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TM NETWORK Frontman Takashi Utsunomiya to Release New Solo Album

Takashi Utsunomiya
Courtesy of Billboard Japan

Takashi Utsunomiya 

<a href="/music/tm-network">TM NETWORK</a> frontman Takashi Utsunomiya is set to release his first solo album in six years on Feb. 28. The lead singer of the iconic pop-rock trio is celebrating 25 years as a solo artist, and his new album milestone contains tracks created by an impressive lineup of J-pop's best songwriters and producers.

The album opener, "Mirai He" ("To the Future"), was written by Tsunku, former frontman of the popular '90s band Sharam Q and now a prolific songwriter and producer famous for launching the girl group <a href="/music/Morning-Musume">Morning Musume</a>. Utsunomiya had expressed his desire to work with the legendary producer for a long time.

"It's a Japanese pop-meets-rock song that has Tsunku written all over it," he says about the track. "I looked to the future as I sang it, because we live in difficult times, and that's why we shouldn't think negatively."

Veteran singer-songwriter Amii Ozaki is another contributor to the album. "It was a difficult song to make my own," says Utsunomiya about the song Ozaki wrote, "Kyokaisen Wo Hiitano Wa Bokuda" ("I'm the One Who Drew the Line"). "It was tough but turned out to be an amazing number."

The last song on the album was produced by Akio Dobashi, the keyboardist for the rock band Rebecca. Written as Utsunomiya's 60th birthday present, his mellow vocals and gorgeous strings resonate in this seven-minute tour de force.

The album also contains covers of classic Japanese pop songs by Hiromi Iwasaki and Linda Yamamoto, as well as the album version of "Get Wild Pandemic," which was released as the lead single.

The DVD included in the special editions of the release contains the music video for "Get Wild Pandemic" and a segment of Utsunomiya talking and having a few drinks with his longtime recording engineer Toshiro Ito at a bar. It also contains an up-close and personal Q&A session with the singer and guitarist Yoshio Nomura, as well as some rare behind-the-scenes looks at his studio work and rehearsals.


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