逐轨揶揄 by 达臣

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In Rainbows, as a title, implies a sense of comfort and delightfulness.
Symbolically, rainbows are more likely to be associated with kittens and
warm blankets than the grim and glum circumstances Radiohead is known
for soundtracking. There’s a slight, if expected, twist at play. The
band is more than familiar with the unpleasant moods associated with
colors like red, green, and blue — all of which, of course, are colors
within a rainbow — all of which are present, and even mentioned, during
the album. On a couple levels, then, In Rainbows is not any less fitting
as a Radiohead album title than “Myxomatosis” is as a Radiohead song
title. Despite references to “going off the rails,” hitting “the
bottom,” getting “picked over by the worms,” being “dead from the neck
up,” and feeling “trapped” (twice), along with Radiohead Wordplay Deluxe
Home Edition pieces like “comatose” and “nightmare” — in the same song!
double score! — the one aspect of the album that becomes increasingly
perceptible with each listen is how romantic it feels, albeit in the way
that one might find the bioport scenes in David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ to
be extremely hot and somewhat unsettling. Surprisingly, some of the
album’s lyrics are even more personal/universal and straightforward than
anything on The Eraser, the album made by Thom Yorke and Radiohead
producer Nigel Godrich. “I’m an animal trapped in your hot car,” from
“All I Need,” has to be one of the saddest, most open-hearted metaphors
used to express unrequited love. “House of Cards” begins with “I don’t
want to be your friend/I just want to be your lover/No matter how it
ends/No matter how it starts,” and the one with the worms includes “I’d
be crazy not to follow/Follow where you lead/Your eyes/They turn me.”
This effective weaving of disparate elements — lyrical expressions
commonly associated with the band, mixed in with ones suited for
everyday love ballads — goes for the music as well. The album is very
song-oriented, with each track constantly moving forward and developing,
yet there are abstract electronic layers and studio-as-instrument
elements to prevent it from sounding like a regression. In Rainbows will
hopefully be remembered as Radiohead’s most stimulating synthesis of
accessible songs and abstract sounds, rather than their first
pick-your-price download.

(Written on October 31, 2009)
Introduction
When I watched the Japanese film Sakuran, Anna Tsuchiya who played as a
Geisha wearing colorful kimono appeared with powerful and beautiful
music, which is composed and sang by Shena Ringo. And the impressive
original soundtrack attracted me well for its unbelievable music style
which merged Japanese traditional notes and modern electronic music
perfectly. This is the first time I met Shena Ringo and her outstanding
music, reminding me of P.J. Harvey and Bjork who are talented female
rock singer-songwriters. However, Shena Ringo’s music could be
identified easily by her unforgettable voice and charming Japanese
elements, making her famous among Asia.
Muzai Moratoriamu is the first album of Shena Ringo, one of my favorite
musicians, representing her unique music style combined of different
genres such as Japanese pop, rock and roll, grunge and jazz. She
composed all the songs and wrote the lyrics using Kenji and English,
thus creating a special experience for her audience.

