YAPOOS – LIVING IN THE FOREST [MORI NI SUMU] (1988)

lyrics by JUN TOGAWA | music by MITSURU KOTAKI

One of my personal favorite tracks off of Like an Archangel / Daitenshi no You ni, this “Living in the Forest” sees Togawa on home turf, using naturalistic metaphors to describe a depressive, disassociative state in which she becomes one with the forest. The entire song reminds me of the concept of ego death, the flattening of one’s consciousness into their surroundings… Togawa doesn’t state her reasons here (other than that she’s tired), so that’s up to us to figure out. Is it heartbreak? Is it existential anguish? All of the above?

Translation and notes under the cut:

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YAPOOS – VIP ~FROM RUSSIA WITH Y~ (VIP ~ROSHIA YORI Y WO KOMETE~) [1992]

lyrics by JUN TOGAWA | music by NOBUO NAKAHARA

The title to this one is obviously a reference to the James Bond novel and film, From Russia with Love. Y is pronounced as wai in Japanese, and the original title of the Japanese film is Roshia yori ai wo komete, meaning the wai and ai sound alike.

Continuing the secret agent motif that Togawa likes so much, our protagonist now takes center stage in what appears to be a last blast of Soviet-influenced Cold War post-apocalyptic S&M romance.

Translation and notes under the cut:

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YAPOOS – DADADAISM [1992]

lyrics by JUN TOGAWA | music by LION MERRY

It’s about art! What do you expect from a song that name-drops Dada? I’m going to try my best to explain all the references in here, I’m no expert in art history or anything but I like to think I know a bit on the subject.

Translation and notes under the cut:

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YAPOOS – ROD-SHAPED SIN (BOUJOU NO TSUMI) [1995]

lyrics by JUN TOGAWA | music by NOBUO NAKAHARA

Probably my favorite song off of Like an Archangel, which I generally consider to be the weakest of the Yapoos albums. Though I am generally a sucker for anything with the theme of sin in it, just because of my ex-Catholic nature.

Translation and notes under the cut:

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PEARL BROTHERS – ZOO ZOO ZOO (1994)

lyrics and music by KENZO SAEKI

After the breakup of Halmens in 1982, with essentially all members of the band transitioning into support roles for Jun Togawa (almost all would go on to participate as members of Yapoos), the lead singer Saeki was left a bit adrift. Pearl Brothers was his next project, formed in 1983, and he worked on the band while pursuing his degree in… dentistry!

Their major debut came in 1986 and the group released a string of albums, some of which were… successful, I think? They had a long career, with the first stretching until 1994 and then a reformation beginning in 2003. Most recently they’re famous for doing the opening to the auteur anime Welcome to the N.H.K.!, which I hear is pretty good.

For all you Togawa stans out there, there’s a live version of this featuring her. Have fun!

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YAPOOS – I AM CURIOUS [WATASHI WA KOUKISHIN NO TSUYOI ONNA] (1992)

lyrics by JUN TOGAWA | music by YUICHI KONO

Track #5 off Dadada ism by Yapoos, this song takes its title from the classic Swedish film(s), I Am Curious. The title of the film(s) in Japanese is altered slightly – rendered more literally, it would be “I am a Strongly Curious Woman,” but I think that the reference to the film is more important to keep than the meaning of the Japanese translation of the title. As for the appearance of the phrase in the actual lyrics, I’ll render them closer to the literal translation of the title in order to better capture poetic usage and modification of the phrase within other lines of the song.

I’ve never seen this film but supposedly it’s… good? I know it’s avant-garde and features sex, I heard about it in one of the film classes I took in college, I think the professor made a joke about it. It’s been sitting around in my bookmarks for far too long, maybe I’ll finally get around to watching it this way.

Translation and notes under the cut:

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SHEENA AND THE ROKKETS – YOU MAY DREAM (1979)

lyrics by TOSHIYUKI SHIBAYAMA / CHRIS MODELL |
music by MAKOTO AYUKAWA / HARUOMI HOSONO

Perhaps the most famous Sheena and the Rokkets song, for good reason – YMO-adjacent Chris Modell (lyricist and poet, famous for writing many of YMO’s English lyrics) and synthpop extraordinaire Haruomi Hosono both support the already talented members of the Rokkets in composing this song.

The title of the song is a clever pun – ‘you may’ sounds like the Japanese word for dream – yume, and so “You May Dream” works as both a phrase in English but also as ‘Yume dream’ in Japanese. This also comes into play with the chorus of the song.

Translation and notes under the cut:

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YAPOOS – ACCORDING TO THE AFFIDAVIT… [KYOUJUTUSHO NI YOREBA] (1991)

lyrics by JUN TOGAWA | music by NOBUO NAKAHARA

The final song to be translated off of Dial Y! and a song about… murder? Secret agents? It’s from the secret agent-y album so I assume it has something to do with all of that. Also, affidavit is clearly a legal term.

Translation and notes under the cut:

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FUBIKI KOSHIJI – HYMNE À L’AMOUR [AI NO SANKA] (1951)

lyrics by TOKIKO IWATANI / EDITH PIAF | music by MARGUERITE MONNOT

I got turned onto this because of Jun Togawa’s cover on Jun Togawa avec Kei Ookubo, which is out now and you should really purchase.

This is a cover of an Edith Piaf song, which you might think wouldn’t be that different from the original, but you would be surprised! This makes me even sadder than the original does.

Translation and notes under the cut:

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ZIYOOU-VACHI [QUEEN BEE] – THE 80S [HACHIJUU NENDAI] (2011)

lyrics and music by AVU

Ziyoou-vachi have had something of a renaissance lately, releasing a bunch of popular albums and even earning themselves some anime theme coin with “HALF” from Tokyo Ghoul, which, coincidentally enough, features a remake of this track as a B-side. I prefer their earlier v-kei stuff, but I would definitely recommend checking out their Karei album if you want to try their more contemporary releases.

Translation and notes under the cut:

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