Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Posts tagged ‘Todd Rundgren’

Hanako Oku and the English Sessions

FAN FICTION! “Hanako Oku and the English Sessions”

Slide7

Ok, Miss Oku, once again don’t worry so much about the “Ps and Qs” think more about the “Ls and Rs”.

I was ecstatically happy to find out that my favorite Japanese singer-songwriter Hanako Oku is going to release a CD single with cover songs sung in ENGLISH. The mini-album is oddly titled “Rum Raisin”.

I am a huge –Oku-fan, but I do not always have English translations of her original songs sung in Japanese. I feel a little left out sometimes because I am not a Japanese-speaker. I love her songs, but find myself wishing that I could better understand the meaning. … and no one can communicate the intense emotions of unrequited love like Hanako Oku.

This must have been a tremendous amount of work for her.  She employed language experts, dialect coaches and a couple of hipster English majors from a famous American university.  I was able to link up some images from these sessions.  A few slides are presented here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I think that she has made excellent choices for her first mini-album of English covers here.  Each song is similar in many ways to her emotional ballads, yet this selection also allows her to explore some different – but just as intense – emotions. The songs are all from the genre that would be classified as “classic rock” and may be unknown to her younger fans.

I can’t wait until this is released.  I listened to the preview, but these songs are not yet available on YourTube. (The “Record-Industry-Weasels” as per usual).

Until then, I will share with you the original versions by the original artists until such time as the Oku covers are sold. Just imagine The Little Great One breathing life into them. The songs are: 1) “A Dream Goes On Forever” originally written performed by Todd Rundgren, 2) “The Blue, Red and Grey” written and sung by Peter Townshend (The Who), and 3) “The Town Cryer” originally by Elvis Costello. I am also including links for the original lyrics.

“A Dream Goes on Forever”

Todd Rundgren’s song pulls on the heartstrings just the way an Oku-ballad does. A lost love.  Hanging on to a dream that can never happen. Otherworldly and interdimensional hopes that it will.  Oku-san shows the “cosmic” side of herself here. There are no cheap synthesizer tricks to space you out.  The lady’s raw emotional disappointment and longing are enough to take you to the dream world.

Slide13

… you’re so far away and so long ago …

(The reference to “old soldiers fade away” is odd, however. A Japanese singer making a Douglas MacArthur reference?) However, I fell like a heap on the floor as she sang “I guess I believe that I’ll see you someday” and “how much I loved you you’ll never know til you join me within my dream”. Lyrics are linked here.

“Blue, Red and Grey”

The next one is a little lighter, and a little bouncier, but just as poignant.  The song is from a 1975 album by The Who, but it is all Pete Townsend. There is a ukulele sound on Oku’s version, but her happy-bouncy piano is the main instrument, and Oku also plays part of the interlude on her melodica. It sounds quite whimsical, especially at the end.

I am in Oku-heaven when she says “I dig every second” – instead of “like” or “love”. The 1960s expression is given new life by Oku. Oh, you are so very groovy Hanako.  I wonder if she knows what “buzz” means in the song however.  I have to think that in her mind, happy Zen-bees are buzzing about.

Slide14

Funny moment when Oku breaks her own “banana rule”.

She perhaps takes a jab at the music industry with that line “I even shun the south of France”.  Oku is not your typical rock-star celebrity.  Other artists are much more “popular” and have greater sales right now, but the lady is a very down to Earth and lovable (see her website). She is not among the stuck-up celebrity elite.  Lyrics are linked here.

“The Town Cryer”

All of that was great, but then there is the big finale. I was unprepared and shocked at how great it was.

Slide12

“They say they’ll die for love — then they leave it out”

She must have spent countless hours rehearsing not only the English words, but the vocal inflection needed to convey the emotions of the song.  I was not prepared to hear an angry Hanako Oku.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kudos to her English voice coach.  Somehow — she nails it.

The song she has produced is like the world’s greatest waterfall.  There is great, towering piano and orchestration. That little bit of anger that is in her voice …  may be her attempts to convey Costello’s trademark snarl. It does live fans wondering what will be coming next.  Anger – even heartfelt anger – has not been part of the usual Oku repertoire to this point.  Is she stepping out of herself to show this emotion?  What is she angry about, and why does she choose to express this subtle rage in English? Is English Oku’s “minstrel” language? The one that she uses when she needs to step out of her calm Japanese “Hanako Oku” demeanor … in order to say the things she would not otherwise say?   Lyrics are linked here.

She does flip the “boys” to “girls” to be the protagonist of the song. The accusatory tone in her voice against the man actually works BETTER when sung by a woman. I think that this flip of the male/female roles improves on Costello’s original. Who knew – until Oku! Her voice starts gentle and affraid, yet hits the crescendo in bitterness.

Slide9

Oku, “in the zone” getting herself psyched for the aggressive ballad.

That part about “teddy bear tender” may be lost on her Japanese fans without the Elvis Presley reference. You can really feel that she is letting loose on a man she is disappointed with.  Go get him Hanachan, the weak bastard deserves it. Listeners may not know that the phrase “tragically hip” was coined by Elvis Costello in this song.  It is interesting to hear it in Oku’s Japanese accent, with the additional sarcastic inflection.  Amazing, amazing, amazing.

Slide15

The song is heavy on strings at the end, which is also unusual for a Hanako Oku song.  The use of “movie soundtrack” type strings at the end are like a trail … leading us to perhaps a new musical direction for The Little Great One?

