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ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ (Bokunoririkkunobouyomi), 没落 (Botsuraku) (2018)

I couldn’t post last Wednesday because I was too busy and tired. One of my distraction then was preparing my dj set at Gampeki Music Festival which would be held at the weekend. I’ve almost quit djing years ago and my skill is not great at all tho, I enjoyed playing. You can hear it on mixcloud.

Today I’d like to write about ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ (boku no ririkku no bo’yomi, ぼくりり in short)’s 没落 (botsuraku). The title means “fall” or “decay” literally. It was his last album under the name ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ. He was a young and talented singer and songwriter with a unique voice and thoughtful lyrics, whose music attracted the wide audience. His dance-oriented beat and eloquent vocalization were mellow and youthful at the same time, no other singers had a charismatic atmosphere as his one.

However, suddenly he announced that he would quit ぼくりり, saying that he was exhausted with being a genius. He was also known for somewhat challenging or controversial remarks about Japan’s music industry, media coverage, and music critics. He was like a trickster. So I was suspicious about the statement. It seemed like a staged performance rather than an honest feeling, just aiming a social buzz to promote his new album. Moreover, his tweets following the statement contained some misogynistic phrases like calling some of his fans ババア (“old bitches” or something like that), which was offensive against women. I was disappointed, although his true intention remained unclear.

没落 was released in somewhat uncomfortable buzz. Against my expectations, it was an instant masterpiece which obviously deserved to be his accomplishment as an artist. While his signature style which had jazz-influenced chord progressions and vibrant melodies wasn’t changed, the variety of beats were more diverse than before, from UK Garage/Speed Garage to NY House to Future Soul.

The most surprising thing was like, some songs were like suites telling us dramatic stories, reminiscing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The good example of these was “輪廻転生 (Rin’ne Tensho, Metempsychosis in English)”. Beginning with a simple electro hip-hop beat, the song underwent from Minimalistic chamber ensemble to gospel-like choir with the Prismizer effect which reminded me of Bon Iver or Francis and the Lights. I was very surprised because very few J-POP acts have made a good use of such vocal processing technology (Yasutaka Nakata’s use of Auto-tune is a rare example).

The album was great, but this fact made me wonder why he had to quit the activity like that. It should have been the beginning of the next phase rather than an ending of the career. After his final show, he changed the stage name from ぼくりり to たなか which was one of the most typical family names in Japan. As he appeared some artist’s releases under aliases, it seems that it’s not retirement per se. So I hope someday たなか (or ぼくりり again) would release some materials.

Published in English