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Mar 10 2016

Top 5 Songs from Sakanaction’s DocumentaLy

This album is widely considered Sakanaction’s best album. So, to narrow the list down to only five was very difficult. But here they are:

-Monochrome Tokyo (モノクロトウキョー)

Unfortunately, one song had to miss the cut. This time, the victim is Monochrome Tokyo. This is the first song I had ever heard by Sakanaction live, as a fun fact. Sakanaction is a band that screams originality, which is why they are my favorite Japanese band. This song is one of their most unique songs; it sounds like nothing else they have created. Despite all of that, there are still five songs that are even better than this. In choosing the top 5, this gem just couldn’t make the list.

5. Rookie (ルーキー)

This is one of Sakanaction’s best live songs. It’s still great to hear on album, but maybe doesn’t hold up to the next four songs as much. As can be said after being years with a song, the band gets used to it and figures out how to make it work well live. Much more can be said about how amazing Sakanaction is live in a different post.

Rookie is truly one of the most unique songs I’ve ever heard. Perhaps it’s a testament to how great the next four songs are that Rookie got #5 on this list even with that statement. The song starts off almost screeching, and the development picks up relatively quickly. It’s really hard to know where this song is going, which is why it’s so unique. When the song gets 2/3 of the way through, it seemingly returns back to the opening of the song. The first time I heard this song and got to this part, I really didn’t know what to think. It then builds back up to where it was and releases a ton of energy for a fun last chorus.

I was told recently by a friend of a certain TV series that it is better upon watching it through a second time. It’s because you know where it went in the end, and everything in the beginning makes more sense. It’s really hard to have known where the song would go upon its first listen, but when you know where the song ends up going, you begin to appreciate all the little details. Amongst anything else, that’s what makes this song so unique.

4. “Bach no Senritsu no Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu” (『バッハの旋律を夜に聴いたせいです。』)

This was one of the three gateway songs for me to get into Sakanaction. At one point, I would have said that this was my favorite Sakanaction song. It has an utterly amazing chorus that demands repeat listens. The lyrics will probably give nobody pause as they are not demanding nor meaningful. But like any great song, they do tell a little bit of how we (or in this case Ichiro) react to certain situations. It’s a small slice of life accompanied by an indelible chorus.

3. Antares to Hari (アンタレスと針)

Here’s a song that will surprise some as to why it’s on this list. This is what one might call an “album song”, as it doesn’t have as much energy as a single might, but one would not be surprised to hear this song if they simply put this album on play and let it come to ths track. I talked earlier regarding Monochrome Tokyo of how unique the song is. This song, as well, is one of the most original and unique songs that Sakanaction has ever done. One of the great points of this album is its sheer variety. This song greatly contributes to the overall variety that this album has. But regardless of how it contributes or fits into the album, this song stands alone as a very unique 80’s style track with an amazing unforgettable vibe.

2. Endless (エンドレス)

Many EDM-style songs, such as Outside by Calvin Harris, start off quieter and get louder as they proceed into the chorus. Endless just keeps getting louder and louder and never lets you go as a listener. When it breaks out into a techno rock beat at the end of the song, our brains almost don’t know what to think. We want to keep hearing this catchy beat. We wonder why it took three minutes to get to this beat. Then the song suddenly ends. The first time someone hears this song must be confusing for them. It had so much energy and then stopped…why? On repeat listens, though, it seems to make sense. Each part of the song has its own uniqueness because it’s all different than it was previously before. The chorus is played three times. There’s consistency in the way that the chorus sounds, despite that the lyrics are not entirely the same in each one. It has to end, and it does, but it does feel endless in a way.

1. Identity (アイデンティティ)

Possibly Sakanaction’s best song, Identity encapsulates original music with a strong chorus. Sakanaction has made a name for themselves with their songs featuring that have what I would call a “double chorus”. We get a hint of that in this song, with the beginning that talks about “identity” and the main chorus which talks about “why”. The two collide in the middle; as the main chorus finishes, it immediately goes back the “identity” part. When I first heard this song, I felt completely hooked by all of this. Even the beginning of the song which features 5 seconds or so of drumming is an incredible lead-in to the powerful first ‘mini’ chorus that then leads us into the verses.

I doubt it’s an overstatement to say that everything in this song is amazing. Even during the verses, where the word “sou” is echoed, it feels so incredibly appropriate. Even the slightly incessant la la la part as the song enters its second half feels like it works. And remember that 5 seconds of drumming at the beginning? It comes back for another second in between the first and second half of the second verse. It’s in the background and not as noticeable, but it’s there. All of these things are just small touches that make the song, as a whole, simply incredible.

Since the lyrics are also heartfelt, it makes the song even more amazing. Ichiro was unsure about his life when he was in his teens. What was his identity? He felt he didn’t have one. And while there is a main chorus heard three times, the lyrics are slightly different each time. They progress Ichiro’s thoughts as we keep discovering more and more about him and what he has to say about this. In fact, I couldn’t really say what the chorus is for this song. And that’s okay. It all works, and works extraordinarily beautifully well.