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グロテスク

Album: I Am Mortal
2015.11.11 cutting edge


Grotesque
Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi
Music: Miyo Ken

Paradise of pleasure,
    sighs of the butterflies on the flower petals
Dreamy dreams of oyster shells,
    rich and strange in shape they tangle and bloom1
Stuffing their cheeks with blood red fruit,
    the beasts so shamelessly do tangle and bloom2

Shall we make love, darling?
Let us make love, baby

Chasing after paradise, 
    the grotesque monsters begin to open their eyes
The seasons change to the Season of Hell,
    in the blink of an eye, a sepia season of Hell3
Rotting away and romantic,
    the pigs and apes dream blowing in the wind

Shall we kill one another, darling?
Let us make love, baby

Deep in sin the angel seraphim are weeping now4
Baring claws and shedding blood, a world without a God
At the end of the end of the end of the darkness, what awaits?
You are a Nightmare, I am a Nightmare, let us spread our wings5
Take off and fly

Shall we make love, darling?
Let us make love, baby
Shall we kill one another, darling?
Let us make love, baby

Deep in sin the angel seraphim are weeping now
Baring claws and shedding blood, a world without a God
At the end of the end of the end of the darkness, what awaits?
You are a Nightmare, I am a Nightmare, let us spread our wings
Take off and fly
To the end. To the end. To the end.
Beautiful paradise is at an end.6


Note: I already wrote a note on the archaic meaning of the word "grotesque" for my translation of "masQue," but I'll repost it here:

Though in recent times "grotesque" has come to have an exclusively negative meaning, the original meaning referred in particular to artwork involving bizarre combinations of forms, especially human and animal. I chose to use the word "grotesque" here because the Japanese word, "bake," often refers to a transformation of some kind, and is related to the word "bakemono," which means "ghost" or "monster," literally meaning "transformed thing" - something that was human but changed shape into something monstrous.

However, I would like to point out that Sakurai did not use the English word "grotesque" at any point in the lyrics to "masQue" - in that song, he used the Japanese word "bake," and the artistic decision to translate "bake" as "grotesque" was entirely my own. But in this song, the title is "Grotesque," in English (though it is spelled in katakana) and it should be clear from the first stanza that Sakurai is using the word "grotesque" here in its original Medieval sense.

So, is this just coincidence...or has he been reading the translation notes on NGS? Mr. Sakurai, if you are indeed reading this, please do admit it, okay? We'd love to hear from you.

1) The word "kaigara," which I translated here as "oyster shells," actually refers to any kind of shellfish. I translated it as "oyster" to underscore the eroticism of the image...because in case you hadn't noticed, shellfish kind of look like vaginas and Sakurai surely made the choice deliberately. Using the word "oyster" also calls to mind the phrase "the world is your oyster," which goes along with the image of paradise before the fall.

The word "bukimi" means something strange or unusually shaped, and it often has a negative meaning, but since the overall image Sakurai creates in this stanza is one of life in all its forms living and reproducing vigorously, in context I took it to refer to the many strange and unusual shapes that animals (especially sea animals) can be. Therefore, I translated it as "rich and strange," in a deliberate reference to "Full Fathoms Five," one of Ariel's songs in Shakespeare's play "The Tempest," which includes the lines "But doth suffer a sea change/Into something rich and strange." Sakurai didn't intend a Shakespeare reference here, I'm sure, but I feel it's in keeping with the theme of the album as a whole, especially because "Full Fathoms Five" is a song about how the sea creatures have taken over the bones of a drowned man and in this way given him new life.

2) "Blood red fruit," as in literal fruit, and also as in "the fruits of the flesh" - the implication of this line is that beasts are neither ashamed to stuff themselves with food, nor are they ashamed to have lots of wild sex in full view of god and everybody. Also, you've gotta love the photograph that illustrates this page of the album booklet - Sakurai is literally stuffing his cheeks with grapes.

