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, September 11, 2015

Yuzo Kayama -- Hoshi no Tabibito (星の旅人)

Whenever I listen to "Hoshi no Tabibito", this one scene from an episode of "Steven Universe" pops into my head. Titled "Story for Steven", that episode centers around Steven's dad, Greg, in his younger days as a budding rock star and how he managed to encounter the mysterious Rose Quartz (Steven's mom). At the beginning of Greg's "story", he begins with the song "Like a Comet" that has him singing about the career path he had chosen, with most of the lyrics referencing to outer space. After all, his last name is Universe.

So, what made me equate "Hoshi no Tabibito" to Greg's passionate-but-sadly-ignored (only Rose showed up) performance of "Like a Comet"? Well, although Yuzo Kayama's (加山雄三) 59th single is not so much of a cheesy rock song than it is an inspirational and modern-sounding folk song, it keeps to the space gimmick of "Like a Comet" through the pulsating beat that accompanies the tinkling of the acoustic guitar and the elegant strings gives you the image of space and the starry night sky. Then as the song increases in speed, it gives you a feeling that you're flying through the cosmos with the shining stars right at your side and space nebulae of brilliant colours all around you. And what I saw in Greg's beautiful music video (I suppose you could call it that) has some sort of semblance to that, especially those bits after his CD surfing and when he's on his knees strumming his electric guitar while gazing hopefully at the sparkly sky.

Composing "Hoshi no Tabibito" was the Wakadaisho himself - I realise that the music he came up with in his later works were often leaning to the genre of folk, but still have a hint of rock in it. Shinji Tanimura (谷村新司) was in charge of the lyrics. "Hoshi no Tabibito" was released in 2007 and peaked at 197th place on the Oricon charts. This tune is also one of the tracks in Kayama's compilation album "PREMIUM BEST" (released in 2012), which was how I got to know of it and quickly grew to like it.

The video above has the both of them singing this song. Kayama and Tanimura seem to be pretty good pals, judging by the number times they've performed together and collaborated on songs.

Kayama, still as cool as ever even in
his 70s.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Noelle.

    I think this is one of those songs that I could use as a bit of a tonic after a tough day. Y''s just one day...grab a drink and look up at the sky and realize we're all so small in this vast cosmos.


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