Promo photo for 'Futari de Iijanai'
|Artist: Masayuki Suzuki & Hitomi Shimatani
Product Code: ESCL-2926
Release Date: 2007.01.24
Debut Ranking: #25
For many fans of Hitomi Shimatani, 2006 was an extremely unexciting year with few sporadic releases and being excluded from many end-of year events. However 2007 was proving to sound extremely promising with the announcement of two singles. One of them was Hitomi’s very first duet to be released as a single. The single, called ‘Futari de Iijanai’ was a duet with Masayuki Suzuki. On the 24th January 2007 it was released by Sony in a CD only package.
The decision to release this duet was an unexpected surprise from everyone, including Hitomi Shimatani herself. In the end 2006, Hitomi received an offer to record a duet with Masayuki Suzuki. Thus Hitomi and her team immediately interrupted their own recording to start working on the release of ‘Futari de Iijanai’ instead. Hitomi commented in an interview that it was an honour to work with a senior artist. Hitomi and Masayuki had to work on a tight schedule since the release date was extremely close.
Masayuki Suzuki is a veteran artist in the J-Pop scene. He’s best known as a former leading member of Rats & Star, which was previously called Chanels and were extremely popular. His older sister Kiyomi Suzuki, is known as the Japanese Soul Queen. In 1986 Kiyomi collaborated with Rats & Star and released a duet ‘Lonely Chaplain’ which became a huge hit. In 2006 he formed a group called Gosperats. His trademarks are his dark sunglasses and a moustache and he is nicknamed “Martin”. For Masayuki, this was not the first duet he released. Back then in 1996 he released a duet single called ‘Shibuya de Go-ji’ with Momoko Kikuchi.
Apparently this single will mark Masayuki’s 25th anniversary and so it shall celebrate the theme of a “love song which continues” and a quarter of a century of career. It is also interesting to note that Suzuki and Hitomi were both guests at ‘ayuready?’, a Japanese talk show that ran from 2002 till 2004 and was hosted by Ayumi Hamasaki.
To be entirely frank, I have no idea what avex was thinking when they agreed to allow Hitomi sing a duet with a Masayuki Suzuki. I find that Masayuki is a little bit too old compared to Hitomi and his style of music is definately different from Hitomi’s. However I must admit that Hitomi’s stylist managed to create a more mature image for Hitomi which complimented more with Masayuki.
Since this single was released by Sony, the promotional campaign was quite different from what people are used to with avex. In fact their promotional campaign was quite unconventional to me. As a first this single had no promotional video, which was probably the result of the tight schedule they were in. However it didn’t stop Hitomi Shimatani from going on a holiday to Australia with the UTABAN staff where they filmed an unofficial (and completely ridiculous) promotional video. Also Hitomi and Masayuki surprised a bride and groom at their reception and sang Futari de Iijanai for them, which attracted the media’s attention.
Despite the fact that both artists have a relatively stable fanbase, this single was a complete flop. It failed to chart on the first three days and ranked at #25 on the weekly charts. The live performances seemed to help for this single to chart. It sold 5,594 copies in the first week and there seems to be no records on how much it sold on the following weeks. This makes me assume that this single probably didn’t sell more than 6,000 copies overall.
1. Futari de Iijanai
‘Futari de Iijanai’ roughly means ‘Just the Two of Us is Alright’. This song was a tie-in with the TBS dorama ‘marriage ceremony’. The plot of the song was that the younger of the two is the stronger, while the older is with a weak willpower.Three karaoke versions of this song were included for those who wished to sing along to this song alone or as a couple.
This song is absolutely different from anything Hitomi has ever sung. I imagine this is Suzuki’s style since it reminds me of the 80’s disco music. Consequently I can imagine this kind of song to be the kind to be played in dance halls during disco parties. The composition is not exactly interesting, especially since it’s extremely repetive and the chorus doesn’t stand out. However I must admit that the chorus is slightly catchy and addictive. I do think this song is the type which grows on you after a few listens. Masayuki’s vocals are not really top-notch in my opinion but I think that blended with Hitomi’s vocals, the song comes out as pretty decent. Yet they’re certainly not the best combination for a duet.
2. Good Bye (Masayuki Suzuki)
‘Good Bye’ has a melanchonic mood and is much slower than ‘Futari de Iijanai’. I really enjoyed the composition of this song much more since it’s so soothing and a really romantic touch. The melody is reminiscent of the 80’s ballads which I used to hear in anime soundtracks. Masayuki’s vocals in this song are average, although sometimes they sound strained during the high notes.
Although I am not a fan of Masayuki’s vocals which are not as deep as I would have preferred them to be, I think the song does make up for this. It’s quite relaxing to listen to, especially if you are a fan of 80’s music.
To be honest I’m not exactly sure I do actually like this single. It’s not exactly terrible and for me it’s more like a guilty pleasure. Yet I have to admit that if Hitomi was not included in this single, I wouldn’t have picked it up. I am not a fan of Masayuki’s vocals or the 80’s disco genre so I wasn’t exactly thrilled with this single when I listened to it for the first time.
Also I was quite disappointed at how cheap Sony was in the promotion of this single. The whole package wasn’t exactly exciting and everything seemed to be a rushed business to me. The lack of a promotional video was a huge let down to me. From what I’ve seen, this single was barely featured on magazines. I feel that despite the fact that this genre of music accomodates a small percentage of the Japanese audience, a stronger promotional campaign would have ensured that this single would have sold at least 10,000 copies.
Anyhow, despite the fact that I would have preferred that Hitomi would have sung a duet with a younger and more popular artist, I am glad that this duet single was released. I believe it’s important for an artist to experiment and broaden their horizons. Hopefully the next experiment will be much more enticing. A final interesting thing to note is that ‘Futari de Iijanai’ shall be released in Hitomi’s upcoming album ‘PRIMA ROSA’ which is scheduled to be released on the 3rd of March. Coincidentally or not at all, Suzuki’s album, ‘Champagne Royale’ shall be released on the same date. It still has to be seen if ‘Futari de Iijanai’ shall be released in this album, though it is highly probable.
- Futari de Iijanai
- Good Bye (Masayuki Suzuki)
- Futari de Iijanai (Karaoke female)
- Futari de Iijanai (Karaoke male)
- Futari de Iijanai (Karaoke)