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25 February 2012 @ 06:49 pm

Finding that perfect theme for your LJ is so hard. I'm actually quite lazy to go through communities and search for that perfect theme or make my own banner and tinker with the CCS codes, so I chose from the available layouts. I'm kinda liking it--I just hope I can make the font smaller TT____TT 

Anyways, I've been wanting to share this for some time already. In my Elective Literature class last term, we were asked to analyze songs from different countries as a piece of literature. We submitted a copy of the mp3, lyrics in Nihongo, Romaji and of course, the English translation.

I was really ecstatic to do this because after listening to Japanese music for more than 5 years and being surrounded by it for more than 10 years, I know how beautiful and poetic they can be. This is what I wrote in my introduction to Japanese music:

For non-Japanese music listeners, Japanese music is full of cute, bubble pop songs sung by female singers or the traditional martial arts music, similar to the Chinese traditonal music. Though these perceptions are true, another trend could be seen among Japanese songs (most especially those in the rock genre). It is the poetic style of lyricists that make their songs so much more meaningful and beautiful at the same time, even without listening to the music itself. In other words, the lyrics alone is already a piece of art. 
I chose Kawaranai Kimochi from Burimyu, New World by L`Arc~en~Ciel and Tooi kono machi de by Kaiya Naomi from Card Captor Sakura. I wanted to do Melissa by Porno Graffiti as well, but I didn't have the time to analyze another song (since of course, I was cramming)

LOVE 心あふれて
LOVE 君に向かうよ
Translation: done by relinquished
When you're there in front of my eyes, crying
I'll simply be by your side
Even without the things that do not change,
I don't want to lose these unchanging emotions
LOVE the heart overflows
LOVE it’s heading towards you

 This song has been sung for around five musicals and live shows of Rock Musical Bleach. The included file is the medley that I made using the five different versions, hence the varying audio quality. (High-quality audio rips of the songs sung in the musicals and lives are very hard to come by as well.) Among the dozens of songs that was sung in the Rock Musical Bleach series, this is one of my favorite songs. This is usually sung towards the end of the musical or the live, and it is usually led by three characters, but the chorus is sung by the whole cast. 

Kawaranai Kimochi means Unchanging Feelings. The song can be interpreted in two ways: it is a subtle song about love, which blossomed from friendship, or friendship that will blossom into love. The ambiguity of what the song really is all about definitely fits the bill for the characters’ relationships in the musical series. In the musical, there was no explicit expression of “I love you!” or “I protect you because I love you!” however one can really see the possibility of a romantic relationship between two characters. Their relationships are based on the two possible interpretations of the song: love from friendship or from friendship moving towards love. The song also encapsulates the personalities of majority of the characters in the musicals. Questioning about life, never letting go of your perseverance to fight through everything and maximizing all possibilities to enjoy what youth can bring. 

Unlike the following songs and majority of the other songs used in this musical and lives, the lyrics are simple and straightforward. Basing from the original Japanese lyrics, they are written in a very simple style that one can easily understand after grasping the basics of intermediate nihongo. The probably reason why this is so could be traced to the characters’ inability to realize their feelings, and so they end up being contended to just say these things to each other. 

la la la la 歌おう空を見上げて
la la la la It's my life
la la la la 歌おう空を見上げて
la la la la It's my life
果てしない この道を
Translation from AnimeLyrics.com
la la la la   I'll sing my song,
with my face toward the sky.
la la la la   It's my life
I'll walk on
la la la la   I'll sing my song,
with my face toward the sky.
la la la la   It's my life
I'll walk on,
Using my own strength
to go forward along this endless road.

This song was released around early 2000's for the theme song of the movie of Card Captor Sakura. 

It is a song about believing in yourself and walking forward despite being confused about several things. It is a song about facing life   The first verse of the song that talks about a blurry dawn symbolizes the persona's frustration of not being able to see her/his future clearly. This confusion is also seen in this part: with so many crossroads, I am always lost. This time, the persona talks about the different choices he or she is faced and every time it happens, the person is always confused. 

The persona returns to her/his past for answers or guidance. Throughout the song, there was constant reference to a "song" and singing as the persona faces life. This could be considered as the reference to the past. "I loved that song in the old tape," this line in the first stanza could refer to something in her past that previously gave the persona courage and strength to go on forward but has lost it along the way. In the 6th stanza where the persona reminisces in the past and refers to the "song" again that helped her overcome hardships and such. Then in the chorus, "la la la I'll sing and look up to the sky," the persona is able to find it and gained the courage to walk forward with full confidence.

New World
研ぎ澄ました 翼広げ 風を 集め 飛び立て
暴れる鼓動 時を越えて 響け
I'm awakening in the New World 
Translation from L`Arc~en~Ciel European fanbase 
I'll spread these readied wings, gather the wind, and take off
My raging pulse resounds throughout time
I'm awakening in the new world

 L`Arc~en~Ciel is one of the longest running bands in Japanese music history. They have been performing since 1991, making 2011 their 20th year in the Japanese music industry. Majority of their songs are very poetic and takes a very high level of Nihongo proficiency to translate their lyrics to English. They have several songs about love, but they never fail so use metaphors or other forms of speeches to make such a cliché topic less boring and redundant. 

 New World is about what the title implies—finding and eventually going to that new world. It is also the title track of their fifth album, Awake. The song itself is a story, told in a first person point of view with an omniscient narrator (who could also be the persona’s alter ego). The persona, who was looking for a way out of the predicament he or she is in. A voice awakens the persona to spread her or his wings to escape from the situation and go to somewhere else beyond the clouds—most probably beyond the persona’s dreams. The persona holds on to that voice as a guide to the new world, at the same time he or she has to decide whether to continue the journey or not. The place where the persona will arrive could be harder than what is assumed, and it could be something that cannot be imagined. This is seen in the following lines: 
The distorted afterimages melt into each other
[Stand up for your final choice! Now the time of fate has come.]
The destination we dreamed of goes through the sky, endlessly higher
[Fly away beyond the clouds. Will you still be in your dreams?]

