XYZ & Numbers

Well, this is the last post in the iTunes All Album Challenge! @_@
Technically, I’m finished with all the albums, but there’s a chunk of 50 music videos in my library that get listed after all the songs in albums. Sometimes I think to list music videos as being “from” the album that the song is on, but since that’s not exactly accurate, I didn’t do it.  So, while this is the end of the All-Album Challenge, it’s not the end of “listen to every track in my iTunes Library.” I can’t believe it’s taken nearly a whole year to do this. @_@

Well, on with it!

X

Songs: 16
Albums Represented: 5
Albums Complete in Library: 1

I’m afraid to write the album title of 2 of those for fear of what kind of people might land at this blog through Google. ^_^;

In this bunch we find some tracks from the classic PSX video game Xenogears. I really don’t remember the game very well but I remember that it was AWESOME. Perhaps the only track that my brain left in retrievable memory was the theme aboard the Thames. I always got such a kick out of how the captain would dramatically say “Men…of…THE SEA!!!” You can hear it (when they’re not playing cards) in this video showing some gameplay.

Y

Songs: 39
Albums Represented: 8
Albums Complete in Library: 1

I think I talk enough about GACKT and his just-ended band YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz on this blog, so rather than highlight their album, I’ll share the track “Hello Bonjour” from the album Yell Fire! by Michael Franti and Spearhead.

Z

Songs: 1
Albums Represented: 1
Albums Complete in Library: 0

The only song representing the Z’s is “Bring the Light” from the Smashing Pumpkin’s album Zeitgeist.

Numbers

Songs: 66
Albums Represented: 32
Albums Complete in Library: 0

The lowest number is 1 and the highest is 2001. I’m going to end by sharing a track from a band that’s just a little younger than me, but I didn’t know about them until…mmm…5 years ago?

The band is BUCK-TICK, one of the grandaddies of the Japanese rock style of visual kei. I only have one album for them, the compilation album 97BT99.

The track that got me interested in them is “Gessekai” (「月世界」which would mean something like “moon world.” ) I know that I heard it on an ad for an anime. I think it was in the previews to some anime series my brother had rented from Netflix…maybe? In any case, I was hypnotized and dug around on the internet using the only lyrics I understood–“tsuki no hikari.” Hmm, I guess I would’ve known the name of the anime series as well. (Which turns out to be Nightwalker: The Midnight Detective.)

And with that laid back, tripped out rock track, I close my iTunes All Album Challenge! Whew!

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What the?!

Songs: 58
Albums Represented: 26
Albums Complete in Library: 1

Around the time I was listening to the Ws, through something unrelated I realized that there was a gaping hole in my iTunes Music Library: not a single Weezer track. @o@!!! Well, I rectified that with “Buddy Holly” and a few other tracks from my childhood.

But in this post today I’d like to share a (probably) less well-known group. In the Ws we find Where Night Holds Light, the second-to-last album of Canadian indie rock band The Buttless Chaps. I’d like to share the title track. May the snow cool down those in hot areas!

V

Songs: 55
Albums Represented: 21
Albums Complete in Library: 0

I can’t believe I started this “I’m gonna listen to every song in my iTunes Library in order by album and clean out what I don’t like and fix any data entry errors” thing nearly a year ago! @_@ And I’m still not finished! I’m currently on the W albums, so here I am writing up the V’s.

I don’t know if Disney has been releasing similar albums in the States, but so far here I’ve seen albums dedicated to R&B, rock, and lounge covers of Disney tracks. The track I want to share is from a kitschy album called V-Rock Disney. It features Japanese visual kei artists covering Disney songs. I didn’t get the whole album, but I couldn’t pass on a Japanese band saying “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and succeeding at it!

U-niverse

Songs: 28
Albums Represented: 17
Albums Complete in Library: 0 or 1

Like with the question of “Is a friend’s mix tape an album,” I haven’t been counting singles as albums, even when I imported all the instrumentals and b-sides. Well, at least I think I haven’t. But now I’m thinking that maybe I should have. Probably only because otherwise, GACKT’s single “Until the Last Day” wouldn’t get counted.

