(Originally posted on February 10th, 2008 @ 2:34 am.)
(edit: all audio which was lost during my move from Vox to WordPress have been re~uploaded to this post. If there are any other older posts dated before September 12th, 2010 (originally “Vox” posts) in which you’d like to hear or see the audio/video clips for please leave a request in the top page tab titled “Requests.” With the exception of re~uploading “Kisses” (live), all other videos which originally were posted to Vox, I’ve embedded from Youtube as it saves me a bit of memory space here too =) )
Okay it’s not really a love story but rather my really really really extreme fondness of Matsu♥Takako…………on second thought I’ll call that feeling “love.” Many may be familiar with Matsu Takako through her numerous drama appearances, t.v. commercials, movies, and kabuki stage performances…and for me it all started when I first saw her in the drama “Long Vacation” (my favorite drama!) alongside the incredible cast of Kimutaku, Takenouchi Yutaka, and Yamaguchi Tomoko. I found her performance to be so real & heartfelt and somehow I think that I will always reflect on that character she played whenever I think of her. She was also really great in “Love Generation” as she was once again reunited with Kimutaku in drama heaven and she also appears in “Hitotsu yane no shita” which is just behind “Long Vacation” on my all time favorite drama list! I’ve already revealed Matsu Takako as being my favorite actress but to really truly “love” her I think that one must also love her music as well. It’s become such an extension of herself and as a very talented pianist not just in the drama “Long Vacation” but in real life too, Matsu Takako has grown into a premier lyricist and music writer as well.
Her musical career debut on March 21st, 1997 with her single “Ashita, haruga kitara” was quite a surprise, but looking at her and her family’s background which is firmly set in performance, this venture into the music industry appears more as a natural progression for her. And it didn’t take long at all for Matsu Takako to become involved in the music writing as her debut single’s coupling with song “Zutto…iyouyo” features complete lyrics written by herself. Her debut album “Sora no kagami” (the sky’s mirror) would feature a solo piano instrumental performance by Matsu Takako and with the release of just her second album “Ai no tobira” (“love’s door”) a song completely composed by herself, lyrics & music would appear in the album’s last track “Anata e” with once again Matsu Takako on piano. And as her musical career progressed so did her involvement in songwriting and this trend wouldn’t be held back to just album tracks as her singles as well would start to reflect more and more writing credits to her name beginning with her single released in September of ’99 where the entire release was penned by herself, lyrics & music! “Yume no shizuku” and it’s coupling with song “Days” (which is posted here later) are both beautiful compositions and they provided just a hint into the impressive song writing talents of Matsu Takako as this single resembles that of a double a-side release.
When a performer goes from being so well known in one genre and then into a vastly different career choice one can’t help but scrutinize their ability for success and the possibility of longevity in this new venture. While I never had any second thoughts on her ability to develop musically, the real eye opener for me was in her vocals and just how that voice that I was then so familiar with would make the shift as a vocalist. To put that into perspective…think right now of your favorite actor/actress/celebrity…got it?…and now try to imagine what they’d sound like as a singer. With Matsu Takako I was much in this same frame of mind when I first heard about her musical debut and while I absolutely love hearing her speak, I wondered how much I would actually enjoy her singing voice.
There’s a simple elegance in her voice that translated well into becoming a vocalist and the real beauty in this is how unlike some other vocalist whom sound very different in speaking and singing tones, Matsu Takako’s endearing voice carries that same intonation into her singing as well. 🙂 Through the years since her debut, Matsu Takako’s vocals have also grown in range and control and I’ve been a very happy spectator to have witnessed all of this in real time. Listening to her earlier works versus her latter ones is the very essence of how an artists’ approach can become refined and broader in time, thus allowing that said artist to grow in the love of their art form. Matsu Takako embodies all of this and more.
An artists’ live performance can sometimes seem and possibly feel like an out of body experience I imagine, and while some take naturally to the stage from their comfortable confines of a recording studio I wondered if Matsu Takako would ever tour and share her music in a new light where improvisation is possible. It wouldn’t be until early 2002 that Matsu Takako would finally release a live concert (“a piece of life” on film”) and the wait was well worth it and maybe even more so in that her development as a musical artist had become so much more a part of her by this time. This concert performance proved to be an intimate look into an artist gradually becoming more comfortable in their new skin and while for the most part Matsu Takako seemed to be perhaps filled somewhat with performance and “debut” jitters through the early part of the concert, by the mid point and specifically with her performance of “Kisses” (included later for download) which the audience really reacted to, the performer that Matsu Takako is was once again born into fruition…that of a musical artist on their greatest platform, the live stage. Her vocals carry over extraordinarily well into the live setting and to say that her live vocals exceed those of her recorded works is quite an understatement in itself.
When it comes to H!P quite possibly my greatest gripe is their lack of musicians in their concerts and how this could really expand the musical possibilities and the individual members’ talents equally as well. With the exception of Ayaya, for the most part a live musician setting is a foreign concept to H!P and an aspect that I still hope will open up in the future as it can really add so much and bring such wonderful things to performances. In contrast Matsu Takako always performs with live musicians and her band is a stable selection of top notch musicians whom are all very well accomplished in their individual arts. And to make the point even stronger of live musicians adding so much to a performance, Matsu Takako’s live song arrangements always differ from those on her albums & singles and with that a great marriage of jazz, folk, and other genres of music can be heard in familiar pop songs giving them an entirely new life and approach.
Matsu Takako will be releasing a 10th anniversary collection on March 26th (catalog number: BVCR-17061) celebrating this landmark achievement and the LE set will include 2 CDs spanning her entire career of singles, a booklet, as well as a DVD which will collaborate new interview footage along with personal comments on her pvs in the past.
