Well, Happy New Year 2014 to all of you! I hope all of you have been able to enjoy the end of your Holidays, although of course in Japan, you folks there can relax for a few more days watching TV specials, gobbling down mikan and enjoying the company of family and friends. As for me, my family decided to head over to a Japanese restaurant and munch on the sushi there, although I went for the sweet-and-savory wonders of unaju.
In any case, I wanted to launch the 3rd year of "Kayo Kyoku Plus" with the Tetsuya Komuro（小室哲哉） unit, globe, and their 4th single, "DEPARTURES" which came out exactly 18 years ago on January 1st. Apparently, despite the release date, it seems to have been accepted as a Xmas song on some of the Japanese compilation discs. But then again, a number of Japanese Xmas tunes have enjoyed using the theme of romantic turmoil, and "DEPARTURES" lyrically fits the bill.
For a number of examples of the globe discography, techno Svengali Komuro has often gone with the digital flourishes, but with the atmospheric "DEPARTURES", there isn't a lot of that perhaps with the exception of the percussion. It's a straight-on ballad about the tug-of-war between being apart and holding on a little longer. However, the melody doesn't come across as all that melancholy. There seems to be something doggedly pushing ahead through the song as if the powers-that-be want to get this sorted out whatever the final solution. Perhaps it is Komuro's idea of an answer to a personals column.
Whether "DEPARTURES" is truly considered a Xmas song or not, I definitely see it as a song for winter. I think the one thing that cemented this in my mind happened to be a live performance on one of the music shows (perhaps "Hey Hey Hey Music Champ") in which globe did the song outside with snow slowly drifting down (snow globe?).
In addition, the other thing that probably clinches it as a winter song is the commercial which it is associated with. Japan Railways used "DEPARTURES" as its campaign tune for "Ski Ski" in 1996. Furthermore for those who are veteran J-Drama viewers, it must be rather nostalgic and surprising to see actors Yutaka Takenouchi and Makiko Esumi at the beginning of their careers. The song itself also seems to come across as somewhat more jauntier.
"DEPARTURES" was the most successful single for globe as it not only hit No. 1 on the Oricon weeklies but also became the 2nd-ranked song for the entire year. It also went through the 2 million barrier in terms of sales, and it is also found on the group's self-titled album which came out in March 1996.
|globe -- departures|