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Somewhere Between the Rainbows...

Posted by H!P46, 29 October 2007 · 1434 views

... are some excellent songs.

I recently bought two Japanese albums. They were both released on 07-10-10 which was really handy given they could be shipped together. They were both Aya albums but that's where the similarity between the two ends. Oh, except for the fact that they're both fantastic and I love both of them. So Aya released two albums on 07-10-10 did she? Well, no. Both albums were Aya albums but I'm talking about two different Ayas. One is idoliscious 松浦亜弥 and the other was rock-pop-a-liscious 上木彩矢. As much as I think the latter is fantastic and her album 「明日のために~Forever More~」 (For Tomorrow ~Forever More~) absolutely destroyed 「ダブル レインボウ」 in the Oricon chart (#8 vs #22), I'm going to talk "everyone's idol" although I do highly recommend people check her out. Her music that is... She doesn't quite have the quality voice of our Aya but it's good enough to make her overall package is A+ in my opinion. Anyway, I should have received both albums on 07-10-13 going by the last few things I've ordered from YesAsia (released on Wednesday, I get them on Saturday) but there have been some postal strikes in Britain which meant that I didn't get them until 07-10-19! <3 Annoying, but not the end of the world because I'd been waiting for it for over a year anyway so what harm would waiting another few days do? XD

Eh? "Waiting for over a year"?! I know... seems odd seeing as 「Naked Songs」 was released 11 months ago but 「ダブル レインボウ」 is what I wanted 「Naked Songs」 to be. I love 「Naked Songs」. I think 「ひとり」 and 「dearest.」 and two of Aya's prettiest songs and I always love rearrangements of her old songs but the album was only 50% what I wanted. You see, on 06-08-20 I wrote in the Aya thread (Post #1832, part 4) that Aya should have an album that didn't involve つんく♂ and this is it. He's not credited for a single song. Don't get me wrong, つんく♂ is a legend but, as I mentioned back in 2006, having no つんく♂ allows other talented songwriters to look at Aya and give their account. True that happened for the 4 original tracks on 「Naked Songs」 but I'm a greedy person. Half an album is nice but I want a full one! XD In the 7 years of her career to date Aya has grown from cute little girl to beautiful woman and that's reflected in these songs... It's worth mentioning that the two singles on the album, 「むように・・・NAMIDA」 and 「笑顔」, were not written with Aya in mind. 「笑顔」 was a cover and 森村メラ (fantastic name!), the lyricist of 「砂をかむように・・・NAMIDA」 was actually tricked into writing the song. The change between the two pictures below represents her physical change. A similar change has also happened in her mind and heart. That's just growing up.
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So to get stuck into proceedings, the thing that immediately stands out on the album is the title: 「ダブル レインボウ」. There are a few reasons.
1) The Japanese reason: usually the おう sound is written as オー in katakana and given that レインボー is actually a legitimate Japanese synonym for (obviously "rainbow"), it really stands out that it should be written as レインボウ. I think it may be that there is an optional pronunciation difference. ボー and ボウ are normally pronounced the same, much like the ケー and ケイ such as in the word 携帯 which is now often written as the katakana ケータイ despite officially being けいたい in hiragana. However, with the two separate kana instead of the ー there is scope to pronounce the two sounds separately. ボー can only sound like "boar" whereas ボウ could be separated and pronounced "bo-ooh" which resembles the English "bow" more. That's just what I think.
2) The cover of the album features 25% of the rainbow that the title suggests. The inlay behind the CD only has one rainbow meaning Aya has replaced 50% of a rainbow on the cover. But if that's supposed to imply that Aya is part of a rainbow, she and the half on the cover only make up 50% of a double rainbow so does that mean that Aya is one and a half rainbows? Maybe it was difficult to commission a good double rainbow photo.
3) This is her 4th original solo album (her 5th real album and her 7th solo album in total) and there was once a strict numbering scheme for album releases, hence 「First Kiss」, 「T.W.O」 and 「X3」. This one counts down again by going from "Triple" to "Double". The number scheme has, however, gone flying out of the window with Maki's 「How to use SEXY」 and I assume the same is true for Aya now. Or we could just claim that this really is her fifth and 「Naked Songs」 was her forth so the scheme had already been thrown out of the window...
4) The phenomenon of rainbows themselves. I remember hearing Dolly Parton say "If you want the rainbow you're gonna have to put up with the rain" (or a variation of as I may have misquoted) which is beautiful despite being meteorologically inaccurate. But that's what the album is largely about. I get the feeling that the basis of double rainbows was just because the fourth song on the album is called 「ダブル レインボウ」 and whoever was in charge thought it sounded good when it came to the crunch. Not that the song really has anything to do with double rainbows either... I'm not complaining though. I really like rainbows and have been lucky enough to see a few double rainbows in my life. Aya hasn't... but as she explained when she said she had yet to see any double rainbows, it's a lot to do with luck! That would be Aya's DVD Magazine vol. 4 for anyone wondering how I know such obscure information. Well, she may have seen one by now but I doubt it. They're not exactly common occurances.

