THE BLUE HEARTS – WHEN THE BOMBS DROP [BAKUDAN GA OKKOCHIRU TOKI] (1987)

lyrics and music by MASATOSHI MASHIMA

A song of the Blue Hearts’ seminal self-titled first album, it has a welcome political bent to it. I don’t have much to say other than I’ve been humming it a lot this week.

Translation and notes under the cut:

Continue reading “THE BLUE HEARTS – WHEN THE BOMBS DROP [BAKUDAN GA OKKOCHIRU TOKI] (1987)”

SPITZ – ROBINSON (1995)

lyrics and music by KUSANO MASAMUNE

Spitz are legends in the J-Rock scene, forming in the late 80s as a bunch of art students in Tokyo. They’ve enjoyed immense commercial success since then, mostly due to the fact that they’ve been making pretty good jangly pop without fail. This song, specifically, is one of their biggest hits, and the top comment on the YouTube video is someone remembering how they got the CD stuck in their car door at three years old.

Translation and notes under the cut:

Continue reading “SPITZ – ROBINSON (1995)”

FLIPPER’S GUITAR – SLIDE (1990)

lyrics and music by THE DOUBLE KNOCKOUT CORPORATION

Haven’t had much time to translate recently because of finals, but I was able to find some time to throw this one together after putting it off for a while – I wanna try and get in a holiday-y mood and translate some Japanese Christmas songs, so I figured why not start with one of my favorite Japanese bands in general, Flipper’s Guitar? I mean, it sounds the part, what with those jingling bells.

Translation and notes under the cut:

Continue reading “FLIPPER’S GUITAR – SLIDE (1990)”

WINK – LONELY TROPICAL FISH (1989) [SAMISHII NETTAIGYO]

lyrics by NEKO OIKAWA | music by OZEKI MASAYA

Not Wink’s first #1 Oricon single, but one of their more enduring songs, if only by virtue of the fact that it was their first original #1. Their other #1 singles before this were both covers of foreign songs – Kylie Minogue’s “Turn It Into Love” and Moulin Rouge’s “Boys Don’t Cry.” It helped to launch the duo to superstardom, where they comfortably occupied for a few years before being mercilessly executed by eurobeat. It also holds the distinction of probably being the only #1 hit to make a metaphor out of tropical fish.

Translation and notes under the cut:

Continue reading “WINK – LONELY TROPICAL FISH (1989) [SAMISHII NETTAIGYO]”

LES RALLIZES DENUDES – THE MORNING LIGHT [ASA NO HIKARI] (1970)

lyrics by TAKASHI MIZUTANI | music by MAKOTO KUBOTA

Part of the material that would eventually come to comprise the Mizutani album, it’s easy to see why it was scrapped. It doesn’t capture the sound of Les Rallizes Denudes in the slightest, instead opting for an acoustic, stripped-down sound. I’m glad it’s still managed to find the light of day, though – all the recordings are special in their own ways, but this one stands out as particularly beautiful, if only because of how concise it is.

Translation and notes are under the cut:

Continue reading “LES RALLIZES DENUDES – THE MORNING LIGHT [ASA NO HIKARI] (1970)”

MIHARU KOSHI – RABBIT, RUN [HASHIRE USAGI] (1985)

lyrics by SHIGESATO ITOI | music by HARUOMI HOSONO

What begins on her earlier Tutu and Parallelisme albums continues here, as Koshi moves further and further away from her New Music past and continues her journey on the road of operatic synth-pop. Fun things to consider: the first Japanese translation of John Updike’s classic novel Rabbit, Run was published the year before this song was released, and employed the same title as the song, with no difference in spelling. Turns out that this is actually a cover of a song from 1981, so disregard that. Maybe it was titled after the novel? Still.

Translation and notes under the cut:

Continue reading “MIHARU KOSHI – RABBIT, RUN [HASHIRE USAGI] (1985)”

FREDERIC – INVISIBLE MAN [TOUMEI NINGEN] (2015)

lyrics and music by KOJI MIHARA

I initially translated this when Frederic were still indie and not on a major label, I’d been following them since around the time of “Oddloop,” and I was really into what they were doing. To be completely frank, though, I haven’t been super into anything they’ve done since going major really – I feel like their music has become more generic anime OP songs. It feels like they don’t have quite as much to say about society anymore. They still do know how to make good party songs, though!

Translation and notes under the cut:

Continue reading “FREDERIC – INVISIBLE MAN [TOUMEI NINGEN] (2015)”