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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Haunting


I don't know if a band has ever gotten consistently better live over time than Babymetal. It's astonishing to see how far they've come from the days of three girls dancing to a track of Doki Doki Morning. This is the last performance of Mikio, who died tragically in a freak accident one month after the Hiroshima concert. It's a subtle tribute, but when Su sings "Nidoto ae-nai" which means "we shall never meet again", you can see the camera switches momentarily to Mikio.

Apparently this song has only been performed live five times, never outside of Japan. Su's voice keeps getting stronger over the years, and while one of the guitars are a bit sharp in the first solo, the additional layers provided by the live piano and strings make this my favorite version yet. Although Leda did the original arrangement, I think I like it best when Mikio and Ohmura play it together.

It's always intriguing to see the way musically sensitive people react to this song. It's not unusual for them to cry despite having no idea what the lyrics are or what the song is about. And understanding them really does not help at all....

We shall never meet again but I never want to forget you.
If the dream continues, I hope I never wake up from it.

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34 Comments:

Blogger Noah B. November 27, 2019 9:51 PM  

Despite not having been much of a follower of Babymetal that one really is excellent.

Blogger carnaby November 27, 2019 10:00 PM  

That was lovely, I like that they don't ruin her voice with autotune.

The Japanese are excelling at art. I prefer anime lately to any TV or movies produced in the USA. The stories are better, the art is better, the music is phenomenal, and they aren't converged miserable finger wagging experiences. Of course they get in their own ruts too which was explored brilliantly in Welcome to the NHK.

Blogger Jim November 27, 2019 10:18 PM  

"It's not unusual for them to cry despite having no idea what the lyrics are or what the song is about."

I felt it coming on during the first guitar solo.

Blogger Uncompliant November 27, 2019 10:41 PM  

Thank you. First thing I've put on loop in a long time.

Blogger maniacprovost November 27, 2019 10:49 PM  

It's by far the best of their slower songs. I never felt weepy listening to it though.

I remember listening to this Chinese pop song, and I said it was about how she misses her boyfriend. My Chinese friend said, "How did you know??" Because it's a sad pop song. That's what they're all about. Now missing someone who committed suicide is usually punk whereas if the death was due to cosmic irony it's more likely metal. Of course if you got killed by a jealous woman who you did wrong, that's country and if you or a loved one were run over by a reindeer it's probably November in a department store.

Blogger Wazdakka November 27, 2019 11:00 PM  

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I haven't cried in a long time.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash November 27, 2019 11:05 PM  

That's great and all, but this, this is art.

Blogger MATT November 27, 2019 11:41 PM  

Excellent find, Vox.
Seton Hall's radio station has been playing "Distortion" regularly.

Blogger carnaby November 27, 2019 11:41 PM  

Mesmerizing

Blogger carnaby November 27, 2019 11:42 PM  

Snidely, that is. So bizarre.

Blogger FrankNorman November 28, 2019 12:11 AM  

Mikio, who died tragically in a freak accident one month after the Hiroshima concert. It's a subtle tribute, but when Su sings "Nidoto ae-nai" which means "we shall never meet again", you can see the camera switches momentarily to Mikio.

And here we learn that the Japanese are not immune to the problem that seems to affect Western professional bands who become famous - the tendency of the people to die before their normal time.

Blogger Korbin Ransley November 28, 2019 12:42 AM  

Nice song, great performance by everyone. The scenery, and wardrobe were really neat too.

@8 pretty alarming, definitely wasn't expecting that. 8^)

Blogger Sargent.matrim November 28, 2019 12:43 AM  

Very good. Very good. Have no idea what she's saying, but love the music.

It's a little reminicient of Epica, with the incredible female vocals, and the mesmerizing music.

Great stuff.

Blogger JovianStorm November 28, 2019 12:54 AM  

She literally says "We can never have a second meeting" which, in Japanese, is a more poetic way to say it and what you would say if a loved one passed away.

Young people would tend to use the word "asobu" or "play" as in "we can't hang out anymore."

So the word choices are very deliberate and delicately poetic.

Blogger Thad Tuiol November 28, 2019 12:57 AM  

The Japanese are incredibly nihilistic and depressed as a whole, and their demographics are screwed. If the robots don't save them they will have to open the floodgates to mass immigration.

Blogger Doktor Jeep November 28, 2019 12:58 AM  

Reminds me of the ballads we used to produce in the west.

Blogger Shane Bradman November 28, 2019 1:03 AM  

They had a great performance at the LA Forum. I hope they cone to Australia soon. They're my second favourite band behind Blind Guardian. The live performances are vastly better than the studio recordings because the dancing adds a lot. Moa is crushing. Rare to see such consistent enthusiasm.

