The Hang of Music: My (Thirty) First Step
I feel really bad about my method of finding Japanese bands. I mean, I like them well enough. But I got into Maximum the Hormone from watching Death Note. And now, I’m listening to The Pillows because they did the soundtrack to FLCL, another anime. True, it’s one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard for a long time. But even so – surely I shouldn’t be watching anime for music ideas, right?
Anyway, it’s track one, and already they have a happy, beachy quality. Although it strikes me that the lead singer’s is voice would not sound out of place singing “500 miles”. To be fair, the Proclaimers have weird accents too, but I can’t get the comparison out of my head.
In fact, sunny is the word I would use to describe what I’ve heard. The drum beat on “Kimi Ga Iru (You Are)” reminds me a lot of “Shiny Happy People”. As a result, if the rest of the album keeps this up, I may be forced to add this album to “the list of CDs I would keep in a box in the boot of my car”.* Because some songs are just good driving songs.
And they’re keeping it up. Track 4, “Darling, My ‘First’ Step” just sounds like sunshine and open roads.
Whenever I listen to an album, I’m used to being able to place the decade it was written/released in quite easily. Most bands are pretty simple to place. But I know when Moon Gold was released, and I still wouldn’t guess The Pillows as an early 90s band, though…
However, that said, I’ve already made R.E.M. references, so maybe I’ve shot holes in my own argument.
Ah, and we are back to some good old fashioned walking bass with “Want To Sleep For…”
Ah. I take back a little of what I said about decades. This does sound a little like it’s emerging from the 80s. There are a few strains of The Smiths just coming though, after about 5 songs of concentrated listening – the opening of foreigner. Mainly Morrissey’s catterwall, and the bass. While the guitar doesn’t sound like Johnny Marr’s playing, it is about as good.
I hate it when I’m listening to some good, non-english music, listening to and happily not understanding the lyrics, when suddenly I hear some english buzzwords coming through. It just seems like a waste. I suppose the theory is that they give a song better appeal in the english speaking world. Either that or the words have an exotic appeal to the artists and native listeners alike.**
Anyway, I mention this, because “Kiss Me Baby” was a particularly bad example. Not only do the titular english words pretty much make up the entirety of the chorus, but they are themselves pretty tedious.There are more than enough songs with the word kiss in the title.
Speaking of english words and kitsch lyrics; I choose to hear “I Need Somebody” as “I Need Some Money”, and that’s all there is to say on the matter.
Actually, I keep sort of half hearing words I almost understand, like “shinigami”. I reckon my brain wants to think it understands japanese… The only time I might actually understand what is being said is if he at some point declares that “I’M NOT GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!”
If this is where I have to come to a conclusion as to whether or not I’ve enjoyed the album, then really you should’ve been paying attention for the rest of this review. But smartassery aside, the album’s pretty good. Not perfect, but very cheery, and fun and they can certainly play their instruments well. I’m going to have to reclassify them as Pop in my music library, but at least they’re not J-Pop.
Wait, that last paragraph sounds unnecessarily harsh… I enjoyed Moon Gold. Listen to it. Slash them. Hell, I was looking for tickets to see them a while ago. That’s probably as good a review as any right there.
Also, this kind of cheery poppy rock is precisely what I need for exams and essays. Fuck, gotta go back to work…
* I nicked this idea off of Supernatural, where Dean does the same thing, and refuses to upgrade to an iPod. I think it has a kind of awesome charm to it. Sure, I couldn’t own the Metallicar, but a man can dream, though.