Superfly

Superfly-03Superfly is a female Japanese solo pop/rock singer, under Warner Music Japan, from Matsuyama, Ehime. Superfly began as a duo of Shiho Ochi (vocals) and Koichi Tabo (guitar). However, Koichi Tabo decided, in 2007, to continue as the composer only. Superfly, born February 25, 1984, is a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice, and an obsession with ’70s American rock.Superfly-02C Her name is taken from the Curtis Mayfield soul classic “Superfly” (from the 1972 blaxploitation film of the same name), but her heart is firmly rooted in rock, be it soft, hard, classic or whatever. She even includes covers of her favorite ’70s rock songs as B-sides on her singles, all of which are compiled on her single/album Wildflower & Cover Songs: Complete Best ‘Track 3’ (2010). Superfly sings mostly in Japanese, but, sometimes in English, too. Her covers, obviously, are in sung in English – with an adorable accent! In 2008, Superfly travelled to San Francisco, CA, and met with Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company for a documentary about Janis Joplin, one of Ochi’s idols, on Japan’s Music On! TV channel. In 2009, she even performed two songs (“Down On Me” and “Piece of My Heart”) with them during the Heroes of Woodstock Tour at the site of the original Woodstock Festival in Bethel, NY. Superfly‘s five studio albums (including the covers compilation) debuted at #1 on Oricon‘s Weekly Album Charts, making her one of only 4 female Japanese solo artists to have five consecutive albums debut at the top position. Now, before I go on about each of those albums, watch this groovy rock chick in action in the awesome video for my favorite Superfly song, “Rollin’ Days”, here:

Did you hear the way she pronounces the word “girls” in the 2nd verse? Anyway, part of the fun of listening to Superfly is spotting the influence, whether it’s an embellished riff or melody, a vocal harmony, or whatever. So, I’ll try not to spoil the fun, much.

Superfly-01ASuperfly-05ASuperfly‘s self-titled debut album (2008) was preceded by five (count ’em, five!) singles: “Hello Hello”, “Manifesto”, “i spy i spy (Superfly x JET)”, “Ai wo Komete Hanataba wo”, and “Hi-Five”. In addition, “Ai to Kansha” was released as a digital single. “Ai wo Komete Hanataba wo”, with its insanely infectious hook, is my favorite single. “i spy i spy (Superfly x JET)” is a collaboration with Australian garage rockers JET that was used in a Japanese Nissan Cube commercial. Other good album tracks include “1969” (or should it be called “Summer 1975”?), “Ain’t No Crybaby” (a Stones-y rocker), “Vancouver” (a folky acoustic rocker), “Last Love Song” (an amazing piano ballad!) and “I Remember” (a soulful power ballad). “Rin”, a “Manifesto” B-side, is another cool power ballad.

Watch the videos for “Hello Hello” and “Hi-Five” here:


And, watch the video for “Ai wo Komete Hanataba wo” (wait for the chorus!) here:

Superfly-05BBox Emotions (2009) was preceded by four singles: “How Do I Survive?”, “My Best Of My Life”, and the double A-side, “Koisuru Hitomi wa Utsukushii / Yasashii Kimochi de”. In addition, “Alright!!” and “Haru no Maboroshi” were released as digital singles. “My Best Of My Life”, a heartfelt ballad, is a great single, but “Alright!!”, a rocker whose intro recalls Grand Funk‘s “We’re An American Band”, is my favorite single. Other good album tracks include “Searching” (a mid-tempo rocker with a cool melodic guitar solo), “Bad Girl” (a classic ’70s rock n roller) and “Ai ni Dakarete” (a soft rock ballad). “Perfect Lie”, a “How Do I Survive?” B-side, is another cool soft rock ballad. Finally, “Dancing on the Fire”, a non-album single, won Best Rock Video at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards Japan.

Watch the videos for “Alright!!” and “My Best Of My Life” here:


And, watch the video for “Dancing on the Fire” here:

Superfly-05CWildflower & Cover Songs: Complete Best ‘Track 3’ (2010) is a 4-track CD single (of which all but “Roll Over The Rainbow” appeared on Superfly‘s 3rd studio album Mind Travel), a 15-track CD compilation of Superfly‘s B-side covers, and a bonus 1-track mini-CD. I love Superfly‘s covers, and “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” (Elvin Bishop), a new recording, is one of her best. I love that she doesn’t change the pronouns: “I must have been through about a million girls …” There’s that word again! Anyway, my favorite Superfly cover is “Rhiannon” (Fleetwood Mac) from the “Ai o Komete Hanataba o” single. I love the guitar and drums, and her strong vocals, as well as her irresistibly charming accent! Other cool covers include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin) and a live rendition of “Desperado” (The Eagles).

