17.6.19

Elopers

Our apologies again for our lateness on posting this. A lot has been happening in our universe lately and the time flies so fast we wouldn't be surprised if we were abducted by aliens somewhere in there... any of y'all know the feeling? 

Anyhow, here it is, in all its industrial glory: a singable English translation of Shiina Ringo's "Kakeochi-Mono" ("Elopers"), written in the image of Sakurai Atsushi and featuring Mr. Sakurai on vocals. 

Mr. Sakurai explained that he was contacted by Shiina Ringo, who explained she'd written this song in his image, and therefore kindly requested that he perform the guest vocals. He said "When she put it like that, how could I refuse? But I still wonder why she chose me. Am I really such a passionate man?" At which the interviewer laughed, and the rest of us laughed with him. "Am I really such a passionate man?" Good joke, Acchan! That's like Imai feigning innocence and asking, "Do I really look like I woke up in a dumpster?" Or Hoshino Hidehiko fluttering his eyelashes like an ingenue and asking, "Am I really such a sexy beast?" 

Shut up, Acchan. On your knees and kiss the floor! If you really can't even remember that time you wrote a whole song called "Passion" (which Buck-Tick never perform live anymore because it's a Hide song... jeez Imai please allow this song to be played live again, don't be bitter because it was the best track on the whole album and you know it, everyone knows it's now the Age of Aquarius and it's time to transcend ego and learn to be non-corporeal genderless beings of love and sarcastic jokes like lil ol' Cayce here so let Hide have his day, you have royalties enough for a queen!) ... yeah, if you really can't remember that time you wrote a whole song called "Passion," we're going to make fun of you for getting old. But if you can remember and you're just pretending not to, methinks you deserve a spanking. Don't pretend not to enjoy it. Oh wait, the pretending is all part of the fun. Fine. Role-play away. (Real talk, did any of y'all play Vampire: The Masquerade back in the day? Poll question: Atsushi Sakurai, Toreador or Lasombra? But I digress...)

Anyway, Mr. Sakurai's take on the song was that it was a very Showa era (mid-20th century) style of love song - these days, such all-consuming love is out of vogue, he thinks, but back in the 70's and 80's it was the hot shit. However, we're not so sure we agree with him. To us, it sounds not so much like a retro love song as like something space-age and sci-fi, like that "twin souls" phenomenon that's been all the rage on the internet lately. Less Showa nostalgia and more Reiwa futurism! 

And from our perspective, it's something slightly different from passion. Transcendence has always been one of Mr. Sakurai's big themes. Sure, he writes about sex a lot. But it's not just sex. It's a longing for a union of opposites - an achievement of metaphysical nonduality. In Sakurai's love poetry, he longs to merge with his lover, and rues the fact that such a merging is impossible. Or is it? It seems to us that in "Kakeochi-mono," Shiina Ringo is imagining a world in which that perfect union is possible after all, and illustrating the existential satisfaction and sense of omnipotence that such a union would offer. She seems to be asking, if you had a true "other half," why would you want or need to stay on planet earth? Honestly, if you're asking our opinion, personally we think these lyrics fit Mr. Sakurai to a tee, and we feel a bit vicariously flattered for no reason at all that Shiina Ringo bothered to spend enough time with Buck-Tick's lyrics to be able to read Mr. Sakurai this well. But then again, everyone in the Japanese music industry adores Buck-Tick, they're all just too shy to admit it.

If anyone feels like sharing the live performance of this song which Mr. Sakurai and Ms. Shiina gave on the program Music Station on May 31st, share away, though we don't doubt most of you have seen it already. In an era of mostly shitty television, this performance was certainly a breath of fresh air - not only was Shiina Ringo accompanied by a backing band made up entirely of women who were actually playing instruments and not just faking, but both Ringo and Acchan-chan seemed so paralyzed by mutual "holy shit I'm singing a duet with a big rock star, what do I do with myself!?" respect that they were unable to muster up any stage chemistry whatsoever. The fact that they still have that kind of respect is proof that they're still human and have not been transformed into mutant ego-monsters like Yoshiki (oh shit did we just name a name?), so we should respect them in turn for it. When we're not busy laughing at how awkward they look, that is. Mr. Sakurai is so uncomfortable yet secretly pleased that Ms. Shiina wrote a song this sexy and awesome for the lowly and unworthy likes of him that he rolls his eyes like a California valley girl as she introduces him. Bookmark this one and add it to your "greatest Buck-Tick moments folder," along with that time in At the Night Side that Hide falls off the stage while playing guitar.

And please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on the song in the comments below. 

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for explaining why they didn't look at each other, it felt so strange when I saw it! Cayce, would you mind translating their interview?

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  2. Wait.you did it already. My mind was elsewhere, sorry.

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  3. Thank you for the translation and post, the lyrics are not very frank to me but I agree it captures the passion of both vocals and is a really cool song. The strong performance is not mainstream (but none of the vocals needed that anyway) and requires good audio to deliver their powerful voices, but the higher pitch of Ringo blends with Sakurai perfectly. I am delightfully surprised and hope more interesting collaboration like this will happen in the future!

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  4. That makes 2019 my favourite year so far. My two favourite artists collaborating! And the song being amazing too! Thank you so much Cayce for all your hard work and your excellent translations. How can I watch the live performance video? Is there a link or something for those of us who live in the Kingdom of far far away from Japan?

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    1. Here Here!
      https://www.bilibili.com/video/av54219211?from=search&seid=5728924824145033491

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    2. Thank you so much!!!

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