GACKT Puts New Meaning in ‘Waiting forEVER’

The word ‘update’ is no longer worthy of describing these dramatic plot twists in the ongoing epic drama that is the narrative of trying to finally acquire a copy of GACKT’s new single, Ever. These are ‘developments’.

In any case, the latest development is an economic disaster. I have ‘been informed’ that for anyone shopping at CDJapan (I don’t know if this applies to other vendors as well), if you buy both the limited edition and regular editions of Ever, you will be qualified to receive another external bonus (along with the original changeable jacket). The bonus is a special making-of [Ever] DVD that will only be available through the methods of showering Avex with your monetary support by buying two copies.

The DVD will become available to ship sometime in August or September (you’ve waited this long, a few more months won’t kill you– or maybe they will, Avex doesn’t care). The DVD is free, but you will be charged a shipping fee.

If you haven’t ordered your copy [copies] yet, I recommend doing so before the first-press with bonuses sell out.

Ever [Regular Edition / Jacket B] / GACKT

Ever [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Jacket A] / GACKT

In the meantime, in the tradition of all the latest posts on Secret Garden, we’ll do nothing particularly productive, but rather spend word-count on critiquing the album artwork.

EVER Regular Vers.

Somehow I have a feeling that someone, somewhere on the web, is laughing at you, GACKT. Honestly, I think that this is one of the most surprising of his album covers. I mean, sure it doesn’t pack shock-value like Koakuma did, but it has its own way of stunning and killing a few braincells. First of all, let me say how much I like this cover. I think the doubling effect is quite neat, the font is totally awesome, and everything about GACKT’s stance, outfit, and facial expression is too cool.

The Michael Jackson homage is too blatant to be real, I know. That’s part of what surprised me at first. Despite being really classy, the cover just doesn’t feel…like GACKT. However, because it doesn’t feel like his usual stuff in such an awesome way, to say it’s fresh and interesting would be more apt than ‘out of place’. He’s really been…creative with the album artwork lately. I’m highly suspicious of anything GACKT releases with a pink cover, but I’m not passing any judgments until I hear the finished product.

This cover is so much more interesting than…

EVER Limited Vers.

And then there was Belskard. Enough said.

Yes, I know I gave him the wrong fictional name. It has been rectified.

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Nippon Crown, Dethroned?


The other day the news started going around about a summer single for GACKT, which was not yet announced officially on his website, and the details for which were limited simply to the release date. The mystery around this enigmatic summer single seems to have been undone yesterday evening, with the announcement appearing all over Japanese online news sources, that there’s quite a bit more than just a new release to announce for the rock god.

Everyone who knows GACKT will be, I’m sure, equally familiar with the name “Nippon Crown”, that is, the noble tagline of the Jrock King– his royal record label. However, it seems that they have abdicated (and by that I mean GACKT dethroned them), as news declares that GACKT will leave Nippon Crown as his distribution company and move to the well-known AVEX label. Although GACKT attended a press-conference yesterday, presumably to discuss the topic, no official announcements have been made on his website, so it seems likely that the information was leaked prematurely.

It is worth mentioning that unlike kingly Nippon Crown, the AVEX group will most likely encourage a wider range of international activities and releases, and will give GACKT a wider reach in regards to world domination. One of the articles hints at a possible European tour being in the works for Summer ’10, but I would like to counter that by reminding everyone (we are all highly agitated about this, I know, but still) that GACKT is already cramming both the YFC tour and Nemuri into every possible chronological nook and cranny this summer, therefore despite the thrill of that suggestion, it seems highly unlikely.

The single, to be releases June 16th, will be GACKT’s debut release with AVEX.

I would like to thank Ryuutatsu for tipping me off about this, and credit GACKT ARMY and the Dears Community, at LiveJournal, and Tokyograph.

G’s Faraway Makes Me Long for Oblivion…

 One of his more aptly titled songs of, well, ever, Faraway~Hoshi ni Negai wo~ is just that– faraway from ever being one of his more memorable pieces. Not only that, but the sub-title, Hoshi ni Negai wo is one of those particularly annoying song/album titles that gets used by pretty much every single band ever founded.

 The “2nd Heaven” of his ten year anniversary countdown campaign, Faraway follows suit with the outrageous album cover of 1st Heaven Koakuma Heaven, which showed a crowd of host-girls, one of which is a dragster GACKT. Faraway’s two album covers depict a blonde woman (most likely a CGed GACKT) tossing her bra, and the second is also pretty self-explanatory:

 Jrock bands must really be struggling to get their albums noticed, now that such vast multitudes of bands are flooding Tower Records’ Jpop section. I remember Flumpool used a similar tactic on one of their album covers not long ago. The fan-service covers aside,

 Faraway is another one of those generally un-memorable but sweet upbeat pop songs such as Marmalade and Road that GACKT is not renowned for. Although it has some really precious moments, like the growly vocals, the opening verse, and the bridge to chorus which, although not inspired in its melody, is charming with the clapping hands and everything. This song is basically a feel-good pop-rock song, annoying and charming in equal measure. It has a super upbeat, summery feel, and could be passably cool to blare while driving along in high summer.

