Stations, Apples, and Beasts

The news just keeps streaming in from Buck-Tickistan!

First, there's be some sort of poster of Buck-Tick on display in JR Takasaki Station as of April 22nd. It will be on display until May 26th. Buck-Tick's official website also notes that Buck-Tick fans are expressly discouraged from contacting the station or station master regarding the Buck-Tick poster. As for what the poster looks like, the website says it "contains a design with band member visuals." If any of y'all Blog-Tickers go up to Takasaki for a visit, please do send us a picture to clarify this most opaque description, as we don't personally feel moved to undertake a three hour train ride just to view a poster. 

And for those of you who just became Buck-Tick fans five minutes ago - Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, is more or less Buck-Tick's home town. The the band members actually grew up in the nearby small town of Fujioka, but Takasaki is a big enough city to be a dot on the map, while Fujioka is not. Also, JR Takasaki Station is about 500 times bigger than JR Fujioka Station, which is more or less a concrete shack in the middle of a rice field that hosts about 20 trains a day (about ten in one direction and ten in the other), so all in all, JR Takasaki Station makes for a much better promo locale. 


Second, it has been announced that Mr. Sakurai will be appearing as a guest vocalist on the song "Kakeochi Mono," on singer-songwriter Shiina Ringo's forthcoming album Sandokushi, scheduled for release on May 27th. For those of you don't already know, in the early 2000s, Shiina Ringo was one of the top three most popular female artists in Japan, along with Utada Hikaru and Hamasaki Ayumi. A talented composer and multi-instrumentalist, Shiina Ringo has always written all her own lyrics and music, and her grungy retro-rebel look offers a very different vision of female beauty and power than the schoolgirl idols and sex kitten pop stars of recent years. Made nervous by her sudden fame, Shiina Ringo gave up on her solo career after 2003, instead forming a band, Tokyo Jihen ("Tokyo Incidents"), which were also very successful. However, she returned to her solo career in 2007, and has since undertaken numerous projects and collaborations, including musical direction for the film Sakuran, songwriting for the j-pop duo Puffy AmiYumi, a guest appearance with Utada Hikaru, and more.

But what this bio doesn't capture is the fact that Shiina Ringo is an icon. Her popularity, especially among the "old millenials" born in the late 80's and early 90's, is astounding. She was and is an inspiration to a generation of young Japanese musicians - and that's impressive, because there's nothing easy or conventional about her music. Her lyrics are dense, wordy, and peppered with allusions, and her songs are full of unexpected twists, turns, and modulations. Like Buck-Tick, she's a real artist, ready to offer you an education if you're ready to learn.

"Sandokushi" means "History of the Three Poisons," the Three Poisons being the three root flaws or afflictions according to Buddhist theology: delusion, greed/sensual attachment, and aversion. These three are said to be the basis for all the other afflictions which keep souls trapped in Samsara (the opposite of Nirvana). Basically, they're like the Buddhist version of the Seven Deadly Sins. "Kakeochi-mono" means "Eloper." How will Mr. Sakurai factor in? We can only wait with bated breath. Shiina Ringo's high, brassy, nasal voice is very, very different from Sakurai's deep velvet croon, but Buck-Tick have gotten light years of mileage out of the contrast between Sakurai's lyrical melody and Imai's harsh sci-fi cackle, so we can only hope that Shiina Ringo will milk the contrast just as well. Given her formidable talent and experience, we expect that whatever this is, it will be good.

Who knows how or why this collaboration came to be, but if it's a marketing move, it's surely a good one. Most of Shiina Ringo's fans are a generation younger than Buck-Tick's, and unlike so many Buck-Tick fans, many Shiina Ringo fans actually like, listen to, and understand music, instead of just blindly chasing garter belts. Also, unlike previous Buck-Tick collaborators like Kuriyama Chiaki and Kokushoku Sumire, Shiina Ringo is a real artist on whom Mr. Sakurai's talent won't be wasted like so much spilled milk in the desert (pry the haterade from our cold, dead hands.) Wow! Victor got Buck-Tick both an anime tie-up AND a high profile collab! It's almost like they're actually trying to promote the band and increase their sales, or something! Amazing! Here, Victor dog, have a biscuit.

The album will also feature a number of other guest vocalists on various tracks. For more information, visit the album official site here.

Anyway, if you're interested in checking out Shiina Ringo's music, she's got a lot of it out there, but for now we'll recommend "Queen of Kabuki-cho," one of her earliest releases. Yeah, this was a while ago, but the Shinjuku name-checking and visual shoutouts to Terayama Shuuji and Showa drag queens never fail to make us smile.

Update: check out the super-duper awesome music video for one of the other guest vocalist tracks on Sandokushi here. Will Mr. Sakurai get to be in a Shiina Ringo PV, too? Probably not, but wouldn't it be cool if he did? Will Shiina Ringo let Mr. Sakurai sing as much as she let Miyamoto Hiroji sing? If she knows what she's doing, she will. But we're pretty sure she knows what she's doing. Let the expectations mount!


And third, for those of you who haven't seen it yet, Buck-Tick just dropped this promo on us. Yes, this is "Night of the Beasts," folks... and holy moly, is it ever beastly (#SexyBeastsBT)! Leave a comment starting with the phrase "I'm not a furry but..." if watching this made you feel breathless and uncomfortably titillated.


P.S. What happened to embedding videos, YouTube? Has it become impossible or are we just no longer tech savvy enough to know how to do it? Someone, pleez halp!


  1. The collab news really surprised me but I was very excited knowing Shiina Ringo is involved in this project.

  2. Extremely excited. I wonder how the sound is gonna be and how they will sound together. They're both very good at harmonization.


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