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, September 27, 2018

Southern All Stars -- TSUNAMI

The Southern All Stars'(サザンオールスターズ)44th single from January 2000, "TSUNAMI", was one of those songs that seemed to fill the entire atmosphere for months and months during that year. NTV's Saturday-night karaoke show for tarento, "Yoru mo Hit Parade"(夜もヒッパレ)seemed to have the guests performing it on heavy rotation, and if that show was showcasing it, I'm pretty sure that karaoke boxes all over Japan had customers singing it as well. In terms of popularity, it really was a tsunami.

I was a bit surprised, though, that "TSUNAMI" would become the highest jewel in SAS's huge crown of hits, since I thought that something as raunchy and summery as their debut single "Katte ni Sinbad"(勝手にシンドバッド)all the way back in 1977  would have been their No. 1 hit in their long and illustrious career. However, "TSUNAMI" seemed to be a lot more introspective and quieter; plus, there was all that precipitation in the music video. That SAS image wasn't quite there for me.

But then again, I was reminded that there were "Itoshi no Ellie"(いとしのエリー)and "Manatsu no Kajitsu"(真夏の果実), both ballads that have also become Southern All Stars standards. So, maybe it was the rain, eh?

Still, "TSUNAMI", written and composed by Keisuke Kuwata(桑田佳祐), is a wistful song about gaining and losing budding love, perhaps for the very first time, and the tsunami-like emotions which accordingly flood in and out. However, Kuwata also adds that without that poignant pain, people don't really grow and overcome the difficulties. We need the bitter with the sweet, and that last line in the song emphasized that sentiment in that whenever the protagonist thinks of his first love, it's always raining. It's not all sunshine and rainbows over the beach, but that's OK.

Not only did "TSUNAMI" hit No. 1 on Oricon twice (once for 2 weeks in a row, then a second time for 3 weeks), it became the No. 1 single for 2000, and in the top singles in Oricon history, it comes in at No. 4 with close to 3 million copies sold. It also won the grand prize at the Japan Record Awards, Song of the Year honours at the Japan Gold Disc Awards, and the Gold Prize at the JASRAC Awards.

Being a casual fan of Southern All Stars, I may not have done the song full justice in my article, so if there are any big fans of the band and especially "TSUNAMI", they are free to give their accounts for the song.

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