Afterimages refer to past, as the persona sees what he or she has done before to guide in the decision making process. The second line, “Stand up for your final choice” obviously is the questioning of the voice to the persona to continue or not. The succeeding lines express the possible hardships he or she might experience after arriving. Nevertheless, the persona decides to continue with the journey, eventually reaching the “new world”. Upon arriving, he or she is amazed of possibilities available to him or her, now that the persona is in a new place. After embracing the fact that he or she is in a new place, a reawakening happens, as seen in the last line: I’m awakening in the new world. 

The new world the song refers to could be several things. As a soon to graduate college student, the new world could symbolize the real life that I will soon enter. Like any other student, I wish to escape from all the academic stress and thesis writing. However as I slowly step out into that new world, I am constantly asked either by myself or my family or other members of the society if I am ready to face a world completely unknown but can present me several opportunities in life. Hopefully, when I reach that point of graduating from college and entering the real world, I would be able to say “I’m awakening in the new world.” 

For Korea, I chose Dal Peng I (KyuHyun's cover) and Super Junior's Don't Don. I wanted to analyse a song by DBSK but somehow I couldn't find one that made 900000000000000000000% sense. Somehow their lyrics are disjointed for me T__T I also wanted to do Brown Eyed Girls' Sixth Sense, but the same reason as DBSK's. 

Here is my introduction for Korean music: 

Nowadays, Korean music is almost everywhere. Majority of their mainstream music is composed of bubble music and punctuated by very catchy tunes. However, majority of their lyrics are quite shallow, not as poetic as Japanese music. Majority of these songs are about first love, or loving someone, or in general, it’s about love. As a KPop fan for more than 4 years, it gets very tiring to listen to songs who talk about the same topic over and over again. Nevertheless, there are still some songs that talk about other things. Dal Peng I (Snail) that talks about finding the motivation to go forward after being so tired and helpless, and Don’t Don (Don’t Money), a song about the society’s obsession with money. 


언젠가 훗날에 저넓고 거칠은
세상 바다로 갈거라고
아무도 못봤지만 기억 어딘가 들리는 파도소리 따라서
나는 영원히 갈래

Translation from here
that someday when that day comes
I will go to the ocean at the end of this harsh world
no one saw it but
I will follow the waves that I can hear in my head
I want to go forever

This version is sung by Cho Kyuhyun of the boyband, Super Junior last 2007 in a radio show. 

The title literally translates to “Snail”. The song talks about finding the motivation to move forward within a monotonous and slow paced life. There was no explicit statement about the monotonousness and slow paced life of the persona. It could be assumed that since the persona found motivation in an animal that moves so slowly and is barely noticed since it moves so slowly, the persona’s life has become so slow up to the point that he or she can relate to it. 

The first verse implies that the persona is already getting tired of reaching her or his goal, symbolized by the house. The goal can pertain to an everyday goal such as finishing a task. It does not have to be a lifetime goal, since eventually the persona was able to reach it eventually. The persona also talked about moving forward; into something bigger as seen in the line: “I'm going to go to the ocean”. This goal, must be achievable with her or his own capabilities though. This could be interpreted from the line: “The road that goes anywhere by car.” It could also mean a goal within her or his reach since there is a path available, inferred from the use of the word “road.” 

The World is mine 내가 이세계의 법이야
그들이 행복하기만을 기다렸을때
어느 누구보다 먼저 기회를 잡은 일뿐
약자를 위한 배려 따윈 절대 없어
Translation taken from here
The world is mine
I'm the law of this world
While they waited to become happy
Just before anyone else, I grabbed the chance
I have no consideration for those who are weak

The song is sung by Korea’s (then) 13-member boyband, Super Junior. Among all their songs, this is the only song that did not talk about love. As previously said, it was a song that talked about the society’s obsession with money. The title, “Don’t Don,” is a word play. “Don돈” in Korean means money, and it has the same pronunciation as “don’t” if translated to Korean English. The title is usually written as “돈돈” or if romanized, “Don don”. It could be understood as “Money Money” or the more often translation, “Don’t Don,” Don’t focus yourself on money.

The song is akin to a conversation between two people. Persona A is the one speaking in most parts of the song, while Persona B is the one talking in the choruses and in the English raps. Persona B wants Persona A to look beyond the pleasure and that he or she is experiencing. Persona B wants Persona A to stop sugarcoating her or his obsession with money—as seen in the lines: “I want to protect if it's for my child; Having to live until the chaos is over” and “Don't don, just stop it now; and take off your hypocritical mask”. Persona A is so engrossed in money that he or she is losing her or his logic, and soon enough had a hard time accepting what the rest of the society’s situation. This is seen in the chorus and in the rap. How the conversation ended, the readers will never know, as it is an open-ended conversation. 

The inclusion of “Super Junior” in the end I believe has no significance to the meaning of the song. Maybe it was added to dutifully mark the song as Super Junior’s song. 

Tell me what you think :) 

Current Mood: chipperchipper
Regx_reggg on February 25th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
sounds cool!! *_______* i've always liked the more ballad type songs in jpop because the lyrics are just... so nice.

good essay :D
マイカ: kengo - squeekahel16 on February 26th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! :3

Me too, I've always loved Japanese ballads because they're just so....well written. Not repetitive though the song's about love. They're just so creative.