Tag Archives: j-rock

My 40 Favorite Asian Kung-Fu Generation Songs – Part 3 (20-11)

  1. “Senseless” (センスレス Sensuresu) from Fanclub

It’s rare that a song in Japanese can directly translate to English as well as “Senseless”.  The lyrics paint a picture of a world projected to us only through TV screens and signs, never allowing us to feel or see anything for ourselves.  The plea “do not delete me” (roughly), implies an existence so indelibly tied to the digital world that its complete removal is the loss of one’s self.  This song benefits from one of AKFG’s best guitar riffs in their entire catalog;  A bouncing, energetic musical refrain that wraps the song.  It doesn’t have the standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus structure, so having that riff to tie it together makes the whole feel cohesive.  It’s a powerful, relevant message packed in a amazing rock tune.

  1. “All right part2” from Landmark

Another exploration in musical escapism, “All right” is a less-poetic pop song featuring Chatmonchy guitarist and frontwoman Eriko Hashimoto.  It isn’t deep, it’s just deadly-catchy!  This is a song that will never leave you.  If you are prone to madness from having a song stuck in your head for good, you may want to avoid this one!  However, if you want a cheery pop song with a rock edge and a great riff, this jam’s for you.

  1. “Standard” from Wonder Future

Ajikan are masters at crafting simple, steady building verses into powerful, moving choruses.  “Standard” follows your standard three-chorus structure, telling the story of a young, happy girl who captivated a few people in a fleeting moment with careless singing and when she moved on, nobody remembered her.  I do not know exactly what inspired this theme, but the idea that a person so small can impact people, even briefly, then keep going without knowing what, if anything, they left in their wake is an interesting image.  The cheery guitars and triumphant chorus of “Standard” make this newer single one of their best.

  1. “Well Then, See You Again Tomorrow” (それでは、また明日 Sore dewa, Mata Ashita) from Landmark

Taking their sound back to their early days, “Sore dewa, Mata Ashita” keeps a classic AKFG sound with a minor key leading into a wordy, upbeat chorus.  I’m not entirely sure what this song is about from the lyrics, but it is a great rock song in its own right.

  1. “Loop & Loop” (ループ&ループ Rūpu & Rūpu) from Sol-Fa

An endless cycle of separation, sadness and reassurance, “Loop & Loop” is one of the band’s most successful and well-known singles.  Released as an EP not even a year after their debut album, it is one of the first singles that I think really hinted at the sound Ajikan would land on by the time Fanclub would come out two years later.  Catchy, flighty and energetic, “Loop & Loop” is a timeless entry in their repertoire.

  1. “Black Out” (ブラックアウト Burakkuauto) from Fanclub

“Black Out” seems to discuss a continuing separation from reality, but this is not made entirely clear by the lyrical translation.  The song is elevated by an excellent dual-guitar riff melody that, at least for me, will become more timeless with age.  Having the same build-up to an anthemic chorus as a songlike “Standard”, “Black Out” nails it and was really one of the songs from the mid-2000’s that really got me into AKFG.

  1. “Love Song of the New Century” (新世紀のラブソング Shinseiki no Rabu Songu) from Magic Disk

A gripping, emotional music video emphasizing a powerful song about carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders into a new Century, as though we are expected to leave the past behind by some sort of arbitrary demarcation point, “Shinseiki no Rabu Songu” uses shocking imagery to invoke memories of the not-so-distant past.  Musically, this is a very technical song.  From, the warm, haunting guitar riff that guides the song, to the backbeat rhythm and emphasized bass line, it builds on a heavy theme with a powerful and complex choral structure.

  1. “Tightrope” (タイトロープ Taito Rōpu) from Fanclub

Painting a picture of a dream, “Tightrope” is a smooth, two-step-style tune with a peaceful main riff and a hefty build-up.  It is melodically-moving and a masterful way to close out an album as great as Fanclub.

  1. “My World” (マイ・ワールド Mai Wārudo) from Sol-Fa

Despite being hard to decipher, “My World” is a great song.  It has a strong melody and an excellent pre-chorus that really make it stand out.  This is one where it’s really hard to say anything particularly clever, so I say just give it a listen.

  1. “A Lost Dog and the Beats of the Rain” (迷子犬と雨のビート Maigoinu to Ame no Beat) from Magic Disk

Used as the opening for the anime series “Tatami Galaxy”, “Maigoinu to Ame no Beat” is a pretty unique song for Ajikan.  It features a lot of the band’s staples but adds a brass section and a touch of ska to the mix.  It’s experimental for sure but works very well and it ranks high among my favorites, just outside of the top 10!


