Music Corner ～Buck-Tick～
A 4 minute read but a much longer listen.
I was thinking about doing this every so often, a run down of musical groups/performers I like and a selection of their tracks I like with a tiny bit of history. Take it with a grain of salt ;)
I think I’ll start with Buck-Tick, they’re a band with an incredibly striking aesthetic and a prolific history. Formed in 1983, the members are all from Gunma-prefecture and many were class mates. The lineup remained constant since 1985. As their career has spanned from ’83 to the present day, I’m going to discuss works up to 2007 today and pick up with the remainder later.
The name of the band is a re-spelling (rather than “misspelling”) of the word 爆竹 (bakuchiku) meaning “firecracker”.
In their early career, they were well known for their distinct hairstyles.
Romanesque — 1988
Just a one minute, oh don’t stop me with my Romanesque~♪
At this early stage, Buck-Tick saw incredible popularity and gradually started letting their hair down, lead singer Atsushi Sakurai allowed his hair to return to its natural colour and it was super long. The band went on a temporary hiatus in 1989 when the lead guitarist Hisaishi Imai was arrested for possession of LSD — a crime that is still heavily punished in Japan. He was subject to a court hearing and somehow escaped without a heavy sentence.
Around this time they came out with 2 of their most popular albums, Taboo and Aku no Hana (“Flowers of Evil” like the Baudelaire book). Neither album has a bad song, but here’s a selection.
From Taboo, Angelic Conversation
From Taboo, Taboo
From Aku no Hana, Misty Blue
From Aku no Hana, National Media Boys
While the rest of the band have relaxed their hair, you might notice from these that one member — the drummer Toll Yagami has not — and sure enough, to this day he has not appeared without his hair standing ram-rod straight. I would love to know what his lifetime stats are for hairspray…
We come to the 90’s now and the band has remained incredibly popular. They performed with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and released some of their most popular material and my personal favourite album, Kurutta Taiyou (“Mad Sun”)
If you listen to just one album start to finish, make it this one.
From Kurutta Taiyou, Speed
From Kurutta Taiyou, M.A.D
You might have noticed that Atsushi Sakurai is crossdressing with greater frequency. It should have surprised no-one when they released one of their most enduringly popular songs, Dress.
From darker than darkness style 93, Dress
From here, the themes in their music starts to take a slightly darker turn. One possible reason for this was the passing of Atsushi Sakurai’s mother, with the album darker than darkness style 93 loosely themed around death, while Six/Nine is a lot looser but features songs with phycological themes ranging from depression, to sexual deviancy. The music videos also grow more conceptual.
From Six/Nine, Kodou (“Heartbeat”) — depression
From Six/Nine, Somewhere, Nowhere —???
good song to learn question words…
From Six/Nine, Misshitsu (“Locked Room”) — stalking, kidnapping(?)
From Six/Nine, Kick
In this album, Atsushi was featured on saxophone and Hoshino (usually bass) on keyboard, the latter still performs with this instrument.
In the early 2000s, like many artists, they entered a sort of cyber, .com type of style and their aesthetic followed accordingly. For me, this is probably the period of the of the band’s history I’m least compelled by though there are a few songs that are still among my favourites from this time.
From Cosmos, Tight Rope
From ONE LIFE, ONE DEATH, Sapphire
From Kyokutou I LOVE YOU, Kyokutou yori Ai wo Komete (With love from the Far East)
And then we come to another golden era, for me starting with Jusankai wa Gekkou (“13th Floor is Moonlight”) in 2005— wikipedia says these are the “gothic years” and I suppose that is true though they didn’t go “gothic” in the way of heavy drums, but in a more subdued way focusing heavier on themes and aesthetic than the musical style of contemporary gothic musicians.
Incidentally, their tour 13th Floor with Diana is probably my favourite personally and it features an intermittent love story between a clown and ballerina.
13th Floor with Diana, Goblin
13th Floor with Diana, Ijin no Yoru
13th Floor with Diana, DIABOLO
13-kai wa Gekkou, ROMANCE — ☆Unbeatable PV☆
In spite of the continued presence of gothic themes, Buck-Tick experimented hugely with genre at this particular point in their career producing some of their most interesting and compelling pieces of music.
From Tenshi no Revolver, Mr. Darkness and Mrs. Moonlight
From Tenshi no Revolver, Rendezvous
From Tenshi no Revolver, Alice in Wonder Underground
Ahh this was fun. Writing and listening, there’s a lot of nostalgia even for a fan who started to follow them quite some time after their foundation. In spite of this, I hope you also enjoyed having a listen to Buck-Tick with me.
Catch you later! ☆