Something strange has been happening recently in Japan, things have started going missing. Now, I’m not talking about my things, they go missing all the time. I’m still looking for my electric shaver’s charger. Important things, like statues, monuments and magazine covers.
I first found out about this when the Moyai head statue in Shibuya went missing, followed by Kuidaore Taro from Dotonbori in Osaka. Something was up and seeing what remained at the scene of the crime made me suspect one person.
That’s right, based on this note the only logical perpetrator can be Lupin the 3rd, the world’s greatest gentleman thief and owner of the world’s greatest sideburns.
How can a fictional character be stealing things in the real world? What is he trying to achieve by it all? And most importantly, what is Inspector Zenegata going to do about it?
I currently have no idea what this is all about, some new film maybe but he has also taken the sign on the side of a department store in Hokkaido and the front cover of a magazine. It’s only a matter of time before he starts going after blogs. If you see him around here, please let me know.
“I’m all grown up now,
so permit me to sing today,
to laugh today
I’ll protect what I will.”
Some say that symmetry is akin to beauty. This album takes the notion of symmetry to ridiculous levels. The track list is symmetrical, the running time is 44:44 and the instruments played and those who played them are also the same at either ends of the album. This self produced record is one that you can tell is meticulously planned down the last detail.
However, I have to admit I didn’t really get into this upon first listening. It’s not the easiest thing to digest, there are so many things going on here that it can make your head spin a bit. I stuck at it though and one day it just clicked. The bombastic opening that left me kind of cold at first suddenly began to fill me with delight.
From then on, every listen became rewarding. I would notice small little details for the first time and appreciate the big things even more. So many things are great, the bridges between the songs, recognising one of the ridiculous amount of obscure instruments used (there is a didgeridoo and vacuum cleaner at one point) and the ending of Souretsu.
The ending of Souretsu is particularly jaw dropping. I wrote a big long paragraph trying to describe it, then realised I just couldn’t. You really just have to listen to it. So do that, go listen and be amazed.
Shuukyou, Meisai, Yattsuke Shigoto, Kuki, Souretsu
“In reality, it’s all important
In reality, it’s probably all rubbish
In reality, it’s all the truth
In reality, it’s probably all just a trick”
When translated the title of this album means something along the lines of “To be so happy about winning something that you just have to take all your clothes off”, that is exactly what I wanted to do after I listened it.
I had been listening to various videos of Shiina Ringo’s work on YouTube and enjoying every one but it was when I finally listened to this album that I discovered how talented this woman is. I started listening and after the end of the 2nd track, I remember thinking that some artists don’t produce a song this good in their entire lives but she went and did it when she was 20.
Then the next track came on, then the next, and then the next and I realised that almost the entire album was pure gold dust. Every song hits the spot so well it just untrue, it’s not just the brilliance of the songs themselves but also the order in which they are placed. For example, in the middle of the album there are two pretty heavy songs which seem to really build up the tension and what follows that is just something totally deranged. Mainly heavily distorted sounds coming out of Ringo’s mouth along with a few words repeated a few times. It works brilliantly and really relieves every pent up feeling that had been created by what came previously. When I discovered what those words meant it just became even better, but no less deranged.
Which brings us to another point, seeing as my Japanese is largely awful, I listened to the album and just caught the voice as another instrument. Only later did I go back to find out what she was talking about and it allowed me to appreciate what she was doing on a whole new level. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the clever stuff she is doing with kanji here.
This album really is a stunning achievement and I think there is something for everyone here, it’s very easy to get into but rather difficult to get out of.
Yokushitsu, Identity, Tsumi To Batsu, Honnou
“Ooh I don’t know what to do,
About this dream and you,
We’ll make this dream come true.”
I’ve never really been into this kind of music. I never got into Daft Punk’s previous album Homework or their later release, Human After All. I may not know much about the art of DJ dance music sampling but I do know what I like.
And I love this, every track on this album is great. It keeps your attention for the whole thing and rarely gets repetitive, which is often the trouble I have with their other records. Even perhaps the worst song on the album, Too Long, never really feels like it is and really rewards you for listening to the whole thing.
The main reason that I chose this album was that it unlike many others, whenever I dip my toe into it and listen to one song, even all these years later, I want to listen to more.
One More Time, Digital Love, Superheroes.
“I’m gonna fight ‘em off,
A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back.”
From the opening riff I was hooked on this. At the time I had never heard anything like it. Pretty much the whole album sounds so empty, yet at the same time sounds so full. Apparently the few instruments that appear on this record were recorded using very old equipment and whoever produced it has given it a bit of a hollow sound. However the music on show here is so exciting. Sure, the singing isn’t the most amazing to ever grace a record but it’s just wonderful to listen to.
Maybe time has dulled the excitement of listening to it but even now if a song from this album comes on, a happy smile appears on my face and I’m transported to a world of great solos, witty lyrics and bare, yet brilliant drumming.
I have just one question though: Was it ever revealed whether they brother and sister, husband and wife or just bumped into each other one day and started a band?
Seven Nation Army, The Hardest Button to Button, Hypnotise