Introducing the Band This was my attempt at emulating a Buddhist chant
which i’d first encountered in a temple in Kyoto during an early
Japanese Suede tour. I suppose there was also a kind of Orwellian tone
here, as there was on much of the album. 1984 is one of my favourite
books ever and i often mull over the phrase ‘if you want a vision of the
future imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever’. I suppose there
was something in the crushing, metallic drone of the music which
reminded me of this phrase and inspired me to write a kind of fantasy
piece about the unstoppable almost military force that a powerful band
can become. The reference to Winterland is of course a reference to the
last gig played by the Sex Pistols in San Francisco. There was also a
nod to Lewis Carroll in the phrase ‘stabbed a cerebellum with a curious
quill’, i suppose it parodied Carroll’s neo-scientific Victoriana. I was
re-reading the Alice books at the time and also reading a lot of
biographies about Carroll himself so this inevitably bled through into
my writing. We Are the Pigs The soundtrack to a riot, a paean to chaos
and insurrection again with a strongly Orwellian tone. It’s interesting
that you can look at what you wrote years ago and realise what you
didn’t at the time. I suppose this was my comment on an age of excess; a
portent of doom; the guilty realisation that this grotesque house of
cards that we had built around ourselves could at any point come
tumbling down and that the only way to deal with that was to embrace and
celebrate it’s destruction and to dance around the bonfire. I’d always
been fascinated by animal imagery, the whole man-as-animal animagus
thing. There was a bit of Lord of the Flies in there as well with the
innocent but chilling children’s voices chanting at the end. i suppose
my vision was of some sort of post-apocalyptic landscape where society
has crumbled and man is reduced to his primal childlike, animalistic
form picking at the rubble. This was one of the earliest songs we came
up with and was always for me a very strong statement of intent which
somehow set the scene for the whole album. The title was inspired by an
old schoolboy band of mine called The Pigs. Heroine I loved this from
the moment i first heard Bernard’s demo. The guitar part is so beautiful
and dark and winding and immediately suggested to me a bleakly sexual
lyric. The song is about loneliness and pornography and i suppose is the
first song on the album that introduces the themes of isolation
continued in The 2 of Us, Still Life etc. I’m casting myself as an 18
year old hormonal teenager, trapped within his drab slum and within the
imprisoning power of the female form, unable to break away from this
fantasy and form actual relationships. Of course i was aware of the
Heroin/Heroine thing but have always loved playing with homophones. The
opening line is from the Lord Byron poem ‘She Walks in Beauty’. The
‘Marylyn‘ reference was never actually meant literally to Monroe but
more as a kind of Venus/Aphrodite reference. The Wild Ones As well as my
favourite single song also my favourite bass part on the album. I was
listening to a lot of very ‘singerly’ singers ; Scott Walker, Edith
Piaf, Frank Sinatra, Jacques Brel, people with the emotional and musical
range to transform a song into a drama. This is what i wanted for the
Wild Ones, for it to be a timeless slice of melodic beauty that people
got married to and shared there first kisses to. Something that embedded
it self deep within the sound scape of their lives. It’s unashamedly
mainstream but hopefully with a depth that belies this simple ambition.
It’s still my favourite single moment in Suede’s history and when
interviewers ask me of what i am most proud i always mention this song.
The main refrain was inspired by Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas. I remember
Bernard first playing this in a soundcheck in America in 1993. He’d
often work stuff out just with him and Simon, i suppose to get a sense
of how the song would sound loud and live but without it being completed
by bass and vocals and therefore still in a fluid, sketch like state.
Daddy’s Speeding A strange story of a dream/fantasy about James Dean’s
death. I was immersing myself in overtly cliched Hollywood iconography
at the time. I guess it was an extension of the isolation/pornography
themes where i saw people forming relationships with fantasy figures
rather than real people; Our new communities were soap operas, our new
friends were characters in American sitcoms. I wanted to give the vocal
a Lennonesque quality, that magical dreamlike way he sang songs like Day
in the Life and Across the Universe which i thought would complement the
phased , otherworldly tone of the music. There were sections that were
directly inspired by How Do You Think It Feels on Lou Reed’s Berlin
album. The Power The last song written for the album and the only song
recorded without Bernard. I think you can hear this in the lightness, it
doesn’t really have Bernard’s depth of touch but i remember me , Mat and
Simon recording it together at Master rock and it being a fun
experience. I suppose there’s a nod to Quicksand here if i’m honest and
the whole thing emulates that acoustic Hunky Dory feel. I’m sure it
would have sounded different if Bernard had been involved beyond the
writing phase. It’s a simple message of empowerment. I suppose i was
feeling proud that i’d dragged myself from a council estate in Hayward’s
Heath to a position of being one of the most talked about musician’s in
90′s Britain and that this ( and also the album title’s message) was
