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.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hi-Fi Set -- Sunao ni Naritai (素直になりたい)

There were several songs I wish I could include in my Top 10 80's playlist, but competition was tight so they didn't make the cut. This cheerfully lovely tune by Hi-Fi Set (ハイ・ファイ・セット) from 1984, "Sunao ni Naritai" (素直になりたい...I Wanna Be Honest), was one of them. If you see me having a bad day, just play this. Won't fail. I couldn't embed the video of the group itself performing the song, but hopefully it works in your country because Junko Yamamoto (山本潤子) sings it with the warmest of smiles. I can already feel you, springtime. Musically speaking, I enjoy that combination of horns and sparkly synths and, of course, the members' harmonious vocals. I must say, it is a pretty simple melody, but somehow it just stuck with me. I also tackled it in karaoke a few times and was successful thanks to the easygoing vocal pace and lack of challenging notes.

Hi-Fi Set's career suffered a dry spell between 1979 and 1983 when Yuming no longer assisted them as a songwriter and they couldn't keep up with changing trends around the turn of the decade. During those years, they mainly performed 4 Beat Jazz, but it was obscure enough that those albums never got remastered on CD. In 1984, they finally found their new niche by teaming up with Masamichi Sugi (杉真理) who would take care of most of their songs from that point on starting with "Sunao ni Naritai". While the song still retained some of their signature jazziness, it also embraced that peppy spirit from the 80's that helped it appeal to new audiences. It also got a popularity boost thanks to being used as a CM jingle for Citizen "Riviere" watch. I don't have any Oricon data, but J-Wiki does note that the single was a moderate hit.

And last but not least, the song is turning 30 years old on January 21st! I remember when I first became attached to 80's music I didn't feel like like it was that old. But there you go.


1 comment:

  1. Hi, nikala. And very nice entry by Hi-Fi Set. There was that decade-long gap between the group's 70s heyday and their album "White Moon" in 1990 in which I was wondering what they were doing. "Sunao ni Naritai" sounds like them trying to break into Tatsuro Yamashita territory and going for a more uptempo poppier sound along the lines of what Yuming was also trying to do once she changed her name from Arai to Matsutoya.


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