YAM Magazine » Archive » Tokyo Jihen The Color Bars .pdf



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ARTICLE
Tokyo Jihen: The Color Bars//
posted Sunday, March 11th, 2012
by Adrienne Lew | Comments (0) | edit post

This is it. Tokyo Jihen’s farewelling album.
As with everything else on earth, this surprising “sayonara” from Shiina Ringo’s alter ego came at a time when apparently none of their fans would
have expected — especially following the immense success of their album last summer, and the Discovery tour that took place soon after.
But this is typical of Ringo — just like her marriage, pregnancy, divorce … and the forming of Tokyo Jihen 7 years ago — whether we are
prepared for it or not.
Anyway … what exactly is (as an album) / are (the bars themselves) the “Color Bars” about?
Sources have it that given the color bars constitute the concluding visual image of any television show back in the days when the television was
first invented, each bar, in TJ’s case, represents what each of its members has to offer as a professional musician/composer.
As such, gone are the days when Ringo would pretty much dictate the conceptual and musical directions through manipulating both the lyrics and
the composing responsibilities, especially with their first few albums like Education and Adult. Instead, each track in the Color Bars was composed
by a different member of the band — who, in some cases, also took care of the vocals.
Let’s check out the colors one by one.
The opening track, “Konya wa Karasawagi” (Much Ado About Nothing Tonight), as anyone would have expected, was composed and rendered
by Ringo herself.

Super catchy rhythms, easy-to-follow and hard-to-forget melody lines, chic, jazzy music arrangements … and, of course, a quirky but awfully
intriguing promotional video (PV) that brings back the nostalgic memories of Imperial Japan in the World War I era … These are the minimum
standards we would expect of Ringo.
What fascinates me the most about this track, as it turns out, is how the lyrics seems to echo back what their first song ever plugged on air 7 years
ago, “Gunjou Biyori” (Ultramarine Weather) seeks to portray. In Gunjou Biyori, water — or raindrops — matter(s) a great deal to Ringo (see the
first stanza translated below):
It’s pouring in Shinjuku
Where are you?
Today Tokyo is turning blue with the cold
No strategy to speak of
Where am I going?
My brain steals the drops and dries me.
(From http://www.nostalgic-lavender.net/ringo/gunjou.html)
In contrast, the band seems to have had enough about the highs and lows of the “tide,” in Konya wa Karasawagi,

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