Like the ice cream flavor, this “Rum Raisin” is a surprising, unique taste of intensity. 

090310_1722~0001

Image

Pokémon Nicknames: Surskit and Masquerain

No, Todd you were not crazy.

1970s progressive rocker Todd Rundgren during one of his phases. Perhaps he was trying to attract a mate.

Masquerain ( in Japanese アメモース  “Amemoth”) is a BUG-FLYING dual-type Pokémon. Masquerain evolves from Surskit starting at level 22.

Masquerain is similar to the moths and butterflies that try to mimic the eyes of a larger, scarier animal.

butterfly eyes

Some bugs will try to scare off a predator by pretending to be something that they are not …

mimi from drew carey show

Mimi would frighten anyone!

I named a Masquerain “Maybelline” after the ladies eye make-up company. The name “Mimi” is good, if your remember the garish  makeup worn by The Drew Carey Show character.

Masquerain is basically a flying Mardi Gras mask.  These masquerade masks are great to wear, because you could be looking right at a Bourbon  Street party girl, and still not know anything about her.  The masks are so secretive and private.

Mardi-Gras-masks really

Hey  … Look UP HERE to see the masks.    You.

This nice lady will model some Masquerain cosplay, and notice she has the pre-evolved Surskit with her.

masquerain cosplay

I might stare … but I am not frightened away Miss Masquerain!

I have named males “The Red Eye” after the times I had to take the cheaper — but inconvenient “red-eye” overnight air flight.

I will flying in on The Red Eye ...

I will be flying in on The Red Eye …

For Surskit:

surskit_by_all0412-d78nzhe_good

I have named them “Sunkist” after the oranges, only because the name is similar. Because of the yellow coloration however “LemonDash” may be more applicable. “Skimmer” is appropriate, since these bugs are based on pond walking insects. I sometimes use “Gams” or “Great Gams”, as this is another name for “legs”. The name “Crazy Legs” has been used in old-timey sports nicknames.  I have used “StickyWicket” after the British expression.

surskit cosplay mic

Maybe “Skips” along that line. I think “ScumRunner” is good, 1) because it is a take on “pond scum” that may float around were these pond skimmers walk, and 2) my favorite is “Rumrunner”; a Rum-runner  aka a bootlegger. Actually “Bootlegger” is a good name for these leggy bugs!

As always, if you have a favorite Pokémon nickname, please comment!

“sometimes I can’t help but seeing all the way through”

Tag Cloud

Poems and Stories

Poems and Stories about everything that is life...and sometimes everything is what it takes to find a better you.

The Godly Chic Diaries

Smiling • Writing • Dreaming

Japan Yabai Post

Cool stuff in Japan and Fukuoka

Video Games Nebula

Out of This World

D-pad Joy

PS4, XBO, Switch and PC news, reviews, indie games and developers | We get joy from pressing D-pads

Retro Gamer Ireland

Retro video game nerd with a love of nostalgia and all things gaming.

J and K Blog

J for Jpop and K for Kpop!

Writing Under The Shades of Blue

I write not just to express but to explain.

Brian Camp's Film and Anime Blog

Flash Gordon meets Cowboy Bebop at Shaolin Temple

YuriReviews and More

YuriReviews is a blog about everything yuri~

ANIME ANIMÁCIÓK

ANIMÁCIÓS GYŰJTEMÉNY KÉPEKBEN

SilentReaders

Just Readers

Kurayami Monogatari

Would love a comment every so often <<

愛の演歌: Love of Enka

A blog about my passion for Enka music~

Gastradamus

Gastradamus is my name, and Gassy Topics are my game!

Rationalising The Universe

one post at a time

The Reviewer's Corner

The Sometimes Serious Corner of the Internet for Anime, Manga, and Comics

Pinky's Palace

All Things Anime

Tokyo Five

A family of five in Tokyo, Japan...

Life Confusions

"I Will Find Words, Smith them Down. For Love Is Infinite And So Are They."

Fantage Chatter

Lost in Words

Manga Toritsukareru Koto

"We are not obsessed. We just need anime and manga in our life."

Inner Thoughts of an Extrovert

Thoughts and ramblings from an extroverted anime fan.

2+2=4

AKB48 Shipper? welcome

百合 Goggles

百合 Is Life

Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi

Japanese Culture Magazine for the perpetually Cute and Cool

Rhino

My Journey through Video Games & Geek Culture

The Punch Bowl

raw feelings and thoughts

Dyversions: Blog of 1,001 Games

The [mis]adventures of a gamer and shopaholic

~noor~

I'm not an author. I write only to render a bit of joy...and happily be a part of sad and coy! Your life is my canvas and your smile is the enhancement of my creation!

Falconhaxx

This and that, sometimes and occasionally.

Anime Reviews and Lots of Other Stuff!

Where We Can Watch Our Anime in Peace

Pokécology

Ecologically overthinking representations of space/place and nonhumans in pokéverse! Updated Fridays

JapanTrekker

Explore Japan!

Mage in a Barrel

An Anime Blog for Those Who Want to Find Magic in Unexpected Places

Land of the Rising Sound

Rise to the Sound of Japan!

s e n t i m e n t i a

population: me

OtakuGamerGirlT

All Anime, Manga, Games, All the Time

CheesyBits' Paradise

Heya! Welcome to my paradise! Feel free to explore my blog! (^o^)/

Coal talents

coalition of arts and entertainment

the limitless imagination

a place to let record what exists in my head, at this point in time.

%d bloggers like this: