Vid Clips: This Is Love / Love and Peace Inside (SMAP)

This. Is. Spartaaa… NO! — This. Is. SMAAAP!!!
(WHY??? — Because. This. Is. Japan!!!!!! Lol)

by Ender’s Girl


SMAP: Break the Records (For You and By You!!!) << (*ka-ching!!!* And yet another KaT-TUN reference!!! Gomen gomen gomen… now leave me alone, lol)

Yes yes yes, we’ve all heard the news (via Tokyograph or other sources), so SMAP’s latest album “We Are SMAP!” breezed up the charts three weeks ago to become the Japanese manband’s 5th consecutive #1 album — bringing their career haul to 11 no. 1 albums spread out over twenty years. (Overzealous music industry mavens like to drumbeat SMAP’s achievement as being only the third time in J-music history that a group has had a best-selling album in three different decades, although a few, like myself, believe that the next decade begins at 00:01 hours on Jan. 1, 2011, making the whole of 2010 still part of the Noughties.)

But that is to split hairs; nothing changes the fact that SMAP have been Japan’s biggest idol group since the early ’90s, and their latest studio album — with the Unicef-y kiddie art adorning the cover and the Engrish.com-worthy title that jauntily states the obvious (“We Are SMAP! Every day love tomorrow” << LULZWOT) — only proves that the wholesome, the nontoxic, the inspiring, the playful, the SMAP — these have not gone out of style in Jmusicland… at least, not yet.

So here’s a clip of SMAP performing their latest single “This Is Love” which was released last Aug. 4th.  I took a short break from writing a couple of reviews and long-overdue posts, and from watching a couple of new dramas (in E.G. terminology, “new” = at least a season old, lol) in order to put these vid clips out here, though I hope against hope that they get to live a few days more before the Jimusho’s evil groundlings sniff out the Youtube links and hack ‘em to bits with their rusty old katanas, hatessss!!!! (Please Kamisama, give us more time… lololol)


“This Is Love” (SMAPxSMAP performance)

Quickie talking points:

The Look: Think: pop-up book (Pop Up, SMAP!!! hahaha), but with CGI of cityscapes — skylines, bridges, apartment blocks, asphalt streets and park greenery, random traffic signage, and ubiquitous “this is love” reminders emblazoned across building façades, police tape (huh?), and… um, the sky. And don’t forget the pink angular heart hovering above the boys at the beginning of the song, just in case you were starting to forget that — oh no, Toto, we’re still in Jpoplandia. (And we’re never leavin’, either. This. Is. SMAP!!! Lulz)

The Music: Ridiculously and tremendously appealing, from the opening guitar riffs right down to the easy-to-bounce-along beats. I was a fan from the 0:00 mark. (Did you involuntarily start moving when Kimura did his bobblehead thing at the very beginning? I did!!!) The tune is uncomplicated and full of beans, AND — it unabashedly rips off SMAP’s ultimate idol Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” in terms of melody, tempo and arrangement. Ohohoho yessss indeed, this IS SMAP. (Edited 08.12.10: According to Love Psychedelico, the Japanese band who composed “This Is Love,” this borrowing from Michael Jackson was deliberate, and really their way of paying tribute to their major musical influences. Thanks to kisskimu for the info.)

The Fashion: The boys look cute in their army fatigues and olive drab tops with white accents — that I’m even willing to overlook Nakai’s white booties and Errol Flynn-y Robin Hood-y hat (with a feather! a feather!). In those coordinated ensembles, SMAP also resemble road repair workers who decided to spend one afternoon ciggy break, um, dancing merrily together. Actually, Nakai looks like he’ll be crawling down some manhole any minute now. Best outfits? Those three on the left, at the beginning of the video.

The Hair: At a time when the group needed all the good vibes they could get from their fans, Goro had to come in sporting that indefensible ajumma perm. (For how long, Goro? For a month? The whole concert tour? The rest of the year? Sheesh.) Shingo’s blondie mop ain’t bad, and I’m loving Kimura’s shorter Tsuki no Koibito hairstyle (at least I have something to love about that soggy little drama), but it’s Kusanagi Tsuyoshi’s cool and spiky Ivy-League cut that wins, hands down.

