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, January 19, 2018

Logic System/Kaori Tsuchiya/Yoshihiro Nagamatsu -- Aishuu no Orient Express(哀愁のオリエント急行)

I had heard about the updated version of "Murder on the Orient Express". I saw an earlier version from the 1970s starring Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney and Sean Connery and that was fine but even with the just-as-star-studded cast in the 2017 remake, I haven't been too intrigued to catch it myself although it's still playing at the theatres here.

The thing with me now when it comes to movies and catching them is that because of all of the superhero movies that have been galloping out the gate since the 21st century (and yep, I'm going all the way back to "X-Men" and Tobey Maguire's "Spiderman"), I'm now seeing trailers and immediately identifying the individual cast members with their superhero/escapist character roles. Therefore when I saw the trailer above for "Murder on the Orient Express", I couldn't help but see Gilderoy Lockhart, Rey, The Green Goblin, Captain Jack, The Master and the great M. Och, my poor pop culture-riddled mind.

Well, the Orient Express also exists in our little sphere of popular Japanese music. "Aishuu no Orient Express" literally translates as "Sorrowful Orient Express" but officially known with the English title "Orient Express". However, considering the plot of the above movie, I think the aishuu part is well-deserved. After all, if I had been on that particular train with all of the death and suspicion hanging about like a shroud, I probably would have gone for room service than head into the club car and then wondered if I could get some of my money back.

The song was created by two veterans in Japanese songwriting, Reiko Yukawa and Kyohei Tsutsumi(湯川れい子・筒美京平). How I found out about the song was notable in that I had just exchanged greetings with Toshi of the Logic Store, the online establishment for composer and computer programmer Hideki Matsutake(松武秀樹)who has worked with singers and bands such as Yellow Magic Orchestra. I had purchased my first Mioko Yamaguchi(山口美央子)album there. The store also represents Matsutake's own technopop unit, Logic System(ロジック・システム).

I have already provided one song by Logic System here, the New Wave-y "Domino Dance" and decided that I wanted to see what else was out there by the unit. So I met "Aishuu no Orient Express" which was the 1982 follow-up single to "Domino Dance". Logic System took Yukawa and Tsutsumi's creation and made it into a catchy spacey and twangy instrumental that seemed to be the answer to the question "What if J.J. Abrams had decided to remake the classic romantic mystery flick 'Charade' and set it in space and then had Matsutake come up with the appropriate theme song in the mode of Henry Mancini's original great tune?". Personally, I wouldn't mind Daisy Ridley and Tom Hiddleston (oops, I'm sorry: Rey and Loki) appear in that one.

"Aishuu no Orient Express" is also on Logic System's 3rd album "Orient Express"(東方快車)which also came out in 1982.

But as they say on commercials, "Wait! There's more". I also found out that in the same year, "Aishuu no Orient Express" was also provided to actress/aidoru Kaori Tsuchiya(つちやかおり)as her 2nd single. This is where Yukawa's lyrics come into play. The above video doesn't exactly have the best quality but you can hear at least an excerpt from the original recorded version through her debut album with the same title as the subject song at There is some of that techno kayo feeling in the arrangement so I wouldn't be surprised if Matsutake had a hand in that.

I had never heard of Tsuchiya before but she does have a J-Wiki page. She's currently identified as a tarento and actress who was born in Tokyo, and appeared in that classic school drama "Sannen B-gumi Kinpachi-sensei"(3年B組金八先生)as one of the many students. As a singer, she released 11 singles and 5 original albums between 1982 and 1986. She was also once married to Toshikazu Fukuwa(布川敏和), one of the trio that made up 1980s aidoru group Shibugakitai(シブがき隊).

Then in 1983, guitarist Yoshihiro Nagamatsu(永松よしひろ)provided his own take on "Aishuu no Orient Express" through what I think was his first album "Music Message I". His version has the technopop in there but it rather sounds like a theme for a spaghetti western. So instead of Cary Grant from "Charade", we might get Clint Eastwood from "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly". Couldn't really find any information about Nagamatsu, though.

As I've said before and will say again, I always love it when a song has a story that takes me places.

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