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Hirokazu Tanaka's Song :: Review by Chris

Hirokazu Tanaka's Song Album Title: Hirokazu Tanaka's Song
Record Label: Gunpowder
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: December 16, 2009
Purchase: Buy at HearJapan


Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka is a ex-Nintendo musician turned Creatures president known for composing music for Metroid, Kid Icarus, Mother, Duck Hunt, Dr. Mario, and much more. Though often dubbed 'the only and only Hirokazu Tanaka', there are actually others out there. Another Hirokazu Tanaka actually created a beatmania composition so often miscredited to "Hip", for instance. In fact, there are so many other Hirokazu Tanakas out there that "Hip" united ten of them to sing a special single, entitled "Tanaka Hirokazu no Uta" or "Hirokazu Tanaka's Song". The concept is certainly strange, but the final result is somehow irresistably cattchy too.


Right from the start, the single inspires memories of Tanaka's 8-bit works. The rhythm part features all sorts of retro blips and beats from Tanaka's NES and Game Boy days. It's supported by a lively honkytonk piano part that gives the song much of its fullness and jive. The video shows one of the Hirokazu Tanakas even occasionally playing a percussion instrument! The rhythm part might not be authentic game music, but it has that catchiness and childlike feel so many associate with retro soundtracks nonetheless.

And then there are the eleven vocalists. Collectively they sing a bunch of Japanese lyrics about how their name was chosen for them. They range from the light-hearted flowing melodies of the verse to the more emphatic "Ta-na-ka Hi-ro-ka-zu" chants during the chorus. As the video demonstrates, most of the Hirokazu Tanakas still get their chance to individually shine, though, with short solo phrases. Some even make the occasional Mario-esque voice effect. They're not the best singers in the world and most of them are just trying to have fun. Still, they suffice collectively and are listenable enough.

The single also features two other versions of "Hirokazu Tanaka's Song". The press release explains why. If you're another Hirokazu Tanaka, or just want to live the dream of being one, sing along to the karaoke version. If you think you can do better than the master, take a crack at writing your own music alonng to the Tanaka a capella. Personally, I'm not convinced and think that it marginalises the already small audience. Still, the option is there for those crazy ones among you.


Hirokazu Tanaka's Song is a crazy but inspired idea. It probably helps to know Japanese to understand the lyrics, but they're still pretty catchy regardless. The backing part is also a fine complement and brings back memories of youthful days. It's good to see that "Hip" can sometimes take time out from his busy management schedule to make childish indulgences like these. That said, it's necessary to have a quirky sense of humour to enjoy this, as well as a tolerance for silly music. Many won't enjoy it, but plenty of others will find it a hilarious treat.

Overall Score: 8/10