 That being said, where Faraway missed the mark, its shortcomings are completely and totally made up for by dutiful B-side Oblivious~Kao no Nai Tenshi (Angel Without a Face). This song is an absolute gem. It feels straight out of the MARS era, and falls into the category of those songs which, although not well known, are all treasures in their own right, such as Birdcage, Emu~For my Dear, and Leeca. Slow and steady, with acoustic effects, and that perfect blend of melancholy and resignation mixed with the perfect feeling of empowerment and downloading the strength to carry on, despite anything and everything–that we originally felt in melancholica-best-ever Leeca. This song is absolutely worth the entire single, and, in my personal opinion, should have been the A-side. Except that then the 2 sad songs + 2 happy songs recipe of the campaign would have been obsolete.

 Although, yeah, it has that slightly understated B-side affectation, this song is in every way glorious. Yeah, it’s not the hit of the century, but it has real feeling, that and the older-era feel (back when lower-case letters were still honorable enough to spell out Gackt). This is seriously one of my favorite songs of 2009, and is one of those rare pieces you can just repeat over and over again without ever tiring of.

 In conclusion, the shallow superficiality of Faraway is totally overwhelmed by, and excused by, the sincereity of feeling and pure empowering qualities of its perfect B-side, Oblivious.

 

 

Suddenly Reviewing Lost Angels for No Reason

I’m pretty proud of that title, by the way. And anyone who has seen the track-list for GACKT’s Summer ’09 decade marking fourth release, LOST ANGELS, ought to be pretty impressed that I was able to use the entire track-list for one post title!

I think I made my suspicions about GACKT and his tenth anniversary countdown singles pretty clear when they started coming out last Summer…What with GACKT dressing as a host-girl and everything. They seemed really suspicious, that is, until fall/winter when GACKT went and got a sidesaddle perm. And then they seemed perfectly normal. Just took some contrast.

The four-part countdown releases were an interesting mixture of music. From electro-pop bubblegum sensation Koakuma Heaven, to mediocre Faraway, to mainstream-feeling but powerful anyway Flower, there were ups and downs, as well as many ?? moments from fans across the globe. For anyone who was startled by the “newness” which seemed to strike a strange panic into GACKT fandom, LOST ANGELS came as a gentle, reassuring pat, as if to say, “Don’t worry, it’s still GACKT.”

Comprised of a-side LOST ANGELS, and 2 b-sides (Suddenly and No Reason), LOST ANGELS was the most Gacktese of all the countdown singles. A powerful, magical piece with all the Gacktian fixings, LOST ANGELS is a ballad that sparkles with all the newness of freshly fallen snow, while retaining a fundamental core of (particularly Diabolos era) the ballads we already know and love.

The piece is a combination of intensity and mellowness, with relatively flat, elegant verses paired with rolling, rockin’ choruses, and some beautiful vocals that were last heard on Journey Through the Decade. LOST ANGELS is packed with orchestral strings arrangements, piano, and nicely undulant guitar parts. Although some of the lyrics are pretty familiar fare with all the usual dakishimet-ing and kimi wo wasurenai-ing, the chorus especially has really nice new vocabulary– the warai aetara‘s are particularly gripping and satisfying. The whole piece has a gentleness, as if it’s not trying to take over the world– just trying to touch its heart. And it certainly does that.


Although also not mind-blowingly original or b-sides of the era or anything, honestly the following songs feel like a continuation of (dare I say it?) my favorite original album, Rebirth. The album packed with songs nobody can remember the name of, finally gets an energetic sequel with No Reason and Suddenly. Thought I already kind of hurt their compositional feelings with the paragraph’s opening statement, honestly, I think both b-sides rock. They feel like like that older era of GACKT, back when he was particularly progressive and experimental; back when he used weird, dissonant effects and driven, gloomy melodies. Oh wait, he still does– but you know what I mean.

The second song, No Reason, is in my personal opinion the true heart of the single. Cool, aloof, prickling with edginess, and with a bit of an attitude, No Reason is a truly cool song, and despite also having a low-key nature, for me at least, it stands out the most out of the three tracks.

Akin to incredible ancestors such as Emu ~for my dear~ and CUBE (don’t even get me started on either of these masterpieces), Suddenly starts out slow, plodding steadily into a pretty goose-bump worthy chorus, which seems to end way too abruptly, and we’re back into that eighteen-million-measures-long GACKT signature verse pattern….This is just an honest-to-goodness awesome gloomy, grumpy, low-key rock ballad that actually wins in its lack of obvious firepower.

In conclusion, this is a  great, emotional single full of all the basic GACKT goodness we can never get enough of. Well-balanced with its selection of pieces, LOST ANGELS delivers tenderness, cool edgy attitude, and moody melancholia respectively in its lineup. This is absolutely a must-have for any self-respecting GACKT fan.


