Yui is my favourite singer songwriter and I would like to share a small selection of her songs with you and to try to advocate her to you by explaining some of the lyrics and the context of the songs.
I have not given all the words of the songs, I just wanted to give you an idea of the themes.
But first a little background. Yui did not have an easy life as she was from a single parent family and quite poor. She had to work part time in High School to help pay for tuition. She was encouraged by her mother to keep a journal of her feelings, and she converted many of the journal entries to poems and also songs and this was how she began to write songs.
The early influence of her was the band Bianco Nero from her home town of Fukuoka and it was this band that advised her to leave high school and attend a music school. While studying at the music school she made money by busking at the railway station in her home town, which in interviews, she has said was a great education in performing and it confirmed her belief that music was what she wanted to do.
Her first track to be released was It’s Happy Line which was limited to 2000 copies and only released in her home town, but it gained some attention. It was a year later in 2005, she was invited to write a song for a drama series. She wrote and performed the theme for the TV drama “Fukigen Na Gene” and because of the exposure due to the success of the drama the track “Feel My Soul” sold over 100,000 copies and began her career as a major artist. Since then, she has released four albums which have all been very high quality and all have been platinum discs.
I have chosen five songs for you to try and give a feel for her work.
The first song is a related to my last Spill post as this song Rolling Star was written as the fifth opening theme for the anime Bleach. Yui is not just the typical girly singer songwriter who writing introspective songs about love (although of course she does this also) She likes rock and often plays electric guitar. Rolling Star is a good example of the more rocking style of some of her songs.
The lyrics in the song relate to the story line in the anime, which is heroic and supernatural, but she focuses in the song on the motive of building a peaceful world and the rather clumsy nature of the hero in the series.
A world like the one I dreamt of
Where everyday life is peaceful, and without conflict
But the truth is, those days are trouble
And sometimes those kinds of Rolling days are frustrating
… Yes, I understand
Stumbling, way to go!!
Yeah!! Yeah!! A rolling star, covered in mud!!
The next song I choose is Feel My Soul. This is really one of my very favourites by her. This song follows one of the recurring themes of her songs which is leaving home or moving on from people or places to follow dreams and ambitions. Of course in a country like Japan, where many young people leave their home towns to work or study in the big cities like Tokyo (as I did) these songs can really touch people.
The words that you softly whispered, you say it
“Start moving, the road is so opened up that it’s like you can’t see it”
I feel my soul, take me your way, yes, even as I struggle
I’ll always be able to walk along like this
It wasn’t by chance, and it wasn’t an everyday dream either
You’re right, all right, you’re right, all right
The Third song I have chosen is Gloria, It is a song about facing the future and being brave and honest and is sung like a monologue to a friend. I like this song as for me it is about being brave and doing what you need to even when you are afraid. I find it a powerful and positive song.
You’re not losing
Gloria shine away to the future
You’re approaching closer
I do not even blame anybody anymore
Embrace it all
If you think of only yourself it’s all a crooked lie
Uh uh uh the time the cherry trees start blooming
Uh uh uh I’ll be able to find myself
I believe it’s not only a dream
Though I am really afraid
The fourth song is Goodbye Days. This is a break up song but there is a slight difference to the normal break up songs. The singer is going to break up with a guy that she really likes but has somehow become a friend and not a lover anymore, so she is sad but strong about her intention. I think this is a situation which many girls can relate to.
So I’m going to go see you right now, that’s what I’ve decided
I want to have you listen to this song, that I have in my pocket
Quietly, I turned up the volume, to make sure that it was there
Oh good-bye days, right now I’ve got the feeling that things are going to change; so long to everything up until yesterday
An un-cool kindness is at my side
I pass one ear phone over to you
And this moment slowly streams over to you
If you have read and listened this far I would like to say thank you very much.
This last song is actually my favourite song of hers and is the most personal to me. It is called Tokyo and is about her leaving home and her home town to come to Tokyo and the sadness of leaving home and friends behind. For me this is song captures how homesick I feel sometimes. In the song she sings about the train and the station, but of course my home is much further away than her home town, and the train for me was the plane, and the station becomes the airport, but somehow this very simple song really moves me.
The day has come when I will leave the room I’m so used to living in
My new journey is still disorienting me
On the bus to the station
I emailed my friend
On the platform in the morning, I tried calling too
But it felt like something had changed
I’ve brought one old guitar with me
I’ve left all my photos behind
Letting something go and then gaining something new
Does the same cycle repeat itself?
When I pretend to be strong, it always leads to dreams
When I let myself be cowardly, they stop
As the train began to move
I cried a little
I hope you enjoyed the songs