Credits

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, July 5, 2013

DEEN -- Hitomi Sorasanai de (瞳そらさないで)




The late 80s in Japan may have been known as the Band Boom in music, but the early 90s should have been called the Alphabet Band Boom, since there were a number of these acts known for one-word letter clusters such as ZYYG, trf, and ZARD. And there was also DEEN. Back in 1993, the lead vocalist for WANDS, Sho Uesugi(上杉昇), and singer-songwriter Tetsuro Oda (織田哲郎....behind a lot of TUBE tunes) were searching for someone to sing their song for a DoCoMo pager commercial (the prehistoric age before cellphones that didn't look like bricks), and they found Shuichi Ikemori(池森秀一) from Hokkaido who had come down to Tokyo to start a career in music. Liking what they heard and saw from Ikemori, they partnered him with keyboardist Koji Yamane(山根公路) to form DEEN. With a couple of more additions, that DoCoMo song became the band's 1st single.

However, the song that I will always associate DEEN with is their 5th single, "Hitomi Sorasanai de"(Don't Avert Your Eyes), which came out in June 1994. Also composed by Oda, the lyrics were provided by the late vocalist of ZARD, Izumi Sakai(坂井泉水), and the song is just a bottle of summer fun. I sometimes have to avert MY eyes from the CD since the tune is so bright and bouncy, and one of my favourite parts is that fast guitar solo near the end. The lyrics themselves are pretty darn optimistic as the guy in question tries to convince his girlfriend that there is still more than a spark in their relationship.



But like that debut song of theirs, "Hitomi Sorasanai de" was also one of the catchy campaign songs for Pocari Sweat, that famous isotonic drink that can be found in just about every vending machine alongside the cans of Coca-Cola. Actress Sae Isshiki(一色紗英)was the face in the commercials during the early 90s, and it's hard to separate her from the product even after a couple of decades. I've often plinked down my coins to get a can of the blue-and-white during those broiling Tokyo summers. The above video, by the way, has the whole series of commercials; "Hitomi Sorasanai de" comes near the end.

The song was DEEN's first No. 1 and million-seller, and became the 18th-ranked single of 1994.




DEEN -- Hitomi wo Sorasanaide
(Bring your shades)




4 comments:

  1. What a powerful version of the song ! Pure Deen style !

    Before today, I did only know the ZARD version (included as the last track in their album "Forever You" in 1995) and it's quite an other word. As the Deen version could be a great tune for a bright sunny summer day, I would save the ZARD version for the end of the afternoon or the beginning of the evening of the same day, with the warm and smiling voice of Izumi Sakai, some sweet guitars and a hint of saxophone to accompany the sunset.

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    1. Hi, Le singe! I didn't even know about the ZARD version. I'll have to take a listen to that one. I also came across a bossa version of the song by DEEN itself on YouTube somewhere which was also quite nice.

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    2. Hi J !

      In fact, I think ZARD re-used in their albums a few songs written by Izumi Sakai for other groups or singers. An other case is the excellent "DAN DAN 心魅かれてく"/"Dan Dan Kokoro Ikareteku" composed by Tetsuro Oda who used to work with both Zard and Deen, included in their album "Today is Another Day" (1996) but initialy released as a single by the group "Field of View". It was this first version that became the opening song for the anime "Dragon Ball GT". In the same time, the first ending song of the anime was the no less excellent "ひとりじゃない"/"Hitori Janai" (also with Tetsuro Oda as composer) performed by Deen, before beeing replaced by "Don't you see !" by Zard. For me, those opening and ending songs were the very best part of the show...

      For the bossa-nova version of "Hitomi Sorasanaide" you quoted, I found it on YouTube and admit it's an other really cool one. This new version was released with their 36th single "Negai" in 2009.

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    3. Hi again.

      Just listened to ZARD'S laid-back version of the song. Very nice indeed! Your description of the environment to listen to this cover is quite accurate.

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