This is easily my favorite thing from him since RE:BORN. But people who don’t like spiders, be warned: there’s a big fat CGI one at the beginning of the video; hit play and close your eyes till the music comes in to avoid it. Oh, there’s a lot of CGI blood too, if that makes you squeamish.

I don’t know if the Dragon Age movie came out in the States already (or even here in Japan), but this song was the theme song for the Japanese dub. GACKT also voice acts in it.

Tea Time

Songs: 137
Albums Represented: 54
Albums Complete in Library: 3

Does anyone still make mix CDs for their friends?

I have a friend with whom I often exchanged music this way. When I import music from these mix CDs into my iTunes Library, I often leave them with the title my friend put on them. So it is that in the T’s there is an “album” called “The Traveler’s Call.” My friend gave this to me before I came to Japan. I feel inclined to say that it’s not really a T album since it’s not an official release, but hey, record companies can put out compilation albums with different artists, and what gives them more authority (other than a bunch of legal contracts and stuffy stuff like that)?

Ahahaha…

And so it is that I will share a track from this “not really” T-album: Timbaland’s “Bombay,” while sending out positive chi to my friend back home. <—(((^_^)))—>

Sssss

Ssssongss: 380
Albums Represented: 89
Albums Complete in Library: 8

As massive as this chunk of my library is, in the interest of saving time I will only talk about one group, as I remember thinking as I listened to the album, “I don’t give this group enough credit.”

That group is the Japanese hip-hop outfit SOUL’d OUT. Their song “1,000,000 Monsters Attack” was featured on a soccer video game my brother had. As I have no interest in sports video games (well, I did enjoy the original Gran Turismo, if you allow me to include motor sports) I myself didn’t really hear the song through there. My brother really liked the song, so I got him SOUL’d OUT’s 2006 singles compilation album for his birthday. I eventually gave it a listen myself and liked many of the tracks.

There’s many Japanese music acts, whether in rock, rap, or any other genre, that love to sprinkle their lyrics with English. I personally find this annoying most of the time, because many don’t use English to communicate in English, they use it as exotic grammatically incorrect sprinkling. Bilingual musicians like Hikaru Utada are an exception. Most of the time we get silliness like “we make storm” even from huge acts (that little gem is from the Arashi song “Attack It!”) which you’d think could afford to ask a native English speaker if their lyrics sound stupid or not.

However, in the case of SOUL’d OUT, I think it works better. I think it’s because I find the Japanese language really isn’t well suited to rap music. You kinda have to beat it up and warp your mouth in a funny way to make it fit the rap rhythms. Well, that’s the impression that I have anyway. In this case, with the constant back and forth between English and Japanese, and MC Diggy-MO’s rolling r’s, the songs become a sort of gymnastics exercise for your brain and mouth. Of course, just listening to them is really fun too. ^o^

I’ll end this post with a live performance of “To All Tha Dreamers.”

She Rolled Her R’s

Songs: 145
Albums Represented: 50
Albums Complete in Library: 4

Despite the reference to Sloan’s song “Underwhelmed” on their album Smeared, I’m gonna talk about Akino Arai‘s collection album RGB.

Back in 2001 Cartoon Network aired the anime Outlaw Star. It was in this anime that I first heard Akino Arai’s music. Her songs 「昼の月」and 「月の家」(“Hiru no Tsuki” / Afternoon Moon and “Tsuki no Ie” / House of the Moon) were used as ending themes for said anime. I loved the ethereal sound of these songs, especially “Tsuki no Ie.” It wouldn’t be until 2002 that these songs appeared on an album, namely RGB. I didn’t know it at the time, but when I bought it, it had only been out for a few months. Actually, this album, and GACKT’s compilation album The Sixth Day, were the first CDs I bought using the legit online shop CD Japan. (←I highly recommend them.) My, how the time flies!

Now, I really wanted to share the track 「さかさまの虹」(“Sakasama no Niji” / Upside-down Rainbow), but it seems that Akino Arai’s version is not available on YouTube. There’s plenty of vids with a version by another singer, but I find her voice really annoying in comparison to the Sade-esque tones of Arai’s voice. Well, if nothing else, you could hear a preview of it on the iTunes Music Store!