Matsu Takako has released 20 singles and above is my complete collection. Her most recent single “Minna hitori” (“Everyone’s alone”) was the first to feature an additional DVD which contains the titles track’s pv.
Matsu Takako has released 12 albums, 2 of which are compilations that contain songs that I already own and therefore chose to not purchase. The first pressing of her debut album “Sora no kagami” comes housed in a printed slip case and the booklet inside is decorated with pages resembling rice paper while the first pressing of her 3rd album “Itsuka, sakura no ame ni…” also comes housed in a printed skeleton slipcase while the CD casing itself resembles a book. 2 of her albums are live sets which compliment her live DVD releases.
Above are Matsu Takako’s concert release DVDs as well as her pv collections. For quite some time her pv collection “Sora no kagami” was only available on VHS but to my extreme delight it was finally made available on DVD in late 2003 a little over 6 years after its original release.
You may get a great laugh out of this!!! Back in 1998 Matsu Takako starred in Iwai Shunji’s film “Shigatsu Monogatari” and I wanted to watch it sooo badly that I may have purchased the most expensive VHS movie tape of all time! 😛 This 80 minute movie cost me 15,800 yen…roughly that translated into about $150! O__O!! Now you know just how much I “love” Matsu Takako. I even found an accompanying shashinshuu at a local Japanese book store which is filled with great cute photos of Matsu Takako from the film’s production. 🙂 I imagine that you can find this movie for much much much less now and it’ll even probably be on DVD too! For anyone interested, briefly this film is about Uzuki Nireno (played by Matsu Takako) who leaves her home Hokkaido to attend college in Tokyo. It’s her first time living alone and the film is built around her days of little adventures involving such experiences as a new apartment, new school, new neighbors, and an overall new landscape to become accustomed to on her own. The underlying story is one of freedom, pride of independence, and the joy of love. May we all experience these at least once in our lives! 🙂
While Matsu Takako has appeared in numerous t.v. dramas, many of which you may find online or at a video retailer, one movie that she starred in that I’d like to whole heartedly recommend is “Kakushiken oni no tsume” (“The Hidden Blade”) which was also released here in the U.S. domestically. Yamada Yoji’s masterpiece storytelling is brought to the big screen via his trademark style which doesn’t over glamorize the aura of the samurai class in old Japan and with a well paced film that all builds up to one of the most realistic climaxes in this genres’ history….okay in my very humble opinion! 🙂 It’s also a story of great love, honor, and devotion and with Matsu Takako in a lead role….um it doesn’t get any better….ah for me! 🙂 There’s also a subtle humor that’s spread throughout the film so please watch it if you have the chance!!
And now for a few of my favorite Matsu Takako songs!
There were so many favorite songs to choose from and here are just a few of them that I hope you’ll enjoy. I hope these songs will also help you in finding your own love of Matsu Takako. =)
Starting with “Akari no tomoru hoe” which was released as a single in March of 2006. This song’s arrangement is so beautiful and uplifting!
Matsu Takako “Akari no tomoru hoe” mp3
Hmmm…this may be my overall favorite Matsu Takako song…”Kisses.” Such a sweet ballad and to think it was a b-side!
Matsu Takako “Kisses” mp3
“Akubi” (“yawn”) has sort of a bossa nova feel to it and amazingly it’s was the b-side to “Sakura fuwari”…hmm…I think your going to really love this song!!
Matsu Takako “Akubi” mp3
“Days” is a wonderful song that starts off as a ballad and then transitions into a more upbeat arrangement that has really sweet slide guitars that make me think of The Beatles. The outro (is this a real word?) really builds up and is really melodic and sweet!
Matsu Takako “days” mp3
“Stay With Me” was Matsu Takako’s 7th single and the last one to be released in the 3″ CD format. I really miss this format which used to be Japan’s standard release size for all of their CD singles up until some time in late ’98/early ’99. They just look really nice and especially when housed in plastic casing which…well…was an extra cost back then but it was so worth it! “Stay With Me” is also the a-side to “Kisses.”!!! Arguably one of her strongest singles ever!!
Matsu Takako “Stay With Me” mp3
“Natsu no kioku” (Summer memories”) is Matsu Takako’s 9th single and it’s another wonderful b-side. She also penned both the music and lyrics for this song!
Matsu Takako “Natsu no kioku” mp3
Hmmm…you may be starting to notice a little trend here as the next song “Your Birthday” is the b-side to the single “Sakura ame, itsuka” which was Matsu Takako’s 10th single. She wrote both the lyrics & music for this track and in a strange manufacturing mishap there are 2 jacket sleeves in this singles’ case. O__o It’s the perfect song for one of your friends’ next birthday celebration! 🙂
Matsu Takako “Your birthday” mp3
And lastly here’s Matsu Takako’s most recent single “Minna hitori” (“everyone’s alone”). I really love the coupling with song for this single as well! ＾ ＾ The song is titled “Shiawase no jumon” and it’s actually one of my top 5 favorite Matsu Takako songs and I can’t believe that I forgot to include it…..I’ll most likely add it somewhere here later as I think it’s by far one of her best written melodies and she also wrote the lyrics too! 🙂 (I just kicked myself!) 😛
Matsu Takako “Minna hitori” mp3
Here are a few pvs for you to watch too. This is the end of my “love” story and I hope that you enjoy all of these songs as much as I do! 🙂 (edit: I originally included pvs uploaded to Vox but here I’m just embedding these pvs from YouTube….just easier that way and it saves memory too =) )