Moon the Femme Fatale

If mooning femmes fatale is your kink, props to you for originality! Anyhow, sorry for the wait. We have just posted the kanji lyrics, romaji and translations for "Moon Sayonara wo Oshiete" and "Salome" over on This is NOT Greatest Site, so by all means, go and read them, posthaste!

Lyrics-wise, both songs offer some interesting ambiguity in terms of who's doing the talking. To me, it seems that it's the narrator who's doing the weeping in the first line of "Moon," but since there's no subject, it might be either "was I weeping?" or "were you weeping?" There's no definitive answer to be found. Also, who's doing the departing? Is it the singer, or the "you" to which the song is addressed? That, too, is ambiguous. The word "nagareru," which appears in the chorus, and which I translated as "flowing," can refer to the flowing of water, the passage of time, or the playing of music. If anyone tries to tell you there's a set meaning behind these lyrics, tell them I told you to tell them they're wrong. All in all, this is one of the most cryptic songs sets of lyrics Sakurai has written.

"Salome" sounds on first listen like orthodox anime metal, complete with liberal (one might even say overused) orchestra hits courtesy of Yow-Row, and a much more obvious and less seductive melody than Hoshino's work for Atom Miraiha - surprising, given the subject matter of the song, but in Buck-Tick's creative process, tunes come before lyrics, so apparently, something about anime metal tunes makes Mr. Sakurai think about hot girls in diaphanous veils. There's something deliberately over the top about these lyrics, especially given the way Sakurai sings them, as if he's tripping all over himself, chasing this woman in a desperate frenzy. (There's also something about both the lyrics and the music that heavily reminds us of Der Zibet's "Jigoku no Kisetsu" and "Dark Sapphire," but let's ignore that for now). Sakurai has used a lot of similar phrasing in his lyrics before, to the point that "Salome" almost seems like a bit of self-referential humor. "Salome" also builds off the same Biblical themes established in "Babel," which makes me think that both songs may make more sense in the context of the full album than they do on their own.

Perhaps the most ambiguous line in "Salome" is "the curtain falls." If the man's lips are red with femme fatale's blood, that suggests another vampire murder ballad along the lines of "Fantomas" - or does it? The femme fatale is so named because she lures men to their deaths, so it would make sense to assume the lady comes out on top here.

For those of you who don't know who Salome is but are too lazy to read my translation notes, here's some background info.

Salome was a Biblical figure, the daughter of a noblewoman, Herodias. Herodias flouted the laws of the time to divorce her first husband and marry Herod II, son of Herod the Great. Salome was not the daughter of Herod II, but the daughter of Herodias' first husband, so Herod II was not her father - which is perhaps why the Bible story about her became so sexualized (though familial bonds never seemed to stop sexuality in the Bible, as we can see in the case of Lot's daughters which I discussed in the article on Babel).

Anyhow, divorce violated the laws of the time, so John the Baptist, a popular religious leader, condemned Herodias as a sinner, much to her ire. Herod II had John locked up for insulting his wife, but he hesitated to have John killed because John was very popular among the people. Herodias, however, wanted John dead. She saw her chance when Herod had a feast and invited many illustrious guests. She ordered her daughter Salome to dance before the king and his guests, and Salome's dance so pleased Herod that he offered to grant her anything she wished for. Salome, being young, asked her mother Herodias for advice on what to ask for, so of course, Herodias said "ask for John the Baptist's head on a platter." As you do! Herod deeply regretted his promise to Salome, but couldn't betray his word, so reluctantly, he had John beheaded and the head brought to Salome. 

The thing is, Salome is never actually named in this Bible story, except as "the daughter of Herodias." Later scholars connected her with the name Salome based on non-Biblical genealogies of the noble families of the period. The different gospels give different accounts of John the Baptist's execution, but they all pretty much agree that Salome was a pawn in the game. And yet somehow, over the centuries, the interpretation of the story of Salome became twisted into quite a different tale - one in which Salome was the archetypal femme fatale, bewitching men with her eroticism and leading them to their doom. Salome was the subject of art works by notable artists such as Gustave Moreau and Aubrey Beardsley. Most famously, she was the inspiration for Oscar Wilde's 1893 play "Salome," which was deemed so racy by British authorities that, in order to get it performed in England, Wilde had to write the script in French, then have it translated into English and re-imported. In Wilde's play, Herod is infatuated with Salome, while Salome is infatuated with John the Baptist. John spurns Salome, so she demands his head as revenge for his rejection of her. 

