Music of the Week #9

Tracks: “Link” and “Lost Heaven”

Albums: “Link (Single)” and “Awake”

Artist: L’Arc-en-Ciel

Despite not being able to speak or understand Japanese (aside from a few isolated bits here and there), I still enjoy listening to a fair number of lyrical songs that are in Japanese (or mostly in Japanese, as is often the case, because of how many songs from Japan have at least a little English in them somewhere, especially those used as anime themes and whatnot).  In this case, both songs were used in the series “Fullmetal Alchemist” (which I never did finish watching…)

Considering that the vast majority of the music I listen to is non-mainstream (for the US) stuff, and most of it is instrumental (or at the very least, the lyrics are minimal if present at all), I’d have to say that I listen to more lyrical songs from Japan than I do lyrical songs from the US.  I’m really not sure what it is… just association as a fan of anime and games?  I’m not nearly as into either of those things as I once was (for reasons that I will not get into here, maybe in its own post at some point), so maybe it’s partly nostalgia?  Or maybe I really do just like the sound that these songs have.  I dunno how big a role each part plays.  Anyway…

I like “Link” for the upbeat sound it has.  The melody is simple, but the combination of guitars, strings, and percussion give it a sort of uplifting quality, with lyrics that are about someone hoping for a better world, but realizing he can still make it in this one as long as he has someone to share it with.  By the end of the song, he realizes that it doesn’t even matter if he dies, they’ll be together anyway.  For some reason, this always felt right as music to accompany a journey from one part of life to the next.  Or from one LIFE to the next – not literally, instead meaning a change so significant that it feels like you’re leaving your old life behind, but your new life is so promising that you don’t really mind.

“Lost Heaven” has an intense but also heavy sound.  Not depressing exactly, but certainly melancholy.  The lyrics suggest something not just “lost”, but never found in the first place, that being Heaven, or really, perfection.  When I hear this, I think of being caught between two choices, struggling to figure out which one will lead you to those perfect dreams, while not realizing that either choice will bring you both hardship and joy, and it’s what you do with it that’s important, not the choice itself.  I REALLY love this one line: “The dream I reached out for and clutched in my hand is a softly crumbling castle of sand.”  That’s just fantastic.  This song also has a pretty sweet guitar solo near the end!

(Yes, the video for “Link” does appear to be someone playing DDR or something to the song.  It was the only even decent non-live video of this song that I could find!)

-Saito S


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