Someone recently asked me what Arashi songs I would recommend. The person was obviously not an Arashi fan but she got curious “because they are so famous in Japan”.
Off the bat, I would recommend these songs:
- A.Ra.Shi – because it’s their debut song and it sold over a million copies, which in itself is a record;
- Furusato – a song they have not officially recorded (and I suspect because the copyright is owned by NHK) but is identified with them because they first sang it on KOUHAKU in 2010 and has since become a theme for the iconic year-end program and was used in a NHK drama special that starred Matsujun;
- Truth – very beautiful composition that sounds and looks even more awesome live, plus it’s not their usual poppy sound;
- Pikanchi (either 1 or Double) – though I like Double more; both songs have that gritty, rocky, rough edge to it and the Double PV is one of my favorites shot on a helipad with the Tokyo urban jungle serving as backdrop;
- 5×10 – this is simply special because all five of them composed this to mark their 10th anniversary; every single word expressed in this song comes from them.
My original tweet though included Sketch instead of 5×10. But after a discussion with some Arashi friends on Twitter, I agree that 5×10 should be an intro song. That is if you’re really limited to five choices because with 12 studio albums, there sure is a whole thick discography to choose from.
I also enjoyed tweet-talking with those who answered my some kind of crowd sourcing on which Arashi songs they would recommend to non-fans. The answers were very interesting.
Still is one of those songs that gives you a fluffy feel like most Arashi songs and it’s also very nice to sing along to but the lyrics are actually sad, about two people parting ways.
“Tabun ano toki bokura wa arukidashitan da tagai ni chigau michi o
That was probably the day we set off walking, each on a different path“
It’s even nicer when performed live and I have no shame in saying that it made me teary-eyed when I watched it in the Arafes DVD. So yeah, definitely worth recommending especially for those who are inclined to love songs (though the Arashi brand of love song is not what you think it is).
But like I said, with a thick discography to choose from, five songs ain’t enough. Even twitlonger won’t be enough to list down all the must-listen-to Arashi songs as @jhingnigami said.
@FindAiba and I have three songs in common:
Subarashiki Sekai is such a wonderful song, and yes, it means “wonderful world”. It’s one of the first Arashi songs I listened to and I remember playing it over and over. Even now, I never get tired listening to it and when they performed it acoustic at the 5×10 concert, I was in pure heaven.
Sakura Sake takes out the rockers in Arashi. Also one of the first performances I watched (was it the concert snippet that came with Arashic or One?) and they always have fun rousing the audience in this number. The energy when they performed this in AAA 2008 is so sugoi that one can actually hear the entire stadium reverberating with screams from the audience.
@FindAiba was actually the one who convinced me that if it’s a choice between 5×10 and Sketch, 5×10 should take precedence. Sketch was written for the boys’ 5th anniversary but only Sho and Nino were involved in the songwriting and composition, so yes, 5×10 trumps it (though as they would relate later, Sho and Nino still ended up putting everything together while the other three gave them the lines that they wanted to say to the fans).
Funky at MS! Yes! And I have a feeling that Funky at the LOVE concert is more awesome. I mean, it already looks awesome in a studio with a TV audience, how much more during live. That is, if Uncle Johnny will finally release LOVE DVD. When, that is the question.
The songs picked by @rzkyfauzia are all classic Arashi songs though if my choice is limited, I won’t pick Breathless. But the Calling/Breathless double-sided single is a record-setter having sold almost 900,000 copies so it is special in itself.
Now, there’s something interesting in @hiyamaya’s choices: Wave. It’s an unusual choice, it’s not even one of the popular songs though they performed it in a concert before.
So I asked her why:
Dad listening to Arashi? That’s one of the coolest things I have heard but then it’s a small surprise since from Japanese grannies to babies, they all listen to Arashi.
The answer of @jungyunh0e was one of the most interesting tweets I got because she recommended Arashi songs to a guy friend and he liked them, particularly… Bittersweet.
I’m not the only one who found Bittersweet not to my taste. I know a lot of Arashi fans who also took time liking the song. But like I said, perhaps it’s easier to like the song if you haven’t listened to a whole lot of Arashi music, especially in their pre-2008 era when they had their breakthrough. However, it’s a really nice song that is not cloyingly sweet nor too bitterly angsty. Just bittersweet right.
Now, @saku_rach’s tweet reminded me of one song that MUST be in any Arashi music indoctrination program: Fight Song.
Ken Mogi, Japan’s famed brain scientist, has called it a “very deep song”. Oh and it was composed by Nino so no, the brat doesn’t think about okane all the time.
If A.Ra.Shi is their signature song, Furusato their roots and 5×10 their soul, Fight Song is their battle cry. And it’s very Arashi in every sense… the way they have fallen many times over their climb to success and how they’ve always picked themselves up and brushed themselves off good-naturedly and carried on… the sense of not letting go and still believing in their dreams, that is Arashi.
“Donna ikutsu mo no kotoba yori mo
Tatta hitotsu no kotoba ga ii
Mazu wa jibun de fumidashite mite
“Ganbare” Sonna yasui yatsu de ii
No matter how many words you could say
Just one little phrase is enough
Start by taking that first step yourself
“Keep it up!” Something that simple is enough
The thing with Arashi songs, it’s not just the sound but the message. They have always assumed this positive, hopeful, encouraging tone in all their songs. There are a lot of testaments around on how their songs have accompanied countless of fangirls through hard times whether in school or life in general. Then of course, those stories from the 2011 earthquake when their music served as a form of healing and encouragement to the survivors, particularly Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi.
Smile again, I’m smiling again
Smile again, I’m smiling again
There are a lot more Arashi songs that deserve a mention, to name a few: A Day In Our Life, Right Back To You, Kaze no Muko e, Yes? No?, Gori Muchuu, Hero and so many more. There are also songs better appreciated once performed live like Everybody Zenshin, Tokei Jikake no Umbrella and Super Fresh. I also have songs that may not figure in others’ intro list like Thank You For My Days, which in fact sounds like a Christian song; or Natsu no Namae (I have a soft spot for this song because of the memory of Matsujun dancing to this in his Matsujun Samba costume during the One concert). Perhaps to make life easy, I’d recommend All The Best! album that compiles their hit songs from 1999-2009.
Arashi are not the best singers in Jpop but each of them have their distinct voice that they bring to the group, just as they also have their distinct personalities that set them apart from one another. Riida is hands down the best singer with his mellifluous voice. Nino has that soulful quality that makes ballads perfect for him (Nino playing the piano or the guitar in his solos during concerts is one of my fave parts). Sho’s raspy voice suits him perfectly as the resident rapper. Aiba is breathy. And Jun, we all know his nasal singing voice, but he really has worked hard to improve over the years and he knows how to play on his strength which is: sexy (their music producers give him those solos for a reason, example: in Sirius and Love Situation). Now combine all these different styles and that’s the Arashi sound that we all know. Take one out, it won’t sound the same.
Of course, music is up to the listener. What’s my ear fun may be noise to another person and vice versa.
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