somehow influenced by that trajectory. I know that sound’s vain but i
think the thrust behind the song was less smug and less self
congratulatory. It was meant a kind of anthem to meritocracy; a belief,
rooted in left wing politics, that anyone, despite class and upbringing
has the ability and the right to achieve. New Generation One of the best
vocals on the album. This is an incredibly hard song to sing, it
requires a lot of vocal stamina, power and range and i don’t think i
would have even bothered attempting something like this on the debut
album. Live it always sounds a bit ragged vocally but here the take
really hits the mark. Lyrically it’s quite anodyne to be honest. The
best line is ‘we take the pills to find each other’, a neat little sound
bite that summed up my search for belonging through narcotics.
Structurally it’s interesting in that we had started to successfully
incorporate bridge parts in our songs. This Hollywood Life My favourite
guitar riff on the album; primal , sexual, urgent, It immediately
suggested to me a squalid tale of envy and ambition set within the
grubby world of the casting couch. I suppose it parallels anyone’s rise
up the ladder and was an allegory about my experiences in the seedier
side of the music business where everyone has to debase themselves to
greater or lesser extents in order to succeed. That’s just the universal
law and you can see it played out every time a band plays a humiliating
gig in the back room of a pub to three people, something of which Suede
had great experience in the early days. The slurred saxophone at the
start was my idea ( as were the chanting kids in WATP) and added at the
mastering stage after Bernard’s departure. it was intended to convey a
distorted journey from bright eyed Hollywood ambition to sleazy
compromise. the working title of the song was Trashy which easily could
have been the finished title. in fact , maybe it should have been. The 2
of Us A description of the isolation that comes with success but told
against the back drop of the world of high-finance, the characters
making millions but unable to negotiate basic human emotional
relationships; ‘alone but loaded’. I suppose, again it was a kind of
allegory for my own condition where i would find myself adored on stage
but then completely unable to connect and communicate when i stepped
into real life. A self imposed isolation followed which built the
foundations for many of the themes on the record. ‘the snow might fall
and write the line on the silent page’ is my favourite single line on
Dog Man Star. I remember hearing Bernard play the song in Master Rock
and being utterly, utterly moved by the consuming beauty and sadness of
his performance. To this day one of my most powerful and moving memories
of him as a musician. Black or Blue A simple autobiographical tale of a
failed relationship set against a sub-text of racial tension. A kind of
tragic, doomed Romeo and Juliet story. I was the boy from the coast who
loved the sound of the underground . I remember Bernard going to a
different studio and playing his parts to this song after he’d actually
split from the band as a fulfilment of contractual obligations. The
Asphalt World This was the centrepiece of Dog Man Star; a song that
captured the beauty of deviancy in a way that i’d always knew we could.
It’s elegant, epic and sexual and as we discussed is virtually a page
torn directly from my diary of the time. ‘She’s got a friend, they share
mascara i pretend’ is for me the key line in the song. I love the way
you have to wait for the second verse to get this and all of a sudden
when it’s delivered the, listener understands what the song is about.
The themes of sexual jealousy and arousal never become too overt as to
be salacious but sit stealthily within the song’s epic frame, commanding
the listener’s complete attention. I suppose the music has an almost
Pink Floyd like quality in places, the sense of a musical and textural
journey. I’d always loved stuff like Saucerful of Secrets and The Dark
Side of the Moon so i loved the musical parallels i saw in this, but i
was just never going to write a lyric like Roger Waters. Yes, the vocal
performance was recorded the day i read Bernard’s interview in Vox. One
of the amazing things about being a song writer is that you can
literally achieve alchemy. I took all of the pain i was feeling at that
moment and channelled it into my delivery. Whenever i sing the song now
i’m always, always utterly, utterly engaged with it and in the moment. I
still find it so emotionally consuming. Still Life The housewives of
Sleeping Pills return to the stage extending the themes of isolation
that i had been weaving through the album since We Are The Pigs (and for
that matter weaving through Suede songs since He’s Dead). This song was
written very early on and almost made it onto the debut album… but we
were just never quite sure how to arrange it. It’s a simple story of
someone waiting in vain for their lover to come home, sat by the window
wondering who the approaching set of head lights belongs to. I suppose i
cast myself as the housewife in this song and remember accessing a lot
of latent pain in order to summon up the bleak imagery. There’s a
definite Scott Walker influence here and i was definitely trying to
stretch myself as a vocalist , the move up an octave during the third
verse being a testament to that. Looking back i think we possibly went
too far and the song would have been more powerful without the OTT coda
but i suppose it was conceived very much with the album’s journey in
mind and as such provided an eloquent end point.