3) This is another reference to Arthur Rimbaud's famous poem "A Season in Hell," which Sakurai previously mentioned in the lyrics to "Survival Dance." From the notes I wrote for that song:

Jean Nicholas Arthur Rimbaud was a 19th century French poet known for his dark, decadent writings inspired by his drug and alcohol soaked enfant terrible lifestyle. His most famous work is the extended poem "Un Saison en Enfer" ("A Season in Hell"), which dealt with themes from his story homosexual love affair with the eminent Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine. Though Rimbaud himself largely stopped writing as an adult, and died of bone cancer at the tender age of 37, his work and life became a great source of inspiration for many 20th century artists, musicians, and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Vladimir Nabokov, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, Jim Morrison, and others. Rimbaud is also considered one of the great influences on the Surrealist movement.

In Japanese "sepia" is a stock image for something in the past, due to the fact that old photographs are sepia-toned. As I interpret it, a "sepia hell" would be the hell of living with nothing but memories of lost things.

4) There is no word "seraphim" in this line, but he's talking about a group of angels and "seraphim" helped the line fit the syllable count. Also there are some similar images here to the images in Buck-Tick's song "seraphim," so I didn't think it was a stretch in meaning.

5) For what it's worth, the word here, "akumu" is the standard word for "nightmare" - in contrast to "muma" which Sakurai used in the lyrics to "Tsuki."

6) There's a bit of a worldplay here - Sakurai is riffing on the fact that the word for paradise is "rakuen," so "rakuen end" has a nice ring to it.




グロテスク
作詞:櫻井敦司
作曲:三代堅

快楽の楽園 花びらに蝶の溜め息
貝殻の夢夢 不気味にも 咲いて乱れる
赤い実を頬ばり ケダモノははしたなく咲き乱れる

愛し合うの?Darling 愛し合うさBaby

楽園を追われた 化け物 目覚めはじめる
季節は地獄へと いつの間にセピアの地獄
腐りゆくロマンティック 豚や猿は夢見るよ風に吹かれて

殺し合うか?Darling 愛し合うさBaby

罪深き天使共が鳴いている
爪を立て血を流す 神無き世界
闇の果ての果ての果てに何が待っている
お前悪夢 俺も悪夢 羽広げ
飛ぶのさ

愛し合うの?Darling 愛し合うさBaby
殺し合うか?Darling 愛し合うさBaby

罪深き天使共が鳴いている
爪を立て血を流す 神無き世界
闇の果ての果ての果てに何が待っている
お前悪夢 俺も悪夢 羽広げ
飛ぶのさ
To the end. To the end. To the end.
美しい楽園 end.



Grotesque
Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi
Music: Miyo Ken

Kairaku no rakuen     hanabira ni chou no tameiki
Kaigara no yumeyume     bukumi ni mo     saitemidareru
Akai mi wo hoobari     kedamono wa hashitanaku sakimidareru

Aishiau no? Darling     Aishiau sa Baby

Rakuen wo owareta     bakemono    mezamehajimeru
Kisetsu wa jigoku e to     itsu no ma ni sepia no jigoku
Kusariyuku romanchikku     buta ya saru wa yumemiru yo kaze ni fukarete

Koroshiau ka? Darling     Aishiau sa Baby

Tsumibukaki tenshitomo ga naiteiru
Tsume wo tate chi wo nagasu     kami naki sekai
Yami no hate no hate no hate ni nani ga matteiru
Omae akumu     ore mo akumu     hane hiroge
Tobu no sa

Aishiau no? Darling     Aishiau sa Baby
Koroshiau no? Darling     Aishiau sa Baby

Tsumibukaki tenshitomo ga naiteiru
Tsume wo tate chi wo nagasu     kami naki sekai
Yami no hate no hate no hate ni nani ga matteiru
Omae akumu     ore mo akumu     hane hiroge
Tobu no sa
To the end. To the end. To the end.
Utsukushii rakuen     end.