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Monday, February 27, 2006

Translations (3) Twinkle Star

This is based on a request I got in the comments box a few posts ago. It was deceptively difficult in places, some parts at the end in particular but I hope I got the general idea across. The usual requests for help are at the end...

*******************************************************

CHORUS

Twinkle Star It’s my Star
Right now we’re ready to explode with carefree and careless high tension
We’re always shining and
We always want to shine
Twinkle Star It’s my Star
You've got it right? We’re ready to explode
We’re always shining and we always want to shine

Fu!!!! Ha ha ha ha Twinkle Twinkle

Yeah, those who ‘Twinkle’ are the ones who stand out
Everyone wants to look at those stars that shine high and bright in the heavens
Right now our nails and make-up are looking better than ever
'Cos today’s a special day, we’re at our best condition

It’s a casual sparkle of glitz and glamour*1
You can make everyday interesting, it’s not impossible
So for now, just hang up that phone
We’re getting ready to bloom, gonna vacuum-pack this memory (yeah)

*Twinkle, shine, A lotta rays
Twinkle, shine, A lotta rays
Twinkle, shine, A lotta rays
Twinkle, it’s shining and sparkling, sparkling, sparkling, sparkling

CHORUS

Fu!! Ha ha ha ha Halcali verse two

Yeah, I’m a rapper on the ‘Goppa’*2 mic
The needle on my Concorde*3 is made from diamond
Sparkling, shining, breaking out in sweat
As we spin round and round, we’re drawing out our spiral
Dashing forward in a giddy rush,
Riding these cute, stylish beats,
Mash it up, put your hands in the air
Having a flashback, it’s like watching it in a planetarium
That story mapped out in the night sky is the one I’m telling you tonight
And tonight that night sky is really going to shine
Take me to that dancehall coming down from the sky, I don’t know where it is
‘Cos I’m a still a teen, teen…
A teen still growing up, just running around, stuck somewhere in-between
Then one day that's gone, disappearing in one restless moment,
This is the theme of your youth, the best years of your life
Think about that theme and try to remember when

*REPEAT

BREAK

Wow, the night sky is filled with the glow of infinite stars
The endless light of millions of stars is shining down from so far away
I feel the falling light is connected with this town, coming down
Yeah, Twinkle Star

*REPEAT

CHORUS

Twinkle Star, you don’t stop
An illuminated moment, passing straight through
Twinkle Star, you don’t stop
I’m full of expectations for a shining future
Twinkle Star, you don’t stop
An illuminated moment, passing straight through
Twinkle Star, you don’t stop
I want to get out and see the whole wide world

**********************************************
*1 This is a reference to the title of Johnny's Jimusho artist Kondo Masahiko's 1981 hit Gingiragin Ni Sarigenaku. I've made a stab at translating the line, but i'm not sure the title was supposed to have a clear cut meaning in the first place.

*2 and *3

Jamie in nyc said:

The "58 microphone" is the venerable Shure SM58 microphone. A standard for over 30 years.

The Concorde is a phono cartridge made by Ortofon. Its used by many DJs.
The turntable of choice for decades is the Technics SL-1200MK2. Built like a rock.
Link1
Link2

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Dance Dance Dance

After I came across this video on You Tube it seemed a shame not to share it (download), since it combines music by Ah, Halcali Sensation! composer Scha Dara Parr with an advert for The Legend of Zelda (A Link to the Past?) featuring a full on Monster Dance Off and a fairly effeminate Link.

Meanwhile, in America...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Twinkle Star on Music Station

Well, they weren't on first. As the rest of the nights line-up were getting a few minutes airtime each to talk about how their dress nearly fell off due to the weight of their mike (Koda Kumi) or about how...well the story was so boring I forgot (Dreams Come True), things were looking good for Halcali to finally get an elbow in themselves. After sitting through an hour of songs and chatter from Hyde, that guy from Kinki Kids and some other stuff that frankly just went in one ear and out the other, what happened when Halcali finally got their chance to talk?

