23.5.17

Reacting to Buck-Tick

Check out this YouTuber reacting as he hears Buck-Tick for the first time and loves the shit out of them! If you need more smiles in your day, watch the whole video. And Sir Mac, if you're reading this blog, just know that we bid you a very warm welcome to Buck-Tickistan and wish you a long and pleasant stay.



18.5.17

Best of Buck-Tick: How to Vote

Many of you have asked about how to vote for songs to go on the Best of Buck-Tick: 30th anniversary edition, so here's our step-by-step how-to guide.

Step 1. Read "The Best of Buck-Tick, Part I" and "The Best of Buck-Tick, Part II" right here on Blog-Tick, to remind yourself of the existence of some of the great Buck-Tick songs you may have forgotten about.

Step 2. If you were considering voting for "Muma -The Nightmare-" even for a brief moment, don't. Not only is it the most annoying song Buck-Tick have ever written, it was also on their previous two anniversary best albums. Nobody loves it anymore and neither should you.

Step 3. Here are the track lists of Buck-Tick's previous two anniversary best-of albums. Don't vote for any of the songs on here if you can help it. See how many of the same songs are on both of these albums already? Also, see how most of these are singles, album title tracks, massive fan favorites, or songs that had just been released at the time this album was released? That's how shallow most B-T fans are, apparently. Don't let this be you.

20th Anniversary Best (Catalogue 2005)
Disc 1
01. Hurry Up Mode
02. Sexual XXXXX!
03. Physical Neurose
04. Just One More Kiss
05. Speed
06. Sakura
07. Jupiter
08. Angelic Conversation
09. Iconoclasm
10. Aku no Hana
11. Dress
12. Kodou
13. Uta
14. Candy
15. Cosmos
18. My Fuckin' Valentine
19. Miu

Disc 2
01. Glamorous
02. Baby, I Want You
03. Rhapsody
04. Flame
05. Shippu no Blade Runner
06. 21st Cherry Boy
07. Kyoktou Yori Ai wo Komete
08. Long Distance Call
09. Zangai
10. Girl
11. Mona Lisa
12. Gensou no Hana
13. Nocturne -Rain Song-
14. Muma -who the fuck likes this song and why-
15. Romance
16. Diabolo

25th Anniversary Best (Catalog Victor-Mercury-Ariola)

Disc 1 Catalog Victor-Mercury 87-99 (a.k.a most of these were already on the far superior best-of collection BT back in the 90's)
01. Just One More Kiss
02. Aku no Hana
03. Speed
04. Mad
05. Jupiter
06. Dress
07. Die
08. Uta
09. Kodou
10. Mienai Mono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai, Subete Gokai da
11. Candy
12. Heroin
13. Sasayaki
14. Gessekai
15. Bran-New Lover
16. Miu

Disc 2 Catalog Ariola 00-10 (basically just a singles collection)
01. Glamorous
02. 21st Cherry Boy
03. Kyokutou I Love You
04. Zangai
05. Gensou no Hana
06. Romance
07. Kagerou
08. Rendezvous
09. Alice in Wonder Underfart
10. Heaven
11. Galaxy
12. Dokudanjou Beauty
13. Kuchizuke

Step 4. Go to the voting page, here.

Step 5. Vote away! You can vote for one single track and one album track, so vote wisely. Click on the "track list" for each album to get a drop-down menu with all the songs, then click the song you want. The songs you request will appear in the box below.

Step 6. When you've selected your songs, hit the big button at the bottom that says 「リクエストする」. A small box will pop up where you enter personal info.

Step 7. In the small pop-up box, select your age: under 10 / teens / twenties / thirties / forties / fifties / over sixty.

Step 8. Next, select your sex: 女性 for female, 男性 for male. Victor doesn't believe in non-binary gender. Sorry, fans.

Step 9. Write-in your location. Rather than the nebulous 「海外」 ("overseas") I suggest you disabuse some more Japanese people of the notion that the world is divided into Japanese people and gaijin by writing the country you're from, to give Victor an inkling that Buck-Tick have fans all over the world.

Step 10. Add your personal message, up to 200 characters.

Step 11. Click 「送信内容の確認」to confirm your entry.

Step 12. Click the red button to confirm and send your request. Click the grey button to revise your request before you send it.

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Voting stays open until 11:59 PM on June 30th, so you have plenty of time to carefully consider your request before voting. Happy voting!

The Best of Buck-Tick: Part II, or, Cayce's Favorite B-T Songs 2017

In our last post about top Buck-Tick songs, we discussed 30 songs which we feel exemplify some of the best of Buck-Tick's artistic work. And of course, we love all those songs to bits... but it's extremely difficult to choose best Buck-Tick songs or favorite Buck-Tick songs when so much of the band's work is so high quality, so obviously, it was hard for us to stop at just 30 songs. Not only that, but as those of you who've been reading this blog over the years may have noticed, Cayce has a distinct preference for a certain type of song. So rather than stuff our "Critics' Top 30" list with nothing but our own personal favorites and end up with a list of 75% medium tempo goth ballads by Hoshino Hidehiko, we decided to be more broad and objective in our first list, and make a separate list of our personal top favorites. Since we've already publicly raved about most of these songs already, long-time readers can probably guess them before even scrolling down the page, but since our records indicate that the last time we wrote about our favorite B-T songs was in 2010, we feel it's time for another go-around.

So, without further ado...

Cayce's Favorite Buck-Tick Songs
(Well, Some of Them, Anyway... See This Post For More Info)
In Chronological Order, Because Rankings Suck


1. Taboo (Koroshi no Shirabe Version)
Why is it good?
Buck-Tick's reworking of this early track brought in all the darkness and sensuality they couldn't quite muster when they first recorded it back in 1988. There's still something a little bit childish about this song, since it still feels like the lyrics, in particular, were written largely from romantic imagination rather than real-life experience. Still, it's sexy and goth as fuck. You could listen to it all evening on a hot date and the date would just get hotter. The invocation of poppy petals rather than rose petals points almost presciently to Buck-Tick's later thematic fixations, while Imai's reworking of a melody out of 1950's exotica is an overt tribute to early YMO - remember, Buck-Tick's name is a tribute to YMO's early hit "Firecracker," which was itself a reworking of 1950's exotica. Not only is that kind of meta reference one of the things Buck-Tick do best, but also, it's a great reminder that Takahashi Yukihiro and Sakamoto Ryuichi would never write or sing a song like "Taboo," and Imai Hisashi is his own man (Hosono Haruomi might write such a song but he couldn't sing it. Sorry, YMO nerds). Beyond that, for all its sensuality, this is really a song about rejection. Remember the lyric about "the tears, the sadness of the world"? Perhaps it's a teeny bit uncharitable, but knowing that even someone as pretty as Mr. Sakurai was at age 22 can get this angsty ought to make you feel slightly less miserable about your own angst.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yeah, why not? Who's going to vote for Koroshi no Shirabe tracks?

2. My Funny Valentine
Why does Cayce like it?
First and foremost, we love the guitar riff. The rise and fall is languid and sultry like the slow breathing of a nude artists' model sprawled across a stack of red velvet cushions in a dimly-lit room thick with incense and opium smoke, while the crunchy tone evokes dusty old records and honky-tonk pianos in speakeasies. Then, there are the vocal harmonies, though they're best heard on the studio recording rather than live, since live, Imai can't really do justice to either line. Then, there are the lyrics, which, while a tad florid, sum up the "odd diversity of misery and joy" that come with being in love with something who maybe doesn't want you back. This is Buck-Tick at their most decadent, and unlike so many people out there, Buck-Tick know what the word "decadent" actually means.

Should it be on a best-of album?
The band perform this song fairly often, but whether that's because it's a fan favorite or a personal favorite of Sakurai's, we can't say. It wasn't on the last best-of album, though, so we'll guess the latter. Go ahead and vote for it.