The Choreography: The dance steps, while typically CUTE, have the difficulty level of those morning aerobics sessions for senior citizens held at your friendly neighborhood community center: right-left-right-left, clap-clap-clap-clap, step back-forward-back-forward, slide-slide-change-position, and lots of fancy arm and hand tricks to disguise the lazy footwork. Hahahaha. And you’d think that after 11 no. 1 albums over two decades (or three, depends how you see it), the SMAP dudes would at least have learned to perform these very elementary dance steps in concert. But — this. Is. SMAP, so I guess that means not even another two decades will guarantee any appreciable improvement in their footwork. The sooner we accept the fact that apparently, practice doesn’t make perfect in SMAP’s little JPoppy corner of the world, then just as that blasted song goes, we’re gonna be just fine, “eybryting’s gonna be oh-right” (lulz). Kimura is the exception, of course. Damn the man, but the MAN IS HOT. The man is the mojo, the mojo is the man. (See, I’m soaking in all the Kimura Kuteness I can from these PVs, because when I nosh those remaining Tsuki no Koibito episodes in a few days, I’ll need goooood KimuTaku memories to tide me over for the weekend. Hah hah hah.)

“This Is Love”

[0:06] LOL @ how it takes Nakai a few seconds before he starts moving to the beat, way behind his homies. Gaaaaahhh I love you Nakai, you squeaky creaky old ojisan.

Kimura: That’s right, I love the present you / Your smile is like the sky / See, take a look, your tomorrow is bright now

Goro: Yes, even on the days you cry, baby / Everything’s gonna be all right

Shingo: You’re drawing up beautiful days / You keep trying till you find love

[0:42] A nanosecond of Kimura doing that horrigilbilghilious chicken-breasted-chest-popping thing, ugh!

Nakai: See, take a look, I’m flying in the same sky, too

Tsuyoshi: Even on the days that nothing goes right, baby / Everything’s gonna be all right

[0:54 – 0:56] Hahahahha ahloveeeht when Tsuyopon lisps that last line. He says it the cutest, I’ll say!

SMAP: We’re still seeing a dream / Holding each other’s hands, we live in love / With a love song, I send out every wish to you

Kimura: Everybody singin’ —

SMAP: This is love / See, take a look, the world is loving you / I’ll sing your song tonight

Nakai: If you love, you’ll become strong again

SMAP: Love, love, love is falling down everyday

Shingo: Oh, the story starts with you / Everything’s gonna be all right

Goro: Yeah, getting along is also love / Even on sad days, the sky is still blue / See, take a look, the memories of loving you are true

Tsuyoshi: Yeah, on the unbearable days too, baby / Everything’s gonna be all right

SMAP: This is love / Take a look — in this world, love is you / A world you’re gonna meet tonight

Tsuyoshi: If you love, you’ll become gentle again

SMAP: Love, love, love is overflowing everyday

Kimura: Oh, the story lives on in you / Everything’s gonna be all right / Yeah / Come on

[1:47 – 2:02] Shingo and Tsuyoshi start rapping (awww!!!). Shingo has a nice full-bodied timbre to his baritone voice, making it the perfect foil to Tsuyopon’s reedy tenor, hahaha. And I like how Shingo looks leaner (in a good way) than in previous years.

Shingo: What I’m saying is “Don’t stop” / Now every day’s a new day / Life goes on, that’s what I want to tell you / Imagine the color of this sky’s a good feelin’ / Close to me, I touch it

Tsuyoshi: Hey, step up right now / There is a message / On the day I want to reach success, it’s all right

Shingo: Dream and peace and love are by your side / Yeah, it’s just that: this is love

SMAP: We’re still seeing a dream / Holding each other’s hands, we live in love / With a love song, I send out the whole world to you

Kimura: Everybody singin’ —

SMAP: This is love / See, take a look, the world is loving you / I’ll sing your song tonight

Goro: If you love, you’ll become strong again

[2:28 – 2:30] Oh Goro, those FAYYYYIL medusa curls have to go next time, a’ight?

SMAP: Love, love, love is falling down everyday

SMAP: This is love / Take a look — in this world, love is you / The love you will meet will last an eternity for you

Kimura: If you do so, it will fall down for you again

SMAP: Love, love, love is falling down everyday

Nakai: Oh, the story starts with you / Everything’s gonna be all right

Shingo: Oh, the story lives on in you / Everything’s gonna be all right / Oh yeah

(SMAP: This is love) Kimura: Everything’s gonna be all right

(SMAP: This is love) Shingo: I will sing your song tonight

(SMAP: This is love) Kimura: Everything’s gonna be all right, yeah

(SMAP: This is love) Kimura: Come on, come on, let’s go

[3:24 – 3:32] Oh noes. OHNOES. They’re doing that knock-kneed rotating patellas thing AGAIN.

