小悪魔へヴン

If, after seeing the first installment in GACKT’s ten-year-countdown campaign, you were like me and felt skeptical, and possibly a little disappointed, I have good news for you. My first concern when I saw GACKT’s most recent singles was that he was leaning too much to the mainstream of Jpop. Considering everything GACKT has on his plate right now (five singles, a nationwide tour finishing up, filming a movie in Romania, etc), it wouldn’t be unjustified to be worried about the quality of all these releases.

When I first heard the previews for first and second ‘heaven’s, Faraway ~ Hoshi ni Negai wo and 小悪魔へヴン, I felt like I was in for some disappointment. They were not the style I was expecting from GACKT, and, unlike Ghost and Jesus which had immediately striking previews, I was not possessed by the un-exorcisable need to pounce on these singles.

But I did the sensible thing, and took my own advice: I trusted GACKT’s unpredictable latest swing, and ordered 小悪魔へヴん [hereby referred, for ease of comprehension, by its Romanization: Koakuma Heaven].

l_p1020055302Koakuma Heaven sounds like an unusual GACKT-song title, so let me clarify: Koakuma Heaven is named after the young-women’s fashion magazine Koakuma Ageha [小悪魔ageha], which is marketed primarily at host-club girls. This is the reason why, when looking at the lyrics, they are written in Japanese girl- txt-speak (the equivalent of our “L337”), full of emoticons and smileys etc, and sung from a woman’s perspective. ‘Koakuma’ means ‘little devil’. ‘Koakuma ageha’ translates as ‘little devil butterfly of the night’. We can all guess where GACKT is going with this.

Here’s something– after browsing around on the web for a while, I noticed one recurring theme in reference to Koakuma Heaven. Webbies appear to have created bandwagon codes they slap onto GACKT songs. Their all-time favorite is the ‘four words:’ one– “As. Perverted. As. Vanilla.” Before we continue, I’d like to address this. Two things. 1) why is it such a huge deal? 2) As perverted as Vanilla? As perverted as Dispar? As perverted as…No. I didn’t think so.

Let me explain. First of all, if the only reason anyone cares about songs like Koakuma Heaven and Vanilla is because they’re so risque, that’s just plain immature. (An almost laughable statement, considering it is webites we’re talking about). Secondly, sex is just not a big deal in Japan. In the US if people sing about sex, they tend to kind of whisper through it, like they know how bad they’re being and isn’t it so cool and all that. In Japanese rock, they love to sing about getting game. And they don’t pinch pennies either. If you’re going to do it, do it all the way!

When I was visiting Japan with Roukun, we went to karaoke with a group of middle-aged friends. Roukun opened the session with the oh-so-terribly-perverted Vanilla, and the only comment they had was on the quality of his performance. Nobody said anything about the musical content. This song would have been embarrassing to sing in English for our grandparents, though, yeah?

Here are the lyrics, so you can see the odd combination of katakana, hiragana, and emoticons that create Japanese L337:

小悪魔ヘヴン

巻き髪を かき上げて ☆
濡れたリップで Up and Down
欲張りッしユに 3回戦 4回戦 5回戦…
オシャベリゎ 上級者なωデス (*^ロ^*)

愛情の欠落ゎ サイフの厚みで
ガマンしてま~すゥ m(__)m

恋をするのも 気楽ぢゃないんで
頑張ッてま~すゥ ハイッ (-_-#)
ナニが何でも 頑張るウチらゎ
いいオンア…なんデス、ハイッ♪

ブチアゲな 曲に合わせ ☆
濡れたヒップを Upside Down ★
好きなナンバーゎ 6(*・Д・)9
ハイッ、 脳脳脳脳天気… なんデス ∖(^o^)/

サイコーな決めポーズで
「本命のカレシ!? wow 性してますゥ!!(^_^)!!」
(ホントだョ)

いやになるほど キライぢゃないんで
小股者デス、 ハイッ (¯ロ¯;)
ナニを何度も 頑張るウチらゎ
いいオンア…なんデス、ハイッ♪

恋をするのも 気楽ぢゃないんで
頑張ッてま~すゥ ハイッ v(^_^)v
ナニが駄目でも 頑張るウチらゎ
いいオンア… (デショ?)

濃い~のするのも 若くはないんで
頑張ッてま~すゥ ハイッ (¯ロ¯;)!!
ナニが誰のでも 頑張るウチらゎ
いいオンア…なんデス、ハイッ♪

Koakuma Heaven is a petite single, with only 2 vocal tracks + the complementing instrumentals.

Where Papa Lapped a Pap Lopped goes left and right, Koakuma Heaven goes up and down– as GACKT sings in the first verse. He uses the same voice-effects that he used in GHOST, and even though I usually prefer him au natural, it really works for this high-energy dance track, unlike anything in his repertoire so far.

One thing I thought on my own and later matched up with what other people were saying about Koakuma Heaven is that it has a very DDR-track feel. I would not be surprised if the Japanese versions of the game incorporate this song down the road. It’s utterly irresistible– even if you nailed yourself to a chair, you’d still find your head bobbing or your feet tapping. Interesting, seeing as GACKT has not supplied much dance-fare up till now.

Along with a moody melody, brought up to euphoric techno bliss by all the crazy effects, GACKT is accompanied by a female chorus of “hai!”s here and there that enhances the feminine pop feel. Similar to Vanilla (but only in this regard), Koakuma Heaven is upbeat with spunk, but has that particular dark thread in there– GACKT’s dark humor? Most likely. The yellow, pink, neon-flashing sparkle of a song is sung from the perspective of a hostess*. Nice.