3. Ao no Sekai
Why is it good?
Where to start? Hide on keyboards? That phat bass? That King Crimson-style mode-inflected chord progression? The way the band members pass solos around during the instrumental break? This song is one of Cayce's top ten, maybe even top five. The string synth and heavy reverb on the vocals create a feeling of wide open space that perfectly matches Sakurai's lyrics about being a lone wolf. Most Buck-Tick melodies aren't very difficult to sing, but this one jumps all over the place - yet Sakurai is more than equal to the challenge, imbuing the whole vocal line with both eros and confident bravado. Plus, there's a mystery at work. What is this song really about? In Japan, "blue" symbolizes both the blues (as in Der Zibet's "Blue Blue") and pornography (as in Buck-Tick's "Misty Blue"). There seems to be a bit of both in here, or it might be drug slang for downers... or all three. Either way, it's seventies as fuck, and it's got soul.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yes, please. With a cherry on top and a fancy cocktail umbrella.

4. Madman Blues
Why is it good?
If you don't think this is one of the best bass lines Imai Hisashi has ever written, I don't know why you bother to be a Buck-Tick fan. Buck-Tick's deeper than deep sexbass is a huge part of their appeal! Not only that, but this is the song where Imai drawls "welcome to my territory" over and over at the end, which is the best ever "kids get off my lawn" line since the line "Kids, get off my lawn!" Though the song is ostensibly about sci-fi monsters, Imai describes the monsters as "depressed orphans" because they don't fit in with the rest of society... which makes me think this song may not be as sci fi as it seems on the surface. Deeper down, isn't it really a punk anthem to the world's misfits, which include the Buck-Tick members, you, and me? Other great things about this song: the total madness of that whole-tone scale guitar solo, Sakurai's basement growls so deep they're practically beyond the range of human hearing.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Either this one or "Brain Whisper Head Hate is Noise" should be, for sure. They're both great, so take your pick. Like I said before, you can't have a best of Buck-Tick without an Imai psychedelic monster song.

5. Rokugatsu no Okinawa
Why is it good?
Oh hell, another great bass line! But this time it was written by Hide, so this time, we're on the beach - specifically, in Okinawa. Hide uses a lot of techniques in this song that he brings even further in his later work, particularly the jangly guitar cutting which has pretty much become his trademark. Everything about the sound of "Rokugatsu no Okinawa" is noir and retro, as sleazy and sexy in equal parts as a French film, begging bowler hats and cigars even in the tropical heat. In his lyrics, Sakurai is unfailingly honest about sex, yet he refuses to be bitter, which is one reason he's so persuasive - even the break-up lines sound like a come on. This song tells a tale of the regret surrounding a one-night stand in a faraway place with a person who could have been your soulmate, yet you'll probably never meet again... worth crying over, if Okinawa weren't so damn sunny! What you probably didn't notice: when Sakurai sings about "tangling long hair," he's almost certainly talking about his own hair. Back then, he had longer hair than anyone but Rapunzel.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Fuck yeah.

6. Kimi no Vanilla
Why is it good?
Fangirls all love this song because this is the only song where Sakurai almost but not quite used the word "vagina" in the title. However, I think we can agree that "vagina" is an icky-sounding word, the female anatomy deserves better, and "vanilla" sounds more mellifluous. Also, I'm gonna go ahead and guess that if "vanilla" has a second meaning, it's about flavor rather than about lack of kink in the sack, because kids, this is Sakurai we're talking about here. Anyway, words starting with "v" are actually the least of what makes this song good. Sex is a major theme for Buck-Tick, and this is definitely one of their best sexy songs, but that's partly because it's not just about sex - it's about the awkward, obsessive way sex makes us feel when we become sexually obsessed with another person. Just listen to Sakurai's deliberately distorted, nasalized vocals, layered over that self-consciously bow-chicka-bow-wow chromatic porno guitar. Then, consider the PV, in which Sakurai appears not as a dashing vampire prince, but as a vaguely skeezy geek in an ugly turtleneck and big square nerdy daddy glasses, macking all over a mannequin as if she's a life-sized figurine of his favorite member of AKB48. Isn't that we all feel sometimes when faced with the object of our overwhelming attractions? There's a lot more at work here than just fangirl titillation. Oh yeah, and the single mix with the duet between Sakurai's bass and falsetto just makes it even better. More gender fluidity? You decide.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yeah, and I vote for the single version. But the live version from the Yumemiru Uchuu tour is just as good - what it lacks in Hide on keyboard it makes up for in Imai on sinister carnival guitar.

7. Chocolate
Why is it good?
I'll give a very controversial reason for why this song is good: it's the best song about what it feels like to be under the influence of LSD since The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." Think the lyrics don't make sense? Do more acid! Think the guitars are too buzzy? Do more acid! Wonder what the hell Sakurai is singing in English on the chorus? Do more acid and all will be revealed! (Actually, some yellow and green cellophane flowers told us that he's saying, "I wanna think about turning love inside out.") But if you'd like to go on pretending that Buck-Tick are a chaste, teetotalling, straight-edge band who would never do BAD things like drink, have sex, or do drugs, and that therefore the "chocolate" referred to in this song is real actual chocolate containing cacao and theobromine and all those other fun-yet-not-psychoactive chemicals, you can still love "Chocolate" anyway. It's catchy as hell, has one of the deepest vocal lines of any B-T song out there (enough to make vocal nerds consider whether calling Sakurai a baritone rather than a bass is really appropriate), and it also contains the line "Oh oh oh I'm in rest room." Why was he in the rest room? What was he doing in there? Was he doing acid, or a number 2? Doesn't that give "chocolate" a whole new meaning and don't the drugs look a whole lot better now? Yes, that was a disgusting joke, and you're welcome. But this is a great song.

Should it be on a best-of album?
If you love eating chocolate the food, you should vote for chocolate the song.

8. Lizard Skin no Shojo
Why is it good?
This is just my supposition, but I think this song is probably the closest we've ever come to seeing what the landscape really looks like inside Imai Hisashi's multicolored, bleach-damaged head. First, a little boy runs away to join the circus. Next, a "lizard skin girl" (who? what? why?) eats "candy and chocolate" (yes that's a reference to Cosmos but spoiler alert, the candy is drugs!) and then gets "spirited away" and is never heard from again. Third, the bloated dead bodies of fat, greedy capitalists are seen hanging on trees in the hanging garden (yes that's a Cure reference Imai's a fanboy get over it). Last, Imai says, don't care too much about all the shit I just talked about, because going through a revolving door is like shedding your skin (just like lizard skin girls do amirite?) and when the skin is empty, we don't have to care about that shit anymore. The end! We wouldn't be surprised if, the morning after writing this song, Imai woke up in a dumpster with no idea how he'd got there and no idea why he had a new demo tape in his pocket. And all that after he sings again and again about "a night to remember!" Another great thing about this song: that slow, slow, slooooow tempo. And since a lot of the drugs Imai was (presumably) on cause time delay effects, (presumably) it sounds even slower while you're high! Yet another great thing about this song: that smug, suave bassline. If a bassline could wear a bowler hat and carry a machine gun concealed as a gentleman's walking stick, this bassline would do both things.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yes, PLEASE. This song is so much more Buck-Tick than "Hamushi no You ni."

9. Sasayaki
Why is it good?
I can't recall hearing any song that makes better use of guitar harmonics than "Sasayaki," but again, it's the bass line that really defines the sound here. One of our long-time readers remarked that this song would sound all kinds of sexual even if it had no lyrics at all, and we're inclined to agree. Put on this song and get it on! Sure, the lyrics may give you a tad too wide a window into the fantasy life of Mr. Sakurai, but they're also simple enough to serve as a great study aid for both beginning learners of Japanese and 50 Shades of Grey readers who want to learn what BDSM is really about. The PV may have made fangirls all kinds of jealous, but what other Buck-Tick PV is both a tribute to The Hunger (the only film which features both David Bowie and Bauhaus), and stars Mr. Sakurai in a "Sexy Robert Smith" Halloween costume complete with cheap plastic handcuffs? Plus, if you're feeling frustrated with the misty-eyed childishness of your own appearance, it ought to be reassuring to know that on the off-chance that Mr. Sakurai happens to invade your bedroom late one full-moon night and tap you on the shoulder, you'll immediately transform into a latex-clad hooker, without ever having to pay for a haircut, a bustier, or a boob job. Seriously guys, if you can't laugh at this video, I don't even know why you bother being B-T fans.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yes yes yes yes it should and they should play it live every time. Move over Muma. Sasayaki's gonna tie you to the wall and pour a whole jug of water on you and you're gonna like it. 

