30 Day L’Arc~En~Ciel Challenge: 30 - Your “all time” favorite song
(Whoops, haha, forgot to do the last day of this.)
30 Day L’Arc~En~Ciel Challenge: 29 -
A cover by yourself Your favorite song from Butterfly (Taking a little liberty here. XD;; )
Good Luck My Way (released 2011)
So catchy. Upbeat lyrics. Nice mix of pop and hard guitar (seriously the speed guitar here blends in so naturally it’s surprising that it’s even in a pop rock song like this).
It also has lots of sentimental value to me, because it was released shortly after 20th L’Anniversary at Ajinomoto. The single wasn’t out but I turned the PV into an mp3 and listened to it on most of my flight to Japan— I knew they’d play it at the concerts! The PV played outside of the stadium on a jumbotron in the rain, right next to the KUA’AINA sandwich truck. Hearing this song reminds me of being in the typhoon, cheering in the audience, wearing the hood towel with everyone else.
30 Day L’Arc~En~Ciel Challenge: 28 - Some goods you own
Just picked stuff from the top of my boxes or around the house.
(There’s just NO WAY I’m taking pictures of everything. D8)
30 Day L’Arc~En~Ciel Challenge: 27 - Your favorite P’UNK~EN~CIEL song
Milky Way (released 2004)
The first song they released was the best IMO. XD; It sounded the most punk (though I Wish is also fine), which I understand might not mean the same in Japan than it would to a westerner, but when I hear “punk,” this is what I expect.
But this version gave a new life to a song that was already sweet and fun.
The idea that a band switches parts and makes a new band to cover their own songs is hilarious, anyway. Seeing tetsuya on vocals gives an interesting glimpse of what L’Arc would have sounded like if he wasn’t able to recruit hyde, and while ken (for example) plays some passable drums, it only makes me appreciate just how amazing yukkie is at drums. I’ve heard P’UNK~EN~CIEL live— ken gets tired, haha. XD You NEVER hear any pause or slowing down when yukihiro’s playing live. It’s also funny to see that yukihiro, not being stuck behind drums at first, had NO idea what to do with himself now that every limb of his body wasn’t busy playing percussion, haha.
30 Day L’Arc~En~Ciel Challenge: 26 - Your favorite B-side
Peeping Tom (released 1998)
From the Dive to Blue single.
The lyrics are borderline creepy-stalker but somehow whimsical anyway, and I’m just charmed by the accordion and mellow bass. The sound is as quirky as the lyrics! :D
Though I’ve never met you I know everything,
Like when you’re quiet or when you’re awake
When you can’t sleep at night, I see it all.
It’s tedious! Even though I can hear summer approaching
This is all so stupid, but what a tragedy, isn’t it?
30 Day L’Arc~en~Ciel Challenge: 25 - Your favorite song from Kiss
ALONE EN LA VIDA (released 2007)
That’s a tough choice— there are so many I love from this album, like Daybreak’s Bell, sunadokei, SEVENTH HEAVEN, THE BLACK ROSE… hell, even Pretty Girl’s grown on me.
It’s lamentful and beautiful. The background vocals add something special, too, and there’s something switched up and different about the drumming style for this one (ken, though, seems like his usual awesome self as he continues to play gorgeous guitar).
Fadeless bittersweet days, days of joy and the memory of love
And what I’ve learned is that love undermines sorrow
My love for you is the proof of myself
Even if I don’t leave a single footprint behind
This life is still on the road…and so I go
Oh, okay. ♥
(I think hyde and ken’s parts are my go-to favorite parts of L’Arc songs.)
30 Day L’Arc~en~Ciel Challenge: 24 - Your favorite song from Awake
抒情詩 (jojoushi) [released 2005]
Another ballad as a favorite (which I generally have no patience for) with dexterous instrumentality, and just enough sentimentality without being overblown. It seems earnest.
It’s not a song you have to think about too much— it’s all turning romance into a sensory experience with a swirling orchestra, tetsu’s signature melodic bass, and ken’s singing guitar (yukihiro’s drums seem to retain its usual precision but somehow remain gentle). Live it’s gorgeous (especially in more recent performances where hyde’s singing the first verses a cappela, dslfkjslfjdslfk). It’s a musical daydream.
30 Day L’Arc~en~Ciel Challenge: 23 - Your favorite song from SMILE
瞳の住人 (hitomi no juunin) (from 2004)
Generally I don’t have patience for ballads, but this… It’s a love song with the same level of care that hyde generally puts into his lyrics (in making them pop and accessible, yet not completely stock), but it’s alluding to a passage of time. ”Why am I still with you?” it asks. ”Because I want to see each changing moment with you,” it answers. All of the imagery in the lyrics evokes this through fleeting things, like a lover’s scent, the sun going down, flowers blooming (and in turn, dying), seasons changing, etc.