Nothing. They got snubbed. Again. What pleasure the producer derives from giving 10 minutes to Dreams Come True and 0 to Halcali I don't know, but things turned out well in the end. Halcali got their revenge in the best way possible- by taking the competition and teaching all those performers with twice their age and experience a few things about how you are really supposed to deliver a pop song. In a night dogged with the same old predictable artists doing the same old predictable turns, Halcali brought the only real spark and energy to the night with Twinkle Star and reminded you that yes, guys, pop music is supposed to be fun and imaginative and witty and exciting and above all doesn't Twinkle Star out and out prove just how ecstatically great an ecstatically great POP song can be?

Hopefully a few other people watching the show tonight agreed with me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Reviews (6) Twinkle Star

If there's one thing the internet has ruined for me by allowing me to listen to songs in advance it's the thrill of I used to get on release day, when you really had no idea what lay in store for you from your favourite band in the three minutes after you pressed play for the first time in tense anticipation. I should probably change that to "ruined for myself" though, I just didn't have the power to say no to Twinkle Star when it dropped on my lap a couple of weeks ago. Ideally I would have waited until yesterday.

On the other hand though, as I picked it up and looked at the sleeve (that's Haruka coming out of Yukari and vice-versa by the way, in case like me you didn't notice it) I thought "whatever", songs like this are just too good to be left to gather dust in some studio, unloved and unlistened too. This is especially true in the case of Twinkle Star isn't it? To think it was sat around in it's finished form for months while we were left to plod through Tip Taps Tip and wonder if Halcali were alive or dead.

In brief then, this gem has 'comeback single' written all over it. It's clever, brash, confidant and catchy with arguably some of the tightest and most impressive raps they've produced yet. In recent interviews, they've spoken about recapturing "ハルカリっぽい", the "Halcali sound" if you like, meaning that same addictive blast that made you listen to Tandem on repeat and wonder when the last time was that you heard pop music that good. Specifically they've spoken about how Ryo-Z knows that sound and about the importance of preserving it. Isn't that what this single is all about? I love this song, not just because it's great in itself but because it's destroyed all the cynicism in me that has been so prevalent in this blog for the past few weeks, the cynicism about how Halcali are going to fare after the inevitable change that always comes with the move to a major label, what's going to be lost, they're never coming back etc. etc.. The first signs were bad though- a mediocre song by a guy who seemingly forgot what band he was writing for, their individual spark buried beneath a layer of 'just another j-pop band' make-up and so on. Then this comes along and 3 and a half minutes later all is forgotten and forgiven. This is the right combination of old and new. I mean, I love that first album, but have you ever heard Halcali sound this assured? This confidant? Despite recent claims that they struggled with what Ryo-Z wrote for them, they've nailed it on record, flying through it with a brash, effortless strength that's easily up there with anything they've done before, if not better. I can't really elucidate the sense of relief that came after those three minutes were up following the first listen. This song will remind you exactly why you loved them so much back in 2003, it reminds me why I'm writing this blog, and finally it will make you wonder what this newer, fresher Halcali- the Halcali that have found their feet again with this glorious pop song -are capable of coming up with for the third album.

Here's a request though. The single is floating around on the internet and I'm sure you've already tracked it down. To those who haven't and who've ordered it, my advice is wait until it comes before listening to Nakamura's check!!check!!it!!. There's still something to be said for waiting for release day and preserving the mystery of that first listen. In some other universe Nakamura would have been able to take this sweeter, more vocally melodic Halcali and release an entire album with them all on his own. I hope that O.T.F. bring him along to the studio for album three.

Speaking of O.T.F., DJ Fumiya is still on his lengthy health-related break from Rip Slyme, and although his thoughts must be with that band, I hope it doesn't mean anything too bad for the immediate future of Halcali and O.T.F..

Monday, February 20, 2006

Round them up

From Girlpop (March #76)




1. Before, I attributed Twinkle Star’s release being pushed back solely down to Sony having a contractual obligation to fulfill by using it's artists to fill out the opening and closing theme slots for Fuji TV's Eureka 7. Why else would a song as instantly accessible as this one be finished last June and then left to sit around in the studio for 8 months?

実はこの曲昨夏出来上がっていた楽曲に使われたサンプリング・ソースのクリアランスに時間がかかり、 今回の到着になったという。

Although in actual fact the song was finished last summer, there was a long delay caused by the time it took to clear the use of the sample from The Magnificent Seven.