10. Trans
Why is it good?
Contrary to popular belief, this song has nothing to do with being transgender. In fact, why it's called "Trans" is anyone's guess. Many fans may not remember that this song even exists, because that's the fate of Hoshino Hidehiko b-sides that never made it onto an album. But these luminous, glittering layers of shoegaze guitar chords deserve to be remembered just as much as the lyrics, which are touching, childlike and surreal enough to be made into a Ghibli film. "Distant lights rain down in the summer night" - are they fireworks? Are they shooting stars? Are they UFOs? Are they merely figments of another acid trip? Or are they the dreams of the cat who appears to be the main character in the song? It's up to your interpretation. All I know is I told Acchan-chan I wanted some of those galactic caramels as a souvenir, but he's still too busy watching cat videos on YouTube to answer any of my texts.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yeah, if the best album is really an album of the band's best work and not just a popularity contest. Because admit it: you'd forgotten this song existed till I reminded you just now.

11. Sapphire
Why is it good?
"Sapphire" is an interesting union of opposites. Combining the hard industrial grooves of Buck-Tick's signature late 90's sound with diffuse shoegaze wall-of-sound techniques, it immerses the listener in a sonic universe that's dark and aggressive, gentle and sentimental at the same time. What really makes it work are Sakurai's breathy, almost feminine vocals, especially on the chorus, where his duet with his own falsetto reads like a duet with a female backing vocalist. This song could have been recorded by Garbage or The Curve and no one would have questioned it. Lesbian B-T fans rejoice (we know there are a lot of you, so rejoice even harder).

Should it be on a best-of album?
Even if it doesn't make it onto the best album, we'd love to hear it live again. The last time the band performed this one was on the 13th Floor With Moonshine tour, and it was beautiful.

12. Death Wish
Why is it good?
One word: sarcasm! From the cartoony boops and pops to the opening honky-tonk guitar chords, ever inch of this song lets you know not to take it too seriously, and from a band who are liable to err on the side of seriousness most of the time, comic relief is essential. Plus, it's catchy, it's danceable, and it even has a singalong chorus. Why don't they play this one on every tour? Oh, right - because it was written by Hoshino Hidehiko! Then again, perhaps it's just because the fangirls were offended by the line about shoes covered in loogies of spittle... but seriously, go back and take another look at these lyrics, because they're hilarious. Also, never forget the live version on One Life One Death Cut Up, in which Sakurai shouts, "Nice, Madam!" at a handsy fangirl. That's the essence of "Death Wish" right there.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yeah, and Buck-Tick should always play this one instead of "Tenshi wa dare da" at every live forevermore.

13. Trigger
Why is it good?
The drums! As we've already seen, Buck-Tick are usually all about that bass, but in this song, it's Toll who steals the show, with a heavy, tribal rhythm that will have you... um... "pulling triggers" before you know it. This is Buck-Tick at their hardest and most industrial, and fuck it's hot. This is the side of Sakurai that fangirls don't like to see, the side that went into Schwein and "Barbaric Man." But for those of us who have fond memories of our rivethead past, "Trigger" is a wet dream in musical form. Remember that guy at the Slimelight with the shaved head and the mohawk of spike studs implanted directly into his scalp? I bet he likes this song too. I wonder where he is now.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yeah. And Schwein should do another tour.

14. Black Cherry
Why is it good?
Consider the following: this is an overt love song to the joys of eating pussy, and both Sakurai and Hide were credited as having written the lyrics, which means that in some fashion, they both got together and mutually decided that writing a song about eating pussy was a good idea (possibly the menstruating pussy of a black stripper dominatrix, though that's just conjecture, except for the dominatrix part). This is one of the very, very few Buck-Tick songs with a bridge. The bridge lasts 17 whole seconds. And the entirety of the bridge is devoted to describing how awesome orgasms are. Specifically, how awesome it is when you have an orgasm while eating black stripper dominatrix pussy. Sometimes I'm coy on this blog. This isn't one of those times. There is nothing coy about "Black Cherry." Black Cherry is gonna sit on your face and you're going to like it. A LOT. The end.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yes, but tell me the truth: how many of you really thought about what this song was about till now? Leave your response in the comments below.

15. Monster
Why is it good?
It combines a looped sample of slap bass with another one of those definitive B-T sexbass lines. It's got hardcore industrial rock guitar every bit as good as the stuff in "Zangai" and "Jonathan Jet Coaster," but omfg it was written by Hoshino Hidehiko. It contains the lyric "I'm inside you," which ought to freak out and titillate fangirls in equal measure. It contains the Japanese word "ketsu," which means "ass," and is a vulgar word which doesn't appear very much in B-T songs and therefore should be welcomed. Also, it's about doing lots of lines of coke and then driving at top speed down the highway which would be a terrible terrible idea in real life but it's so punk.

Should it be on a best-of album?
I'd say yes, only it would probably get Buck-Tick arrested, so better not to.

16. Nocturne -Rain Song-
Why is it good?
Admit it: you were really surprised when you checked the writing credits on this song and found out that Imai wrote the lyrics. Since when has Imai ever written anything this romantic and sensual? In my opinion, "Nocturne" marks Imai's full maturity as a lyricist as well as a songwriter... but it's still the music that stands out the most. Between the repeated vibraphone riff and all those acoustic guitars, the notes practically drip around you till you feel like you're standing outside in a sonic rainstorm, buffeted by a breeze of eerie layered vocal harmonies. Imagine hearing it live outdoors in the June dusk in low lights under a light rain, as we did at At The Night Side 2012. That's how it's meant to be heard.

Should it be on a best-of album?
We voted for this one for Buck-Tick's 20th anniversary best of album, so we'll give it a break. But we still think it's one of Buck-Tick's best songs ever.

17. Doukeshi A
Why is it good?
First of all, a shoutout to Toll - his drumming has never been better and it's also never been more minimalist. Yoshiki couldn't have drummed this song to save his life, because drummers like him aren't capable of going as far back to basics as Toll lives every day. When it comes to drums, less is more, and same for the songs on Juusankai wa Gekkou - the over-the-top tracks got all the attention - but "Muma," "Romance," and "Goblin" were basically set dressing, while "Doukeshi A" is the window to the album's soul. Like "Death Wish," there's a lot of humor to be found here - it wouldn't sound out of place as part of a cabaret revue at Anne Rice's Theater of the Vampires - but its self-conscious theatricality is precisely the point. This is another song in which Sakurai wrestles with both his self-hatred and the problem of his own fame, but the message should resonate with stage performers of all stripes. Where does the stage persona give way to the person? How to love yourself if the audience won't love you? Or what if the audience loves you but you hate yourself? Start digging into these lyrics just a little bit and you'll find they're a bottomless pit of philosophy. Oh yeah, and the "A" stands for Acchan-chan.

Should it be on a best-of album?
In all likelihood, it wouldn't fit with the rest of the songs on the best album, but Buck-Tick's diversity of sound is one of their greatest strengths, so sure.

18. Gesshoku
Why is it good?
Another minimalist Juusankai track that didn't get the attention it deserved. A lot of Japanese fans continue to labor under the mistaken notion that gothic lolita as exemplified by songs like "Doll" is goth, but "Gesshoku" is the sort of goth that old school 80's U.K. goths can slap with a black Bat of Approval. Hanging out somewhere between Bauhaus and Dead Can Dance, "Gesshoku" isn't just a song about a black magic ritual, it really songs like the soundtrack to a black magic ritual, full of chanting, jingling percussion, and creepy choruses of hooded worshipers in black capes (we assume). In stark contrast to most of Imai's work, there's little discernible melody, and while the hooks repeat over and over, this technique doesn't come across as obnoxious the way it does in "Muma," because "Gesshoku" is so un-catchy it might as well not be a pop song at all. Also, if the lyric "Your beating heart is my desire/Carved out with a silver spoon" doesn't turn you on at least a little bit... well, we won't go so far as to say you shouldn't be a Buck-Tick fan. But you're almost surely not a goth. And we feel sorry for you, poor thing.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Oh yeah. Live in blood sacrifice, drenched in the blood of fangirls.