(SMAP: This is love) Shingo/Kimura: Everything’s gonna be all right

(SMAP: This is love) Shingo/Kimura: Oh come on, baby

(SMAP: This is love) Shingo: Love is you!

(SMAP: This is love!!!)

“Love and Peace Inside?” (Bokura no Ongaku performance)

This is the performance of “Love and Peace Inside” (one of the tracks on the “This Is Love” single) on the music show Bokura no Ongaku (08.06.2010). This straightforward ballad is a lovely counterpoint to the pep and vim and zip of “This Is Love”, and the pacifistic lyrics, while not entirely original (I mean, how many peacenik-ky songs are out there already? “Waiting for the World to Change”… “Imagine”… “Dona Nobis Pacem”… see? too many to count!), are at least uplifting and draw from universal themes. And I especially like the stripped-down acoustic arrangement (look ma, no brass instruments!!!). Even the costumes are thankfully kept to respectable charcoal-gray suits over casual tees, although for the life of me I cannot comprehend why Nakai had to come dressed as a lonely yodeling Swiss goatherd.

(And I hope the record label releases a decent music video SOON, because the décor of the studio where this performance was taped makes me want to gouge out my eyes and feed the gummy orbs to my brother’s pet hamsters. Granny drapes that don’t even match! Wooden parque flooring interspersed with giant… trilobites? prehistoric ferns? — in the dead center of the room! Those weird filigree chandeliers (or alien cocoons) and heinously hideous lampshades! Dead flowers! Nakai’s yellow sideburns [1:20 – 1:24] !!!)

The self-reflective title of the song recalls the time that the Black-Eyed Peas posed essentially the same question with their monster hit from the early Noughties, “Where Is the Love?”

Seven years later, the SMAP Five seem to have finally arrived at the answer (or, the answer cleverly couched in the form of a rhetorical question, lol) — in vintage Engrish, of course, i.e.–

The Black-Eyed Peas: “Where Is the Love?”

SMAP:

“Love and Peace Inside?”

Even though everyone says they wish for peace like this
Why do conflicts continue?
Right after we talk things through
We fight over something so trivial

Words alone aren’t effective, either
Do they really wish for peace?
It doesn’t seem that way, does it?
If we realize that the world is just like our hearts
A heart that doesn’t stop beating because of conflicts
The world, though beset with conflict, will sing in harmony with us

If you change your own heart, the world will change in the same way
Without requiring much thought, the world will change
Fights won’t start from trivial things
For the sake of changing yourself
Let’s just keep asking our hearts:
“Love and peace inside?”

If we admit the truth that we care about each other
Then the sunset we saw together becomes really beautiful
For the sake of pressing on, I’d even steal your smile
On the way back, realizing this about myself
The moon looked like ice

On the T-shirt I took off and threw to the floor
Were the words “love” and “peace”
It’s not good to take off then wear love and peace
Anytime you feel like it

If you change your own heart, the world will change in the same way
Without requiring much thought, the world will change
Fights won’t start from trivial things
For the sake of changing yourself
Let’s just keep asking our hearts:
“Love and peace inside?”

The Black-Eyed Peas: @____@ (lol)

… Xtra Xtra…

SmappieSubs recently released the subbed bonus PVs of “This Is Love” and “Love and Peace Inside?” You’ll need to have a LiveJournal account before you can join the SmappieSubs community (and yes, membership is open to all), but if you’re a SMAP fan, these extra PVs will be more than worth the downloading time and effort.

For the PV of “This Is Love: SMAP Remix” the members were individually filmed in various outdoor and indoor locations at the Fuji TV studios — Nakai in the parking lot, Kimura on the roofdeck, Shingo in the media room, Goro by some window pane (lol), Tsuyoshi beside a flower box (lolol), then on the SMAPxSMAP set, and later showing the BTS of the performance shown above, all spliced into the bonus video. Oh, and Shingo does something funny as hell at the end of the video, which doesn’t surprise you the least because — this. Is. Shingo.

The bonus PV of “Love and Peace Inside?” features the dudes chatting inside this Earth-shaped jungle gym + strategically placed cameras + globalization as defined by SMAP (lol) + lots of colorful summer clothing + Kusanagi Tsuyoshi in a very, very, very mischievous mood at the end of the video (and there’s a shot of Nakai looking positively nauseous, lol).

Something to chew on: Although being the current top-selling artist is always a good barometer of commercial success, a more accurate gauge of the market pulse would be these album/single sales taken together with SMAP’s TV drama/variety show ratings, CF appearances (individually or as a group), and concert ticket sales. SMAP kicked off their We Are SMAP! Tour 2010 at Sapporo Dome last July 31st, and will be performing a total of nineteen shows over five locations. However, if this MTV Iggy blog commentary is to be believed, audience turnout could be lower this concert season compared to Super.Modern.Artistic.Performance Tour 2008. There is also talk of the inevitable shifting of advertisers’ allegiances to younger (read: less pricey) idol groups like Arashi, who are now almost (if not just as) popular as SMAP. Could SMAP Mania now be on the downswing?

If such speculations do in fact presage the beginning of the end for the Supremacy, Mass Appeal and Popularity of Sports Music Assemble People (and the next few years, albums and concert tours will be a very, very critical period for the group… I mean, Nakai will be 40 in two years, ferpetessake!!!), then this latest album may prove timely, very timely indeed. Because now would be the time, more than ever, for SMAP to remind Nihon that they’re still around, that They. Are. SMAP!!!

And if and when the dreaded time finally comes, and SMAP’s future singles fail to even crack the Top 10, and pop units like Kiss-My-Ft-2 or Hey! Say! JUMP start outselling SMAP concert tours, then the lyrics of their single “This Is Love” may just as well be the group’s self-fulfilling prophecy, the song they’ll be singing to each other while holing up in Mori Katsuyuki’s garage (lol) and reflecting on their past idol glory…

“Yes, even on the days you cry, baby / Everything’s gonna be all right…
Oh, the story lives on in you / Everything’s gonna be all right…”

But until that day comes, They. Are. Still. SMAP. And… We. Are. Still. Their. Fangirls!!!! (lulz)

***

Photo credits: japan_now @ LiveJournal.com, makebelievemelodies.wordpress.com, smappy.xanga.com

Video credits: TheEternytiyful, Decade1996218, hgteve40, hgteve45, koillyung @ Youtube.com

English translations: SmappieSubs @ LiveJournal.com

And thanks to kisskimu for providing clarifications and corrections. Much appreciated!

Explore posts in the same categories: J-Ent: Welcome to the Freakshow

Tags: , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

12 Comments on “Vid Clips: This Is Love / Love and Peace Inside (SMAP)”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Think you’re quite funny, don’t you? Your reviews and other criticisms would be much more interesting if they weren’t infused with such an element of smugness.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Thanks for taking the time to post this comment, and I do appreciate your honest feedback.🙂 I just wish I knew which reviews or comments rubbed you as “smug”. (Does this have anything to do with me bashing… um… Tackey’s acting? lol) I like poking fun at actors/celebs/dramas because being in the public eye makes them fair game… and because this industry ALWAYS seems to give me something to poke fun at, lol. But I never thought my taste to be better than anyone else’s (because I never styled myself as a Film! Critic! With! Impeccable! Discernment!). As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I bash the dramas/films/actors/whatever, not the people who watch ’em. After all, one fangirl’s meat is another fangirl’s poison, so at the end of the day — it’s ALL good, baby. If I’ve come across as smug in any way that certainly is not my intention.

  2. ran Says:

    hi, i cross ur blog by chance when i’m searching for some infos of Ninkyo Helper. i’ve been always a silent reader and enjoy much reading ur blog.

    but this entry is my fav one so i cant help letting a thank u comment ^^

    thank u for all infos and interesting entries about drama and SMAP ^^

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      You’re very welcome! And thanks for delurking!😀

      Oooh, Ninkyo Helper eh? Glad you survived the review, lol. (I know someone from another forum who likened it to a research paper, haha. Which is why only about half who viewed Part 1 came back for Part 2, when Part 2 was actually the nice part, lolll. @__@)

      Yeah, I know that lately my blog’s main page resembles a KAT-TUN/SMAP fansite, hah hah hah. Should be getting back on track and start posting some real drama reviews… uh, soon. See you around!😉

      • ran Says:

        i enjoy reading ur observations and remarques about the dramas ^^ i dont notice that much when watching

        dont worry about KAT-TUN and SMAP ^^ it’s not that i dont like them ^^ i really like ur last entry about Jin Mori Smap KAT-TUN and the infamous Johnny ^^

  3. Peggy Says:

    Just watched the first song and dance. Like it.
    I long ago realised that part of the smart charm with SMAP was the fact that they did NOT dance stepping in unison. They are all individuals and that is the way they present themselves. They all pretty much perform the same moves, but with their own way of doing the moves. It’s clever and you don’t get bored.
    I get so bored with all the boy and girl groups in Korea who must use a slide rule to make sure they all do the same step the same way at the same time.
    (Does anyone know what a slide rule is these days?)
    I’m really old. Well thank God for SMAP.

