Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 May 07 • Monday

Here's 70's Television's Hits Vol. 2, the 216th Soundtrack of the Week.

First up is "Thank You Song", a combination of surf and marching bad with a great electric guitar sound and an energetic female vocalist. Sounds like there's a Farfisa in there too. After this it's the theme from Let's Say Farewell with Tears, a country-style song with smooth horn touches, pedal steel guitar and harmonica. You can hear it here.

The third track is the theme for Two People's World, a drama about a married couple. It's a mid-tempo romantica song with strings and various easy-listening, almost Muzak-like touches. It has a recitation bit at the end. When I Woke Up Everything Was Fine comes next, a heart song performed in an atmosphere of acoustic guitar, electric bass, piano, drums, strings and what sounds like the "whistling" setting on a synthesizer.

Up next is Lovers of the Sun, presumable the theme for a TV show of the same name. It's pretty rocking action music with some good guitar playing and a male vocalist who seems to want to avoid any kind of swing. The sixth track is the theme for Jun Guts, a high-school baseball drama. You can see the opening credits, with the theme, here. I think it looks kind of cool and I have no interest in sports. The song sounds like somebody's national anthem with some 1970s musical ingredients thrown in.

By all means watch the opening credits for the next show on the CD, Are You Okay, Beautiful Women?. It's really great, with beautiful animation and a very chipper song. After that comes the theme for Where Is Youth?, which begins with a wistful trumpet solo and features a sensitive male voice singing over gentle percussion and guitar.

Ken of the Cake Shop has a child-like bouncy theme song, which sounds like it might actually be sung by a child. I'm not sure how to translate the title of the next song. Google has come up with several ideas for the name of this moody piece which I would say is in 6/8 or 12/8 and quite stirring, with lovely, understated, female vocals. All the translations agree that the word "ear" is in the title, but I could have told you that.

That moody number is followed by the ridiculously poppy theme song for Ping Pong Gymnastics, which has apparently found a secure place in Japanese popular culture, as evidenced by Morning Musume's recent cover of this. They can't touch the original, though, which has much better production values.

The next show, Decide! Finish, has a breathy female vocalist singing an engaging melody that reminded me of songs from yakuza movies. Apparently it's a sports drama about women's gymnastics. And so I suspect that the next song, the theme from Red Shoes, is a ballet drama. The lovely, dramatic music quotes "Swan Lake" and features harp and piano.

After that it's the theme for Ra Ra Ra Youth, in which "Yoko & Kumiko" sing about happiness in a minor key before switching to a major-key disco chorus. There's an organ solo that sounds like it's played on the Yankee Stadium organ. This is followed by But Something Is Different, whose theme is kind of a folk-pop song done in the style of The Eagles.

The sixteenth song is the theme for A Beautiful Morning Will Come. That's how I translated the title, anyway. A bright, airy female voice sings cheerful-sounding lyrics over an interesting arrangement of instruments, featuring wooden flutes. Hear it for yourself. Next up is Beautiful Summer, a beautiful, sad song in 3/4 with a wonderful performance from singer Ryoko Moriyama. Here it is.

Surf guitar returns for the Planet of the Apes Japanese TV spin-off, Army of the Apes. There are also some weird keyboard sounds for a stomp sectino that sounds a bit like music from masked rider shows and Gamera movies. You can give it a listen here.

The theme for what Google translates as Bayashi Festival Can Be Heard took me by surprise, sounding like some kind of Barry White or Stevie Wonder song or something like that. It really sounds familiar and I can't remember what it seems to be based on. There are some interesting guitar sounds in there, too. The show appears to be a drama about a professional cyclist who gets injured in a race and ends up working in a retirement home. e , though this sheet music for it puts it in 4/4.

The great Ryoko Moriyama returns to sing the theme for My Song Festival. There's nice use of a harpsichord or something that sounds like one. Finally, there's Our Festival, which is another one that reminds me of some big pop song that I've heard a hundred times but can't place right now. It's the beginning bit with the guitars that makes me think of it. The track on the CD is instrumental and performed by a band called Transam. This link will take you to the exact same recording but with a vocal track on top.