Friday, August 27, 2010

GREAT SONGS: advantage Lucy's "Nico"

The ballads of advantage Lucy! Japanese musical national treasures!

Songs like 'Koko de Oyasumi (Rest Here)' from their Memai EP; 'Today', the B-side of the Hello Mate! single; 'Hibikasete' from oolt cloud; and 'Nico', from advantage Lucy, back when they were still called Lucy Van Pelt.

I could write about any advantage Lucy song; all of them are good. But the ballads are especially beautiful, marrying Ishizaka's genius for creating melodies with Aiko's poetry and heart-felt vocals.

Nico of the song's title is the late German singer, model and one-time Velvet Underground collaborator. Except in the song title, she isn't mentioned at all. Maybe it's that the mood of the song is like something that Nico herself would have written. Or, maybe the song takes place in a scene where Nico records are playing in the background.

The lyrics are impressionistic. A girl wakes up before sunrise, hearing rain outside. She lights a candle. And she walks outside. The mood is of sadness, resignation and faint hope—though the causes of these emotions aren't given. (I wonder if Aiko was aware, when she wrote the lyrics, what a tragic figure Nico ultimately became?)

The candle that the girl lights, irritated but wishing, becomes a “lonesome heavenly body (sabishige na tentai)”.

And then, those ever-shining lines:

Moshimo kotoba ga hoshi yorimo

Kazoekirenai hodo arunara

Tsutaerareru kamoshirenaikedo

If words were numberless like stars

Maybe then I could explain

But she thinks it's not that important. And she goes for a walk, expecting the morning to be bright when the sun comes out.

And that's where the song ends. But leaving me with a feeling I'd also try to describe, if only words were as numerous as stars...

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