My favorite lines in this song are at the end:
“One day, I’d like to take you to see that vibrant season,
To where the flowers are; Like snow, they bloom in the sky
(The “vibrant season” I believe, refers to a culmination of living an entire life with this person.) It’s really beautiful imagery that I’m not often drawn to.
But also? DAT GUITAR. I think one of ken’s most iconic guitar riffs (which is saying a lot, as all that guy seems to DO is create iconic guitar riffs) is in this song. It opens with it, and midway through the song it starts again and moves into a solo. It is probably one of THE most beautiful solos in L’Arc’s catalogue, IMO. At concerts, when I hear this song I just close my eyes to listen because it’s so moody and romantic. (usually I’m frantically trying to take in everything that’s happening at concerts, but not for this song, if I can help it).
That guitar stirs my heart. There is no other situation I can think of where I would say this about anything (and with a straight face).
30 Day L’Arc~en~Ciel Challenge: 22 - Your favorite song from REAL
(Tied with STAY AWAY and Love Flies, though)
Aww, I love it because it’s just some crazy rock fun.
I remember a commercial for REAL when it came out, but it’s fuzzy (I haven’t seen it since that time). The guy who played the cop in the Ark/Ray-era commercials was being chased in the desert by crazy L’Arc~en~Ciel mac trucks. He screams while Route 666 is playing in the background.
Also, this is one of the songs that in the background in Tomarunner vs. L’Arc~en~Ciel (remember that game?). That game is all sorts of fun, and I used to play it so damned much. Even my friends who didn’t care about L’Arc thought the game was pretty fun (and ridiculous, and borderline sadistic). Listened to it so many times as I played the game, obviously. (But can’t find a video with it playing D: )
Love driving to it, too. Probably not a good idea, but Route 666 makes me drive faster. XD;;;
30 Day L’Arc~en~Ciel Challenge: 21 - Your favorite song from Ray
いばらの涙 (ibara no namida) [from 1999]
No way around it. This song is epic. It’s five minutes and twenty-two seconds of beauty. It’s a classic among fans and often cited as a favorite because of its musical intricacy and unapologizing drama. When L’Arc performs this song live it is often accompanied by JETS OF REAL FIRE on stage. In arena shows, no matter where you are you can feel the heat; I kid you not. Other than in the performances during this current world tour which have a new techno accompaniment (still sounds amazing), hyde, who doesn’t play with a guitar for most songs at a live show, will play rhythm guitar. L’Arc is usually too immersed in playing this song to participate in their usual hijinks of interacting with the audience or running around the stage, too. This song is serious business.
The title translates to “Thorn Tears,” if you didn’t already have a clue: that’s TEARS… made of THORNS. Someone is already crying fucking thorns, and the song hasn’t started.
You get more clues as to the weight of the story this song wants to tell you, though. In its first few bars you get some intricate guitar, gentle (but complex) percussion, and then you’re pulled into the song with hyde’s vocals as he paints a picture of a ruined world: the lyrics cite a damp, hopeless sky and looming towers.
That’s just the first verse. Then the chorus suddenly explodes (at a concert, this is usually when the fire comes), and by now the FULL FURY of the song is released. Heavy guitar, driving bass, drumming that sounds like gun fire, and ken’s lead guitar fluttering through it all, and there’s no going back now.
The imagery from hyde’s lyrics about a sort of doomed, twisted love come to a climax at the end of the song, where he sings about Heaven Itself coming down to punish the world while he holds his blood and thorn-covered heart out for the one he loves, even as he’s engulfed in flames, body turning to ash, still screaming even after he’s lost his voice. ”This warped love can’t be killed,” he sings.
Meanwhile all four members of L’Arc~en~Ciel play FURIOUSLY after the vocals end— it’s the musical embodiment of a burning inferno as the song comes to a close.
↑ When Heaven’s Drive came out I screencapped their promotional site and turned it into wallpaper.
Heaven’s Drive: (released 1999)
When this song came out in 1999, it had a TON of marketing behind it and a crapload of commercials (and that promo site that I put a pic of up there), the naming contest for the cute little blonde girl in the lyric book (now known as Pinky Honey- remember her? We see an inflatable version of her on the Grand Cross Conclusion DVD), and presented this new, edgy image of L’Arc~en~Ciel (the scandal with Sakura/Sakura’s departure was still fresh, and yukihiro was still earning fans’ trust as the new drummer). They were all over Japan when this song came out— a friggin’ cultural phenomenon.
The song had flavors of hard and alternative rock as well as nuances of ska in the chorus, and some rambunctious lyrics from hyde, too. It was SO COOL at the time. I listened to it all day long, and constantly had it playing in my car.
Its PV was pretty distinctive at the time, and the band members all had a fresh, trendy look (not that they’re without stylists now, but back then everyone was copying their style).
