18.5.17

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!

.

20 comments:

  1. 30. it has to be Ai no souretsu

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  2. Such a good list!
    And for 30. Sabbat because:
    1. It is one of the most under-appreciated songs from Aku no Hana. (Misty Blue is another one from this album I'd like to hear at one of the lives this year, though I'm just as fed up of the title track 悪の華 as you are of 夢魔!)
    2. There is no existing recorded live that I have managed to find (though they probably did it on the Aku no Hana tour, and possibly on the Midsummer Night's Dream tour back in 1990...).
    3. I would absolutely love to see what fresh arrangement the band could do with it live. I think they could really give it full goth maturation.

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    1. Don't get me wrong. I'm just about as sick of "Aku no Hana" as I am of "Muma." I have enough hate in my soul to hate more than one song at once!

      I doubt they'll ever play "Sabbat" or "Misty Blue" again at this point, because the lyrics are pretty much irredeemably silly and I don't think Sakurai wants that side of himself on display anymore. But you can still enjoy the "Sabbat" PV, which is definitely one of the best on the Aku no Hana video collection, and the live performance of "Misty Blue" from Climax Together 1992. It's like a pornograph, oh do you believe me?

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  3. Hmmm, given how much analysis you've given it and how often you mention it, I always thought Sid Vicious on the Beach was one of your favorites.
    I guess at the end of the day you like the ideas presented in the lyrics more than you actually like the song itself.

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    1. It's not that I don't like "Sid Vicious on the Beach." There were a lot of great songs I had to leave off this list because otherwise, there would be no point in having a list. But as I see it, "Sid Vicious" is basically a Lucy song disguised as a Buck-Tick song. Imai developed that kind of sound and style a lot more fully on the Lucy albums, so if I were going to pick Imai's best song in that style, I'd probably go with "Sweet Baby Sweet" or "9Days Wonder." Also, I see "Baudelaire" as a continuing development of "Sid Vicious" - we know Imai often develops ideas over multiple songs (see "Lullaby II"/"Lullaby III"/"Phantom Voltaire") and I think "Baudelaire" is both tighter conceptually and more daring musically. But "Sid Vicious" was the song that gave Imai confidence to perform melodic lead vocals, something which reportedly caused him tremendous anxiety at first, so it definitely deserves a shout-out for that. And yeah, the nuke stuff and the comments on class inequality have never been more relevant.

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  4. I feel like Sexy Stream liner is probably the most underrated album in B-T's discography, that cd is just pure gold. I would love it if Rasenchuu, Kalavinka, or Schizo Gensou made it on the best of. That tour performance of rasenchuu is just perfection.

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    1. Tell me who underrates Sexy Stream Liner so I can challenge them to a fight. SSL is one of Buck-Tick's best albums hands down, and anyone who doesn't think so is listening to the band for the wrong reasons.

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    2. I just feel that most fans focus on either the aku no hana - six/nine era, or things from one life one death and beyond. Seems like the only song they tend to play from the album somewhat often is my fuckin' valentine, which is an okay song, but is also the type of song that wears out pretty fast. They also play chou chou a bit, which I do enjoy tons more than valentine, but I feel they should give other songs off the album more love at performances. Rasen chuu could fit in so many setlists in an amazing way, but I can see why they may not want to play it too much. It's pretty hard vocally because Atsushi has to sing in such a low voice.

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    3. Hah, nope they haven't played "Chouchou" in a very long time - it's a Hide song! They played "Heroin" on the FT Only 2014 tour, which was awesome. They also played "Thanatos" as an encore number at some of the Arui wa Anarchy hall tour shows, and they played "Muchi no Namida" at Climax Together 3rd. I would kill to hear "Sasayaki," "Kalavinka" or "Lizard Skin Shojo." Would love to hear "Rasenchuu" too, but as a Hide ballad I feel like that one's probably off the table. A damn shame. "My Fuckin' Valentine" is the "Muma" of SSL, and while I like it better than "Muma," it's still very repetitive and there are only so many times you can hear it live before getting sick of it. However, the types of fangirls who are confused by B-T's more sophisticated songs really respond to those repetitive-as-fuck call-and-response numbers, so if you're going to blame anyone, blame those fans.

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    4. SSL is hardly as underrated as Cosmos, if only for the fact that fans looove the SSL live and see it often. But yeah, I too would kill to hear Rasenchuu and Kalavinka once more.

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    5. Who underrates Cosmos? Tell me who these people are so I can fight them.

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    6. It's not terrible by any means, I just dislike the dance beat. It does absolutely nothing for me, even though their more tech/industrial songs are the ones I enjoy the most. And yeah, I totally blame the fans that skin the surface of a catalogue for some of the set list choices. It's also really a shame that Hide songs don't get more love. As far as cosmos though, I feel they've played those songs a lot more, Cosmos, sane, and tightrope in particular. I would love to see foolish, Maria, and idol performed in more recent years.

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    7. Lol, I wanna fight them too, but the number of ppl who name 3 songs from Cosmos, one of which is not Cosmos, is alas, very limited.

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    8. I believe it was the Yumemiru Uchuu tour on which the band played "idol" as one of the regular encore songs. They also played it at the DIQ 2011. "Ash-ra" is another they play with some frequency. I think the last time "Candy" surfaced was on the FT Only 2008 tour, but they might have played it as an encore some time after that. But come on, guys, don't you want to hear a live version of "Living on the Net"?

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    9. Living on the net is interesting as hell and pretty damn catchy, I'll give you that, but I can't see where it would fit in a setlist unless they went full SSL for another tour/album. It's very jarring when mixed with their more recent set choices. Still a damn good song though. It's really unfortunate that Sakurai fell ill in the middle of the cosmos tour, the lack of footage definitely hurts the popularity and knowledge of those songs. And while I'm thinking about it, has zero or kamikaze been performed recently? Those songs seem to be lacking in fan love as well. There's so much gold below the surface of the B-T catalogue, it's a shame more fans don't bother.

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  5. And Y'know, I'm kind of selling my dislike of my fucking valentine short. I dislike that song and baby I want you as much as you dislike Muma. XD

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    1. "Baby I want You" is a great song, they just play it too often.

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  6. Actually, I'd be happy with any amount of Muma, Aku no hana and other overperformed songs as long as I never have to stand through another performance of Sekai wa yami de michiteiru... ... ...
    I'm moaning a lot on this thread but the fact that I love 99% of Buck-Tick's catalogue just makes it easier to single out the tracks I don't want to see live again, than all the ones I want to see :)
    Also I hope some representative tracks from Mona Lisa Overdrive get in there too, not 'Girl' that was the track chosen for DIQ11 and is basically the anomaly on the album.

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    1. On behalf of people who go to Buck-Tick shows on the regular, please stop requesting the over-performed songs. I can't tell you how disappointing it is when you go to show after show and they keep playing the same songs because the fangirls have no imagination. Encouraging people to appreciate Buck-Tick's back catalog and not keep requesting the same songs was the main point of this post.

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