19. La Vie en Rose
Why is it good?
If you, like me, listened to "Trigger" back when Kyokutou I Love You had just come out, and wondered sadly if Buck-Tick would ever be willing to re-use that sexylicious drum line just once more, then you, like me, were probably distinctly aroused the first time you heard "La Vie en Rose," because holy crap guys, it's the same drum line! Yet "La Vie en Rose" is more than different enough from "Trigger" for this to work just fine and not sound like self-plagiarism. Here, the focus is on the lushness of that thick-as-chocolate guitar riff: Hoshino Hidehiko at his best. Ostensibly a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg, this song also hints suspiciously at being a tribute to another Gitanes-smoking influence of Sakurai's who may not be a French mime, but certainly styles himself as one. And if it is... well, homo-eroticism is just as French as cigarette-smoking ennui.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Whether or not it should be on Buck-Tick's 30th anniversary best of the best of the best, it should definitely be on your "best songs to bone to" sex tape I mean mix tape.

20. Katte ni Shiyagare
Why is it good?
This song got a lot of shit from fans for its vulgar lyrics, but in our opinion, the lyrics are brilliant, because they're such a sarcastic, layered, elegantly crafted portrait of male desire and male weakness all in one. The guy in this song is exactly that alpha male guy who swills beer and boasts about his conquests yet secretly really, really wishes he could express his emotions and get someone to love him. At the end, when Sakurai sings, "I'm wandering lost, searching for a place to die / This is my graveyard / Come on, dance with me," isn't he really saying, I've been searching for a way to spend my life but I might as well spend it with you? But let's not focus so hard on the lyrics we forget the music - this is such a great Doors tribute! Dig that keyboard! Hoshino Hidehiko, why did you quit keyboards, and will you ever return to them?

Should it be on a best-of album?
We all know it will never make it on. But that's too bad.

21. Motel 13
Why is it good?
That red hot psychedelic rock guitar! Most of the time, Hide's playing chords to keep the song together while Imai just fucks around, which is why the unison guitar duet of "Motel 13" is so effective. What's better than one guitar playing that killer riff? TWO guitars playing that killer riff, of course. Yet while the guitar line seems to race ahead, the bass line stays stuck on the same octave, creating a push-pull tension almost as erotic as the deflowering the stage monitors were subjected to by Mr. Sakurai during the Memento Mori tour (if you haven't seen the DVD, watch it and laugh). The lyrics are far more complex than they appear on first listen, but we already wrote a lot about them in this article, so if you're curious, go read it.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yeah but really, we just want to hear the band play it live one more time.

22. Yougetsu (Single Mix)
Why is it good?
"Yougetsu" sounds just like one of those creepy Appalachian folk ballads about the devil cheating people and people cheating the devil. It's so damn folksy they should have added some wolf howls! Also, Buck-Tick have written a lot of sexy love songs, but even so, this one's in a class by itself. If someone wrote you a love song like this, do you really think you could resist? Plus, Buck-Tick have also written a lot of vampire tales, but this is the only egalitarian feminist one in which both the lovers are consenting vampire adults and neither one kills the other at the end, and while political correctness isn't usually sexy, in a world full of tow-headed lolita ingenues, "Yougetsu" comes across almost as radically feminist as "Black Cherry." But the best part of the song is those cricket-cheeping guitar harmonics at the end of the instrumental break, and that's why we can never forgive the album mix for leaving them out. Actually, we can never forgive the album mix because it replaced all that spooky acoustic blues guitar with lame electro beats. Never was a single mix so good and an album mix so bad, but we might be biased because this just might be our favorite Buck-Tick song of all time.

Should it be on a best-of album?
They could release a best-of single and this would be the A side.

23. Kyouki na Deadheat
Why is it good?
Whether, as the graphics on the live tour suggested, this song is about a flood of sperm frantically swimming after an egg, or whether, as the sound suggests, it's about a video game where the object is to get the goddess to smile (Congratulations: you found the clitoris! She smiled! You win!), "Kyouki na Deadheat" is a one-of-a-kind song for Buck-Tick, and sure to make you laugh. This one really IS a YMO tribute in all the ways that "Taboo" wasn't, but that's totally okay, because not only would YMO never use the word "shit" in their lyrics, but they would also never mispronounce it as thoroughly as did Mr. Sakurai. But you haven't truly experience this song until you've seen it live in a venue with a big screen covered with a flood of giant silver sperm, frantically swimming while Sakurai mimes swimming along with them. The first day of the Razzle Dazzle tour, the whole hall laughed, my friends. The memory remains fond even now.

Should it be on a best-of album?
You win!

24. Yasou
Why is it good?
Two words: jazz scat. And no, that's not a kind of animal droppings. And yes, that's the third poop joke we've made in this article. But if any song is the opposite of poop, it's "Yasou." Bring on the dirty, sexy jazz. Bring on the Heian period Japanese symbolism. Bring on the rain machine. We already wrote a lot about this one here, so we'll leave it at that. But "Yasou" is one of Buck-Tick's bestest songs and we heart it.

Should it be on a best-of album?
If you didn't vote for it, shame on you.

25. Satan
Why is it good?
It's swanky and slinky, yet not rinky dinky. It glimmers, it slithers, it gives you the shivers! Neither churlish nor burly, yet both boyish and girly, it deals in dualities and casts off neutralities - it's life and death at all times in Acchan-chan's rhymes, with that jangle and cut, Hide's signature smut. Dogs do it, cats do it, but this song begs the question - what if we do it, too? Just a suggestion ;) 

Should it be on a best-of album?
In our opinion this was the best song on Arui wa Anarchy, so yeah.

26. Keijijou Ryuusei

Why is it good?
"Keijijou Ryuusei" combines all the best qualities of Buck-Tick's ballads - beautiful melody, beautiful harmonies, thick, textured, synth-heavy soundscapes, and metaphysical lyrics that make you think. Like the meteor in the title, this song traverses life from birth to death, and the chorus basically sums up the human condition in four simple lines - that's no mean feat! But instead rather than getting gloomy, "Keijijou Ryuusei" just burns brighter the further into the song you get, finally exploding into that thrilling singalong at the end. Why let it go at just one meteor? Might as well make it a meteor shower. And if the song weren't good enough by itself, the PV is one of Buck-Tick's best ever: pure aesthetic masturbation over art history porn as the band members are immersed in the brilliant red-flecked geometry of Alexsandr Rodchenko's visual universe. If every PV they make from now till the end of their career put them into the work of one famous artist after another, I wouldn't complain. (After the obligatory Bosch and Van Gogh can we get Yayoi Kusama?)

Should it be on a best-of album?
It probably will be. But sure, vote for it. This one is worth it.

27. El Dorado
Why is it good?
That breathy synth sound over the intro. The wicked demon laughter that hits you like a bad dream just before the chorus (which Sakurai reportedly demanded be included even though Hide initially disagreed). That repeating keyboard line that twines around the melody line like writhing snakes. That flamenco guitar tease on the B-melody that hits you with a Latin attack then steps back before pushing you all the way into tango territory. The way the whole song makes despair sound really sexy. And all the other things I said about this fantastic song in this article and this article.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Atom Miraiha is basically already a Best of Buck-Tick album, but sure, go ahead.

28. Boy Septem Peccata Mortalia
Why is it good?
"Boy" takes all the synth dance beats and aggressive guitar riffs of Buck-Tick's late 90's industrial period and pushes them to the max, to create a catchy-as-fuck EBM song that, courtesy of some of the best vocals Sakurai has ever performed, manages to be a deep philosophical (theological? ethical?) discourse in addition to being an EBM song, which prior to its release, we would have said was impossible, because there's nothing deep or serious about EBM and there never has been. The piano over the instrumental break is an overt reference to Ryuichi Sakamoto's piano solo on YMO's "Stairs," which has got to be one of the most exciting moments in electronic music to date, and we're pleased Imai agrees with us on that. Also, most of Buck-Tick's work has focused on rising above the beastliness of the world and of our own flesh, but this song says "fuck it, be a beast!" and there's something profoundly liberating in that.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Atom Miraiha is basically already a Best of Buck-Tick album, but sure, go ahead.

