Remembering the Iconic ’90s Tune “Sweet 19 Blues” by Namie Amuro

It’s #SongLyricsSunday! Today is all about finding songs with “Delightful”, “Pleasant”, and “Sweet” either in the title or in the lyrics. As I am late to the #SongLyricSunday party (as I have Monday off and I decided to do some major housework for the three-day weekend), I choose a tune of my Japanese music idol Namie Amuro. The song? “Sweet 19 Blues” from her 1996 debut album of the same name. As you know, I am a huge Amuro fan and have written about her music since I started this blog in 2008. But, I don’t think I have talked about “Sweet 19 Blues” before. Let’s take a closer look at the song below!

Sweet, Sweet 19 Dreams

“Sweet 19 Blues” was released in the summer of 1996 by Namie Amuro. It was first featured as a track on the same-titled album and then release as a recut single a month later. The lyrics were written by Tetsuya Komuro, Takahiro Maeda, and m.c.A・T. I have mentioned Komuro over and over in this blog as he was the “King of 90s Jpop”, producing many hits from artists like trf, Namie Amuro, Tomomi Kahala, globe, and etc.

Takahiro Maeda, on the other hand, is not as famous as Komuro but has written songs for various artists like Momoiro Clover Z and KinKi Kids since the 90s. Finally, m.c.A・T is a singer-songwriter who released a lot of Japanese rap hits in the 90s and wrote songs for artists like DA PUMP.

The character of Amuro’s 1996 song is a young woman who is bittersweetly embracing the last days of her youth. You see, one becomes an adult at the age of 20 in Japanese society. It is a big event in one’s life, there is even a celebration held by the local governments in January to celebrate this passage of adulthood.

At the same time, looking back on one’s youth is something that adults in Japan usually think back on when they are adults. It is a common subject in Japanese music as you see numerous songs speaking about youth or 青春 (seishun) being released year after year. And “Sweet 19 Blues” was one of those songs, just told in a perspective of a young woman at the cusp of adulthood.

There is another meaning to this 90’s pop/R&B ballad. According to the Japanese Wikipedia, the song’s character is a girl who wants to get rid of clothing like a mini-skirt and ones that show her belly button, clothing that Japanese youth wore in the 90s, and put on some more formal clothing to show her maturity and her The character shares the hope in “Sweet 19 Blues” that others will look at her personality and what is in the inside instead of her body. Maybe another sign of maturity and growing into an adult?

Namie Amuro’s “Sweet 19 Blues” is an iconic song that reflects back on one’s youth while heading toward the maturity of being an adult. It is still cherished by many all over the world just like when it was released in 1996. What do you think of the song? Listen to it below and tell me what you think!

Lyrics for Namie Amuro(s “Sweet 19 Blues”

Here is the English translation of the lyrics, all credits go to Otenkiame Translations:

Today again I sigh again and again
I’m wandering about the streets alone
Escape – I’ve been trying to since yesterday
Rather than waiting in my room for the phone,
someone page me
when I’m walking!

Very soon, I’ll be able to use children’s
weapons without pretending to be an adult
That’s the best time
My loneliness is tinged with more of the truth
than before
But tomorrow will come

Sweet, sweet 19 blues
They merely pass by, and certainly become a part of me
Sweet, sweet 19 dreams
Rhythm & Blues – it’s like my everyday style

I’ve got my hands full with my own problems
But still, it seems like I’m doing fine
I push my way through the tobacco smoke, buried by sound
I’ve got to tell
him and her
what their best feature is

Keeping up appearance in the world
you’ve gotta be cooler than everyone
If I jumped away from it…
Yesterday she
healed my wounds
tomorrow I’ll heal hers

Sweet, sweet 19 blues
But the truth is that I’m not amazing either
Sweet, sweet 19 dreams
Maybe I’ll show a face to someone that no one’s seen before

Change my life
Change my life
If there are previous lives,
Maybe we were stray cats in the back alley, absolutely…

Change my life
Change my life
Passionate feelings in my heart
And a kool attitude as my protection…!

Sweet, sweet 19 blues
Sweet, sweet 19 blues
Sweet, sweet 19 dreams
Sweet, sweet 19 blues
But the truth is that I’m lonely, too
Sweet, sweet 19 dreams
Maybe I’ll show a face to someone that no one’s seen before