Sammy the Seal

“Our nature’s working against us and shooting down our plans”

In music videos, vinyl on Friday, 25 May, 2012 at 15:36


Song: Transparence
Artist: Asobi Seksu
Album: Hush


Song: Transparence
Album: Transparence 10″

Such bittersweet, dreamy and immaculate beauty. Normally a song will grab me, but it seldom reflects on my current state. If it matches it, it’s usually a coincidence. I don’t post “message” songs, it’s kinda hokey, and, to be frank, a little self-involved. Mostly, I just like a song. Well, this is one of those exceptions, sort of. I’ve loved this band and this song, so it’s as much them as anything, if not more. It probably wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love them, actually. It’s pretty much a things-gone-amiss-between-two-people thing, but it’s also so sparkling and lovely with a perky rhythm to prevent excessive mope. The guitar line in between the two verses (the “if we get to sleep tonight” part) is just too sweet, and those lyrics somehow make it sound better, along with the bounce of the drum. And then, it gives way to that even prettier one-note riff that floats over the second verse. Hush rubbed some small-minded people the wrong way with its cleaned-up, cooler, polished sound, and in fact, I believe James Hanna said something about wanting to strip away all the noise and build the songs back up from scratch. Certainly a daring approach/change of direction, coming off the thing that got you noticed in the first place. I personally prefer their bigger sonics, but for what they set out to try, it acquits itself pretty well. If it was said out loud, but surely it was intentional to push Yuki’s vocals to the center, where they can’t hide. We can focus on how much more her soprano has progressed. Once again, her vocal performance is just wonderful all around, but my favorite part is on the refrain, especially her delivery of “mirrors”– oh yeah. Plus the second part of each verse– “talking over one another” and “these are the story”, pretty sweet too. Hmm, did I just cover the whole song? Yeah, throw it all in there.

It may seem pointless to include two copies of the song, especially since the only difference between the two versions is the respective intros. However, the second one has a weightier, slightly moodier tone, which affects the way I listen to the song. The album version is still bittersweet, but feels a little lighter. The 10″ version sounds more ponderous and resigned and forlorn. But, it’s all in how you finish, and both of them find themselves carried away in the rush of that rousing, dramatic conclusion. Yuki ain’t no delicate Japanese flower. She can wail.

The version of the song used in the video is from the 10″, which I think I like better. It’s a slightly more enjoyable listen just because of that. Interesting what starting off on a different foot can do. Nice, low-key video, too. No plot, no grand concept, just a day at the lake. I really like how the surface-of-the-water shots fit into the song structure. There’s just something about the view at/below the surface with Yuki floating on the water… Good uncomplicated imagery. Then again, AS videos tend to include a lot of Yuki fawning.

I’m not saying I have them perfect, but man are the lyrics available online wrong as hell. Remember not to believe everything you read on the internet. People just lazy, cut and paste, don’t find things out for themselves. Of particular great use was this live version for a session they did at SXSW in 2009:

Yeah, I’m pretty sure she’s not saying “chewing down the plants”– moron sheep.

“We can figure out ways to complain there’s nothing new
afternoons spent on a park bench where everyone acts like you
talking over one another
this time was better, that way was better
don’t really know you, I think you hate me
you gave me nothing, and I offered less than you

pull out the doorstops and reach for the lights
someday is coming, so we’ll hold ourselves tight
cover our mirrors, nothing feels right
someday is coming, but we’ll stay asleep tonight

if we get to sleep tonight

we can laugh our heads off when no one understands
our nature’s working against us and shooting down the plans
these are the story, I’m such a criminal
if anyone saw me, I’d be so embarrassed
what’s up about you, what’s up about me
you sounded ______, and I offered less than you

pull out the doorstops and reach for the lights
someday is coming, so we’ll hold ourselves tight
cover our mirrors, nothing feels right
someday is coming, but we’ll stay asleep tonight

spelling our daydreams
I’m catching myself in time
spelling out our daydreams
I caught myself in time”

(Anyone know what goes in the blank? Or any other error?)

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