29. Bi Neo Universe
Why is it good?
It's dark, it's danceable, it's understated. It's a clear exhortation to put down your smartphone and look up at the world. It's a shoutout to vinyl collectors: in the first line, Mr. Sakurai tells us that the whole world is nothing but one big vinyl record, and our toes are the needle to play it on! How great is that? Also, we never wrote it in a live report, but during the performance of this song on the Fish Tanker's Only Tour 2017, every time Mr. Sakurai sang the word "cosmos," he made that "ladyparts" shape with his hands. Friends, if you didn't already know it, there's a state sponsored religion in Buck-Tickistan. In addition to being an Anarchic Republic, t's a theocracy. Everyone worships a goddess shaped like a giant vagina, and they drink black cherry cream soda on her feast day. And that's all we have to say.

Should it be on a best-of album?
If you don't vote for this you'll risk offending Our Lady of the Ladyflower... and why would you risk that?

30. ???
Why is it good?
You decide which song this is and why it's good! Share in the comments below.

Should it be on a best-of album?
That's on you. Happy voting!

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16.5.17

Rules For Commenting: Reminder

I see I haven't posted about the rules for commenting on Blog-Tick since 2010, so I think it's high time for a refresher! First, a big thanks to all of you who've abided by the rules all these years. But for the n00bs who didn't think there were any rules on the internet... sorry, there are. Buck-Tickistan may be an Anarchic Republic, but Blog-Tick is a dictatorship. Dictator: Cayce. Sorry, fans :)

Anyhow, when commenting on Blog-Tick, the Supreme Leader and Divine Dictator of Blog-Tick hereby dictates that you (that is to say, you, plural) follow the following rules or be subject to immediate punishment, including but not limited to: a day in the public pillory being pelted with rotten tomatoes, very definitely un-fun and non-kinky flogging, a month without alcohol, caffeine or the internet, and/or being shut in a sensory deprivation tank with nothing but the Demogorgon and "Muma -The Nightmare-" on repeat for company.

The Rules:

1) Feel free to post opinions, start discussions, and ask us questions, but please keep your tone polite and professional (commenting on blogs looks great on a resume!)

2) Blog-Tick is a public informational blog, not your own personal Tumble-TweetGram-FaceSpace. We welcome discussion, but please limit your comments to a few sentences, or at most a few short paragraphs if you have multiple questions or want to develop a relevant point of discussion. Blog-Tick is not an appropriate place to share personal confessions or screeds, and if you want to write an essay hermeneutically deconstructing hegemonic paradigms of art-history-induced sexual arousal in the collected lyrical works of Buck-Tick, please do it on a forum or on your own blog. If you have a lot that you want to say to us personally, please feel free to email us at themadaristocrat at gmail, but be aware that Not Greatest Cultural Studies Journal is not peer-reviewed.

Also, be aware that we get a lot of email and we might not be able to respond to your email right away. We do try to read and respond to all emails from readers but urgent requests take precedence over chatty letters, so don't be unduly alarmed if it takes a week or more for us to get back to you. It has nothing to do with you or the content of your letter, and everything to do with our busy schedule.

3) Please refrain from posting YouTube links unless they are directly related to the Post in Question and you specify in your comment which video you are linking to. Otherwise, your comment may be subject to automatic deletion. Why? Because if you don't tell us what video you're linking to, we will operate on the default assumption that you're a spambot sharing porn. (Real talk, guys - Blog-Tick gets a lot of spam comments... and if we can't distinguish a live human commenter from a spam bot, that means that you, a live human commenter, have failed a Turing test, and if that doesn't make you feel ashamed, then it ought to.)

4) If you plan on flaming, please remember that public ridicule is the NGS policy.

5) Malapropist and/or Spoonerist fans of Tick-Buck, please be aware that I am dog of this glob and I reserve the right to moderate all dotcoms.

If there’s anything you would like to see on Blog-Tick (requests, suggestions, photo submissions of really cool tour goods, etc.) just email us and let us know.

Also, if you find information here that you would like to share somewhere else, please, please do us the small favor of linking back to Blog-Tick. If you found the info elsewhere but it was in Japanese and you couldn’t understand it until you found our translations here, please thank me by linking me when you re-share it. NGS/Blog-Tick is now the longest-running active English language Buck-Tick site on the internet and crediting us for our work is the least you can do.

2.5.17

Buck-Tick on Yunika Vision

Yunika Vision, the giant screen that wraps around the side of the Labi building across the street from Seibu Shinjuku Station in the heart of Tokyo's neon downtown, is the largest LED screen in Japan, and has been broadcasting music videos and concerts ever since it was installed in 2010. Hell, it even has its own website! Those familiar with Tokyo know that public viewing screens like this are pretty common in shopping and entertainment districts. Shibuya's famous Scramble Crossing boasts at least three of them, and in Shinjuku, just a block from Yunika Vision, you can find Alta Vision, which broadcasts all kinds of surreal, chirpy advertisements and informational videos at the east exit of JR Shinjuku Station. However, among these, Yunika Vision is unique not only for its size, but also for the fact that instead of running a string of very short videos, it regularly shows longer programs. Also, upon further investigation, we found out that the smartphone app which was advertised in conjunction with Buck-Tick's Yunika Vision debut allows the user to sync his or her phone to the broadcast, in order to listen to high-definition audio for the broadcast over headphones, thereby minimizing interference from traffic noise and other city hustle and bustle.

Though we've occasionally seen visual kei bands up on Yunika Vision while wandering through Shinjuku, basically, the music on Yunika Vision is the music that dominates the Japanese mainstream today - overproduced pop with no darkness, roughness, or individuality. These days, mainstream music in Japan is uniformly happy, bright, and upbeat. Expressing bad feelings is taboo, and the use of minor keys seems to be frowned on...so that's the real significance of Buck-Tick on the Yunika Vision screen: Shinjuku hasn't been forced to listen to anything as goth as "Ai no Souretsu" since the 80's! That, and the footage of Mr. Sakurai dancing around beneath a giant inflatable vanilla ladyflower being projected on the side of the Labia building is more meta than a metaform.

Also, it serves as another demonstration of just how loyal Buck-Tick's fanbase is, and how they've got a lot of secret fans who don't turn up at their concerts. When we arrived for the screening around 6PM on Friday evening, we certainly weren't the only ones there. A line of excited fans stretched along the front of the sidewalk on both sides of the street across from the Labi building, and once the broadcast got going, more came over to join us, including a few very serious-looking businessmen in suits, a dapper old grandpa, and a rough-faced man in traditional Japanese workmen's coveralls and kerchief who stared open-mouthed at the video of "El Dorado" for several long minutes before continuing on his way. Whether these people were long-time fans or simply intrigued passersby, one thing was clear: this broadcast was doing a good job of attracting attention.

Plus, folks, how much more Tokyo can you get than this? The mother of all LED screens blasts Buck-Tick into the neon night at the corner of Kabukicho...





...what's not to love?

video

19.4.17

Climax on the Screen

The latest news from Buck-Tickistan - Fish Tank is currently offering advanced ticket reservations for Buck-Tick: The Climax. Ticket reservations opened April 15th, and will remain open till May 10th, only on Fish Tank Web. The film will be screened between June 24th and July 7th, at the following theaters:

Shinjuku Wald9 (Shinjuku, Tokyo)
109 Cinemas Takasaki (Takasaki, Gunma)
Yokohama Burg13 (Yokohama, Kanagawa)
109 Cinemas Nagoya (Nagoya, Aichi)
Umeda Burg7 (Umeda, Osaka)
T-Joy Hakata (Hakata, Fukuoka)
Dinos Cinemas Sapporo (Sapporo, Hokkaido)

Tickets cost 2200 yen. Fish Tank members can reserve up to 12 tickets, and the tickets come with a special extra, the details of which have yet to be announced. Of course, the Fish Tank tickets are special picture tickets, which will look like this:


But relax...if you're not a Fish Tank member and can't find a Fish Tank member to buy you a ticket, you can still get one of these general admission original tickets, which went onsale April 15th and will be available till June 23rd. They come with an original postcard and can be purchased through the Buck-Tick: The Climax official site.


