Like a Fable by Shintaro Sakamoto

Released: 22.05.19 / Label: zelone records

A new lead single for a new album from Shintaro Sakamoto. Let’s see what kind of music he’s up to now.

Shintaro Sakamoto is most famous for his role as singer and guitarist of legendary psychadelic rock band Yura Yura Teikoku from 1989 to 2010. After the band ended he continued releasing music through his own label, zelone records, and also put out a book of illustrations. His songwriting credits are equally impressive, not only writing for his own band, but working as studio player, composer, and sometimes lyricist for various groups over the years. All this to say, the man’s multi-talented and prolific.

Like a Fable is a throw back to the late Showa era music of the 70s and 80s in Japan. Soft rock guitar calmly pulls us along as the singer tries to convince an old flame to revisit the past with him. Beautifully sung lyrics with a simple accompaniment including bongos, melancholy sax solos, and a doowah chorus. Not at all what you’d expect from this psychedelic legend, but not really a surprise either. It certainly showcases his maturity as a songwriter. It does feel like this kind of love song to a bygone era will be a challenge for casual music listeners of a younger generation. But for music lovers, or those who remember when this was the norm, it’ll be hard to stop reminiscing.

The recording is pristine, almost to a fault given the era. But this is definitely a modernized sound overall. The mix is also well done, although the simplicity of the song means it stays pretty inert the whole time. The guitars have maybe the best sound in the group, vying for attention and sometimes stepping on the vocals a little. But since it’s all the same guy I guess that’s ok.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this song is the music video. A must see even if you don’t like the song that much. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that it perfectly encapsulates the message and era of the song. As does the cover of the album and this single. The art is, as always, by Mr. Sakamoto himself, and it’s a fun visual representation of the lead single. That being said, I don’t think it’s appealing enough for me to choose this song from a lineup, but I can’t quite put my finger on why.

Verdict: Must listen (4.2/5)

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