01. sen no kaze ni natte (千の風になって)
02. sen no kaze ni natte ~Karaoke~ (千の風になって~カラオケ~)
03. ringo oiwake (リンゴ追分)
“sen no kaze ni natte” is a song that gained popularity because of the moment. In a case of lucky exposure, “sen no kaze ni natte” was performed on the year end show, Kouhaku, and began to sell. Before this year end performance, “sen no kaze ni natte” sold only around 5,000 copies. Afterwards, it became the best selling single of 2007 (despite being released May 24, 2006), and went on to sell 1,122,618 copies. Akikawa Masafumi also performed “sen no kaze ni natte” at the year end shows in 2007, which is really The stretching the power of a song released in 2006. The effects of even more year-end performances have yet to be seen.
“sen no kaze ni natte” is a ballad with piano and violins. It’s very plain and spartan, so the focus is on Akikawa Masafumi’s tenor voice. The best way to describe the song to people who don’t normally listen to tenors is that he sings like a man in opera. This translates into overemphasizes, deep vocals that make the song is very hard to get into as a casual listener. The success of the song then, is probably the touching lyrics. Below is a translated excerpt:
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
The lyrics are bittersweet, and describe a love that can’t be felt tangibly. Perhaps that explains this song’s appeal; along with a powerful voice, this song speaks sadness while reassuring, all at once emotional. The cover also makes sense in hindsight as your love never leaves that environment. An interesting idea that has caught on with the current Japanese populace, “sen no kaze ni natte” is based off an emotion and an idea. Musically, it’s not amazing, but for the lyrics and the idea, the opera-like vocals and simple instrumentation work.
“Ringo Oiwake” is probably Akikawa Masafumi’s element; it sounds a bit over the top with his deep voice throughout the song. Nonetheless, the song is an interesting way to round out the single. Lyrically, I don’t know what he’s singing about, but from a musical stand point, there is more variety. This track is another interesting listen, if you’re willing to venture out of your safety zone for J-pop listening.
Over all, Akikawa Masafumi represents a trip of pop off the beaten path; such a non-mainstream song has captivated the Japanese public, so you know it has to have something to it. Of course, it’s not well done pop. But it is well done music, and that’s what matters. If you’re willing to try it, “sen no kaze ni natte” is worth a listen, at least to understand its widespread popularity.