If any of you Blog-Tickers need Cayce's help in reserving tickets, just shoot us an email. Though the details are not explicitly stated on the site, I assume that as with Buck-Tick: The Movie, seat reservations for specific showings can be made closer to the date on the websites of the movie theaters in question.

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In other news, selections from Buck-Tick's forthcoming Atom Miraiha Tour DVD will be shown on the giant Yunika Vision screen in front of Seibu Shinjuku Station between April 20th and April 30th. And here's the really amazing part, guys - they'll be playing the videos of seven whole songs in their entirety. You get to watch Buck-Tick on a giant screen outside in the middle of downtown Tokyo for seven whole songs! And assuming that one of those song is "Septem Peccata Mortalia" or "Romance," you also get to see Mr. Sakurai's denuded, garter-clad thighs at about 5,000 times their actual size! Holy wow!

Edit: here's the track list, taken from Yunika Vision's website.

1. PINOA ICCHIO -躍るアトム-
2. 美 NEO Universe
3. Baby, I want you.
4. El Dorado
5. メランコリア-ELECTRIA-
6. THE SEASIDE STORY
7. 愛の葬列

On the one hand, hats off to them for picking "El Dorado" and "Ai no Souretsu." We're busting out of our knickers here in anticipation of what Shinjuku will feel like while drenched in "Ai no Souretsu"! On the other hand, shame on whoever chose these songs for being such prudes. We really wanted to see that Attack of the 50 Foot Garter Belt.

The clips will be broadcast at 10AM, 12PM, 2PM, 4PM, 6PM, and 8PM. The segment lasts for 34 minutes. Scheduled broadcast times may be subject to change without notice. This plan is brought to you by a smartphone app, Another Track, which allows users to listen to high-fi versions of B-T songs. There's a tie-in with a Yunika Vision app called VISIONalpha and apparently you have a chance to win some surprise present, but to be honest, we have no interest in smartphone apps, so we're not going to bother to read the fine print on that one.

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We are still accepting inquiries about tickets to Buck-Tick's 30th anniversary concerts. If you're sure you want to attend and sure you need our help with the tickets, drop us a line!

The Best of Buck-Tick, Part I

For those of you who didn't catch it, the suggestion list we made in one of our recent posts for which Buck-Tick tracks should be included in their 30th anniversary best album was mostly a joke. "Capsule Tears" may be charming and heartwarming but it's far from the band's best work. With that list, we were mainly encouraging y'all to take another look at Buck-Tick's discography, beyond the fangirl hits.

However, since so many people were so keen to share their candidates, we decided to do a serious post on this topic. What songs does Cayce think represent Buck-Tick's best work, and why? Which of these songs should be included on a 30th anniversary best album, and why?

Buck-Tick have released a lot of best-of albums over the years, and they don't really need to do another one - at least, they don't need to do another conventional one. Traditionally, a best-of album provides a summary of a band's career, by including both the band's greatest hits and also those songs which either garnered special praise from critics, became fan favorites, or ended up being influential on future artists. By that line of thinking, a traditional greatest hits of Buck-Tick album should include songs like "Sexual XXXXX" and "Hurry Up Mode," which represent the band's early work, songs like "Taboo" and "Victims of Love," which show their progression toward a darker sound, "Just One More Kiss" and "Aku no Hana," which highlight their early popularity, and so on. But what's the point of that? Those songs have already been included in most of the previous best-of albums, and everyone already knows them. Re-releasing them yet again is pointless.

No, my friends. If there's any point in Buck-Tick releasing a 30th anniversary best album, the point should be to highlight their artistic achievements. What is it that Buck-Tick has expressed with their music that nobody else has managed to express? Which songs represent the distilled essence of Buck-Tick's message? Which Buck-Tick songs do we want to recommend to the paleomusicologists of the distant future (assuming that Stale Cheeto doesn't get us all blown sky high within the next four years)? 

After 15 years of following Buck-Tick, here are our picks. On the one hand, that's a short time to have been following the band, compared to their core Japanese fanbase. On the other hand, perhaps the lack of nostalgia for the bands early years lends more objectivity to our opinions. All criticism is biased, so this is a biased list, but we did consider our selections very carefully. We tried to veer away from the band's singles and most popular tracks, but some of them actually do represent the band's best work. However, that's not the point of this post, so we left them out. 


30 of Buck-Tick's Best Songs, From an Artistic Perspective
As Selected by Cayce, in Chronological Order (because rankings suck!)

1. Victims of Love (Koroshi no Shirabe version)
Why is it good?
This is the first song Buck-Tick ever wrote that hinted at what they would later become, but when they recorded the original version of it for Seventh Heaven, they didn't yet have the technical chops to do it justice. The Koroshi no Shirabe version, on the other hand, is a perfect encapsulation of both Sakurai's gift for erotic poetry and Imai's gift for experimental guitar, which are two core elements of Buck-Tick's identity. Since I already wrote a whole article about this song, I'll leave it at that.

Should it be on a best-of album?
In my opinion, the apex of this song's evolution was actually the live performance the band gave at Climax Together in 1992, so if any version of this song goes on the best album, it should be that one.

2. Brain Whisper Head Hate is Noise
Why is it good?
This Asian fantasia ties together Imai's love of sci-fi monsters with his love of psychedelic imagery to create a solar-plexus sucker-punch of a song that no one else but Buck-Tick could have pulled off. "In my flowing skin, I feel my instincts / The heartbeats of trembling atoms" could sit up there with The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" in the pantheon of Excellent Lyrics about Drug Trips, but it's just as exciting when you're sober. In addition to capturing the sensual delirium of Buck-Tick's aesthetic world, "Brain Whisper" also sums up the optimistic futurism of the early 90's, and looking back on that these days, that optimism smells like the lost innocence of childhood cut short.

Should it be on a best-of album?
If not this one, then "Madman Blues" (more on that later). No best of B-T is completely without a psychedelic Imai monster song.

3. Dress
Why is it good?
With only two chords and one simple bass riff, "Dress" is a perfect demonstration of the alchemical way Buck-Tick songs are more than the sum of their parts. Each part on its own is laughably simple, yet when combined into a whole, somehow they synergize into a beautiful dream world so lush you could almost inhabit it. Plus, how many people noticed that this song is really about gender fluidity, a love song by Sakurai to his inner woman? Beneath all those beautiful words is a work of radical queer art, brought to life by one of the most interesting music videos Buck-Tick have ever made. "Dress" was a fan favorite for all the wrong reasons, and we're planning on writing a longer article about it in the near future, so stay tuned.

Should it be on a best-of album?
It was already on a bunch of best albums, so no. But it's definitely one of Buck-Tick's best songs.

4. Die
Why is it good?
What other band have even attempted to write a song describing the moment of death in first person? It sounds creepy when you say it like that, yet somehow, "Die" manages to be one of the most comforting and uplifting songs Buck-Tick have ever written. Sakurai's embrace of death as "warmth in my skin" is so deeply Buddhist it sounds like something out of ancient Japan. As a lyricist, Sakurai has been tremendously influenced by medieval Japanese poetry and Heian era aesthetics, and "Die" is one of the early demonstrations of this. Hear this song even once and you'll never forget it.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Absolutely.

5. Darker Than Darkness
Why is it good?
Appearing as Track 93 on the Darker Than Darkness album, this song unfolds slowly out of a wash of noise, expanding into a gothic epic showing Buck-Tick at their most experimental. The cinematic lyrics evoke a post-apocalyptic fantasy world reminiscent of Storm Constantine novels, while the orchestration makes masterful use of dulcimers and fifth leads, invoking the work of classic goth bands like Dead Can Dance while staying true to Buck-Tick's vision. The band have never made a song like this before or since, so "Darker Than Darkness" should be savored just for that.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Fuck yes it should. And they should play it live.

