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, August 24, 2020

Southern All Stars -- Kibun Shidai de Semenaide(気分次第で責めないで)

It's awfully easy for me to imagine that legendary band Southern All Stars(サザンオールスターズ)has been able to stay so successful for so long since their 1978 debut simply because Keisuke Kuwata(桑田佳祐)and the guys have only whipped up those enormous hits that we've heard so often on television and at karaoke. I'm talking about their very early hits such as Single No. 1 "Katte ni Sinbad"(勝手にシンドバッド)and their relatively more recent fare like "TSUNAMI" in 2000.

But naturally, that would be wrong. Up to their current 42nd year of existence, Southern All Stars have come up with many more songs besides the hits through their B-sides and albums, so I was rather curious about any of their music that wouldn't be immediately known to more casual listeners. I went back through their discography and saw their 2nd single, sandwiched between "Katte ni Sinbad" and their classic 1979 ballad "Itoshi no Ellie"(いとしのエリー).

I had never heard of this 2nd single, "Kibun Shidai de Semanaide" (Don't Blame Me Depending on Your Mood) which was released in November 1978 on the heels of their breakthrough hit of "Katte ni Sinbad" earlier in June. Interestingly enough, according to the J-Wiki article about this very song, Southern All Stars at one point had also wished that no one had ever heard of this 2nd single. That title may have been rather prescient.

There is that expression, I believe, about getting too successful too soon, and perhaps that was what Kuwata had been wondering about early on in their career. Once "Katte ni Sinbad" became that bona fide No. 3 hit on Oricon, the record label was getting on the band's case about getting a sophomore hit along the same melodic lines of that auspicious debut. The pressure and experience were unpleasant according to Kuwata in a 1987 "Rockin' On!" article so that the songwriting was getting stymied, but he and the band with some additional help from Ichiro Nitta(新田一郎), got "Kibun Shidai de Semenaide" done.

And yep, although it's a different song, I could also hear the similarities with its more famous predecessor. The label wanted another "Katte ni Sinbad"; well, they kinda sorta got it with "Kibun Shidai de Semenaide". I could easily imagine all of those dancing girls in their skimpy outfits cutting a rug on the stage with Kuwata to this number as well.

The sales were good for Single No. 2, too, as it hit No. 10 and ended up as the 49th-ranked single of 1979, but Southern All Stars may have been wondering if they were just going to end up as a one-pattern band (luckily not). In fact, they lambasted this sophomore hit as "WORST. SONG. EVER." and refused to play it in concert for about 15 years until they decided it was time to get the elephant off their backs and played it in 1993. It must have been a wonderfully liberating experience since in a 2015 interview with "Switch" magazine, the band said that it was now fun to perform it.

"Kibun Shidai de Semenaide" was given a different arrangement as an album version on SAS' April 1979 2nd album "10 Numbers Carat"(10ナンバーズ・からっと)which peaked at No. 2 on the Oricon weeklies and became the 3rd-ranked album of 1979. The single version has a gradual fadeout at the end compared to the album version which stops cold according to the J-Wiki article so the one on YouTube above is most likely the original single.

Interesting thing about finding all that initial un-love for the song since I recall that Southern All Stars was also somewhat rueful about another single in the early 1980s, "Chako no Kaigan Monogatari"(チャコの海岸物語).

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