Creative Reflections on Zenkimi’s ‘Sophomore Sick Sacrifice’

Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da’s latest single was pretty great, wasn’t it? Their small-but-talented creative team keeps popping out unique material, and the reward is this constant forward trajectory of growth.

We’ve look at some of the liner notes (more like, post-creative musings) around Zenkimi’s sisters in Yukueshirezutsurezure before, plus reflections on how Zenkimi themselves came to be, and it’s always cool to get inside the heads of the people who make this stuff go.

So when our Anonymous Translator friend (unfortunately eliminated from the Corenament!) offered up the latest notes from GESSHI’s own brain, I would’ve been even dumber than usual to refuse.

You can find the original blog post here.

Good Evening everyone, it’s codomomental (w). It’s nighttime.

I asked Mr. Rui to write the liner notes for ZenKimis 3rd single, but he was late in providing them (he had to work on the upcoming 4th one too). They arrived suddenly, so I’ll print them here.

Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da’s 3rd single: Sophomore Sick Sacrifice.

So, here on now it’s My, Gesshi Rui’s, liner notes. Or rather, the feelings I felt when writing them are what I have scribbled here.

First of all, the single is on sale at various places around the country. It is really hard to put it into words for all of you, but.. Thank you very much.

I thank you because I couldn’t believe all of you would be so receptive of the lyrics for songs like this. Really. I really wrote some pretty harsh things here. Well, I’ll talk to you about the my feelings starting from the first song.

M1: Sophomore Sick Sacrifice

Well then, it’s the title song. It’s composed by syva. When I first heard it in demo form, the piano intro was very strong than now and that left an impression on me. I felt that it was a song that had a big forward-facing impact.

It differs between every lyricist, but I like to put the things i see and feel about the people who inspire me into my songs. I don’t mean that the verse would be pointing out a certain person,
but it’s more of thinking how each member bring out those verses out to the public. That’s what i enjoy doing. It’s like throwing stones into still water kind of feel.

With that in mind, this single marks the debut of two members, Toga Ren and Mene Mikuchiyo, whose entrance made me feel that the balance of singing changed. With that in mind, I attended the December 30th live at Ebisu Liquid Room and had a little chat with the new members.

In the end, I realized that the peculiarity of ZenKimi had increased and that made write the lyrics as frankly as i could. When you think about the title, it’s about sacrificing the second-years.
Of course, I wanted to make second-year style things and have the song represent a new chapter, but I filled it with peculiarity. Simple.

I apologize for starting the chorus with the words “On this street, there isn’t any blood nor tears”.

It’s a syva song. I’m not sure if everyone gets it, but there’s this certain delicateness to it. It’s ok if I made it into something only the lyricists would know, but I decided otherwise.
Knowing this song would end up as the lead song of the single, I was told to make it a fierce, ZenKimi style, attacking song.

I really feel cornered. “This street” part really tied me up (a little bit lol). I’m joking. I wanted to make ZenKimi a punk band that’s more than real punk bands. That and we somehow happened to have the
strong tenacity that the leader instilled in the members amply in stock. However, having face-to-face discussions with the members, I could see them be girly and have their insecurities too. I even heard from the boss that the girls would end up crying during interviews, after all this time.

This song is only made with the zenkimi girls in mind. Only they could sing this song. It became their story. Recently, I feel like groups that have “pain” in there themes and lyrics and songs have increased. However, I feel that zenkimi is an unique group in that sense. Even with these lyrics, these girls can “cheer you up”. Other songs also can make you cry or make you smile and it is all because of the girls’ uniqueness.

That’s why I place all my bets on them. I trust the girls to make even the single smallest verse into a good interpretation. Because of that, I don’t care about if the Japanese grammar or the English language get mangled.

Even if there’s no real meaning, I write the songs with the thought of “this fits them perfectly”.

Ah, I’ve gone off the rails. First, I wanted to make this song “edgy” so I had a look at the koujien -dictionary (think Oxford English Dictionary etc. for Japanese) in the office. I couldn’t feel the words in that book. I don’t know why, but I really got pissed at it.

Even if all they were were just your normal words. Have the editors of the dictionary have any clue of the world around them? I don’t really know about the process of editing a dictionary, but I do know that Zenkimi will deliver the words of the world to you.

That was the stupid enthusiasm I had for a bit. From that I started playing around with the anarchism that you won’t be able to recover from.

I wrote about it just earlier, but the girls have their own pecularities, yet i feel that the timing is just-perfect now.