Later, in 2010, Superfly performed at the Zepp Tokyo arena with a “supergroup” of Japanese rockers who called themselves The Lemon Bats. They kicked out some more cool covers, including “Barricuda” (Heart), “Born To Lose” (Johnny Thunders), and others. The performance was released on DVD as Rock’N’Roll Muncher. Watch Superfly & The Lemon Bats perform “Barricuda” live here:

Mind Travel (2011), of course, was preceded by the “Wildflower” single. “Tamashii Revolution”, “Wildflower” and “Free Planet” appeared on this album, but all four of the tracks (including “Roll Over The Rainbow”) were released as digital singles. In addition, “Eyes On Me”, the double A-sideSuperfly-05D “Beep!! / Sunshine Sunshine” and “Ah” were also released as singles, and “Rollin’ Days” was released as a digital single. Obviously, “Rollin’ Days” is my favorite, but “Beep!!” (a rocker similar to “Rollin’ Days”), “Wildflower” (a pleasant rocker with an awesome guitar riff) and “Eyes On Me” (an awesome Carpenters-esque piano ballad!) are great, too. Other good album tracks are “Deep-sea Fish Orchestra” (a Led Zeppelin-esque rocker that reminds me a bit of “Kashmir”), “Secret Garden” (a little bit of ’70s soul) and “Only You” (more soul that recalls Aretha Franklin‘s “Natural Woman”). Finally, “You & Me”, a non-album single written by Ochi in response to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, is one of Superfly‘s best, most heartfelt, ballads ever.

Watch the videos for “Beep!!”, “Wildflower” and “Eyes On Me” here:



Force (2012), Superfly‘s 4th studio album, is my favorite, overall, with its bigger classic rock sound. Three singles were released: “Ai wo Kurae”, the double A-side “Kagayaku Tsuki no You ni / The Bird Without Wings”, and “Force”. In addition, “No Bandage” was released as a digital single. “The Bird Without Wings” is my second favoriteSuperfly-05E Superfly song! I especially love the guitar melody at the end. But, the other A-side, “Kagayaku Tsuki no You ni”, is excellent mid-tempo ballad! “Force”, “Owarinaki Game” (a “Force” B-side), “Ai wo Kurai” (a near alt-rocker), “Nitty Gritty” and “Get High!! -Adrenaline-“ are all excellent classic rockers, while “No Bandage” and “I My Me Mine Mine” (a “Ai wo Kurae” B-side) are cool garage rockers, “Sasurai no Tabibito” is a funk rocker, and “Owari” is yet another stunning piano ballad. Oh, and the anthemic hand-clapper “Standing Ovation” and the pleasant mid-tempo ballad “Tomei Ningen” (another “Force” B-side) are more favorites. Finally, “STARS” is a good non-album single in which Superfly performs with Japanese rocker Tortoise Matsumoto of the band Ulfuls.

Watch the videos for “The Bird Without Wings” and “Kagayaku Tsuki no You ni” here:


Watch the video for “Force” here:

And, watch the video for Superfly‘s newest song “Always” here (from her forthcoming best-of compilation, Superfly Best):

Superfly-07Superfly (Selected) Discography
2007.04.04 – “Hello Hello” [Single]
2007.08.01 – “Manifesto” [Single]
2007.10.03 – “Ai to Kansha” [Digital Single]
2007.11.28 – “i spy i spy (Superfly x JET)” [Single]
2008.02.27 – “Ai wo Komete Hanataba wo” [Single]
2008.04.23 – “Hi-Five” [Single]
2008.05.14 – Superfly [Album]
2008.09.10 – “How Do I Survive?” [Single]
2009.05.13 – “My Best Of My Life” [Single]
2009.06.03 – “Alright!!” [Digital Single]
2009.07.29 – “Koisuru Hitomi wa Utsukushii / Yasashii Kimochi de” [Single]
2009.08.12 – “Haru no Maboroshi” [Digital Single]
2009.09.02 – Box Emotions [Album]
2009.11.18 – “Dancing On The Fire” [Single]
2010.06.18 – “Tamashii Revolution” [Digital Single]
2010.09.01 – “Wildflower” [Digital Single]
2010.09.01 – “Roll Over The Rainbow” [Digital Single]
2010.09.01 – Wildflower & Cover Songs: Complete Best ‘TRACK 3’ [Single/Album]
2010.09.08 – “Free Planet” [Digital Single]
2010.12.15 – “Eyes On Me” [Single]
2011.03.09 – “Beep!! / Sunshine Sunshine” [Single]
2011.03.25 – “You & Me” [Digital Single]
2011.05.18 – “Rollin’ Days” [Digital Single]
2011.06.15 – Mind Travel [Album]
2011.06.29 – “Ah” [Single]
2011.10.12 – “Ai wo Kurae” [Single]
2012.07.18 – “No Bandage” [Digital Single]
2012.07.25 – “STARS (Superfly & Tortoise Matsumoto)” [Single]
2012.08.15 – “Kagayaku Tsuki no You ni / The Bird Without Wings” [Single]
2012.09.19 – Force [Album]
2012.10.31 – “Force” [Single]
2013.09.25 – Superfly Best [Album]

For more information on Superfly go here.

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One response to “Superfly

  1. Pingback: “Rhiannon rings like a bell …” | My Heart Explodes·

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