Posted in Music

Sound Bites: Nov 4, 2016

“Ryuu ga teki wo kurau” means “the dragon will devour my opponents”. In case you were wondering.

I hope it does not come as a shock to anyone that I am still blogging, despite the fact that these past few months have yielded no increase in my viewership. Perhaps if I made some racists comments on Twitter, I would be getting better coverage. Sadly, I have neither the time or money to stoop so high. I suppose I should just be content with my current position.

And with that, let’s talk about some music, back with some sound bites.

1. R.O.C.K.S., Naruto ED 1

This is a weird one, to be honest. Not everyone associates Naruto with this song. A lot of people think of “Wind” by Akeboshi or “Haruka Kanata” by Asian Kung-fu Generation, or even “Seishun Kyousoukyoku” by SAMBOMASTER. However, R.O.C.K.S. is definitely the opening that started it all, and it is important in that respect. R.O.C.K.S. is actually a really interesting song in the temporal sense. Naruto began in the very early 2000’s, and this song really sorta captures the musical nature of that time. It straddles several musical boundaries and has elements of a few things. You have older deeper vocals, the synth keyboard, the scratchy amped-up electric guitar and the stereotypical asian chimes to remind you that “here thar be ninjas, me matey”. Wait, wrong character. There is a nostalgic value to this song that I feel was taken away due to the delayed localizations at the time and the changing of openings and endings based on music rights. At the very least, I still listen to this song and am reminded fondly of a time when Naruto sucked a lot less.

2. 私以外私じゃないの, gesunokiwamiotome

Popular music flows out of Japan like water flowing out of a… place that a lot of water comes from. In recent years however, I am noticing that more and more of this music is, shall we say, of lower caliber. It feels like the machine that is currently cracking out music is doing so faster and with lower variance. Someone should really fix that thing.

Many bands/groups/individual artists are too easily shoved into categories of similar artists, like typecasting, which prevents them from ever distinguishing themselves and thus never getting too far off the ground.

gesunokiwamiotome seems to be one group which has a chance to potentially escape this pattern. From all appearances, the group seems to be formed by 4 of those people you knew in grade school who were very unpopular, at glue or whatever. However, little did you know that those shunned grade schoolers were remarkably talented musicians. Fie upon you for shunning them, now they are famous.

Their style starts from a familiar place. You have a crooning, higher pitch main vocalist, keyboard for effect and piano work, rock drums and a wandering bass (wandering in terms of range/octave more often than not). Their uniqueness comes from their almost rap-like speaking vocals, reorganization of the basic song template and the sheer technical skill of their playing. They are a band in the traditional sense, musicians who are masters of their instrument coming together to show off their skills and their style. This song has all of the things I’ve mentioned and more for evidence of this. I believe they are fairly popular in Japan, and I can’t wait to hear more.

3. The Choice is Yours, Black Sheep

“Dres, D-R-E-S, Yes, I guess I can start.”

What a cool hip-hop anthem. Being the youngster that I am, I was probably first introduced this song during the infamous “guineapig” Kia commercial. “You can get with this, or you can get with that” was played ad nauseum on televisions everywhere (you know, back when T.V. was a thing, like 6 years ago). Now, with the recent anniversary of this songs release, I find myself listening to it again. “The Choice is Yours” probably has one of the coolest sample bass lines, from the McCoy Tyner song “Impressions”. Only a couple of measures were used and repeated, but it just works so well to cushion MC Dres’ lyrics.

Again, away I go. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

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