フレデリック – Frederic

The context in which I discovered this band is similar to the way I first heard Sakanaction: a holiday to Japan; hours spent roaming around Tower Records in Shibuya; new musical discovery.

Frederic are a 4-piece band, including a pair of twins, Koji and Kenji Mihara. Their music combines catchy, unapologetic pop/indie rock gestures with eccentric, but equally addictive vocals, traditional rock band set-up weaved with subtle electronic layers, and perhaps most striking, music videos centered around two woodenly expressionless women.

‘オドループ’ (‘ODDLOOP’) is one of their more up-tempo, rhythmically pulsating tracks (compared to their earlier songs). The title merges ‘odoru’ (to dance) and loop, but it could also simply be ‘odd’ and ‘loop’, perhaps reflective of their unusual approach to their videos. The music video stays faithful to the context of the song: repetitive samples of clips in a loop or reversed, rhythmically sync to the beat and the persistent appearance of the poker-faced women.

From a more political angle, the occasional listener interprets this song as a subtle remark on the issue concerning late-night restrictions on dance clubs in Japan:

Chorus

‘踊ってない夜を知らない、踊ってない夜が気に入らない’

odottenai yoru wo shiranai, odottenai yoru ga kini iranai’

‘don’t know a night without dancing, don’t like a night without dancing’

Regardless of such a connotation, ‘ODDLOOP’ can easily raise the voltage level in any audience at a live show.

Their most recent hit ‘オワラセナイト’ (‘OWARASE NIGHT’) sustains the emphasis on danceable beats. The title means ‘to finish what you are doing’. Up until the point they released ‘ODDLOOP’ and ‘OWARASE NIGHT, I had the impression that Kenji Mihara had a slightly slack, laid-back approach to his vocal timbre and expression. However, this hit transcends the early judgements I had about his manner, as he seems to be more ardent and passionate. After all, it is a songs that promotes strong will and determination, reflected in their message:

“In order to see the morning, you have to finish what you are doing right now. Otherwise you cannot move forward. When you want to start something you have to OWARASE NIGHT!”

And it’s fair to say, it did the trick. It was a good motivation song for me in the sense that I had a dissertation to ‘OWARASE NIGHT’.

Other Listening:

  • SPAM生活 (‘SPAM Seikatsu’)
  • 人魚のはなし (‘Ningyo no Hanashi’)

© Isaku Takahashi

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