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, January 4, 2014

Namie Amuro -- Body Feels EXIT

It took around three years to Namie Amuro (安室奈美恵) and her fellow partners called SUPER MONKEYS to reach success in the Japanese mainstream pop industry. Their 1995 breakout single, “TRY ME ~Watashi wo Shinjite~” (TRY ME ~私を信じて~), was nothing more than a cover of Lolita’s Italo Disco/Hi-NRG/Eurobeat song, “Try Me”, but it was enough for propelling them to stardom. Although Namie was clearly the lead singer, the SUPER MONKEYS were still linked to her, so two more eurobeat covers, “Taiyou no SEASON” (太陽のSEASON) and “Stop the music”, were released before Namie really starting a solo career under avex trax with Tetsuya “TK” Komuro (小室哲哉) as her mastermind.

“Body Feel EXIT”, released in October 1995, was the first TK song recorded by Namie Amuro and a great way to showcase the power of both artists. With some pumping Euro House synths and a strong beat, courtesy of TK’s skills, “Body Feels EXIT” showcased what Namie had of best at the time, which were her energy and young passion. Its climax, for me, is right near the end, when Komuro just slams a powerful synth line before the last “body feels exit” line. It just screams techno, and could have been extended a little bit (I just think Komuro likes to end some of his songs with the best instrumental parts. She did the same with Ryoko Shinohara’s [篠原涼子] monster hit “Itoshisa to Setsunasa to Kokorozuyosa to” [恋しさと せつなさと 心強さと] just a year before, in 1994).

To be honest, Komuro probably knew that Amuro could not be locked in Eurobeat’s chains for too long, and Euro House, an extremely popular sound in Europe that was responsible for burying Eurobeat once and for all in the early 90s, was the right sound for her debut single as a solo artist.

As a side note, Amuro’s group partners, SUPER MONKEYS, got their name changed to MAX and also experienced success after the split with a succession of Eurobeat songs, like “TORA TORA TORA” and “Seventies”. Their debut album, “MAXIMUM”, released in late 1996, was made entirely of eurobeat covers. Also, the album was extremely successful and it’s a quintessential J-Pop/Eurobeat album. But that’s subject for a future post…

“Body Feels EXIT” reached #3 on the Oricon charts and sold a total of 881,640 copies in 1995 and 1996. Lyrics, music and arrangement were all made by Tetsuya Komuro.

1 comment:

  1. I think the performance and the video for "Body Feels Exit" were my indicators as to how big Namie Amuro and the "Amuraa" boom were starting to get. My very first sighting of Amuro was for the short commercial for "Try Me" and it just had the singer appearing as a typical teen and then twirling into some sort of Shibuya diva.


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