Blogger Shane Bradman November 28, 2019 1:16 AM  

Thad please shut up about Japan. They were saying the same thing in the 60s and 70s and 80s and 90s and 00s. Japan is fine.

Blogger Shane Bradman November 28, 2019 1:34 AM  

Here is the opening of the LA Forum concert. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqRKKrerdns
Amazing stuff. The Future Metal opening song sets a great tone for the rest of the concert.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash November 28, 2019 2:02 AM  

Shane Bradman wrote:They were saying the same thing in the 60s and 70s and 80s and 90s and 00s.
Some people don't consider that a statement like that was never about the Japanese. It was rather intended to provide a disincentive to rebellion against the plans of the planners.

Blogger Pax_Romana November 28, 2019 2:08 AM  

That was beautiful. Brought a lot of the same emotions for me as "Orange" by 7. Very similar lyrics, it seems, though far less metal in "Orange," so that definitely adds points to "No Rain, No Rainbow."

Blogger Thad Tuiol November 28, 2019 2:14 AM  

@19 Shane Bradman:

Nah, Japs is screwed: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/forget-china-japans-population-problem-its-own-worst-enemy-76671

Blogger Shane Bradman November 28, 2019 2:19 AM  

@21. Yes, it's basic despair peddling. Right now under Shinzo Abe, Japan has a chance of turning their SDF into an actual military. They've just switched from the Heisei era to the Reiwa era and are enthusiastic. Japan has its problems, but it's no worse a situation than having to deal with the post-war mess. Douglas MacArthur was the shogun of Japan from the end of 1945 until 1951. That time period was far more difficult for them than having a lot of old people.

Blogger Shane Bradman November 28, 2019 2:21 AM  

@23. "Despite full employment"
So they're doing better than America.

Blogger P Glenrothes November 28, 2019 2:41 AM  

This performance is astonishing on many levels. It's a complex, professional, highly evolved, well executed production with beauty, grace and charm not usually seen elsewhere. The audience is well behaved too.
Though I'm not a fan of ultra high-speed guitar solos, I recognize there is a time and place for it if used in moderation as it is here. It's a show after all. Very tasteful, amazing stuff!

Blogger Shane Bradman November 28, 2019 2:58 AM  

@26. "I'm not a fan of ultra high-speed guitar solos"
I guess we won't win you over with Road of Resistance, then. Though the drummer is the real monster.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRiaJMk8qNo

Blogger FrankNorman November 28, 2019 2:58 AM  

16. Thad Tuiol November 28, 2019 12:57 AM

The Japanese are incredibly nihilistic and depressed as a whole, and their demographics are screwed. If the robots don't save them they will have to open the floodgates to mass immigration.


There's no "have to" about it. It's their land, and they are under no compulsion to give it away to anyone.
Maybe a few decades from now those islands will be completely uninhabited except by one old, old guy piloting a giant war-robot that launches missiles at any boats that come too close.

Anyway, why on Earth would anyone else want to go and live there?

Blogger The Scribe November 28, 2019 3:23 AM  

I've known about Babymetal for some time, but it was only last week I began to listen to them again.

I played some for the kids in the car the other day, and my daughter was really getting into "Chocolate."

Blogger pdwalker November 28, 2019 6:42 AM  

yes.

Blogger Berk November 28, 2019 7:31 AM  

Searching on Youtube there are quite a few of these asian girl groups copying western rock and metal.....I feel a bit "Prince Andrew" to watch them. I grew up to more traditional music like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EBvXpjudf8 :)

Youtube for its faults has at least given us music apart from the souless corporations vomit. An amazing find was Heilung https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x9ELw_dvjU

Blogger Jake November 28, 2019 8:34 AM  

I had already shed a few tears by the time I read Vox's third paragraph. Been meaning to check this band out, doing so immediately, thanks Vox.

Blogger Gregory the Great November 28, 2019 4:19 PM  

Thad, interesting how the beauty of this music obviously has only inspired you to write something nasty. Oh, hpw you must hate happy people, hopeful people and high spirits! Now go back where you came from, please.

Blogger John Rockwell November 28, 2019 10:13 PM  

I recommend Symphony X. Best metal band.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl November 29, 2019 7:40 AM  

Why are you under the impression that populations must always be growing?!?
Especially on a tiny overcrowded island? The Japanese have been allowing other Asians to come and do temp work for decades and at the end, they send them home, unlike here. There's nothing stopping them from continuing this beneficial arrangement. A smaller population means less crowded streets, better jobs/higher wages, more available governmental services and housing availability.
You should stop watching Fox News, Thad.

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