For me personally, this song was a lot of things. For a while it was my bad luck song because it played as my boyfriend (husband now) nearly got into a fist fight with another friend, and was playing when I got into a horrible car accident that killed the other driver (a month after getting my license). I avoided listening to it until seeing it live at my first L’Arc concert in 2004 (it took L’Arc to lift the curse. XD)
But it was also the song that got me into L’Arc. I bought the single in a CD store because it had cool packaging (couldn’t download it from my usual mp3 site— the link was broken). It was one of 2 CDs I had with me the summer it came out, when I spent 3 weeks in the Philippines. I wanted to see its music video so I bought the video collection, Chronicle, when that came out, where I first discovered my most favorite song ever (HONEY). Without Heaven’s Drive, I may not be a L’Arc fan today, wouldn’t have taken about a million trips to Japan to see them in concert, and… well, maybe I’d have more money, hahaha.
Also, it’s just a cool song. XD
30 Day L’Arc~En~Ciel Challenge: 19 - Your favorite song from Heart
fate (released 1998)
Argh, I gotta pick one?! D8 Fine, I’ll pick a fan favorite that can reduce me to a bawling idiot at concerts. (It is a rare treat to see this live.) The lyrics are more than your standard love song because it’s about the singer being chased down (in a forest), about to be killed, and his dying thought is of “you:”
Now they tear through the silence
Now they alight…ah
Now they take aim
And at the moment they fire…
I think of you bittersweetly
These arms, this heart
I shiver, freezing
Only you, only you
↑ That first part here, it’s sung after ken’s solo, when hyde holds his arms out.
Musically, this is a thing of beauty, too. The beginning of the song is so bare-bones that you might not notice until seeing it performed (in a video or in person). After the opening guitar riff all the first verse is, is drum + bass, (with that percussive tapping that goes throughout the entire song). Then there are short, quick accents of guitar; ken just taps the neck of the guitar at first before completely jumping in to progress the rest of the verses. Layers of sound slowly build and then fade away at the end.
Easily one of the coolest bass lines from tetsu(ya), right in this song.
30 Day L’Arc~En~Ciel Challenge: 18 - Your favorite song from True
Lies and Truth (released 1996)
Sakura’s last single before leaving L’Arc (not counting the Fourth Avenue Cafe since if was pulled off the shelves and never acknowledged). :( So melodramatic. Such amazing delivery from hyde: every word he sings, is emotionally fueled (especially if you see this live or on DVD). Sakura’s drumming holds the song together, so that tetsu’s bass parts can drive the melody in the right places. In that part before each chorus starts (where hyde sings, “Ah, sukoshi mada furueteru, etc. etc.”) the bass is just perfectly melodic. There are parts where the bass and guitar play off of each other (during the quick pauses for bass solos, first you hear tetsu, and then ken echoes similar notes in response). ken’s parts aren’t intrusive or excessively showy but during his solo it really heightens the lamentful mood of the song. Damn song gives me goosebumps in the right mood.
30 Day L’Arc~En~Ciel Challenge: 17 - Your favorite song from Heavenly
ガラス玉 (garasu dama) [released 1995]
A song about drowning to death. I love it so much that I felt compelled to translate it along with functioningsparkleaddict over AIM once:
Like a teetering fish
I draw a spiral
A pretty moon flickers on the water
Tired of swimming, my skin gently glows and…
My spilling sighs are glass spheres
So much light collecting, spiraling up
Words into the silence
The moon gently rocks over the waves, but
My chest tightened
from an endless stream of memories
Bringing those gentle and exciting moments
embraced by time into the silence
…because I can no longer swim
Now another ripple from a frozen droplet spreads to my fingertips…
Ah, you can see that moment when all is pure white
fading little by little
I already can’t even remember that song
Ah, at this rate it looks like I’m going to vanish
into the silence
A pretty moon flickers on the water
Tired of swimming, my skin gently glows…
30 Day L’Arc~En~Ciel Challenge: 16 - Your favorite song from Tierra
In the Air. (released 1994)
A notable characteristic in early L’Arc songs is the fact that tetsuya’s bass guitar tends to play almost as lead guitar in some parts, as you can hear so clearly in the beginning of this song.
Tierra’s their first album on a major label. It’s an iconic favorite from that time. When they opened with this song, during the two-day 20th L’Anniversary concert at Ajinomoto, I thought it was extremely fitting because of these two things, and the fact that the first notes we hear from L’Arc~en~Ciel on that day came from Leader. :D
Lyrics are nice, too. So evocative of their songs from that time because there’s this element of fantasy with a twinge of darkness:
With your eyes closed
And knives sticking out of your back like wings
You kick off from the ground
The sky is filled to the brim with an endless, clear blue
Kiss this ground
That has made you kneel so many times
You shut your ears to the noise, but if you listen closely
You can hear everything breathing The sky is filled to the brim with an endless, clear blue
You fly over the earth
Just staring at it
You fly over the earth
Can’t you see I am tied to the ground?
You’re falling into the sky
Falling deep into the bottomless sky And then you grab…grab a cloud!
You fly over the earth
And finally you melt into the sky You’re floating in the air
I just stood stock still and watched it all
- translated by Megchan