Friends, this is Cayce, itching to write a review of the new album but with a weekend chock full of Real Life (TM) ahead and consequently, no time to write the review yet. But, perpetually masturbating narcissists that we are, we know you're all out there panting with anticipation to hear our augustly royal personage pontificate in an edumucated fashion about our opinions on this album. Sorry we don't have time yet for edumucation...but we do have time for the opposite: translating this bit from a special exclusive scoop that was printed in The Hisashi Inquirer on Tuesday, detailing how the Atom Miraiha album came to be.
How Hisashi Got His Wife Back
Imai: Forgive me, Acchan. The Mortal made me realize anew how your black soul sucks its succor from the sultry sussurations of the blackest darkness, and if I'm to win you back after my shameless affair, that is the gift I must give you. Also Maki reminded me how much cooler everything was in the 90's.
Sakurai: I see how it is. You'll do it because Maki said so. I'm sick of being the butt of your unfaithfulness and treachery! It's time to get some of my own! I've got Murata on speed dial and I'm calling him for another Pain Drop in five, four...
Imai: Wait! That's not what I mean! I realized I was only attracted to Maki's luscious black locks and scowly goth face because he reminded me of you, Acchan! Be my wife! Be my wife again, I mean.
Sakurai: Stop it with that "be my wife" line! Don't remind me yet again that Bowie's dead and all the good things in this life shall soon pass away, leaving naught but the echoing void of oblivion in their wake. Already I fear I feel more existential despair than one frail man's frame can bear!
Imai: But that's what I mean, Acchan! You and Bowie reminded me just how precious this life is, and how precious you are to me. Every time I heard Yow-Row autotune himself in the studio, I remembered your rich velvet baritone and chilling falsetto with a pang of such intense fondness, I had to duck into the bathroom to cry as I wondered whether you could ever find it in your heart to forgive me and give me another chance to love you as you deserve to be loved.
Sakurai: You were the one who cheated on me first! I call bullshit. I hate you. Buck-Tick is over. This is the end! I have nothing more to say!
Imai: Would you give me another chance if I told you I wrote a song that sounds just like Wayne Hussey era Sisters of Mercy, but with Depeche Mode electronics?
[Sakurai's cat tail, which he keeps hidden most of the time, appears, and begins to swish back and forth.]
Imai: Would you have anything to say if I told you I packed this new album full of Latin beats, just because I know you like to dance to the masochism tango?
[Sakurai's cat ears, which he keeps hidden most of the time, appear, and perk up with interest.]
Imai: What would you say if I told you I wrote a song that sounds just like London After Midnight covering Sawada Kenji?
[Sakurai sprouts whiskers and starts purring]
Imai: You can't leave me! You're the love of my life! And to prove it, I wrote you a second "Zekkai"!
Sakurai: Bonita, besame mucho!
Thus, the cosmic lovers were reunited, and proceeded to have loud, spicy musical makeup sex all over the studio (and used a lot of electronic toys while they were at it)...and nine months later, Atom Miraiha No. 9 was born. That's the real reason why they named it No. 9, and don't let anyone tell you differently.
[Taken from The Hisashi Inquirer, September 27th 2016 issue. Translated from the original Buck-Tickistani by Cayce. The incidents expressed herein are solely the views of The Hisashi Inquirer, and are not necessarily endorsed or shared by Blog-Tick, This is NOT Greatest Site, or its associates.]
Damn, reading this has gotten us all fired up and bursting with a desire to spill our opinions all over you, after all, so here goes - an atomized, track-by-track, bits-and-snippets first take on Atom Miraiha No. 9.
cum uh sol nu - Mr. Sakurai told FT, "I like these vocals. This is what breathing from your diaphragm does." He went on to say that in his mind, this is an Australian aboriginal war dance. In our minds, it sounds amusingly similar to veteran Japanese batcave band Madam Edwarda. The guitar is laced with more than a few echoes of Imai's Daniel Ash fanboy past, that make us want to touch ourselves while listening to "Brain Whisper Head Hate is Noise."
Pinoa Icchio - Imai listened to Six/Nine and Schweinstein over DJ turntables, speeded up by 10%, and he realized that life after the year 2003 had no meaning and that he should have turned to a twelve-step program to disavow himself of "Hamushi no You ni." He did a line and wrote a song that couldn't be any more Imai if it wore a potato mask with B-T written on the cheek and fell asleep after one beer.
Devil's Wings - The single mix sounds like a massive dubstep attack, and the album mix sounds like electronic Sisters of Mercy, yet it's also the distilled essence of Buck-Tick. The lyrics feel both more spare and more jaded than anything Sakurai wrote prior to The Mortal...and do I hear subtle but trenchant criticism of global capitalism and overpopulation? The seven deadly sins theme on this album is bigger than track 6, but I get ahead of myself.
El Dorado - According to FT, in a great reversal of traditional roles, Sakurai insisted on adding the witch's cackle, and Hide didn't like it, but he did as he was told. How does this subtle, understated song manage to be one of the standouts on the album? In part, it's the vivid sense of place: we're in Mexico, home of Mr. Sakurai's favorite tequila, and it seems that after spending a night at Motel 13, we're back on the highway again and we get to hear the continuation of the story - the two songs feel like two fragments of a larger continuing narrative spun by Hide and Sakurai when Imai's not around. The relentlessly dark electronics and moody guitar ostinatos contrast sharply with blue skies, Mexican sun, and golden paradise conjured in the lyrics - but it's all a sham, and even before Sakurai outright admits it in the lyrics, we can hear it in his deliberately maudlin, vibrato-heavy vocals. Even if the singer pretends to himself that he believes what he's saying, none of the rest of us believe him. Without even understanding the lyrics, the feeling of desolation blows from the speakers like desert dust. It may be bleak as fuck, but it kind of also makes you want to get your fuck on - and that's a goth's El Dorado, right there. (goth pickup line: heeeeeey baby, want to suffer existential dread in my bed tonight?)
