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, August 8, 2020

Superfly -- Ai wo Komete Hanataba wo(愛をこめて花束を)

This is the second theme song for a TBS drama that I've written about today after Kumi Showji's(障子久美) "Ano Koro no Youni"(あの頃のように). Whenever I think of Superfly, aka singer-songwriter Shiho Ochi(越智志帆), I always remember that one student I had over a decade ago in my final school. I've mentioned her in past Superfly articles, but she had the appearance and soul of a free-living hippie, and indeed she's the one who first introduced me to Superfly.

That theme song was for "Edison no Haha"(エジソンの母...Edison's Mother), a 2008 comedy-drama about an elementary school teacher who has one young man as a student who may be a genius on a par with the legendary Thomas Alva Edison.

Now I've heard "Ai wo Komete Hanataba wo" (Put Love in a Bouquet) before, and it's been treated as the breakthrough song and one of the most successful hits for Superfly. This was the 4th single released in February 2008 and the first single after the composer for the song, Koichi Tabo(多保孝一), had left the partnership in 2007 although according to the Wikipedia article for Superfly, he still remains "...the group's composer and part-time lyricist". The article for the song itself mentions that Tabo in fact created the melody all the way back in 1997 when he was in his mid-teens and that "Ai wo Komete Hanataba wo" was performed at a number of venues even before Superfly made their official debut in 2006.

Tabo's original lyrics were replaced by ones by Ochi and SUPERCAR member Junji Ishiwatari(いしわたり淳治)for the sake of its use as the theme song for "Edison no Haha". This guitar pop-rock song is beautifully delivered by Ochi and has plenty of heart and hope with an arrangement that is not just contemporary but also brings back a certain 1970s pop nostalgia...perhaps some Janis Joplin? That student who had cottoned me onto Superfly was also a big fan of hers.

I can imagine those opening notes on the piano bringing an applause of recognition whenever the song is played. It's been stated in the article on "Ai wo Komete Hanataba wo" that the song was a new beginning for the now solo member of Superfly, Ochi, and indeed it became a successful restart for her. Although going no higher than No. 13 on Oricon, it did break into the Top 10 on the Billboard Japan Top 100 chart (No. 7) and Billboard Adult Contemporary Airplay chart (No. 9). Moreover, the song was a darling for the cellphones in terms of ringtone downloads as it broke the Million barrier, and it went Triple Platinum and Double Platinum (on J-Wiki) for full-length cellphone downloads and PC downloads respectively (although according to Wikipedia, the PC downloads "only" merited a Platinum). Superfly also got its 2nd of 4 invitations to perform "Ai wo Komete Hanataba wo" on the 2017 edition of NHK's Kohaku Utagassen.

The song also got onto Superfly's self-titled debut album which came out in May 2008 and hit No. 1 as well as end up as the 22nd-ranked release of the year. It shares CD space with "Vancouver" and "Hi-Five".

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