Song of the Day #8: Matsuda Seiko – Hadashi no Kisetsu

When looking at my first week of song of the day posts, I realized quickly that I was favoring recent songs, songs that had been released within the past three years (with several from 2016). While I’m certainly more familiar with recent music rather than older music, I don’t want this series to just be current songs I like. So, for my second week doing a song of the day, it’s all going to be songs released before 2009.

Why 2009? I was thinking of doing only songs more than 10 years old. However, in many ways 2009 is the start of the current idol boom. AKB48’s first #1 single was River, which came out late in 2009, and 2009 was also when Hello!Projects older members left en masse with the disbandment of its Elder Club. So making the cut off 2009 makes some sense to me.

If we’re talking about classic idol music, I don’t think there’s a better person to listen to than Matsuda Seiko, who I’d say is probably the most influential idol singer in Japanese history. While other singers and groups like Yamaguchi Momoe, Pink Lady and Candies set the stage, when I think of a standard idol it’s Matsuda Seiko that comes to mind, and her upbeat, happy pop music. And while I have a lot of Seiko songs I could write about (and frankly probably will, in the upcoming months/years of this series), her first single “Hadashi no Kisetsu” is genuinely wonderful.

One of the things that amazes me about Hadashi no Kisetsu is just how strong of a singer and a performer Matsuda Seiko was from day one. With a lot of current performers, it takes some years before we really see their full potential, but it’s pretty clear to me (perhaps just with hindsight) that Seiko was a star from day 1.

Hadashi no Kisetsu is also just a pretty great song. While in many ways it sounds a bit dated, not exactly the early 80s sound that gets revived in pop music today, it’s still a pleasant, really catchy song. The instrumentation is lush with strings and flutes, and the melody is catchy. But at the heart of Hadashi no Kisetsu is Seiko’s appeal – like all of her music, Seiko’s performance improves almost anything.

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