Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summertime: Natsu no Yuutsu (Summer Melancholy)

hyde and the boys are sorry to say goodbye
to our week-long summer tribute

L'Arc~en~Ciel: Natsu no Yuutsu (Summer Melancholy)

P'unk~en~Ciel: Natsu no Yuutsu [SEA IN BLOOD]


L'Arc~en~Ciel means 'rainbow' in French and is pronounced Raruku an Shieru, with the 'r' sound made with the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, so it's more an 'l'. Go on, try it! Lots of J-rockers name their bands using French words and phrases, which is curious in that the Japanese language maps rather poorly to French consonants. Note, too, the use of the '~' in the name. J-rockers also love to use liberal splashes of Western punctuation and random capitalization in their band names, such as Ra:IN, the GazettE, LM.C, lynch. (with the period), Kagrra, (with the comma), ViViD, D=OUT, and +DéspairsRay+ .

L'Arc~en~Ciel is one of J-Rock's premier bands. They started out as Visual Kei but in recent years have moved into more mainstream, alt-rock stuff. This 1995 song, which translates to "Summer Melancholy", was their third released single. It tells the apparently universal tale of brief summer love that must come to an end: It's just time to say goodbye….

P'unk~en~Ciel (Panku an Shieru) is the band's punk alter ego, something few other bands have. I don't know about you, but I think it would be cool to have my own punk alter ego, if only to scare off anyone who comes to my door to sell me stuff I don't want. They've punked up and re-released nearly a dozen of their own hits. What makes Panku unique, I think, is that all four musicians also switch instruments, and the lead vocalist changes too. The resulting music is much rougher and faster. Compare the Laruku version to the Panku version and see what I mean.

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