Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Four Japanese Songs That I really like

Feeling inspired by my most recent Evangelion post, which pretty much just discussed a bunch of random songs that reminded me of Evangelion, here's a list of four Japanese songs that I really like.  A few on this list are from a youtube named Wayne Kim, who posts a lot of rare vinyl and stuff like that for other peoples' listening pleasure.  It's a very good channel and I suggest checking it out, as I won't get into depth about all of the great music that's on there.  However, that being said, here's fur Japanese songs that I really enjoy.  I hope you like them too.

1.  ユキとヒデ - 長い夜 (1967)- Nagai Yoru
I came across this song sometime last year when I stumbled upon Wayne Kim's youtube channel from a Walter Wanderley video that he had posted.  I clicked on this one randomly and really enjoyed it.  I think that what makes this song really unique is the feeling that accompanies it.  The upward tension of the chords in the A section really add a lot to the way the song moves, along with the bassline and vocal melodies, which also push the song along and give a lot of rhythmic pulse and variation.  The B section completely releases this tension in a very beautiful way.  However, beyond this, this song reminds me a lot of wintertime.  Perhaps it's just because that's when I was introduced to it, but I can't help but think of cold nights spent in marble-ornamented malls in Chicago when I hear this.  Japanese art has a greater focus on atmosphere and mood than American styles, so perhaps the reason that the feelings accompanying this piece are so strong.

2.  ユキとヒデ - 白い波 (1967)- Shiroi Nami
If I suggested, at all, the last song I wrote about to be the most thoughtful emotional experience on that album, then I surely hyperbolized my description.  This song, sung by Yuki and Hide, entitled Shiroi Nami or "White Waves," is definitely my favorite both from this album and from Wayne Kim's channel.  On a tangent, in Hayao Miyazaki's works, there are often extremely calming moments scattered throughout, called Ma.  I think that this is probably an auditory representation of such a thing.  It's musical escapism at its finest, meaning it doesn't just take you out of your surroundings.  It gives you something else, an entirely new feeling to experience.  By the time you finish the song, its beauty makes the three minutes feel worth it.  You haven't wasted anything by embarking into the world contained in this music's notes, because you've brought something equally valuable back with you.

3.  Takako Mamiya- 真夜中のジョーク - 間宮貴子
This is a kind of city funk song from the 80s by Takako Mamiya that I really like.  It's a pretty nice minor funk song with muzak kind of instrumentation, while still keeping the loud and melodic basslines accompanying most funk songs.  All the parts of this song blend very well together and are really well-composed.  The introduction goes well with the A section, which then blends flawlessly into the B and C sections later on.  And what is it with Japanese songs and phenomenal vocal melodies.  However, I shouldn't give them too much credit- we've had plenty of jazz and funk songs with great vocal melodies here in the states too!  Anyways, this song reminds me a lot of old malls or airports late at night- pretty much any public places where storefronts and places of business close before the atriums or places of gathering do.

4.  Joe Hisaishi- Illusion
While Joe Hisaishi is most known for his classical pieces and movie soundtracks, specifically those he did for Studio Ghibli, this is one of the pieces that he did for his solo career.  It's very jazzy, starting off with Joe playing an eerie and somnambulous piano solo, which eventually picks up into an intense orchestral arrangement.  This piece is hard to describe, but the swung notes in the melody, along with the somber chords give off a really cool, dark kind of jazz feel.  It's definitely worth checking out.

I hope you enjoyed these four Japanese songs.  I certainly did upon my first hearing and still cherish them to this day.  I'll put relevant links below.  Definitely check out Wayne Kim's channel, as it has a lot of great stuff on it.

Wayne Kim's Channel
Nagai Yoru
Shiroi Nami
真夜中のジョーク - 間宮貴子(Takako Mamiya)
Joe Hisaishi- Illusion


  1. I love how the first one progresses! The second one really reminds me of Animal Crossing for some reason.