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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Song of the Week! 23 June 2018

It's been a while since our last J-POP-themed feature, so let's compensate that with one of the most popular tracks for the genre in recent memory!

 Zen Zen Zense (前前前世) RADWIMPS
Allx3 (90)x4 (129)x6 (322)x8 (466)
 Taiko 0 Y, Taiko 3DS3, Taiko PS4, Taiko Switch, Taiko +

Following the trails of many other J-POP hit sensations before it (the latest of which being R.Y.U.S.E.I.), Zen Zen Zense (lit. 'Past Past Past Life') is the most recent case of a track from the blue-labeled, license-heavy genre to hit each and every new Taiko release as of late, starting its journey as a Taiko Plus-debuting song up to be ported in the latest arcade and console entries of the series. This lucky licensed pick is the most popular song from the rock band RADWIMPS, founded in Kanagawa in 2001 as an high-shool independent act and associated to the Toshiba EMI label since 2005.

The band's original composition consisted of five then high-school-freshmen who've been friends since their middle school years: lead singer/leader Yojiro Noda (野田洋次郎), lead guitarist Akira Kuwahara (桑原彰), rhythm guitarist Yūsuke Saiki (斉木祐介), bassist Kei Asō (朝生恵) and drummer Satoshi Yamaguchi (山口智史). The band's name, coined after the English words 'rad' and 'wimps', was chosen as to make a term of multiple and conflicting meanings at the same time, as if to say "excellent weakling" or "superlative coward". After undergoing on a hiatus in 2003 to focus on school exams, RADWIMPS came back on March of the following year with only the founder and lead guitarist returning from the original lineup; soon after, the band acquired the last few members among their personal acquaintances, with the still-performing Yusuke Takeda (武田祐介) at the bass and Satoshi Yamaguchi (山口智史) on the drums (currently on hiatus since 2015), with band leader Yojiro Noda also becoming the rhythm guitar performer of RADWIMPS's current formation.

Although the band's popularity in Japan was already sustained with several 1st-pace Oricon chart hits like 2008's Order Made and 2011's Dada, nothing has ever matched the success derived from the band's involvement in the soundtrack of the 2016 movie Your Name. (Japanese: 君の名は.). RADWIMPS has made a total of 26 tracks for the critically-acclaimed animation movie, with 4 of these being used for the movie trailers. One of the four movie-trailer songs was Zen Zen Zense, which was also originally released as a teaser in advance to the Your Name. soundtrack's release, on July 25th, 2016. Zen Zen Zense was also released in two different variants from the band: the song's 'original version' with major structural changes in the 8th RADWIMPS studio album -Ningen Kaika (人間開花, lit. 'Human Bloom')- and an English version, released alongside the other three vocal movie-trailer songs on April 2017, months ahead of the Your Name. movie's English localization.

Zen Zen Zense's success story is one for the ages in the Japanese musical landscape, with its official Youtube video being the most viewed Japanese rock song of all time, counting more than 150 million views! The song has made its debut on top of the Billboard Japan Hot 100, where it managed to be ranked for 63 consecutive weeks in a row, while also managing to receive a digital song download certification from the RIAJ for its 1-million digital download milestone on the sales field. The general music gami8ng scenario hasn-t turned over their heads either, as Zen Zen Zense was made playable outside the Taiko no Tatsujin landscape, touching Bandai Namco's Synchronica as well as the two latest arcade music games from Sega: maimai and CHUNITHM.

Lots of small clusters await the players of the Oni mode belonging to this popular tunes, where the fast BPM pace and the short length of the cut make its resulting average note density much higher than the usual 8* trend for the genre.

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