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About Shena Ringo
Shena Ringo, born on November 25th1978, quit from her senior high school
and devoted herself to music career. Although her parents did hope her
to dance rather than to sing, she insisted to join band and decided to
be a singer. At her seventeen, she wrote a song named seventeen
(collected in her single罪と罰) to express her determination by singing
“I see same face in school and they say I am different / I think it is
an honor / I say it is an honor to be different / I can’t go their way.”
It is true that she goes an absolute different way. Her particular
powerful melodies, her unforgettable husky voice, and her striking
visuals in her music video and concert helped her become a successful
musician. She ranked as 36 in top 100 Japanese Pop artists. (HMV)
Shena Ringo created her magical music by endless efforts including
learning composing, playing several instruments such as guitar, piano,
bass and drum, and even making music in studio. From her debut till now,
ten years have passed by but she is still the girl who loves music
singing “I can’t go their way” and tries her best to pursue her dream.

Bob Dylan

Muzai Moratorium
Muzai Moratorium, almost composed during Ringo’s teen before her debut,
was released on February 24, 1999 by Toshiba EMI. The album debuted at
#1 and has sold over 919,000 copies (Wikipedia). Her first album is
successful in that it shows her genius on composing, displays her strong
and distinctive voice, and presents her abundant imaginations on music.
Shena Ringo collected inspirations from not merely her own life but also
her observation to Japanese society.
In the first song named Tadashii Machi (Correct City) of the album, she
described her inner thoughts when she had to leave her boyfriend to
another city to develop her music career. Although this song reflected
the sad mood of leaving her love, Shena Ringo used continuous driving
drum and bass to deliver her faith and believe about love and hope to
her audience. She knew what she wanted to do and what she had to give
up, though with regrets to her boyfriend. When I listened to this song,
I understand her sorrow that she had to face the destiny of separation
and her determination that she must be strong to pursue her dream,
because I had to leave my families in China to U.S. for study
accounting. In my opinion, this song could provide courage and strength
to many people who have the same situation in lives.
In the second song named Kabukichō no Jo-ō (Queen of Kabuki-cho), Shena
Ringo told a story from a teenager girl’s perspective that she would
become the Queen of Kabuki-cho to sell herself to man. In fact, this
song is based on Shena Ringo’s own experience that she once met a pimp
from a SM club and was asked to become Queen for the club. In the music
video, young Ringo played her guitar, dressing like a cool punker, with
disdain appearance on her face. The music style of this song is rock and
grunge with forceful electric guitar and strong rhyme. The genre could
express her mood perfectly because it is a song about teenager. Like the
famous song of Smells like Teen Spirit from Nirvana, this song of Shena
Ringo also selected grunge, a fierce rock style, to reflect the
confusion and desperation about youth. In many Japanese films, youth is
cruel and rock is the best way to annotate by its special direct
power.
Besides the above fast songs, Shena Ringo wrote some slow songs to
express her desire about true love. In the first album, she composed
Akane-sasu Kiro Terasaredo (The crimson-gleaming sun still shines on my
way back, but) and Onaji Yoru (Ordinary Night), two slow touching songs,
different from her fierce fast songs.
The prior one describes a beautiful but a little bit gloomy scene. The
lyric was sad: “I put my headphones on my ears /An Irish girl is singing
/As dusk falls, is it too painful to have my tears coaxed out of me?” At
the end of the song, she sang in English: “I place the headphones on my
ears and listen / Someone sings a song / I feel so blue / Now darlin’
promise me / Please tell me something words to soothe / I don’t wanna
cry” (Nostalgic-lavender). It is a common phenomenon that Japanese
singers use English in their songs to express some direct words which
they would feel shy to speak in Japanese, their first language. Shena
Ringo made this song full with eastern artistic conception as lust is
always associated with sorrow of separation in Japan and China. As Shena
Ringo has excellent accomplishment in literature, she wrote her lyrics
in Kenji, providing people more enjoyments besides fantastic music.
        The song named Onaji Yoru trans (The same night) selected guitar
and violin to show grief mood. Although she used the elegant classic
instrument violin, Shena Ringo made the violin sound trembling to
reflect her different individual style. Especially at the end of the
song, she used a piece of violin solo that sounds nervous made this soft
slow song have an unexpected effect. Shena Ringo sang “The same wind is
blowing on both of us / We go through the same nights / How I love you,
oh darling… / Don’t you hear me calling / I’m searching for a person
that I can’t meet a second time / Everyone can hear the song I’m singing
/ I still don’t want anything / My answer is only the sound of rain”
(Videouncovered) , with sentimental and soft voice which rarely appear
in her music. The tune of the song is more peaceful than any other songs
in this album and the lyric with the mournful music reminds people of
their own memories about love, and touches their heart by the same
thoughts about waiting and eagerness.
        Another interesting song of the album is Sid to Hakuruumu, which
related to one of Shena Ringo’s favorite singers, Sid Vicious who killed
his girl friend and died in his twenty one. This singer is the bassist
of the puck rock group Sex Pistols. Shena Ringo liked to use her
favorite singers in her lyrics, such as Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and his
wife Love Courtney. From these songs, we can learn that Shena Ringo is
affected by western rock bands deeply. And that is why she can combine
western music style and traditional Japanese music type without any
difficulties.
        Besides these songs, other songs in the album are also
impressive, especially the song named Koufukuron (A view of happiness)
which was her first single. The lyric “You’re there living your life and
just knowing this simple little fact makes me so happy” (Jpopasia)
became popular after released. Shena Ringo organized the whole album
from fast songs to slow songs, letting people know her from her shining
appearance as her fast songs with passions to colorful inner emotions as
her slow songs with tenderness.

Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize has reignited thedebate about whether song
lyrics can ever be considered literature. Is it timeto finally tear down
these cultural barriers?

Comparisons
        Compared Shena Ringo to other female rock stars in the world
such as Bjork, P.J.Harvey and Tori Amos, they share something in common
that mark them as rock queens. All of them have powerful voices, strong
composing ability and independent attitude. From their music, people can
gain courage and strength of love and live, and they can appreciate
another aspect of woman rather than traditional obedience and soft
image. However, Shena Ringo who comes from Japan tried more genres and
various look and added more subtle and delicate eastern elements into
her music. In her music video, she played as high school student wearing
“kawaii (cute)” uniform, nurse heating the glasses and kissing female
patient, and even Geisha playing guitar, telling people she has
unlimited potentials in her world and music. This attitude to life is
one of the most charming parts of her because no one knows what the next
surprise from Shena Ringo would be
.
Conclusion
        Although as the first album of Shena Ringo, Muzai Moratorium
showed her great ability and potential in composing and singing, as well
as revealed her fascinating personality and thoughts. By merging eastern
and western music successfully, Shena Ringo with her own bold style in
music, conquered audience and became one of the most famous Japanese
female singers. The album also becomes her representative work, full of
imagination and her own experiences, providing people pleasant with its
touching notes and vivid lyrics.

Every now and then an esteemed literaryfigure will see fit to pass
judgement on the works of a pop star.

Reference
Top 100 Japanese Pop Artists, HMW
(Accessed
on October 31,2009)
Koufukuron Shena Ringo lyrics, Jpopasia

(Accessed on October 31, 2009)
Lyrics and Translation of Shiina Ringo, Nostalgic
(Accessed on
October 31, 2009)
Lyrics of chuchumura, Videouncovered

(Accessed on October 31, 2009)
Muzai_Moratorium, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Accessed on October 31,
2009)

It’s been going on since the early 1960s,when songwriters first began to
aspire to something more than rhyming”moon” with “June”.

The literary establishment, bothhorrified and fascinated by the
attention being lavished on these long-hairedupstarts, felt it was
incumbent upon them, as cultural gatekeepers, to saysomething.

In recent years, it is rap stars thathave found themselves in high
culture’s cross hairs.

In 2003, no less a figure than Nobellaureate Seamus Heaney hailed “this
guy Eminem”, who he said had”created a sense of what is possible” and
“sent a voltage aroundhis generation”.

‘Bad poems’

John Sutherland, professor Emeritus of

Modern English Literature at University College London, hascompared the
late Tupac Shakur’s Hit Em
Up-
a blistering, foul-mouthedassault on his perceived rap rivals – to
the vers libre of 19thCentury American poet Walt Whitman. Rap is a “very
word-centred”form, argues Sutherland, and its essence is in rhyming and
unfetteredself-expression.