Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Nostalgia Series - Old drama theme songs: "Sing a love song for me" by Yamaguchi Yuko

Back in the late 90s, TV dramas shown in Singapore were broadcast either in the original Japanese track with English subtitles or in dubbed version (with dual track in Japanese) with Chinese or English subtitles. In those days, recording a TV show on a video tape meant that you could only hear the Mandarin dubbing so I absolutely hated having to sit through that. Then again, it was a challenge to watch each drama "live" because I was then a student and Saturdays usually meant having to go for tuition. At that time, there was this drama which made me rush back from class every time on Saturday at 4.30pm just to catch it "live" and hear my beloved Takenouchi Yutaka's voice. That was how crazy I was back then.

"Beach Boys" was a FujiTV drama shown in 1997's summer which featured the dual leads of Sorimachi Takashi and Takenouchi Yutaka plus popular teen idol Hirosue Ryoko. Much as Sorimachi's role was way meatier than Takenouchi's and a lot of the fans seemed to be like Sorimachi more, my preference had always been the latter and I remember feeling rather indignant about how people were not paying as much attention to him then. The drama's storyline was rather simple where two men Sakurai Hiromi (Sorimachi) and Suzuki Kaito (Takenouchi) who faced a slump in their lives happened to head to the beach at the same time and unwittingly end up working at a minshuku by the seaside which was owned by an elderly surfer (Mike Maki) who lived with his granddaughter Makoto (Hirosue). As they spent their time at the minshuku during that summer, they slowly got over their own issues and went back to their normal lives.

What attracted me to this drama (besides ogling at Takenouchi) was the laid-back atmosphere, the beautiful scenery and how life lessons were interwined in the story. No doubt I was still a teenager then, seeing how the leads dealt with their personal issues sort of gave me the hope that even though life may have its ups and downs, the hurdles would still be surmountable after giving ourselves the time to self-reflect and allow ourselves to have the space to fail but not let it get to us that we stop progressing. That's a life lesson that I'm still learning today.

In this drama, I preferred the insert song "Sing a love song for me" from Yamaguchi Yuko as compared to the theme song from Sorimachi Takashi. Much as this drama was a little lacking in the romance department, this insert song was a romance ballad which added a soft and sweet feel to the story at key junctures and I'm always reminded of the drama whenever I hear this song. What's also interesting is that this song is entirely in English which was somewhat rare especially coming from a Japanese singer.

Talking about Yamaguchi Yuko, she had a rather unusual career path because she actually started out as a member of an idol group called A-Cha in 1987 before making her solo debut one year later. "Sing a love song for me" did gain her some attention but it was only until two years later in 1999 that she finally got her biggest hit "believe" which was the insert song in the drama "Overtime" (more on that another day). Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like she's active in the music scene anymore as her last single release was in 2001 and her last best hits album was out in 2006.

If you are interested to hear this song, please visit here

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