Why SMAP Shouldn’t Be Performing with Real Singers… (Or Why They Probably Should)
by Ender’s Girl
With Kimura’s newest dorama Tsuki no Koibito (Moon Lovers) currently airing (and it’s a ren’ai!!! finally a ren’ai!!! hallelujah chance!), you won’t find a better go-to guy for a theme song than the great Afro-sporting J-pop/reggae/soul artist Kubota Toshinobu, whom J-drama fans best know as the dude behind the mellifluous vocals of “La La La Love Song” (hey baby) from the oh-so-fine 1996 drama Long Vacation. Fuji TV must have known that when Kubota Toshinobu songs and Kimura dramas collide, high ratings (and filthy lucre!) can’t be far behind. (And no, I have not seen the first episode of TnK because I make it a point to wait until a drama is fully subbed before watching it in one fell swoop.)
This newest ditty “Koi no Ame” (“Love Rain”) has Kubota’s musical fingerprints all over it; just like its 14-year-old predecessor, the melody is euphonic and foot-tappingly singable, although the sound gives off a more disco-y vibe than “La La La Love Song.” With lines like “special lady” and “we’re stuck in the love rain” (LOL what), “KnA” ranks slightly higher than “LLLLS” on the Engrish evolutionary ladder, but I dunno… the lyrics of “LLLLS” — “maware maware merry-go round,” “wanna make love, wanna make love song” — still seem to have more character (especially when you sing them wearing a Live Aid T-shirt or doing a grande plié on a low stone wall, heehee). I guess the main caveat is that all things being equal (and both songs are catchy as the clap, after all), what can or will turn “Koi no Ame” into a classic has less to do with the song itself than with the drama it was commissioned for. And whether Tsuki no Koibito will ever reach the same exalted status as Long Vacation remains to be seen.