Monday, April 19, 2010

Aah, Dir. (あぁぁ、ディル。)

(Admittedly, their name is romanized no matter where they are. I just wanted to make things easier pronunciation-wise.)

Well, it had to come out eventually.

Yes, despite the fact that I try to present myself as somewhat mainstream...

Oh dear. Forgive me; that sounds far more snot-nosed indie-kid than I intended. Let me rephrase.

Though I do enjoy music that appeals to a wide range of audiences, my true love is for the harder, less universal stuff. Hard rock, metal, grunge; all that wonderfulness.

Most importantly, however, I love Dir en grey.

Now, I would be to ashamed to show my face if I had to use Wikipedia, so today, despite the fact that it may be sub-par, the information you're getting is coming straight from my head. Because, hey, I have pride issues. Deal with it.

Formed in 1997 from the ashes of the Indies group La Sadies, Dir en grey is a hard rock band consisting of 京 (Kyō) on vocals, 薫 (Kaoru) on guitar, Die on guitar, Toshiya on Bass, and Shinya on drums. 薫 is, to everyone's agreement, the band leader; according to rumor, this is because he is the scariest of the lot and not to be messed with. 京 writes all of the lyrics (which I will discuss later), and while they used to split song-writing up between them (one or two people doing each song), more recently the songs have all been collaborative efforts, attributed to the band as a whole instead of one member.

In their early days, they were produced by Yoshiki, charismatic and never aging (seriously, look at some picture, man hasn't aged in fifteen years) drummer from the Visual Kei legend X-JAPAN, Dir en grey was very V-Kei themselves, focusing very much on their look and producing, for lack of a better word, "popular" music. Again, punch the elitist indie kid, I know, but... oh, drat. It's just that they usesd to be V-Kei and not hard rock, is that better? There's a reason they no longer appear on Music Station, all right?

Perhaps it's best if I just show you.

This is 予感, taken from their first full-length album, GAUZE:

(Side Note- So what do you think of my new music-sharing-thingy-jobby? Better than youtube? Worse? See that comment button? Yea. You know what to do.)

Sounds poppy, yes? This song was performed on Music Station, though cut short for reasons I can't fathom. Admittedly, this is not to say that the entirety of GAUZE is poppy; far from it. It's not even a bad album. It simply conforms to what people think of as V-Kei, and it doesn't fully display their creative abilities. Which is a damn shame considering the following:

(1) 京 writes ridiculously difficult lyrics. For funsies. He uses archaic kanji, strange kanji, weird vocabulary, anything he can get away with. I was once told by a 神戸女子大学 (Kobe Women's College) student that Japanese people don't like Dir en grey because they can't understand them. Come on, that's pretty cool.
(2) The entire band is massively talented. Just... massively. I'm horrible at music theory so I'm going to fail at explaining, but suffice it to say that neither guitar is lead because both are excellent, Toshiya is a good bass player who gets solos instead of a throwaway member, and Shinya can play the drums faster than humanly thought possible.
(3) These men have the capability to produce, on the one hand, horribly rough, screamy songs, and on the other, beautiful, tear-jerking melodies. And everything in between.

I admit, I'm a bit of a fangirl. I have waited for these guys in a 27 hour line before (and got in the pit with one of Toshiya's picks to take home to show for it), if that's any indication.

But I'm sure you're sick of my prattling on by now. More music!

"ain't afraid to die" is one of their tear-jerking songs, which I spent a while translating for a class last year. Very sad. Also, interestingly enough, only played at Japanese lives; I've been to two lives in America and one in Japan, and it was only performed a the latter. Japan, apparently, loves this song (as do I), whereas America hates it. Although considering the fact that I heard girls in that 27-hour line discussing how they could no longer listen to GAUZE, I suppose they're making the right call here.

(Side Note- What the hell, America.)

It was never put on an album, only released as a single. I'm not quite sure why.

Yes, it's long. It's also worth it. Many of the people I could see at the Osaka-jo live were crying throughout. It's a very sad song. (I would post my translations, but I did spend copious amounts of time on it, and am paranoid about the translation thieves, so... if you'd like to know what the song is about, feel free to ask me.)

Just a few more, I promise. Let it never be said that I didn't give you lot a good smattering of music to contend with!

かすみ is from VULGAR, their fourth full-length album put out in 2003. Another one I spent days translating, which I think is also very pretty. Definitely more haunting than tear-jerking, though.

Finally, GLASS SKIN. I'm posting here the single version, because for some reason, 京 decided that the album version would be in English. Yes, Dir en grey is a band that makes sure you get your money's worth when you purchase singles. No simple album previews here, my friends. I find it particularly intriguing that they're the only band I know with a tendency to re-write lyrics between single and album. Regardless, GLASS SKIN is likely the prettiest song out of the recent bunch.

...oops, I lied. INCONVENIENT IDEAL is arguably my favorite Dir en grey song (if I can have a favorite), and I simply couldn't not post it for your listening pleasure. Very good song; it's the last track on their latest full-length album, UROBOROS, which was released while I was studying in Kyoto.

Well then, how was your foray into the wild, wide world of Dir en grey? (Points to me for alliteration; yes I noticed.) Not as bad as you expected, eh? Admittedly, I did supply songs that were on the lighter end of things; as I always say, you can't get people interested by blasting their eardrums off. (Though I suppose I did hear 脈 first...) Thus, a selection of palatable Dir en grey that the whole family can enjoy... provided, of course, you don't translate the lyrics.

This is Edo, signing off still wishing that Dir had hired her to do their lyric translations. (Because goodness, whoever they actually hired clearly has the English skills of a fruit bat...)


Melon said...

I like the music players! They are much more streamlined. Not being able to see the length of the track is a small downside, though.

You posted all songs I like! XD I could be a much bigger fan of Dir if they stayed away from screamy-growly, but with these songs I am reminded once again of how very talented a band they are.

You should like... submit some translations to Dir (how I do not know, just follow me on this... XD) and argue your case as being a more suitable translator... XD Is it a company or an individual who translates for them, I wonder?

Edo said...

Aren't the though? Unfortunately, I can either label them with the title or the length... I guess you can be too streamlined. :/

Ah ha, see, I know how to cater to my audience. X3 Unfortunately, Kyo rather likes the screamy-growly... can't imagine why, he's got such a lovely voice.

... While I would love to... I'm still kind of stuck on how I get my translations in the door and not in the wastebasket of some intern. >_> I have no idea, it wasn't a name in the booklet, but it looked to floofy to be a company name... I thought it might be a pseudonym, although using a pseudonym for a translation seems ridiculously stupid.

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