Know Your BiStory #1: primal.

Gang, we made it. It’s time for #1 in the Know Your BiStory countdown. There are some truly great songs in the world. And then there’s “primal.”

It’s literally a huge honor to get to write about this song. “primal.” wasn’t the group’s consensus #1 when we all voted, but it sort of emerged while we worked out which track was more awesome than another. And, given everything we’ve seen so far, that shows an extremely high level of respect.

I think the most important thing to consider about “primal.” is that, awesomeness aside, it came at one of the biggest — if not the biggest, period — pivot points in BiS’s tumultuous history; Yokoyama Rina, today known as Rinahamu and one of the most creative, prolific women in J-music, had left the group because she just couldn’t with the antics, and Terashima Yufu, the infamous Yuffy, had been recruited to replace her. They had an album and two singles — both of which are on this list — and this third single was representative not of where BiS had come from, but where they were going.

It’s fucking exquisite.

Before you play this, just be forewarned that it’s not safe for work, school, home, the squeamish, the prudish, the easily triggered or the of-terrible-taste-in-music. There’s sex and throat and boob stuff, and pooping and blood and puke, and a small child, if you’re also afraid of that, not to mention a ridiculously great song.

If you need to have another listen before you move on, I’ll call your attention to this particularly clean and clear live video of a performance; if you can’t tell, this is a song that Means Things, to the extent that women who merrily ran naked through a demon-haunted suicide forest treat it with simple, understated respect.

I’m even taking the unprecedented step of including the lyrics in full (translated):

Transparent word stood by me and looked at me.
I was tracing an uncertain future with a finger
not to be found by excruciating word.
I wanna stand on here with blistered feet.

I reminded memories many times.
I didn’t look back those and kept on going.
i dreamed a dream with uncertain mind.
it asked me a tomorrow without an answer.
what will i eat next time?

i tainted a clear heart with white.
i wanna believe now more than thinking about next year.
i overlooked invisible,
nothing had gone right.
i had stood on here with blistered feet.

Memories I reminded many times left unforgettable hurts.
i dreamt a dream with uncertain mind.
it asked me a tomorrow without an answer.
what will i eat next time?

i pretended that i did not see, hear and feel,
and i cried.

muchas gracias a KasU en Kasumi-Kashi

To add in more perspective, IDOL is DEAD is probably the consensus #1 BiS release, a brutal triumph of an album that gave zero shits, took zero prisoners and turned five weird young women into subcultural icons; “primal.” is the song that closes it out. Its visceral approach comprises all of the hard-wrought emotion and industry-political fury of the album as a whole, making it the stamp on Pour Lui’s hate letter to a culture that she didn’t even seem to want to be able to completely understand her.

For my money, “primal.” is still the song by which all other idol rock songs should be measured; not any of Babymetal’s highly technical power epics, not the standard-setting madness of Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da, not PassCode’s rampaging dance mixes, nothing that came before or has come since. This is a punk anthem so essential that BiSH did tribute to it twice, the video in “All You Need Is Love” and the song in the almost-as-great “Primitive.” It’s become Matsukuma Kenta’s Idol Punk Anthem Template #1, for goodness sakes, its influence obvious from Billie Idle to PIIIIIIIN.

If there’s anything negative about BiS’s return, it’s that they’ll never be this good again. They’ll undoubtedly keep working with great composers and use the mischievous genius of Pour Lui and company to do things that others can’t or won’t do, but they’ll never be able to match this level again, simply because it’s impossible.


3 thoughts on “Know Your BiStory #1: primal.

  1. Pingback: Know Your BiStory #3: PPCC | Homicidols

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