6. Loop
Why is it good?
A speaking voice this lovely could make a McDonald's menu sound like a love letter, but this mystical Buddhist poem intoned in Sakurai's voice becomes a true magic spell. "Loop" may not be a song in proper terms, but in addition to serving as the theme song for Six/Nine, one of the tightest concept albums Buck-Tick have ever released, it's also a beautiful demonstration of the evolution of Imai's use of noise. 

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yes.

7. Itoshi no Rock Star
Why is it good?
Though not the first song Sakurai wrote about his struggle with his own fame, "Itoshi no Rock Star" is certainly the most humorous - the major chords, sax solo and sarcastic guest vocals from Sakurai's ambiguously gay bestie Issay are all just distractions for the fact that this song is a nothing but one big long sick burn against fangirls. Self-hatred has never been so hilarious! Oh yeah, and the guy playing that sax solo? That was Sakurai Atsushi, folks. Why did he quit sax?

Should it be on a best-of album?
There are so many great songs on Six/Nine that it's hard to choose the best one, but this is the only song on which Sakurai ever played saxophone, so it might be worth voting for just for that.

8. Mienai Mono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai, Subete Gokai da
Why is it good?
It combines one of Imai's catchiest-ever guitar riffs with some of Sakurai's best-ever lyrics. Plus, there are two versions of this song and both are equally impressive - they build on each other so that to hear one without hearing the other is to miss the whole picture. Oh yeah, and sticking with that ridiculous title took guts. Buck-Tick deserve a medal for this song. 

Should it be on a best-of album?
Objectively it's one of the best they've ever written, so yes.

9. IN
Why is it good?
Buck-Tick are so dark all the time it's easy to assume they're never happy - but "IN" hits your ears like pale blue waves on a sunny summer beach, enchanting you into a sultry summer sex fantasy so pastel and breezy that on first listen, you could be forgiven for failing to pick up on the reason why the song got its title. "Sexy surf rock" is a mini-genre that Buck-Tick have gone back to again and again, so no best-of album would be complete without at least one example, but we chose this song because it ties together all the best things about the Cosmos album - bright colors, acid-trip entheogenic lust, endless layers of multi-tracked noise, and erotic intertwining of vocal and guitar around lyrics which are explicit enough to make you blush yet symbolic enough to escape all possibility of crassness.

Should it be on a best-of album?
If they made an album for each season, this should be on the summer one.

10. SANE (Cosmos version)
Why is it good?
Notice how when you put this one together with "IN" mentioned above, they spell "IN-SANE"? Madness and mental illness are one of Buck-Tick's big themes, but "SANE" is the only song in which Sakurai explored the subject in English rather than in Japanese - which is why the lyrics sound like they must have been written by Imai, and that reversal is delicious. The overall sound is as minimalist and bizarre as Buck-Tick have ever been, boy-yoy-yoinging like a musical Rube Goldberg machine toward an unexpected climax. Again, nobody could have written this but Buck-Tick, and Buck-Tick have never written another song like this before or since.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Sure, why not. But in fact, "SANE" reached its apex when the band performed it live on the Razzle Dazzle hall tour, and a whole live experience can't be packed onto a CD.

11. Gessekai
Why is it good?
Buck-Tick have written a lot lullabies and a lot of songs about drug trips, but this is their only drug-trip lullaby explicitly about tripping on prescription drugs. Written about Sakurai's convalescence following his near-fatal illness which cut short the Cosmos tour and nearly finished the band for good, "Gessekai" is neither a comeback anthem nor a face-off with mortality - it's a love song to life. And if Sakurai swam all the way back from the brink of death just to see those flowers blooming, we all owe those flowers a kiss of gratitude. "Gessekai" shows Buck-Tick at their softest, gentlest, and most lyrical, and is beautifully complemented by brilliant low-budget PV in which Sakurai, hanging upside down from the ceiling like a bat, appears to float upright in a stream of bubbles (actually pieces of paper falling from the ceiling) while the rest of the band perform upside down around a giant chandelier, which later gives way to a magic circle in which Imai plays a Satanic cross-shaped theremin. Not only that, but this was Buck-Tick's first-ever anime theme, for the deliciously 90's Yokohama vampire romp Nightwalker. Go watch it! It's oh so much better than Trinity Blood

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yeah, on endless loop.

12. Muchi no Namida
Why is it good?
The metallic effect on that bass! Buck-Tick's heavy, sexy bass lines are one of the defining characteristics of the band, but no bass line they've ever recorded can even touch "Muchi no Namida." The guitars are crunchy. The vocals are macho. The lyrics are scathingly anti-war and more relevant now than they've ever been. Confessions: this is the song that made Cayce a Buck-Tick fan.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Whether or not it's on the best album, they should play it live more often. We were overjoyed to hear it at Climax Together 3rd.

13. Kalavinka
Why is it good?
Where to start? The fretless bass line? Imai playing that whole-tone scale riff on a MIDI guitar made to sound like a cross between a shakuhachi and a glass harmonica? Sakurai's majestic classical-Japanese style lyrics? This is one of the weirdest songs Buck-Tick have ever made, and if they ever play it live again, we'll cry blood tears of joy.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Fuck yes. This is the Buck-Tickiest Buck-Tick to ever Buck the Tick.

14. Asylum Garden
Why is it good?
Cool use of industrial noise samples, a slow build to a spine-tingling chorus, sexy rumbling bass and romantic minor chords - it's everything Buck-Tick does best, supporting lyrics which tell a story of the madness of Vincent Van Gogh. "Nerdy songs about art history" is another mini-genre Buck-Tick have in the can, but this was the first of the family. Bonus points for the fact that it ties the art history thing in with another Buck-Tick staple, "songs about going mad."

Should it be on a best-of album?
For sure.

15. Check-Up
Why is it good?
Confession: Cayce's parents have no interest in Buck-Tick, but Cayce's dad thought this song was catchy. Sakurai and Imai trading vocals is a staple technique Buck-Tick have used again and again, and the stark contrast between Sakurai's lyric velvet baritone and Imai's scratchy science fiction rasp never fails to impress and excite...but Check-Up is special because it poses such an interesting question: 

Which one did you choose?
1. The type who survives by bowing to power
2. The type who waits for a lucky shot.

If you haven't asked yourself this question in earnest, you're not yet true a Buck-Tick fan. Consider it!

Should it be on a best-of album?
If this got voted onto the best album, that would be a lucky shot indeed. But it's an awesome song.

16. Shanikusai -Carnival-
Why is it good?
Like "Dress," this existential, quintessential Hide ballad is a perfect example of Buck-Tick at their most gorgeous, luxurious and sensual. Unlike "Dress," it's also one of the earliest and most beautiful demonstrations of Sakurai's spine-chilling falsetto. Though it was one of the standout tracks on Kyokuto I Love You, it didn't reach its full potential till the Memento Mori tour, where a host of burning torches cast a flickering glow over Sakurai's pantomime love affair with a skeleton wearing his own clothes - creepy as fuck and the essence of Memento Mori.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Like "SANE," this one was best experienced live. But sure, put it on the best album.

17. Long Distance Call
Why is it good?
The bass sounds like the EKG monitor of a slowly dying heart, and the harmonies and lyrics are heartbreaking. If "Ai no Souretsu" is the saddest song Buck-Tick have ever written, "Long Distance Call" is a close second. So many death ballads fall into either melodrama or sentimentality, but "Long Distance Call" is brutal honesty from beginning to end. Depending on your mood, it might be almost impossible to listen to you - but that's how you know Buck-Tick were doing it right.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yes.

18. Gensou no Hana
Why is it good?
Quintessential Hide, quintessential Sakurai. Sorry Lawrence, but we're going to declare this one the best of Hide's ballads. Cherry blossoms are Japan's national symbol, so no Japanese band with a vocalist named Sakurai would be complete without a love song to cherry blossom season. The major key and glittering acoustic guitar chords loft the listener onto an updraft of joyful exultation as fragile as a soap bubble. Celebrating both the beauty and fragility of life, this is another song that would find itself perfectly at home in ancient Japan, but it's simultaneously begging to be redone as a folksy acoustic guitar cover.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Hands down.

