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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Song of the Week! 22 July 2017

For not-Japanese Taiko no Tatsujin fans, the news of a console game for the series that is getting official translations for another language are always the ones of the highest magnitude... let alone three of them, at the same time!

Being an English-rooted news blog and all that jazz, today's featured track comes from the other title that got an English transation in the past, as well as the first non-Japanese Taiko game to come out...

 The Impression That I Get
TDMx5 (206)x5 (278)x5 (379)x5 (379)
TDM (Japan)x5 (206)x5 (278)x6 (379)x7 (502)
TDM (2P)x5 (188/188)x5 (272/270)x5 (374/375)-
TDM (Japan) (2P)x5 (188/188)x5 (272/270)x6 (374/375)-

USA Oni chart

With Session de Dodon ga Don getting an English translation, that would make it the second official Taiko game to get such a language service for foreign players! While the impending release is locked for the General Asia retail market, let's clock back to the one time that North America got its very own West-inspired Taiko no Tatsujin game (only to get an arguably better version when it went back to Japan...).

The year was 2004, when console Taiko gaming was still a PlayStation 2 monopoly and all difficulty levels' names but Oni were localized for the English-speaking audience. Due to Taiko Drum Master's nature, no licensed songs that were coming from Japanese grounds (save for Namco Originals and other exceptions) were included, and thus the bulk of the license has been made by the Pop and Rock genres. In the former category, we can find in both versions The Impression That I Get, one of the smash hit tracks from the 90ies made by the Boston-rooted ska band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Founded in 1983, this American act is often credited as one of the precursors for many ska-based sub-genres like ska punk and ska-core, as well as one of the Western bands that popularized ska in mainstream culture altogether. While the Bosstones have faced a lot of lineup changes in its 30+ years of activity, there have always been a few staple members that have been there for the band since its inception: lead vocalist Dicky Barrett, bassist Joe Gittleman, tenor saxophonist Tim "Johnny Vegas" Burton and Ben "Bosstone" Carr, the ubiquitous not-musician dancers in all live performances. While the band has faced many hiatus periods near its founding and during the mid-2000s, the Bosstones have been involved in a number of concerts and other live performances all throughout the band's history, including their recurring role as the hosts of the annual Greater Boston music festival Hometown Throwdown.

The history behind The Impression That I Get's original release dates back to more than a year prior the track's public release, as part of the 1997 studio album Let's Face It. In 1994, two receptionists were killed in a women's health clinic in the Brookline, Massachusetts; the gruesome event has lead Kay Hanley -lead singer of the Boston alternative rock band Letters to Cleo- to turn two of the band's concerts into benefit shows under the name of Safe and Sound, where nearly 40 between musicians and band acts from Boston performed both popular hits and brand new tracks to show solidarity against the violent murders. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones joined the event as well, where they performed The Impression That I Get for the very first time, a track that was also included in the event's own CD collection Safe and Sound: A Benefit in Response to the Brookline Clinic Violence, which was released on November 5th, 1996.

On January 27th of the year later, the song was released in the maxi-single CD of the same name, which managed to climb peak positions in both British (No.12 in the UK Singles Chart) and American charts, including No.1 peaks at the Canadian RPM Alternative 30 and the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks. Later in the same year, on March 11th, the smash it was included in the aforementioned Let's Face It, the Bosstones' fifth studio album release, which managed to receive the Platinum seller status due to the inclusion of The Impression That I Have. A live recording of the song was recorded in the October 1998 live album Live from the Middle East, while in the Third Millennium it managed to become a digital Gold seller (>500.000 copies sold) in 2014.

Being one of the licensed tracks to be appearing in both the USA and Japanese release of Taiko Drum Master, we can see by their top-difficulty charts one of the many reasons that didn't turn the only PS2 international foray into a popular hit: for the US release, most of the Oni charts for the new licenses were actually recycling the Muzukashii charts of the same songs, while the Japanese version rectified that trait with unique Oni charts (alongside some star ratings fixes). For the case of the Bosstones's late-90ies hit, both top-difficulty charts exploit 1/16 rhythms with backbeats that sustain the ska vibes of the track, with the Japanese chart sporting more notes and hand-switching action than the North-American Oni/all-versions Muzukashii's cluster-less offering.

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