Omedetou!

Omedetou to myself! Neolog, the CD, goods, and media review site hosted by CDJapan, held a Holiday Season 2009 review contest throughout the month of November. Results are in! The winning reviews were posted this morning, and my review of GACKT’s 12月のLove Song,December’s Love Song? Try December’s ONLY Song!”, made the Best Reviews category!

Read the review here on Secret Garden.

Check out the contest results page, and all the other great winners, @here

December’s Love Song? December’s ONLY Song!

I can’t believe it’s already December! At first I felt very resistant to the year coming to such an abrupt close– but here we are, at the finale… And suddenly I’m beginning to feel in the mood for all the celebrating and festivities. After all, there is nothing that inspires a warmer, more lovely feeling than walking along a snowy avenue as star-like flakes float down, clinging to lights-filled branches; sipping hot chocolate; and being with the people you care about– or thinking about them, if being with them isn’t possible.。。。

For some reason there is nothing I like better at the holidays than that blend of melancholy + hopeful that few people can nail just right. Today, as it were, we have business with one of these. You guessed it, of course, the all-time Jpop king GACKT. It’s true, he’s been busier than a beehive in honey-season, but despite all the excitement of new singles, books, and DVDs, perhaps the last month of the year, a time of retrospective and contemplation, is a fitting time to look back on the classic gold of GACKT’s past prizes…

I believe that if you buy his “12月のLove Song”, you should be sent a packet of tissues with the GACKT crest on them. Even the hardest heart cannot resist the paradoxical snowy warmth of this perfect single; and male, female, young, old… if you’re not sobbing into your eggnog by the time the track ends…I just….you need help.

This single, which has to be one of the most translated and performed-in-multiple-languages songs on earth, has captured with incredible clarity and ease the gentleness, sweetness, and dash of sadness that always seems to be imbued into romantics during the last few months of the year.
A time of change, hope, and positive intention are all deeply set into the tenderness of the lyrics, melody, and effects of GACKT’s seasonal masterpiece.

Juunigatsu no Love Song ~ December Love Song

いつの間にか街の中二十二月の慌ただしさがあふれ
小さな手を振りながら大切な人の名前を
呼ぶ

Itsuno ma ni ka machi no naka ni juuni-gatsu no
awatadashisa ga afure
chiisana te o furinagara taisetsu na hito no namae o
yobu

恋人たちの優しさに包まれてこの街にも少し早い冬が訪れる

Koibito-tachi no yasashisa ni tsutsumarete kono
machi ni mo sukoshi hayai fuyu ga otozureru

大切な人だからずっと変わらないで笑っていて
大好きな人だからずっと君だけを抱きしめて。。。

Taisetsu na hito dakara zutto kawaranai de
waratteite
daisuki na hito dakara zutto kimi dake o
dakishimete…

Show-windowを見つめながら方を寄せ合う二人が通り過ぎる
君の事を待ちながら白い吐息に重いを乗せる

Show-window o mitsumenagara kata o yoseau
futari ga toorisugiru
kimi no koto o machinagara shiroi toiki ni omoi o
noseru

見上げた空に粉雪が舞い降りていたずらに二人
の距離をそっと地被ける

Miageta sora ni konayuki ga maioriteitazura ni futari
no kyori o sotto chikazukeru

静かな夜に耳元でささやいた
あの言葉をもう一度そっとつぶやいた

Shizuka na yoru ni mimimoto de sasayaita
ano kotoba o mou ichido sotto tsubuyaita

大切な人だからずっと変わらないで笑っていて
大好きな人だからずっと君だけを抱きしめて。。。

Taisetsu na hito dakara zutto kawaranai de
waratteite
daisuki na hito dakara zutto kimi dake o
dakishimete…

いつまでも抱きしめて。。。
Itsumade mo dakishimete…

君だけを抱きしめて。。。
Kimi dake o dakishimete…

GACKT really gives his all in composition of “12Gatsu no Love Song”, including major orchestration, acoustics, violin, subtle chorus accompaniment, and impressive, magical theatrics in the performance. However, despite being a major production, the simplicity and tenderness of the song cannot be matched, and a bottle of whiskey couldn’t make you feel this warm on a cold night.

The single is the perfect soundtrack to walking down a snowy, well-lit street in December with someone you care about. And whether you’re Japanese, Korean, American/English, or Chinese, you can enjoy this touching piece in your own language. Whichever suits your fancy~ consider it GACKT’s Christmas gift to you. x

Gackt new singles 09/10

GACKT to release new single Dec. 12th 2009: Setsugekka~ the end of silence… Four tracks, including instrumental versions.

and special memorial single in honor of the Kamen Rider Decade series: Stay the Decade Alive (title subject to change/cover image currently unreleased) including the main theme of the theatrical tokusatsu film “Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider W & Decade Movie Taisen 2010.” The single is available in two version, the basic single for 1260 JPY, and the special memorial version for 2900 JPY (price approximate. Check cdjapan for current price and exchange rate in your local currency).