So ultimately, 「ダブル レインボウ」 is nothing more than a title! :omg: But a beautiful one... I'll give it that much!

You know, while I say "no つんく♂ involvement", there's no denying his influence on the album. Even though he didn't write anything, he sort of powered up Aya over the last 7 years and in this mini article Aya reveals that around the time of 「草原」 he told her that 『ひばりさんがお年齢のときならお前もけてない』 (If Hibari-san was in your generation/era, you wouldn't lose) which is perhaps the ultimate confidence booster to the right person, as far as praise goes in the music industry. I should probably explain... 「ひばりさん」 is 美空ひばり. For those who don't know, she is the legend in Japanese music but died of heart failure when Aya was a day shy of three years old (so she may actually remember it). She was important for morale after WWII and had a huge burden to bear as a child performer but took it all in her stride. It's no secret that she is Aya's own idol, not in the Japanese culture sense but the revered figure sense. Aya has said so on many occasions in the past and in that article she said that she considers her to be the best of all time. That's an opinion shared by a huge chunk of Japanese whether they are fans of 松田聖子, 宇多田ヒカル, 浜崎あゆみ, SMAP, KAT-TUN... doesn't matter. The only person who can ever come close is 松任谷由実, otherwise known as 荒井由実 or her nickname "Yuming" but she's still a long way off. That's a combination of her still being alive (Elvis, Lennon, Monroe Syndrome) and the fact that she hasn't been as prolific in the past decade compared to her early career (incidentally she wrote some big hits for 松田聖子. Over the years, especially on 「みんなのテレビ」 and 「ウタワラ」, Aya has sung a lot of 美空ひばり songs. However, 「草原の人」, the song that prompted つんく♂ to speak, was actually written by 美空さん herself but the lyrics had been shelved for 27 years! To put that into perspective, Aya's parents were 10-11 years old when the lyrics were written! ^_^ 「草原の人」 was an amazingly deep song and Aya highlighted it as a crucial point in her career life in a recent issue of 「From A」 (Q4, second from bottom right). I think for her it's perhaps the 美空ひばり connection that makes it extremely important but other from the outside, and perhaps connected to that and the fact that she was an enka singer, it was Aya's first released ballad and to date it's still her most profound one in that it's the only one that features a death, although it's onlyimplicit in the way the protagnonist recalls her existence. Come on, admit it... How many of you knew that's what that song was really about? I believe it's also the only Aya song from a boy's perspective but I'm working from memory rather than checking them. But getting back on track, to say that Aya wouldn't lose against 美空さん is something of a bold statement and I know that a lot of people would be outraged by that comparison but if they did entertain in the same era, things may have been very different. Ignoring the fact that she's "losing" to less talented artists like 沢尻エリカ and even °C-ute, I see nothing to stop つんく♂ being right in terms of talent. But it's not whether it's actually true or not or even whether anyone believes it. Not even Aya has to believe it! Truth be told, I think it's very unlikely that she would have back then and even less likely that she does now but that's not the point. To have your mentor say something like that is, well it gives her incredible belief in herself to do what she does. That is つんく♂'s contribution to 「ダブル レインボウ」 and it's just as important as anything from the lyricists, composers and arrangers. I said no involvement but who was I really trying to kid?

