Japan, 2019, progressive pop / art pop

3776歳時記 (Saijiki)

Mt. Fuji is 3776 meters high, and this album is 3776 seconds long. A day passes for every 12 seconds of this album, and in that interval, the singer counts out the signs of the Zodiac. And since the album is twelve tracks, it’s clear that every song represents a month, especially since the singer calls out each day of the month. I mean, the album’s name is literally “date”. Got it? Well, if you’re still confused, look at the album cover. Her head is supposed to be Fuji, the red dot the traditional rising sun (well, setting sun from where I live, but whatevs).

My first thought as this album was in the middle of its first track: tempus fujit, memento mori. Yes. As I am somewhat proficient in Japanese and as I’m listening to this album, I am acutely aware of the passage of time, that is, my life is passing as I’m spending the time to listen to this album. Just for my own record: I’m listening to this album for the first time on ku-gatsu juu-nana-nichi.

Next thought halfway through the second song: her enumerating the dates and passage of time has faded into the background so that I’m not aware of it anymore, like in my day-to-day life. Damn. How quickly and easily I forget what I always try to remember: that time flies, and one day soon I’m going to die.

Continuing thoughts: this is helping me understand just how cramped my narrow mind is with the broad spectrum of music. How many different snatches of songs and styles of music pass through my mind in a single month, to say nothing of a whole year?

I adore track 3, for it sounds like the world is awakening from its winter slumber. So much anticipation, like when the Japanese feel the beginning of a new school year. Hear the frogs come to life in spring! Lemme tell you, wherever there are rice fields, frogs abound, and their din at night is so deafening you just don’t hear it after a while.

The shakuhachi and warm guitar strumming usher in the month of May, and there’s so much yummy food to enjoy. I can’t listen to this album without taking into consideration all the seasonal events (and the attendant feelings) so integral to society here in Japan. Here in the middle of track 6, I’m wondering how the next two tracks–the season of matsuri, hanabi, and obon–will sound. What excitement–what horror–awaits? The music teems, like a fecund field. The pop collage has reached its fruition.

Track 8 is just so funny–calling out in her funny way amid the celebration of the summer festivals. I feel like watching fireworks from my rooftop. The weather turns, crickets chirp, things calm down.

The nights are cool….aki-matsuri goooooo! accompanied by a proper dance track. Is that ducks I hear? A walk in the park in November is pretty much the loveliest time here, so I’ll be sure not to forget my stale bread when I go.

Sore ja, bounenkai time.

This is a really Japanese album, a marriage of the modern and the traditional in one seamless whole.

If you want to dive into the lyrics, go here… https://loosemeter.blogspot.com/2022/03/saijiki.html

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