Monday, April 29, 2013

Sound Test: BGM 03 - Katamari Damacy "The Moon and the Prince"

For this edition of Sound Test I present one of my favorite songs from the brilliant soundtrack to Katamari Damacy, "The Moon and the Prince" by Kenji Ninuma.  Anyone who has played the Katamari games knows that they're just as famous for their eclectic soundtracks as they are for their entertaining gameplay.  With that in mind, it was a challenge picking just one track to represent such a high quality collection of songs with such varied musical styles.  I chose this one because I think that it gives the listener a good sense of the game's quirky style and it offers a little taste of nearly everything you can hear on the rest of the soundtrack.  From glitch pop to jazz, disco to classical, this fun little number has a bit of everything!

I did a bit of research on Kenji Ninuma (the song's composer/performer) and I was a bit surprised to learn that he was born in 1956 and that he's had a music/acting career that has spanned nearly four decades!  He was about 50 years old when this song was released and this is what he looks like:

He's a bit like a Japanese Paul McCartney, no?  Something about the way he sounds and the doubling technique used on his voice made me think that this song was performed by a pair of 20-something Japanese b-boys!  At any rate, I still love this song and I highly recommend playing any of the Katamari games if you haven't already.  As a bonus I'm going to include the English translation of the lyrics to this song.  Those who know the Katamari series will get a kick out of the many references to its gameplay, but the lyrics are enjoyable on their own as a look at the trappings of modern life and the pressure to soldier on in the face of adversity.


I sprinted, I twisted,
I tried to run about everywhere
I spun, I was spun,
I rolled into anything I could find
I was attached, I felt included,
hey! I just picked up so much stuff!

I tried to avoid it, I tried to flee,
But the power was too much, came crashing down on me
I tried to push it, I tried to pull it,
At the end of my rope, I tried to cast it away
I crashed, I snapped,
A huge thrill ran through my body

The goal was endlessly far, but I couldn't stop pressing on
Forever rolling on, I grew a lot, as a person
I noticed many things, and everyone became as one
While smiling faces flooded the town, a petty evil lay hidden in the shadows


Check it up, I funk it up
Everybody shut up, come and follow me, yeah
Check it up, I funk it up
Everyone follow me like your life depends on it, come on

(Check it up, I funk it up
Minna damatte, ore ni, tsuite koi, yeah
Check it up, I funk it up
Minna hisshi de ore ni tsuite koi, come on)

Repeat x 4

I pounded on, but I lost heart
No energy left, I fell into despair
I tried to sulk, I was down,
With a heart full of regret, tried to make the tears tumble down
I thought about it, rolled down on the ground
Looked at the sky and it brought back my calm

I stared and stared, kept it always in my eyes
And the moon that floated there, it was so bright
Got bigger and bigger, hoisted up step by step
Till it was under the great big stars
I kept on going, got some cooperation
And put in every ounce of all that lovely strength

I felt the beginnings of an impending crisis, stood up,
blew the walls off of my heart
A free mind and an overflowing soul,
I gave my spirit a heart to live in
(Jiyuu na mind to afureru soul, spirit ni kokoro ni yadoshita)
Combine our power, and we can do it,
everyone comes to accomplish one great thing
Now we're equal, we understand and admire each other
more than any time before, the people around me have grown larger

I don't wanna hear any negative talk coming from your mouths!
It may be tough, but we can't stop now!
We'll draw a peaceful vibration in an arc across the sky!
We'll create an object that won't fail to compete with this planet!

(Negative na wadai wo kuchi ni suru na
Tsurakutemo, susumu koto wo yamerun jaanai
Peace na vibration de arc wo egaki
Kono earth ni makenai object wo tsukure)"

Repeat Chorus x 4

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