Maigoinu To Ame No Beat @ Yojouhan Shinwa…

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My 40 Favorite Asian Kung-Fu Generation Songs – Part 1 (40-31)

  1. “N2” from Landmark

Kicking off this list, we have “N2”, a song that is darker in tone than most of their other songs, especially compared to what you would hear most their more recent albums.  For me, Landmark was somewhat of a disappointment, unable to live up to the high standard set by Magic Disk.  A few great songs stand out, though.  N2, a song about economic destitution, demoralization and anger, it’s a pretty aggressive tune.

  1. “Planet” (惑星, Wakusei) from World World World

Keeping with Ajikan’s common themes of self-empowerment and anti-authoritarianism, “Planet” calls for everyone to aspire to be more than even you thought you could be.  Inspirational as many of their tunes are, Planet is touched by a punk tone that is very “AKFG”.  The rhythm changes, sudden shift to off-notes and diving bass lines make this one of their more unique tracks.

  1. “Understand” (アンダースタンド Andāsutando) from Connected to You 5m

“Understand” is somewhat cryptic.  It could be lost in the translation but it seems to be about a person who is wracked by an unbearable grief for something that is not entirely their fault and the message is somewhat of comforting empathy.  While I generally like Ajikan’s later stuff a little more, “Understand” is a great modern punk song.

  1. “World Apart” (ワールドアパート Wārudo Apāto) from Fanclub

For me, 2006’s Fanclub was the first time AKFG’s greatness would shine through, and songs from this album will frequent this list.  Having a powerful lyrical melody, there is a force of passion in the vocals that would become a common element in many of AKFG’s more energetic tunes.  The driving drums, guitar solo and heavily distorted guitars give this one a louder edge as well.

  1. “Easter” from Wonder Future

From 2015’s Wonder Future, Easter paints a pretty morbid picture in its lyrics.  Images of death, themes of careless abandon, even gore are scribbled throughout the lyrics.  This one is a little cryptic and it may be a little lost in translation.  There are references to rebirth or resurrection (hence the title), however the rest of the lyrics are more strange than anything else.  “Easter” hearkens back to the sound of their first two albums, the sound that made them famous, and is an interesting return from the more dramatic, alternative sound they had embraced in albums leading up to Wonder Future.

  1. “Bicycle Race” (バイシクルレース Baishikuru Rēsu) from Landmark

Warm, effected guitar, a peaceful sound and a charging lead in an upbeat, almost 90’s-sounding chorus make “Bicycle Race” one of the best tracks on Landmark.  Themes of picking up pieces of something broken, a cheeriness highlights an optimism for a happy end.  Whether it comes is another question…

  1. “After Dark” (アフターダーク “Afutā Dāku”) from World World World

The imagery in “After Dark” implies that something really bad has happened.  Something that isn’t clearly defined.  The lyrics are dichotomous to the upeat song.  Anime fans will know this song as one of the openings to the popular series Bleach.

  1. “Butterfly” (バタフライ Batafurai) from Fanclub

“Butterfly” explores an idea of coming out on the other side of hardship, or just a down period, stronger than before. Showcasing Ajikan’s musicality, this song’s mixing of moods and melodic structures built on a minor key layer well.  Especially in the intro leading into the first chorus.  The funk-inspired bass mixed with the muted guitar make this another winner from Fanclub.

  1. “Eternal Sunshine” from Wonder Future

A musically-moving, driving chorus caps a well-structured alt-rock tune in “Eternal Sunshine”.  A song about lost love and moving on, it features mixed musical tones with a peaceful guitar riff.  These picked, simple-but-melodic riffs are a specialty of Ajikan.  In an era where rock riffs are stale and uninspired they try to write structured guitar tunes that carry very well.  Gotoh’s shaky vocals are the only thing that keep this one out of the top 20.  It’s still a great song.

  1. “Rewrite” (リライト Riraito) from Sol-Fa

One of AKFG’s most famous song thanks to it being featured as an intro on the hit series Fullmetal Alchemist, “Rewrite” is just a great, kickass song.  Utilizing some traditional rock formulas, this song has some distinctly-classic-rock qualities.  The simple guitar riffs layer well and tie the heavy, aggressive chorus together.

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