[The general conclusion is that the song is sung from the perspective of a prostitute, but in keeping with the ageha theme, this seems unlikely. Japan, especially Osaka, is peppered with ‘host clubs’– places where men and women go and spend money to hang out with gorgeous, funny, cool “hosts”. Yes– there’s sex involved (for a high enough price), but basically one host-boy described the work as ‘faking romantic relationships with clients’. It’s therefore likely that GACKT is singing from the perspective of a hostess, and not a prostitute.]

So do it, look for the unlike-GACKT piece you were expecting. Put the CD in and crank it up, and expect to be blown away. It may take a few listen-throughs before you can begin to pick out everything you like about GACKT, but I assure you, once you do, you will be proud to add Koakuma Heaven to your collection.

arena37_0901_gackt_05

The second track was also surprising, although not nearly as striking as Koakuma Heaven— which admittedly is quite something to follow up. Nonetheless, My Father’s Day is one of those songs you may think at first you can’t get into, but let yourself be surprised by this one, too. It starts up feeling like we’re in for another Marmalade, but My Father’s Day, even if it lacks certain ‘somethings’ at times, is cheer-ifyingly unique and uplifting.

GACKT loses the voice-alteration for more of a traditional rock piece. The melody is a carefully crafted blend of happiness and melancholy, another one of those GACKT pieces that makes you feel like you’re sitting in a sun-shower or something. It’s raining and you’re bawling your eyes out and yet there’s something about it that makes you feel happy anyway.

Koakuma Ageha Magazine

Koakuma Ageha Magazine

15 responses to “小悪魔へヴン

    • It’s amazing, isn’t it? In an interview, Gackt states that the young members of his staff advised strongly against it, saying it was bad for his image. It was certainly… unexpected…

      • But on the other hand: it’s so like Gackt to do something like this, so unexpected and not really normal xD
        But he really pulls the girl look off xD

      • Hah! That’s why it’s forever exhilarating whenever Gackt promises to release a new single/album– we all just have to lock our jaws and twiddle our thumbs and hope for the best….Then again, weren’t we all more or less expecting Gackt to do this at one point or another? To be perfectly honest, when I first saw his new lineup, I didn’t know what to think. But in this case a little faith went a long way– koakuma is an incredible single.
        And you’re perfectly right– he looks absolutely beautiful dressed up like that…but if it hadn’t been initially put out there that it was him, probably none of us would have guessed….

      • Well, the backside of the single has a close up of him as a girl and it is noticeable. He just has this face you know^^

        But you know what I’m wondering about? You know how Gack always bringsout a few singles and then a cd? For as far as I know there hasn’t been a new one since diabolos even though there were singles brought out(returner and such)

        So it makes me wonder when the next album will come out and what will happen to returner and redemption and those other songs I’ve forgotten the name of(baaaad).

      • Do you mean that the Dears version has a close-up of him?

        The back of the regular edition single is interesting, though– and telling. The front cover shows Gackt surrounded by Ageha Girls, and the back image shows the same exact girls in a slightly different pose, with a little glittery swirl of light where Gackt should be (but isn’t anymore).

        You’re right– we’ve been high and dry since Diabolos, and the past few years have only seen a few staggered singles. Whether Gackt has an album in the works or not is still a complete mystery– but IMPO it seems somewhat unlikely. Considering how many singles he’s been pumping out, it seems like a tall order to suddenly up and release an album right after putting out 8 brand new singles. You’re correct in your noting that he usually precedes albums with some singles, but I mean, 8 singles? He’s nearly at a CD track-list right there. As far as “what will happen to Returner and Redemption“, your guess is as good as mine. I know that many groups have been putting out Singles and B-Sides Collection albums….but somehow I can’t see it on the Gackt shelf?
        Not to say that it’s not entirely possible that Gackt the Japanese Superman will release an album relatively soon. Like everyone, I’m waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting….

      • HOOORAY for the eternal avatar!
        I think a new album will be out soon, heard something about him being in studio a lot.

        Btw, when I comment on my own blog do you see that?
        Since I can only reply once I was wondering.

        I want to go couchsurfing someday. Maybe go to Japan too. But first Nepal xD And don’t worry about your cd addiction, I suffer from it too! The cheaper the better xD
        I tried to order a cd of Pistol Valve today but it was out of stock! Just when I had finished saving too

      • If you don’t mind me asking, which Pistol Valve CD are you looking for, and where did you try to order it from?

      • Ratatatat and I tried to order it from on of my country’s sites. I can only pay writing a money order And this one is the only one to accept that.
        It’s a good site actually, also got my Gackt cd’s from there.

      • Have you tried CDJapan? They ship directly from Japan (for me, shipping from them is cheaper than ordering from the US), and the service is absolutely excellent. I do believe they accept payment by money order. You should check it out– there’s a link on my blog. Nothing worse than waiting around for back-orders to be fulfilled.

  1. I looked there and I can’t use that one either. We don’t have IMPO here-.- So I still can’t send them a money order. The only way I can get cd’s is if I’m lucky. That site I just mentioned sometimes has them. Other then that I have to go to place like our marketplace.com, too bad no one sells asain stuff there

    But maybe I’ll write that shop a mail and then ask for the salyu and pistol valve cd to be brought in.

      • Yeah I hope so too. My only chance is that shop,downloading and going to japan. I can only see the first happen.
        Or I could get a creditcard but I’ve heard some stories about how people got their money stolen from them….

  2. I have to correct you on the info for ZAN, it’s not You but Chachamaru who’s singing the rapping part. :)

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