HOLEYBALONEY

X: Psychedelic Violence Crime of Visual Shock

I’ve been counting anniversaries a lot this year. 2014 is the 15th year since I’ve fallen in love with the band that changed my perspective, X-JAPAN.

Thinking back, there are many firsts that I can count that are related to X.

  • ‘Forever Love’ was the first song I downloaded from mIRC
  • First MV I searched for to watch was ‘Endless Rain’
  • First time I went to watch a movie (Windstruck) solely because of the ending song ‘Tears’
  • First celebrity that I researched online to find out about their history
  • First time I wrote to the radio station’s Japanese music program to request for a X special, and sending them all my research (I almost went on air as a guest, but I chickened out)
  • ‘Forever Love’ was the first song I tried to memorise the lyrics for by searching for the romanisation
  • Their ‘Perfect Best’ CD box set was also the first, and only, box set I have.

When I bought the ‘Perfect Best’ box set, I played it so often that I could memorise the order of the song, and I could recognize the song just from the opening few lines of music. The 2 CDs, together with Luna Sea’s compilation album, were always in my CD booklet that I carried around. I was always plugged into my Walkman and secretly hated meeting a classmate on the way to & from school, because I had to pause the music and socialize.

I’ve talked about X before, and even till now, I’m still impressed at the amount of strength & determination that is inside someone so seemingly vulnerable as yoshiki. Someone who is soft spoken, loves to giggle, and is so polite that he finds it hard to reject if you ask him more than once. Even when he gets mad, he’s adorable. But when it comes to music, the focus and the perfectionism shines through the roof. It was the most obvious when they were in the midst of their fifth, and what turned out to be the final, album “Dahlia”. The album took 3 years to write, record and produce, because yoshiki was tweaking it so much.

Enough about yoshiki. Even though yoshiki is definitely the soul of X, I love the band, not just him. Their creativity and songwriting skills were impressive, as well as their arrangement capabilities. I was 16 when I first listened to ‘Forever Love’ and toshi’s voice is nasal yet not annoyingly so, and the music was just enchanting. I was totally caught up in the melody, picturing it with the manga I was reading. X-1999 by CLAMP was what introduced me to X, if anyone really wants to know. It was the first time I realised how powerful music really is, the ability to pull you into a scenario and fire your imagination and emotions. It also struck me how important the vocalist / the voice really is. I didn’t understand the lyrics, didn’t know what it meant, but toshi’s voice matched the music so well, it’s like an instrument in itself, part of the entire arrangement. It was the first time that I realised that lyrics is not everything. You do not need lyrics to feel the emotions and message of a song, if it’s well written. This also set the foundation of my music taste till now.

The variety of music that they write is also another defining factor. Their styles range from various styles of metal, to classical, to acoustic, collaborations with philharmonic orchestras, purely piano ballads; it’s just simply amazing the range that they display. The tempo changes drastically mid-song in ‘Silent Jealousy’ and ‘Kurenai’; including even a short excerpt of ‘Swan Lake’ in ‘Silent Jealousy’.. They released a 30 min long single with one song, ‘Art of Life’, a song which brings you through various emotions

But what I really truly love about them, is that they are rebels. True rebels through and through. Why else would you persist in this pioneering road of visual kei in conservative Japan? KISS is acceptable, but only because they are gaijin, or foreigners. X is not. They are true blue Japanese. All that dressing up as Victorian chicks with long wavy hair and copious amounts of make-up was simply unfathomable to the Japanese, especially the media. But still, they sold albums. Amid all the hate, they sold tens of millions of albums, leaving those Japanese press with no choice but to grant them interviews. No major label wanted them, so they released their albums as an independent label. And they still sold albums. They write songs about sex and death and other taboo / unorthodox topics that were touchy in Japan. Yet they still sold albums.

I’m still waiting for the day I get to see them in Singapore. L’arc-en-ciel has been here. Luna Sea has been here. When will it be X? Every time I remember the Taiwan concert I went to, the emotions I felt when I was shouting WE ARE X!… I just wish I get to see them again, soon!

p/s. This post is posted today, because it is hide’s death anniversary today.

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一路走來

都快10年了。我和X JAPAN相逢恨晚,他們1997年解散、hide在1998年去世,而我認識他們卻是1999年的事。

記得剛開始的時候是因為Forever Love是X-1999動畫的主題曲。而我,愛上漫畫愛上X。我愛上Forever Love的柔美旋律,愛上toshi特別的聲線,愛上yoshiki柔情中帶有點瘋
狂的鋼琴。我愛上了X。在聽不懂歌詞的狀況下,愛上了X。

開始時他們的形象有點讓我不知所措。穿女裝、長頭髮、化濃妝… 這個是甚麼跟甚麼啊?我甚至懷疑我是不是搞錯了?像這個樣子的樂團可以作出像Forever Love那樣子的
歌??我開始懷疑我的眼睛和耳朵。

于是我向朋友借來X Clips那張VCD。我非得要親眼看到他們在我眼前以這種形象這種樣子來唱Forever Love。結果,Clips當中,最讓我著迷的是Silent Jealousy。那個鼓的速度是我17年來(2000年那時候17歲啦)從來沒有見識過的。那種速度、那種鼓點、眼神里那種驕傲的瘋狂,我著迷不已。

于是我像發了瘋一樣,拼命搜集他們的資料。2000年的時候,科技還沒有那么發達,網絡速度只有56kbps,也沒有wikipedia,也沒有google。那時候只能在奇摩搜尋里面慢慢找慢慢找。

越是收集﹐越愛他們。yoshiki的執著﹑熱情﹐對自己要走的道路完全沒有懷疑。記得他們剛出道時﹐根本沒有唱片公司要簽他們。結果yoshiki便自己設立一間唱片製作公司﹐自己發行他們的單曲。結果大賣﹐引起各大唱片行的注意﹐才紛紛向他們招手。

這種精神、這種態度、這種理念,現在的人哪有?現在什么都要端在盤子上給他的所謂音樂人,有誰有這種理念,又那么相信自己的能力?

后來漸漸開始存錢收集cd,才發現他們的歌真的多元化,就如同yoshiki曾經說過,X的歌是以感官的方面來做題材的。也難怪有像orgasm、standing sex、i’ll kill you 之類的
歌。XD

接下來的事我想和所有其他板友一樣,我就此愛上了他們。我追溯這他們的歷史,直到看到hide意外去世的新聞時,整個人頓時陷入谷底。我記得那時候的感覺完全就是“此生
永遠沒有機會看到他們現場表演了啊!”殘念。

結果機會來了,也還有特權可以免費入場,或者是領記者證,但是經濟使然只好忍痛。以目前經濟狀況,可能連酒店都沒有辦法付,更何況是從新加坡到東京的機票。沒辦法,
在日子越來越逼近的時候,看到會去看演唱會的朋友興奮不已的樣子,整個心是揪痛的。沒辦法,只好假裝安慰自己說沒有hide不算真正的X。

今晚的演唱會我沒有辦法多說,因為再說我心會很痛。

總而言之,

WE ARE X!

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