Today's feature was requested by Kathy from the chatroom, for a relatively rare J-Pop song. Familiars with the Taiko 12 generation would have probably seen it before!
Soba ni Iru Ne (そばにいるね)
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Soba ni Iru Ne (lit. I'm By Your Side) is an answer song; a response to a previous song by the same two artists, Aoyama Thelma as the vocalist and SoulJa as the backing rapper. The first song? Koko ni Iru Yo (I'm Right Here), which fittingly is also in Taiko no Tatsujin, exclusive to AC11. Soba ni Iru Ne is in slightly more games than the first song, but also never made it past one generation of games, despite being a top-selling single when it was released on January 2008...heck, making it to the Guinness Book of World Records for being top selling downloaded single in Japan!
...Until GreeeeN's Kiseki beat it soon after, and that went on to be a Taiko staple J-Pop song. The ephemeral nature of showbiz at work.
The two artists collaborating on Soba ni Iru Ne are most famed for these two songs. Thelma Aoyama is a Japanese R&B singer who spent her growing-up years in America, and was inspired to head into music by Janet Jackson. SoulJa was born in Japan but he has part Belgian lineage. Pretty interesting combination. SoulJa is also well-versed in using musical instruments, and has been to Belgium and America before going back to his birthplace to make music.
The song itself is mainly Thelma's voice, and SoulJa does a few rounds of rapping in the back to set the mood. It's a typical love song, and a slow, relaxing one at that. Even the rap bits are soothing.
It's so calm that even the Oni chart in Taiko no Tatsujin does not have a single big note in it. If you have an issue with low BPM, this might be a troublesome 5* but it makes for a good entry level song.