    Peg

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      I know what a slide rule is!!!😉

      Lol, I know what you mean about the not-dancing-in-sync being part and parcel of the SMAP charm. Still, I do wonder what they’d look like if they actually could move in unison, lol. I mean, they’re a boyband after all…😀

  4. kisskimu Says:

    Want to contribute a little bit!

    1. The first vid is not exactly the PV. It’s just the regular S-Live section from SMAPxSMAP. There is another version when they first performed the song for the first time and I’m sure there will be more to come.

    2. The composer of This is Love is LOVE PSYCHEDELICO. They are famous for “referencing” music style of different famous western artists and make it their own. They usually pay tribute to the referenced artists in naming the songs. That’s what they did with This is Love. Kumi and Naoki of LOVE PSYCHEDELICO mentioned on Bokura no Ongaku that when they have Michael Jackson image when they think of SMAP so they composed This is Love as it is. Takuya jokingly introduced the song as “This is IT” during the recent appearance on CDTV while everyone else were laughing.

    3. There is only ONE japanese article writing about We are SMAP! concert attendance and I wouldn’t call it an “article”. It was originated in a gossip blog, that anybody can pretty much submit an article. Interestingly, the “gossip” was picked up and translated to English by none other than Arashi fans. The fact is super.modern.artistic.performance attracted the audience of 800,000 while We are SMAP! is expected to mobilize the total of 915,000 in Japan, more than s.m.a.p but still less than Drink! where they attracted 1.5 million (According to the Japanese fans, there was basically a blood bath when the result for We are SMAP! tickets was announced) However, still much more than the upcoming tour of Arashi, which is expected to mobilize 860,000 in total.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hi there! Thanks for setting the record straight re the vid clips and Love Psychedelico’s, um, tribute-heavy musical style. Post edited accordingly.🙂

      I hope that S-Live performance of “This Is Love” becomes the official PV, because it’s SO much fun to watch, lol.😀

      And thanks for pointing out the Arashi angle. Well, that certainly puts things in a new light, doesn’t it? =P Re the MTV Iggy blog post, the writer was careful to mention that audience turnout was expected to be lower this year, and not ticket sales per se. Which is why I also made sure I didn’t interchange the two when I referenced the post. (And I guess we can wait when the official figures re audience count and ticket sales are released after the tour.) If tickets to the 2010 con have been selling like hotcakes, here’s to hoping the venues will actually be filled to the rafters each night of the tour.

  5. ockoala Says:

    Thank you, EG! I’ve watched the SMAP vids for the last few days thanks to you bringing their newest album to my attention. Domo ariigato, chingu.

    Yes, KimuTaku’s post-TnK hairdo is ridonculously H.O.T. on him. And I think these songs sound great, not terribly overly-manufactured and still catchy.

    Btw, I responded to you in the JH as a rapper thread, but I didn’t know you were a closet/former/current Hyukie fangirl. You really need to watch Chuno (FF anything not involving him, of course).

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      No problemo, tomodachi😉 Hey, were you a SMAP fan as well?😀 (And to answer your question which I will answer in full over at your blog, yes my Hyukie fangirling is very much alive! Dormant — until I take out my Chuno DVD… well… how ya doin’? lol — but very much alive!😉 Hahaha the things we discover ’bout each other bit by bit, ne?)

      Yeah, I can’t wait to listen to the rest of SMAP’s album. Actually I’d say that most of their songs are pretty darn catchy (maybe except for the first single, “Can’t! Stop! Loving!” haha), and I kind of like how they DON’T (heavily) rely on Auto-Tune the way the other groups do. (Unless the studio versions of their songs, with Nakai singing out of tune 98% of the time, have already been Auto-Tuned, lol)

      • ockoala Says:

        I was NOT a SMAP fangirl in the 90s, but I did listen to a lot of their songs in my compilation CDs purchased at night street stalls, and I always watched their performances each new year’s eve on Kohaku.

        They were to be honest pretty rad, cool yet still kinda dorky. Too bad I never did like boy bands, period. Never did, never will, even if YamaPi is in NEWS, nope, not gonna follow them.

        Pssst, I gots a KimuTaku in Space post just calling your name……

        As always, keep up the great work. Your wit is a marvel to read.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: