Vid Clip: La La La Love Song / Koi no Ame (SMAPxSMAP, 5.10.2010)
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.
This video clip was taken from the May 10, 2010 episode of SMAPxSMAP. I just don’t know how long this clip will stay up there before the Evil Fuji TV Cyber-Bots cry bloody copyright infringement and have it zapped from cyberspace (boo! free media for all!).
True to form, the Fab Five sing the medley in, uh, five different keys and their performance is likely to make you wince from beginning to end (although it doesn’t sound as bad after, uh, ten more viewings). (Did you curse them in your heart for mangling your two songs, Kubota-san, while you smiled through your teeth at the camera? Did you? hahaha) I must say the outfits are much more agreeable than what the SMAP dudes are usually caught wearing: Kimura looks his usual attractive self — if a tad underdressed with the blazer, white tee and pants; Shingo seems to channel a Vegas wedding singer (see the bow tie?)-slash-science fair judge (see the empty ribbon affixed to his breast pocket? one word, Shingo: WHY?); Goro looks like a… Goro (lol); Nakai looks the most out of place with the hot pink fedora, pink Chucks and a pink scarf dangling from his belt; so that leaves Tsuyoshi to bag the award for Best Duds (and he looks monumentally cute in his short new haircut — me likee!).
The dance moves are typically SMAPtastic, which means… exactly that, lol. Nakai’s newest Favorite Dance Step seems to be robo-popping, because he does it here… well, all the time.
Some quickie comments:
0:18 – 0:25 Uh-oh, Nakai can’t wait to start robo-popping!!! Must… not… break… line… formation…
0:43 – 0:50 ZOMG Goro’s hair is actually poufier than Kubota’s Afro!!! (And with all that spray net, probably harder than pewter too.) Hahahahaha
0:51 – 0:58 Tsu, looking good here! So kawaii you are.
1:17 – 1:23 LOL WHAT are you doing, Nakai. WHAT ARE YOU DOING.
1:51 – 1:56 Nakai, there you go again!!!
2:36 – 2:41 …and again!!!
3:01 LOL @ Tsuyoshi’s look of pure, um, bliss. I love it when I catch him in his unguarded moments… *remembers public park incident* No, scratch that!!!
3:22 – 3:44 Hahahaha SERIOUSLY??? We used to do the exact same moves in my P.E. aerobics class back in college. (The first thing we do, let’s kill all the J-Pop choreographers…)
3:55 – 3:58 Oooooh, painful. Kimura was just way off. (“Yo, so listen, it got a little pitchy, dawg.” – Randy Jackson)
After the performance comes the requisite Talk portion, where Kimura’s Tsuki no Koibito co-stars (sans Matsuda Shota) are paraded before the cameras and grilled about how awesome it must’ve felt to work with Kimura-san. Lin Chi Ling is wearing a giant poinsettia, Kitagawa Keiko’s top looks like it was cut from the same cloth as Goro’s scarf (5:30), and Shinohara Ryoko looks HAWWWTTT as usual. *girl drool* (I’ve said this over at D-Addicts and I’ll say it here: if Shinohara’s character doesn’t end up with Kimura, I shall eat my big toe. *nomnomnom*)
The SmaxSma performance naturally got me thinking of “La La La Love Song” in all its original, untainted-by-Nakai’s-squeaking glory. In case you’re curious as to how much better the song sounds with Kubota Toshinobu and only Kubota Toshinobu on vocals, here’s the original music video (ohmygosh it’s SOOO Nineties!!! lol), long before he traded his Rasta Mohawk for his current frizzy ‘do. Oh, and ignore the WTF? FAIL!!! shots of a frisky Caucasian couple interspersed throughout the video. (Uh, don’t even ask.)
And of course, how can I NOT throw this in for good measure? (Senaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!)
Credit goes to the YouTube uploaders.