That's it?! It just seems to pedestrian. Although my knowledge of these things is limited, it strikes me odd that they would pay for studio time and other related expenses before they even knew if the song was legal or not. Not to mention the fact that Halcali were playing it live last summer too. It's not as though that sample could be easily removed and replaced if it proved to be problematic as it forms the whole backbone of the song. That seems to be the official explanation though. Make of it what you will.

2. They apparently regret having only had been able to release one single in 2005, and vow to release a lot more singles, including the confirmed release of album #3, as well as performing a number of live shows in 2006. No dates yet obviously, but they both said they wanted to follow up on the Tip Taps Tip b-side Halcali 'n' Bass and continue the challenge of writing their own lyrics.

3. Haruka, 19 this summer, mentions that they probably won't be able to play a lot of their songs after they hit 20 as all the lyrics are aimed at, or about teenagers. At this rate it will be about then when I finally get to see them live so I hope this isn't true (I don't particularly agree with her about this either, but anyway).


CD Data (March #3)





1. Haruka: "I had a lot of trouble about how I was supposed to sing it [Twinkle Star]. Even when I tried to follow his [Ryo-Z] example, I just couldn't do it. So eventually I asked him "what should I do? How am I supposed to sing this?" and he replied "Sing it as if you were fat. Imagine you've been stuffing yourself so much that you can't eat anything else". So, I tried it and put effort into it but in the end they just said, "No, that's wrong. Go back to singing it in your regular voice like you were before".

2. The b-side, Nakamura's check!!check!!it!! (the magazine gives a different spelling to the one Tower offers) is a "cute love song", which Yukari thinks is a shame to have gone to waste as a b-side.

Finally, did you see the commentary Halcali added to the Twinkle Star video? Like both of the above interviews, they make reference to the difficulty of following the Shiritori game in the PV. The sleeve will apparently fold out to reveal a complete demonstration on how the game progresses. I think I got it right though...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Music Station (part 2)

You can uncross your fingers now, it's ok. Halcali are scheduled to kick whatever other mediocre guests have had the bad luck to be drawn to perform on the same show as them right across the studio and out the door as H and Y will be playing Twinkle Star on Music Station on the 24th of this month.

This will place it only two days after the release of the single, hopefully leading all right thinking people to declare it the song they had been waiting all their lives to hear as they jet to their local Tower to pick up 6 copies, two for them and one for each of their friends who had the bad luck to miss Halcali tearing the studio up with their best single since Tandem (I'm sticking to my guns on that one).

Should be good then?

Check back here next Friday.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Halcali make you up




In an interesting piece of pre-Twinkle Star hype, H and Y will be acting as stylist for two lucky Pia magazine contest winners. What exactly you'll be subjected to should you be fortunate enough to have your postcard pulled out of the bag isn't exactly made clear, although there's some reference made to having Halcali style you up to look like Halcali. We can only hope that the clothes and make-up they'll chose for the winners won't be anything like what their own make-up artists chose for them.

In case you're wondering if I'll enter, win, and thereby score the blogging scoop of the year, sadly the contest is only open to girls.

Including the photoshoot you'll get with Halcali after they've finished with you, in all I think it's a neat slab of promotion, easily edging out the promos that came with the last single (although I still want one of these). There's just something endearingly teenage about the whole thing, and if it's not a total disaster the end result of should be posted on their blog. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A Beginners Guide to Shiritori

From Wikipedia


Basic Rules

  • Two or more people take turns to play.
  • Only nouns are permitted.
  • A player who plays a word ending in the syllable N (ん) loses the game.
  • Words may not be repeated.
  • Phrases connected by no (の) are permitted, but only in those cases where the phrase is sufficiently fossilized to be considered a "word".

Example: sakura (さく)-> rajio (ラジオ/らじ)-> onigiri (おにぎ)-> risu (り)-> sumou (すも) -> udon (うどん)

The player who played the word udon lost this game.

There are various optional and advanced rules, which must be agreed on before the game begins.



Let's take a look at a game in action:

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Twinkle Star PV

There can be no better start to the day than waking up, checking your e-mail and finding that qazmonster has once again saved us all with his nefarious p2p networking.

Here they are, along with all the radios, foxes, gorillas, apples, bags, donuts and loud proclamations of WE ARE HALCALI you could want from a PV of a song that I'm going to go out on a limb and say is their best single since Tandem.

I can't wait to see them kick the predictable choruses out of all those other losers on Music Station with this!