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    King Baby Duck's (Somewhat of a) J-VOLUTION: Asobi Seksu - Citrus

    posted @ 6/05/2008 12:19:00 PM by FreeLoader
    There are thousands upon thousands of great bands from Japan; but as it is sometimes difficult (and expensive) to import music from the Rising Sun Nation, KBD is here to give you a recommendation that will not only be easy on your wallet, but will also fill you with enough happiness to explode.

    I was searching online one day, when I came across some great news from one of my favorite bands:

    “We are finishing up a bunch of new songs for the next record and the plan is to hit the studio in June to record them. We will be going back to Europe this summer for some festivals...and we promise a lot of US touring this fall and next year. We can't wait to see everyone. More details soon!”

    This was on the official site of Asobi Seksu (which is Japanese for “playful sex”), an American indie rock band that mixes both English and Japanese lyrics. To fully explain the sound of Asobi Seksu is like trying to find the meaning of life. Their songs touch on so many different genres that it’s difficult to categorize them into one set type. (So, for time’s sake, let’s call it Alternative.) I have been listening to band for almost two years now, and every time I hear a song from them I feel a rush of exquisite joy. And because of their blend of both English and Japanese lyrics Asobi Seksu could be considered the band that’ll easily bridge the music worlds of America and Japan together.

    So to prepare all you Kawaii Kitties and Quack Packers for Asobi Seksu’s next release, we’ll be looking at their last album: 2006’s “Citrus.”

    The first track on the album, “Everything is On,” is a quick 17-second intro that transports the listener to vocalist/keyboardist Yuki Chikudate and guitarist/vocalist James Hanna’s world. “Strawberries,” the second track, plays with the ears with its fanciful vocals about a strawberry field asking the patrons to not “forget about me.” The next track “New Years” feels like a sped-up first day of the New Year in Shibuya; giving one listening to it the vision of the bright lights and the fast life in that part of Tokyo.

    In “Strings” Yuki mixes both English and Japanese, telling of boys who speak to a lady’s eyes; while the bass in the song gives a warm shiver up the spine. “Pink Cloud Tracing Paper,” with its elements of Flaming Lips-styled synthesizers and UFO sounds, lets Hanna have a chance to shine vocally on the album; proving that he is the only one that can really stand toe-to-toe with Yuki.

    Asobi Seksu - "Goodbye"

    “Goodbye,” though not the last track on the album, sounds like an upbeat Cure track, and anyone who’s seen the video would be lost in happiness at the origami that comes to life. (If you haven't, click on the YouTube video above and watch with glee.) Its chorus of “Can’t pretend, until you’re mine/will they ever know/Can't deny, the world outside/just needs us both” begs one to wonder if the answer to life’s problems can be found in the love between two people. The lyrics in “Nefi+Girly” (especially "Disconnect the feeling factory/put your tongue up to my battery") describe the literal meaning of Asobi Seksu; its playfulness and sexiness rolled into one giant clash of sound waves and calm, beautiful vocals. The savagery of “Exotic Animal Paradise” also has this clashing of sound waves; but whether it’s a fight for territory or a fight for love can only be told by Yuki and James themselves (though my money is on love).

    The last song I want to talk about is the fourth track on the album: “Thursday.” It is perhaps the most beautiful song since the turn of the century, and will probably go down as one of the greatest tracks to ever be written by humankind. The chorus of “Now that we’ve lost our way/The rest can all fall apart/All I see here is you/All it does is remind me” is both sad and striking. All the angels in Heaven would weep with joy whenever this track is played, and God Himself (or Herself) would smile wholeheartedly. If you don’t feel anything during this track alone, you cannot call yourself a person.

    Asobi Seksu - "Thursday"

    Both separately and as a whole, “Citrus” works in every way possible that music is allowed to function, and sometimes goes beyond that. One can listen to this CD thousands of times, and they will still find something new and enjoyable about it. It will take some time for others to notice, but once word spreads fast about Asobi Seksu’s sophomore album it will surely be ranked up there with many of the classic albums of centuries past.

    Asobi Seksu’s “Citrus” gets five stars. I cannot stress how wonderful this CD will be in your collection; and if you disagree you either have no taste in music, or you don't like being happy.

    POST SCRIPT: I’ve read in interviews that Yuki is also quite the talented drummer. I can only hope that her skills on this instrument can be shown, even if it be briefly, on the next album.

    This is King Baby Duck, wishing the gals at Electric Sista Hood a happy 100 episodes, and hoping for at least 100 more!

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