19. Passion
Why is it good?
One word: layers. This song is built like a noise or trance track, rather than a rock song, out of a stack of layered tracks that slowly build on one another. Though every bit as massive and melodramatic as Bara no Seidou era Malice Mizer, "Passion" manages to avoid cheese through sheer force of minimalism. Everything in this song, from the synth to the guitar to the lyrics, has been pared back to bare bones - just like that spooky line in the lyrics, which are gut-wrenching overall. "Romance" and "Muma", eat your heart out. "Passion" is the best song on Juusankai wa Gekkou.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Absolutely.

20. Cream Soda
Why is it good?
The chromatic weirdness of this song shocked fans when it came out, and for good reason - who the hell has ever heard a song like this? What genre is it even supposed to be? Sakurai's lyrics may be nothing but one long clever word play, but they're also impishly playful and sexy as hell. "Cream Soda" is one of Buck-Tick's most memorable songs ever, and it was the most-viewed page on This is NOT Greatest Site for years.

Should it be on a best-of album?
For sure.

21. Mr. Darkness & Mrs. Moonlight
Why is it good?
"Mr. Darkness and Mrs. Moonlight" marked Buck-Tick's first foray into the new territory of "sexy Western." Imai sure loves his cartoon angels and devils, but this song keeps the goth-loli pastiche to a manageable level, while offering up some excellent 50's rockabilly-style harmonies and deliciously eerie use of guest vocals by counter-tenor Selia. It's rare to hear both Imai and Hide play acoustic guitar on the same song, but every time they do it, it's a joy. Plus, there's that shout-out to blues genius Robert Johnson, and the smuttiest exclamation of "oh my god" Japan has ever heard.

Should it be on a best-of album?
This song is so much better than "Alice in Wonderground," guys. Vote for it instead!

22. Umbrella
Why is it good?
The harmonies between the two guitars and the vocal line fit together as perfectly as the little bits of wood in those lovely inlaid boxes for which Hakone is famous. The lyrics show Imai's growth as a poet toward more sensual, romantic work of the kind that Sakurai as known for, yet they preserve Imai's sense of happiness and whimsy. A bat falling in love with an umbrella? It would make a perfect children's book. Bonus points for the Showa retro honky-tonk vibe.

Should it be on a best-of album?
This was definitely the most underrated song on Memento Mori. Why are they performing "Les Enfants Terribles" when they could be playing this one? Wtf Imai, I can't even.

23. Coyote
Why is it good?
"Coyote" remains Buck-Tick's only fully acoustic song to date, and it's simply beautiful. Perhaps the band play it a tad too often, but it's easy to forgive them for that because this song is so well done. Sakurai's at his best here in both lyrics and vocals, and you can practically taste the rattlesnakes and prickly pears in Imai's acoustic guitar. Listen to it one too many times and you may wake up to find yourself on a plane for Arizona by accident.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yes.

24. Only You (album version)
Why is it good?
Experimenting with different genres is what's kept Buck-Tick interesting all these years, so Imai's first boogie-woogie should be greeted with applause. Not only that, but the live brass from Soil and "Pimp" Sessions is as fat and sexy as could be. The fundamental alone-ness of the human condition is a big theme in Buck-Tick's work, but "Only You" turns this existential sadness into a celebration. You're the only one of you there is or could ever be, and that makes you awesome! That's the message of this song, and who could hear that without a smile? Plus, the bridge is an explicit rejection of the kind of racism that's been building in the world lately. "Black or white or red or yellow they're all beautiful," sings Imai. Prissily nationalistic Japanese fangirls would do well to listen.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Sonically, "Only You" has a lot in common with many songs on "Razzle Dazzle," but it's better than most all of them, so yeah.

25. Adult Children
Why is it good?
How could long-time Buck-Tick fans fail to share in the triumph underlying this deceptively simple Japanesque ballad about Sakurai coming to terms with his abusive childhood? In addition to being a great song, it marked a major turning point for Sakurai in his relationship with the music and with the fans. This is the song where he stopped apologizing. I already wrote a lot about it in this article, so I'll leave it at that. 

Should it be on a best-of album?
Absolutely.

26. Love Parade
Why is it good?
Hell, this is basically Buck-Tick's theme song. The fact that it contains specific references to the events of 2012 just makes it all the more special, because it's about experiences which the band and the fans shared together. "Steppers -Parade-" is lots of fun, but it's also basically just "Climax Together" redux. "Love Parade" is the one that really gets down deep.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Why not?

27. Melancholia -Electria-
Why is it good?
We love the album version of this, too, but the electronic version brings back one of Buck-Tick's signature sounds: a blend of electronic and acoustic instruments in equal measure...and bonus points for the dubstep grooves! Buck-Tick have written a whole slew of catchy electro dance songs over the course of their career, and "Melancholia" is one of the best of the bunch. The simple yet deep lyrics are neck deep in occult symbolism and invite endless interpretation - but there's no question that there's something radically queer and feminist at work here, and in a world piled high with the stinking dog shit of the patriarchy, that feels like victory.

Should it be on a best-of album?
I bet it will make it on there without your vote, but sure, go ahead and vote for it.

28. Mudai
Why is it good?
This is a piece of musical Surrealist art, on a concept album about Surrealist art. How meta is that? Plus, it brings back some of our favorite obscure Buck-Tick tropes - whole tone scales, occult symbolism, creepy falsetto vocals, sexy monotonous bass lines, and psychoanalysis. Objectively, it's the most interesting, different, and unusual song on Arui wa Anarchy. It's the kind of thing serious Western music critics would adore if any of them stopped being racist for long enough to give Buck-Tick a chance.

Should it be on a best-of album?
Yes, without a doubt.

29. Future Song
Why is it good?
From my review of Atom Miraiha: 
'The number of layers of meaning it manages to pack into less than four minutes is beautiful to behold. You can't get more quintessentially Buck-Tick than this, to the point that it seems pointless to try and count the ways. Not only is “Future Song” a perfect blend of Imai and Sakurai's vocals, it touches on all the band's major lyric themes (monsters, destruction, debauchery, art history) and even incorporates most of their definitive musical styles, from industrial techno to gothic cabaret to ethnic fusion. Buck-Tick have done plenty of Imai-Sakurai trade-off songs like this before... but never before have Imai and Sakurai's parts meshed so perfectly together to evoke the essence of an album. “Future Song” couches scenes of passion and eros in the modern obsession with violence and destruction in the name of “progress” – the beauty of Nike of Samothrace is overshadowed by the beauty of the arcing bullets, while the body of Bonita admired by Sakurai turns, in Imai's hands, into the body of a gun. The song is full of constant impatience – “kick their asses,” “out of the way, here comes the future,” calls Imai, as if mocking the cries of oblivious late-stage capitalists and tech entrepreneurs and the players of bloodbath video games alike.'

Should it be on a best-of album?
Out of the way, "Muma." "Future Song" is here.

30. Manjusaka
Why is it good?
As with "Passion," Hide cuts this song back to bare bones, then milks the simplicity for all its worth. Simply put, it's a beautiful song, showcasing one of Sakurai's best-ever vocal performances and some seductively spare guitar work. Sakurai just gets better and better at the ancient Japanese poetry, but "Manjusaka" is particularly multi-layered and spooky. All-around skillfully crafted, haunting and lovely. What else can we say?

Should it be on a best-of album?
Without question.

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Whew, that was a long list! Turns out that 30 songs is a lot! And if you noticed that we left out all the songs you know we love... that's because we've saved them for our next post. Stay tuned for Cayce's favorite Buck-Tick songs. It's coming soon! But tonight, we've run out of steam for writing and it's time for chocolate and wine.

P.S. Natalia, one of our lovely readers, has graciously translated this post into Spanish for the benefit of Buck-Tick's large Latin American fan community. Thanks a lot, Natalia! Read it here.