In Wilde's play, Salome's dance is described as "The Dance of the Seven Veils," with a heavy implication of some sort of striptease. Belly-dance inspired "veil dances" were popular in Europe in the late 1800's, and this is probably where Wilde got his inspiration. Richard Strauss took Wilde's play and turned it into an opera in which the Dance of the Seven Veils took up seven minutes of stage action, and while Strauss claimed that he intended the dance to be thoroughly G-rated, most directors couldn't pass up the chance to eroticize it, and so the Dance of the Seven Veils has equaled "sexylicious Orientalist stripper dance" in the public consciousness ever since - but it's important to note that no mention of the Dance of the Seven Veils ever appeared in the Bible.

The Thousand and One Nights is another name for the Tales From the Arabian Nights. Though the Biblical Salome was not an Arab, the mention of the Arabian Nights fits with the Orientalist associations that were pasted on the Dance of the Seven Veils after the fact. Ancient Sumer and Babylonia were also located in what is now Iraq, and some scholars have linked the "seven veils" idea to the ancient Sumerian tale of the Descent of Inanna. Inanna was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, fertility, war, and power, and she was also worshiped by the ancient Babylonians as Ishtar. Before embarking on her descent into the Underworld, Ishtar clothes herself in seven magical items which represent aspects of her power, only to have each taken away in turn as she passes through the seven gates to the land of the dead. Ishtar was also portrayed as powerfully sexual, violent, lustful and capricious, and as such may have had a far greater influence on modern renderings of Salome than Biblical Salome ever did.

Either way, Salome has been represented in art enough times to make an entire Buck-Tick art history album on her own! As you can see, Salome was particularly popular as an artistic subject during the Renaissance and then again in the late 1800's to early 1900's, around the time of the popularity of Wilde's play and Strauss's opera. And a lot of the artists were liberally borrowing each other's ideas, which just goes to show yet again that there's nothing new under the sun.

Andrea Solaria, 1509

Bernardino Luini, 1525

Caravaggio, 1610

Henri Regnault, 1870

Gustave Moreau, 1876

Gustave Moreau, 1886

Pierre Bonnaud, 1900

Leopold Schmutzler, 1905

Aubrey Beardsley, 1906 (ish) - "Stomach Dance" (Dance of the Seven Veils)

Aubrey Beardsley, 1906 (ish)

Armand Point, 1925

Axel Linus, 1930

And yet, out of all these depictions of Salome, the one who brings her to life the most is probably Theda Bara, the original goth-vamp of silent film. Sadly, like most all of Bara's films, Salome is probably lost, but Theda Bara's amazing style will remain as long as the internet shall endure. "To be good is to be forgotten," she once said. "I'm going to be so bad I'll always be remembered."

Theda Bara as Salome


 Theda Bara being goth. She could be the poster child for this song, but she's got brown eyes. Oh, well.


That's it for now. If you liked this post and/or our new lyric translations, please be generous and buy us some coffee using the button up top. We're falling asleep and need some caffeine.


  1. "Look at the moon! How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from a tomb. She is like a dead woman. You would fancy she was looking for dead things." How I love Wilde.

    Carmelo Bene's Salomè from 1972 is an excellent film adaptation, if you can find it. It has a bald Salome, a crucified Jesus, and neon colors.

  2. Thank you, Cayce, once more for being awesome! The ambiguity and all that Salome is very welcome. As soon as I can I'm going to buy you some serious coffee.

  3. Dear Cayce,

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    You need not feel obliged to publish this message on your official blog. I took the decision of writing these words as a reminder to let you know that I am still awaiting your response.




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