Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Japanese Heartbreak Songs

So, after listneing to a lot of emotional ballads, I decided to compile a list of a few songs based on heartbreaks. I have tried to include more pop songs than enka because the whole genre of enka is based on heartbreak and sadness. Also, I have chosen songs where the singer projects emotions of sadness through his/her voice prominently. These songs are mostly about a love that is over or holding onto a dying love.

1) Nanpasen by Akina Nakamori- This song is as emotional as it gets. No one but the Queen of tragedy could do this song justice. The composer who usually doesn't give her songs to others believed that only Akina could pull this off and gave it to her. No doubt, Akina did a great job. Nanpasen (shipwreck) is considered one of the most emotionally draining ballads in Japan. Akina's love life was going through rough patches when she realeased this song and that helped her sing it with more emotion. Liar is another good sad song from Akina Nakamori which was based around the same relationship.  Here are a few lines from the lyrics:

It's only love. It would be good if I forgot about it.

I only want to cry while crying.

Before my eyes is a love that's changed.

Maybe I didn't see it coming and

To show that kind of courage, I said that

In order to forget about you.

But it is so lonely, like I'm breaking.

I am the shipwreck of love
2) Ai no Uta by Koda Kumi- This song has one of the best lyrics in Koda Kumi's discography. It speaks on one sided love that is gradually fading. Koda Kumi puts a lot of power and emotion into this song and makes it shine. It has a typical ballad structure with an orchestral and piano arrangement. The chorus is strong and powerful. Here are a few lines:
Even if there was only a vague relation between us

Please, be gentle as always

and don't tell me the truth

I can't accept the fact that I wouldn't be able to see you again anymore.

...I felt that I could go back again tomorrow as always

and I looked up the sky

Never say good-bye

The night sky is falling in my dreams, too
3) Eternal Snow by Changin' my life- Changin' my life is another band that has a lot of sad love songs. Eternal Snow is a wintry ballad brimming with emotion. Myco sings of a painful love that she can't cope up with drawing references to the cold weather. The arrangement is particularly good and Myco brings out the emotions in the song well. Here are a few lines:
Like the snow, they just

Quietly keep accumulating

Hold me tight- if this is how it feels

I didn't want to know

What it was like to be in love with someone

I love you- my tears won't stop

And so I wish

That I had never met you

4) First Love by Utada Hikaru- No heartbreak song list is complete without this song. It was used in the emotional Majo no Jouken drama and was the title track of Utada Hikaru's debut album which is currently the best selling album in japanese history. First love is a bittersweet ballad in which Utada thanks her first love for the feelings he gave her and even though she has moved on, she'll never forget him. The simple arrangement coupled with Utada's emotional voice works well here. Here are a few lines:

You are always gonna be my love

even if I fall in love with someone once again

I'll remember to love

you taught me how

you are always gonna be the one

it's still a sad song

until I can sing a new song...

tomorrow, at this time

I will probably be crying

I will probably be thinking about you

5) Doushite Kimi o Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou?- That's quite a long title. This Tohoshinki/DBSK ballad was a #1 hit that consolidated DBSK's position in the japanese industry. The title actually translates to 'Why did I fall in love with you?'. The PV brings out the emotions in the song well. It is an R&B ballad with a slow beat. Here are a few lines:

Why did I fall in love with you?

No matter how much time passes

I thought you would always be here.

...I'm not the one being blessed at your side

I'm supposed to say farewell?

...But you are still being taken from my side

And I still wish for your eternal happiness

No matter how lonely (no matter how painful)

6) Saigo no Ame by Nakanishi Yaushi- This ballad became a signature hit for Nakanishi Yasushi. It translates to 'Last rain'. It has been covered by popular artists like Atsushi of EXILE and Koda Kumi. It speaks of a love that is leaving the singer and he wants to hold onto it. Nakanishi Yasushi's voice is powerful here and filled with longing.

I’m not going to love someone so much it brings me to tears

If it’ll just be forgotten

If you’re under someone’s spell

I want to hold you so tight that I crush you

...Even though the love that can save you tomorrow

Isn’t mine, I’ll still keep gazing at you like this

...I can’t put my love into words

I can’t connect to you with words

My love for you has nowhere to go, but it won’t stop

7) Last Song by Gackt- The Seventh Night unplugged version is a masterpiece. I have said this in the review of his album Crescent too. You should go and watch the Seventh Night Unplugged Live. It shows what kind of emotions a song is capable of stirring and is one of Gackt's most powerful and emotionally captivating performances. He literally cries out with pain. Anyway, the track version with the guitars is pretty bland when compared to that. The title itself has a painful and sad tone to it. The chorus is the high point because of increased power. The verses are barely audible in the track.

In the ephemeral nature of the changing seasons

Tears overflowed without any reason

"Even now I love you..."

...We held each other close don't forget that warmth

Even if you love someone else

I'll never let go of the sound the last I heard of your voice

...Before this body disappears now, if my wish reaches you

"Please hold me tight just once more..."
8) Kanashii Sake- I decided to finally include an enka song. I have reviewed this song earlier in Akina's Enka. I am talking about the Hibari Misora version now. Kanashii sake is performed brilliantly by Hibari Misora. Through the volume is low, there is a gripping emotion of pain underlying the lyrics.

(I) tasted the tears of farewell

The face that (I) wish to drink and forget

emerges in my drinking glass as I drank

Ah- Leave you heart behind as you leave

I still can't forget that person's face

...Sake why oh why

That person....

If only I can give up on him

That's all for now. If you have any other songs in mind, write them down in the comments section.

1 comment:

  1. First Love is the bomb! :)

    thanks for this post, i will check out the songs you listed ;)

    btw, im the one who subtitled that First Love image you posted =)