Bi Neo Universe - Or as it's more commonly known, Paradise Redux. If you were as sorry as we were that "Paradise" was a B-side that never made it onto an album and that the band hardly ever performed live, this is your song, right here. "Paradise" gets a new lease on life. You could push this song straight between the thighs of Sexy Streamliner, One Life One Death, or Kyokutou I Love You, and each of the albums would sigh and moan for more.
BOY Septem Peccata Mortalia - Imai does DAF and Front 242 while Sakurai genteely recreates "Barbaric Man" in Buck-Tick-friendly form. We'd award this the prize for his best vocal performance on the album, if his vocals weren't so superb across the board - how the man's become a better singer on nothing but shochu and kitten cuddles is anyone's guess, but there it is. Listen to his impeccable pronunciation of that Latin word, "luxuria"! Listen to the gentle way he wheedles "motto hoshii, motto hoshii," before literally roaring "I'm a beast!" over the rearing chorus? Make this a fan favorite, kids. We want this song to be our boy.
Jukai - In keeping with the general trend on this album for all the band members to distill the essences of what they have done best over the course of their careers, Hide oozes out the two-chordiest, harmonic minoriest, balladiest two-chord harmonic minor ballad he's ever oozed out sap-like from hiding in the Tree of Hide. There's a lot to be said about the lyrics that I won't say here, so for the moment, let's pay attention to that thrilling tripped-up rhythm during the guitar breaks. Toll's going to have a ball on the drums, but none of the Japanese fans will be able to dance to it. This is "Desperate Girl" thirty years later.
The Seaside Story - We'll admit it: we expected something like Green Cheese Girl on the Beach. But it beat us over the head with its techno beat and proved us wrong! If anything, this is a tribute to Schwein - the ending repeats of "taiyou no shita de" echo the lyrics at the end of "Slip" - "taiyou no mashita de." And...Imai appears to have written lyrics from a woman's perspective. And...unless I'm much mistaken, that woman is The Little Mermaid. We will follow up with this story in the near future. Which brings us to...
Future Song - Smoking a musical cigarette after their first round of musical make-up sex, Imai said to Sakurai, "Remember when we were young and carefree and I wrote catchy-as-fuck electropop songs where we traded off doing the vocals and I rapped about cyborgs and monsters and stuff and then out of nowhere you showed up and started shaking your ass and crooning about sex and all the fans danced their tits off and half of them wanted you and the other half wanted me but we were young and so in love and we had eyes only for each other? That was our past. Now let's make it our future, too. This is my future song 4 u cuz I still luv u Acchan." And they had more musical make-up sex. Aww isn't that sweet I'm getting all teary. Make this song a fan favorite, kids. We want it to have a brilliant future for future.
Manjusaka - Did you love "Gensou no Hana," yet feel that it wasn't nihilistic enough for the endless ennui of your utterly jaded and over-it tastes? Did you love "Gekka Reijin," but wish Hide had written it because you harbor a secret irrational resentment for Imai? Do you have a particular nagging sexual fetish where get off every time you hear that last line in "MAD," "doutte koto nai sa"? Well then, "Manjusaka" is sure the song for you! It steps so very close to the precipice of schlock and yet never lets us fear that we'll fall. Sakurai does so much excellent vocal work on this album it's easy to get spoiled but he really puts the the swoon in croon on this tune. Bye-bye, "Message." Don't bother to call us.
Cuba Libre - Fact: it wouldn't be a Buck-Tick album if there weren't a naked senorita in there somewhere. Just like its title, this song's a bit of a cocktail - "Zekkai" redux with a shot of "Survival Dance." All the Latin rhythms and guitar on this album are making me wonder if Buck-Tick have any idea just how massive their South American fan following is. Are you listening, Yemitza from Venezuela?
Ai no Souretsu - If London After Midnight covered Sawada Kenji covering London After Midnight's "Sacrifice," it would sound like this. This, my friends, is Enka Goth. If you're a goth who likes to go to enka karaoke parties, your problems regarding what to sing have just been solved, for all time. Fujii Maki arranged this song, and therefore we can't help but think of it as a peace offering to Sakurai aimed at helping Sakurai and Imai repair their marriage...though in fact, I more than suspect it's a requiem for Ken Morioka. Definitely more Toki no Souretsu than Bara no Souretsu, this is the song Sakurai specifically recommended to fans on the Dave Fromm show, and he told readers in Fish Tank that he wants people to take it at face value, and take it seriously. You have my 110% permission to blubber and cry like a baby every single time they play this at the live shows, just so long as you cry like a samurai and refrain from those ridiculous anime girl wails. Anime girl wails are not Enka Goth.
New World - Beginning - Amazingly enough, the album mix of this song works just as well as the single mix. An extra layer of electronic noise helps this sparkly bright track blend more seamlessly into the seamy seductiveness of the first 90% of the album. If you're twisting the cutoff and resonance knobs on your analog synthesizer to full blast in sympathy, we feel you. Musically, it's forgettable, but Sakurai's pungent lyrics pull it down to a more serious level and give it just enough punch that it doesn't poke out from the smooth black skin of the rest of the record like a pulsating pus-filled pimple. Aside from the lyrics, the best thing about this song is the Morse code bleeping at the end. When the number 9 new world calls, you've gotta pick up the phone.
Translations and Climax Together live report coming next week.