As I mentioned earlier, 「ダブル レインボウ」 didn't exactly sparkle in the charts. It entered the daily chart at #8 and then went downhill from there to finish at #22 on the weekly chart having sold 9960 copies. Still that's almost 10k people and it doesn't take into account people like me who buy from overseas. The thing is, two places above Aya, 徳永英明 managed to ship 442 more copies of his album 「VOCALIST 2」 than 「ダブル レインボウ」. That sounds fair enough but that was the 50th week in the chart for 「VOCALIST 2」! Incidentally, for that same week 「VOCALIST」 was at #17 with 11781 (96th week) and his latest 「VOCALIST 3」 was at #5 with 21315 (9th week)! But that's relative because he's a good singer who has spent his career doing the same thing so he hasn't changed and alienated fans. That's why I already knew sales would suck before it was released. Aya fans of old were fans of the old Aya, which was ironically the young Aya (to plagiarise the witticisms of Frank Ormand. That's not Aya's fault. It's just that old Aya fans are fickle people which is the reason why they don't release more CDs and instead concentrate on TV and tours; shrewd business, you see... <3

I'm going to dedicate an entire blog entry for each song and each will be set out as follows:
Song Credits - Information and thoughts on those involved in the song
Title - What the title means to me
Opening Thoughts - Anything else I want to add before the translation
Translation - Self-explanatory
Notes on Lyrics and Translation - ditto
Notes on Musical Style - Commonly overlooked but it's half the song!
Additional Thoughts and Conclusion - Everything that doesn't fit anywhere else and then summing up the song.
No rankings though. That's nigh on impossible for me. I didn't want to put romaji because I hate the system but I reached a compromise with myself and decided to include it at the bottom. For those who can read kanji to an extent and so are ignoring my mouse-over furigana, kanji with peculiar readings are highlighted in red so that you know if you're Rikaichanning the thing instead. Also, sometimes the lyricists use irregular kanji or sometimes words are just pronounced differently to what you're used to so those are in blue. Lastly, kanji compounds usually consist of two kanji so if you see three (or more), the third one is usually not part of the compound. Usually, but not always the case. People with a bit of experience reading Japanese can tell whether the three are a compound or not (by particles and okurigana). However, I assume if people are using Rikaichan it'll show up on mouse-overs anyway.

Lastly lastly, the translations are my own interpretation of the songs. Others may have different interpretations but these are mine. They aren't necessarily what the lyricists and composers had in mind but they are what goes on in my head when I hear them. And bearing in mind that a sentence in a song doesn't necessarily correspond to a line, some line have been collected together and translated en masse whereas other lines may be split into two or more translated lines. Indeed, sometimes grammar goes completely out of the window! It's just easier to get the message across that way. Enjoy... ^_^

01. 今はレットイットビー
03. ソウルメイト
04. ダブル レインボウ
05. blue bird (not particularly great so far)
06. 風に任せて
07. 砂を噛むように・・・NAMIDA
08. 灯台
09. 引越せない気持
10. 女 DAY BY DAY
11. 笑顔

ah! done with the "intro", now on to the actual songs. although, i'm kind of hesitant at the moment because i haven't gone through and interpreted each of the songs myself. i've only listened to them with the lyrics in front of me. it's amazing how much of a difference having the lyrics right in front of you makes when listening to a song, and even more so when the lyrics are Japanese (due to the kanji).

i'm sure you remember when we both did our interpretations of GAM's LU LU LU. that was a lot of fun and i really enjoyed it (i hope you did too :P ). although, i'm probably not going to go as far as actually writing out my thoughts/interpretations for ダブル レインボウ.

anyways, your "intro" was very interesting and informative and i'm sure that your entries about the songs will be too. i'm looking forward to reading them! :good:
My interpretations definitely don't stop others existing. I only feel that for most song you have to listen to the music and lyrics twice or so to form a basis for what the song means to you. Most of the time, it's a build-up of your initial thoughts after the first listen. But having the lyrics in front of you definitely sheds some light on some of the songs. For example, the first line of 「ソウルメイト」 has 『女友達』 written but it's meant to be read as 『友達』 and similarly, 「むように・・・NAMIDA」 has 『現在』 as 『』 which means that the lyrics that are sung carry a bit more meaning than first meets the eye ear. More of those in the respective entries though. The plan is for one a day. So far so good! :P

And of course, 「LU LU LU」 was fun but I was never happy with what I came up with so I'll redo it at some point. If it wasn't fun then there's absolutely no way I'd have translated all of 「ダブル レインボウ」! :good:

Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you enjoy reading... even if it does send you to sleep! :P



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