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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Song of the Week! 4 May 2013


While this is a notably quiet period for the Taiko franchise, the Golden Week is about to wrap up in Japan tomorrow. The Golden Week is a week-long celebration in which a large number of national holidays occur in Japan, starting from April 29th and ending on May 5th (technically a little longer than one week, but still).

In conjunction with this peculiar Japanese period, today I'll feature two songs whose titles are related to gold, one from the very past and another one from the very present. Here we go!

 GOLDFINGER'99
Version
All-x3 (159)--
 Taiko 1
 180
 none
 ???


For whose who believe that Taiko's songlist has always been centered around the Japanese world and culture, here's something that might change your mind, and it's from the very first arcade! Despite the title, GOLDFINGER'99 isn't related to any James Bond flick (the movie Goldfinger was released way back in 1964).

With a quick listen to the video above, the song will instantly sound familiar to anyone who's chased famous 90's pop songs: Livin' la Vida Loca, the most famous song of Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin. That's because GOLDFINGER'99 is nothing but the Japanese cover of Ricky Martin's best hit, sung by Hiromi Go -aka Hiromi Haratake (裕美原武). Since we already featured the Japanese singer in an early SotW entry this year, today's focus is on the original song's story.

Livin' la Vida Loca was originally released in the May 1999 album Ricky Martin, as the first track. The song holds the merit of being the first U.S. number 1 hit which has been recorded without using then-conventional recording studio equipment; instead the track was created in an entirely computerised environment using the Pro Tools software package. The lively tune literally marked the boom of the Latin Pop genre in the musical world, as its success wasn't limited to American audiences; after topping the Billboard Hot 100, the single gained several Gold and Platinum discs in many European countries, with over 8 million singles sold all over the world.

Like many other successful musical sensations of the 90s, Livin' la Vida Loca was shortly followed by an impressive number of covers and spoof versions in a wide variety of languages. Hiromi Go's GOLDFINGER'99 is one of them, and is the artist's 76th song. It was released later in 1999 in two separate disc formats, selling together nearly 400,000 copies. A remix of this cover, named GOLDFINGER 2001, was released two years later by the same Hiromi Go, without having the original, generally-positive feedback of the first rendition of Ricky Martin's signature song.

GOLDFINGER'99 is one of the few songs to be released in the first Taiko no Tatsujin arcade ever made, meaning that it only has a single difficulty level (Futsuu). Even with the difficulty limitation, the rhythm is well sustained with some of the first big notes and drumrolls you'll see in a Taiko no Tatsujin game.

 24 karats TRIBE OF GOLD
Version
Allx3 (109)x4 (127)x4 (196)x7 (301)
 Taiko 0 S, Taiko +
 103
 none
 24kara


Let's go back to the present with one of the newest J-Pop licenses introduced by the Sorairo arcade generation. 24 karats TRIBE OF GOLD is the first single from the huge collection of artists formerly known as EXILE TRIBE. While the name reminds us of another group from the same agency, the group's history is relatively young and eventful, all tied together by the same music label.

As said, the group is the result of a massive merge of artists from Japanese agency house LDH (acronym for Love, Dream and Happiness), consisting of many of its biggest names such as EXILE, ATSUSHI, J Soul Brothers, E-Girls and GENERATIONS. This artist assembly started performing together with the EXILE TRIBE LIVE TOUR 2012 TOWER OF WISH concert tour, starting on April 2012, and featuring various LDH artists with their own landmarks.

Five months later, the single 24 karats TRIBE OF GOLD was released under the EXILE TRIBE name, thus marking the official birth of the group. The song was previously used as the theme song for the 2012 drama reboot of an anime series known as Great Teacher Onizuka (グレート ティーチャー オニヅカ) (or simply GTO), based on the namesake manga by Tōru Fujisawa (藤沢とおる).

Despite the low BPM, 24 karats TRIBE OF GOLD's generally positive mood with an appropriate difficulty chart, with different scrolling sections and several upbeat clusters, make it a suitable 7* challenge despite the low notecount.

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