I really feel weird about this every time, but I guess this makes for some liner notes?

M2: ZaFaiFaiSo

The Fight Fight Song (laugh).

When I originally gave it the title of “The Fight Song” I instantly realized it was too close to Manson and also too close to UeYueYuo. I was afraid they’d get mad yet realizing it was meant to be “The Fight Song” and giving their approval, made me relieved all the way to tears.

Yes, this is a song for the Zenkimi of 1 year ago and the Zenkimi of now. Or rather, for everyone involved in Codomomental. Everyone’s in an abject position. Not wanting to lose up and it might be easy to give up, but everyone does their best, even with tears in their eyes.

Everyone has changed however. They’ve really changed. Especially Megumi, Mashiro and Yotsu. They recently have shown a lot of promise. I look them with that kind of eye, always. That’s why I made this fight song into their song. Since it’s ZenKimi, it will become a story. There’s a deepness to it. There’s a meaning. It’s not forced, the girls are bleeding to put the song into reality.

The chorus has this “GODDAMN” part in it. If you were to imagine a foreigner saying it, it’d bring a gruff male saying it to mind, right? I wanted to make ZenKimi to say that. The fun of having the girls who are considered to be idols to say this rough phrase is perhaps the core of this song. Since i thought it’s ok for them to use that phrase, I inserted it into the song.

Ah, also, I don’t like to use the cliche of “one for the XX”. It’s something that’s used a lot in hip-hop. I really don’t get what they mean with that. So I decided to come terms with the phrase and used it in the first part of the song. Well, to say it like this, I used a lot of songs I’m not really fond of using. “Don’t Mind” and so on are phrases I disliked. Totally bad. However, having ZenKimi sing those words make me appreciate them.

Some would call my songwriting therapy, but honestly, having the people you like sing these words make the dislike disappear. Thank you, zenkimi (laughs).

Let’s continue fighting. Together.

M3: Aoharu

The lyrics for the demo and for the finished product changed quite drastically. I remember being troubled on how to write this 100% bittersweet song.

But yeah, I wrote the lyrics like I was a man possessed. It’s hard to put it into words, but.. Usually when I write lyrics, I really think about different things. For this song, without thinking, I traveled in time.

I traveled back to my school years and thought about if the ZenKimi girls would’ve been in my school.

That somehow made me feel like I was reading someone elses love letters or something (laughs). Of course it’s all imagination, but there hasn’t been a song that would yell out YOUTH. I didn’t mean to write a song like that, yet in the end the song ended up being like that.

I suppose the entrance of two new members had a huge influence.

Youth is miraculous. It’s a whole another dimension, don’t you think. You don’t really understand how you experience it with all your heart, why you hated on the adults like that, why you rebelled against things or why you fell in love with someone. As much as you’d like to relive those memories, you just couldn’t perfectly capture the feel. That’s why i time-traveled.

At the Zenkimi School that i traveled to, the younger me was there. Maybe a bit introverted, but still a person who appreciated the brighter things. A person who could easily love people and not know what hurting people meant.

That made me think that youth is a totally different dimension.

The girls have their own peculiarities and I felt like they were just merrily living their lives in school which made me laugh by myself. I really am sorry for that. If they read this part, they’d start hating me so please cut this part out.

There was the experience of being dazzled by the person you admired, which was all of your activity, which lead to the “just cause” style madness. The feeling of only living once and going all out, having a taste of your dreams. Those kind of people are precious, don’t you think? I put that into this songs vocals to make it mesmerizing, or rather, I was sure that Zenkimi would make these lyrics live. The girls really did that.

Thank you.

It all went like that.

The single came to be 3 songs. The singles of nowadays have just 2 songs. In the past, they put instrumentals too however (I guess major labels do it now too? Not that I know of it).

I always say this, but the lyrics are interesting. The schedule was rigorous, yet using that as inspiration made me able to deliver the ultimate work. That rigourness became the cornerstone of these songs. Especially in ZenKimis case, inserting the irony of the zeitgeist into my work, is really fun. The only thing more fun than that was our ongoing battle.

We don’t aim to imitate ideas and so on, we aim to think them out by ourselves and put them out as our works.

We’ll continue doing it like that in the future, too. Especially in Zenkimis case, those ideas are constantly swelling up. It’s all thanks to them evolving every time they step on the stage.

Well then. I’ll be really happy if you enjoy the single numerous times. After that, we’ll be releasing the 4th single “Wagamama Shinsei Hominina” on April 26. I hope you enjoy that one too.

Gesshi Rui.