Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Went to my local JB HiFi store after work today (yes, I work every second Sunday). It was a bit of a shock, actually. They had rearranged everything after a stocktake. Where the pop culture hard media used to be, the dvds, blurays and cds, that I always made a beeline for was now shrunk down to a little corner of the store. The whole place is more JB Whitegoods than HiFi now. The feeling of dislocation I experienced was immense. My fond memories of all the special purchases I made in that space, of hanging out, spending time, thought and money there were now only that – a fond memory. The physical space was gone, leaving only an emptiness in me. What was left was a mere shell of its former glory. Okay, I’ll stop with the cliched sentimentality. And anyway, that’s commerce, baby: no time for sentimentality. Moving on…

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I had a hard time finding my favourite section, the anime section, because it was so small, and not even where the Anime sign was. I contemplated one of the few items I was interested in there now, the complete season of Neon Genesis Evangelion on bluray. My last purchase had been the fourth and final film of the reboot movies, 3.0+1.11 Thrice Upon a Time, which had prompted an immediate Evangelion festival with a viewing of all four of Hideaki Anno’s films in a row. What an experience that had been. I guess I’ll blog about it soon. But it brought me back to the original flawed series. I was hoping it might include the End of Evangelion film Anno made not long afterwards. The guy has constantly reworked the original, controversial ending a number of times now. Anyway, it didn’t look like it was on there, so I didn’t buy it. Maybe another time. That is, if JB will still have it.

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Before I left the store there was one item I did grab, and that was the free Stacked newsletter. Perusing it at home, zooming past all the boring blockbuster movies and meh albums coming up for release (oh, and a huge section on mobile phones), there was one bit of information that interested me. Pearl Jam were bringing out a new album, called Dark Matter. Yay! Third best US band ever, IMO. (Scour this site for references to the first two, I’m not telling ya here!) This comes not that long after Eddie Vedder’s solo album, Earthling, so it’s good times for us PJ fans. I know they don’t have the cache they used to have in the grunge 90s but they’re still a good band. Eddie still has THAT voice and they still write good songs. I think all of their albums are pretty solid, and the last one, Gigaton, continued that trend. My only complaint about it at the time was that it was damn expensive, about 45 bucks. Some of it must have been down to the expensive packaging.

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I wonder, will Pearl Jam continue on as a band for as long as The Rolling Stones? I bought Hackney Diamonds last year and I love it. One of the best for the year. And man, Sweet Sounds of Heaven with Lady Gaga, what a song, what a performance! I even like the song Keith sings on the album – quite melodic. See, I’m still a rock guy, despite all my Kpop palaver!

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Had a listen to some tracks on my Urusei Yatsura Complete Soundtrack cd which I bought at Tower Records in Shibuya. This is my favourite album at the moment, and I always have it nearby for convenience. The OST songs, which are a mixture of pop, citypop, lounge and rock, and mostly sung by female singers (to represent Lum) add so much texture and charm to the original anime show from the 80s. I have so many favourite songs here, but for this session it was Born To Be Free, a great rock song by Stephanie (no last name), who sounds exactly like Pat Benatar, then Lum’s Ballad, by Fumi Hirano (the actor who voices Lum in the show), a breathtaking ballad from the first film, Only You, that evokes Lum’s sad dilemma (in love with a faithless boy) to a T. I finished off with the rousing all-singing all-dancing entire cast singalong finale of Let’s Meet Again. This was composed and arranged by Kenji Kawai, who also did the Ghost In the Shell soundtrack. Lyrics by Kokeru Morohoshi. There are two songs here. It’s Nice To Meet You Again is where each cast member gets a verse as their characters, in order of Ten, Ataru, Shinobu, Sakura, Ran, Oyuki, Megane, Benten, Cherry, Ryunosuke, Mendo, and finally Lum. The second one might be called Become A Star and has an uptempo Burt Bacharach beat and it’s wondrous. The final lines, at least on my Google Translate translation, are…

When I whisper that I love you, the stars twinkle.
Memories travel to the distant universe.
Even now, lovers draw their shoulders together, painting the entire night sky.
A dream that never ends, a love that never ends.
Become a star, shine in the sky
Shine strong.

 

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