Today is Valentine’s Day– just, you know, in case you forgot, or didn’t notice, or don’t care.
Whether you’re crazy in the throes of love, or lonely… scrolling through blogs where other lonely people talk about how much they hate this holiday and thus make yourself feel better, I have just the thing for you!
Love has to be about the most common theme in music since the beginning of time. Whether it is jilted love, un-reciprocated love, or full-on-merciful-mutual adoration, it probably comes up in about 7/10 songs.
At least as far as Jrock is concerned, just about every single band has a song called “Love Letter” and, more to the point, “I Love You”. For that matter, they probably have a whole other set of songs called “Aishiteru”, or some other conjugation of the Japanese verb “to love”.
True as this may be, few songs have as much right to that title as one in particular.
But first– the man who wrote it.
Iconic tear-jerker ballad I Love You was written by ’80s pop figurehead Ozaki Yutaka. Ozaki was born in Tokyo on November 29th 1965, and died at the tender age of 26 on April 25 1992, after living-hard-and-burning-fast in the whirlwind world of the pop-stars.
Ozaki was multi-talented, starting with piano and later moving on to guitar, harmonica, and vocals. All of which were present in his compositions.
Despite his stance as a bit of a lone-wolf and outcast, Ozaki was one of the first truly famous pop stars in Japan. He revolutionized the Japanese pop scene with his raw, angsty, extremely heart-felt lyrics about real feelings in every-day situations, his striking good looks, tender charm, and powerful stage-presence. Even TV performances show packs of women in the audience, openly crying, swaying, and singing along to the emotional pop-rock music. Calling out his name, their lives were probably momentarily in the realms of Nirvana when he smiled sweetly at them.
However, despite an incredible rise to heights of fame, an impressive repertoire, and a life worthy of legend, Ozaki burned out fast, and in 1992, at the age of 26, he was found dead in an alleyway. Although originally the cause of death was attributed to a long-standing sickness, Ozaki’s family later attempted to re-open the case on the grounds that it was possibly homicide. Ozaki left behind a wife and son.
Ozaki is another example of the typical Japanese heroes, living-fast-dying-young…amidst fame and excess. It is no wonder that he has become a symbol of nostalgia in the pop-music culture.
His tear-jerker ballad, I Love You, was released in 1991 and is considered not only one of Ozaki’s greatest hits, but one of the greatest hits in Jpop history period. The song has so much sentimentality and nostalgia radiating off of it, that it has been covered by several contemporary Jpoppers, including ayaka, Nakashima Mika, and Utada Hikaru,
Not only does the song talk-the-talk, but it walks-the-walk, all the way. The ballad is a masterpiece of angst-ridden young love. It captures the
coldness and difficulty of love; a youthful desperation and sadness,
rather than the more dream-like idealisms or cheesy spins we hear
regurgitated so often today. And not only are the lyrics depressing
and heart-wrenching, the emotion Ozaki puts into the performance
makes you want to lay down and die.
So here you go– I Love You, for barentain dei <3
I love you ima dake wa kanashii uta kikitakunai yo
I love you nogare nogare tadoritsuita kono heya
Nani mo kamo yurusareta koi jyanai kara futari wa marude sute nekomitai
Kono heya wa ochiba ni umoreta akibako mitai
Dakara omae wa koneko no youna nakigoe de
(*) Kishimu beddo no ue de yasashisa wo mochiyori
Kitsuku karada dakishime aeba
Sore kara mata futari wa me wo tojiru yo
Kanashii uta ni ai ga shirakete shimawanu youni
I love you wakasugiru futari no ai ni wa furerarenu himitsu ga aru
I love you ima no kurashi no naka de wa tadori tsukenai
Hitotsu ni kasanari ikiteyuku koi wo yume mite kizutsuku dake no futari da yo
Nando mo aishiterutte kiku omae wa kono ai nashi de wa ikite sae yukenai to
I love you 今だけは悲しい歌 聞きたくないよ
I love you 逃れ逃れ 辿り着いた この部屋
I love you 若すぎる二人の愛には 触れられぬ秘密がある
I love you 今の暮しの中では 辿り着けない
夢見て 傷つくだけの 二人だよ
Utada Hikaru ‘s cover