my family gets to see regular folks and their really deep hobbies with Matsuko showing differing levels of skepticism and excitement. This isn't just about train otakus or manga enthusiasts but also people who have a love for foods like chocolate and events such as ocean cruises (the lady in love with cruising even introduced the huge ship that we sailed on, the Harmony of the Seas back in 2017).

Well, last night's episode which was originally broadcast in early 2018 featured the world of tea, and then after that, Matsuko interviewed a 50-year-old fellow called DJ BOSS who brought back his love of Para Para(パラパラ)dancing. In fact, I was even able to find the first couple of minutes from that segment, and boy, was Matsuko really getting into it. He was quite giddy!

It was quite the interesting feature. DJ BOSS educated us on the three or four great boom periods of Para Para. Ah, for those who may not know the phenomenon, it's a dance which stresses more on the upper body with its precise arm movements and general poses rather than the legs and feet going crazy on the floor. I was there for at least two of those periods in the 90s going into the 2000s, and the first time I became aware of Para Para was through an episode of "SMAP x SMAP" when member Takuya Kimura(木村拓哉)was in some sort of skit as an expert Para Para dancer with a whole bunch of enthusiasts. It's said that this segment in the show may have helped in popularizing one of those boom periods.

Supposedly one of the "churches" for Para Para was the Twin Star nightclub in Kagurazaka, Tokyo. I'd actually gone there with a few of my old students from my days at Asakusa NOVA back in those 90s for a fellow student's wedding reception. Nope, there wasn't any Para Para there and I wouldn't have tried it if it had been performed for all of the food on the buffet table since I do care about sighted people.

Anyways, getting back to the topic at hand, when DJ BOSS was talking about a few of the source songs for one of those boom times, specifically 1993-1995, he mentioned Namie Amuro's(安室奈美恵)"TRY ME" and then "Music For The People" by Johnny's aidoru group V6.

Och, I could have had a V6 (just punning from a slogan for the vegetable drink)! I did say that their "Wa ni Natte Odorou"(WAになっておどろう)was the one song that I remember, but then hearing "Music For The People" sent some of my memory engrams knocking upside my head pretty hard. I was a bit surprised when DJ BOSS mentioned that particular song since I couldn't really make the connection between a Johnny's aidoru tune and the whole Para Para thing with its Eurobeat and Trance. But listening to it and seeing the original music video at Vimeo made it all really quite clear to me.

Plus, I don't think "Music For The People" really needed to be tweaked all that much to become a Para Para paradise for dancers as the above will show you. The song was V6's debut single from November 1995 with lyrics by Yasushi Akimoto(秋元康)and music by Eurobeat master Giancarlo Pasquini who usually goes by his nom de guerre, Dave Rodgers.

V6's inaugural song did quite well. It peaked at No. 3 on Oricon and was the 99th-ranked single for 1995, going Double Platinum. "Music For The People" was used as the image song for the quadrennial FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup, and has a special status because from that point forward, a Johnny's group has always provided a song for the competition.The song is also on V6's debut album "SINCE 1995 〜 FOREVER", released in August 1996 which went all the way up to No. 1 and became the 65th-ranked album of the year. V6 was able to perform some of "Music For The People" during a medley on the 2015 Kohaku Utagassen, their second of three appearances on the NHK New Year's Eve special.

Rodgers would also provide his own English-language cover of "Music For The People".

To finish off, DJ BOSS admitted that Para Para may have finally receded into a niche hobby, but there are apparently places here and there in the nation where at least some of the 90s kids-turned-10s adults can still continue the dance of their precious memories. Below is another Para Para dancer who the DJ introduced, Yuuchin(ゆうちん).

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