26/December/2022 in Tokyo
".....I can't heal this broken heart in pain
Cannot start to live
Cannot end my life
Keep on crying"
―『ART OF LIFE』
".....I try to stop myself
But my heart goes to destroy the truth
Tell me why
I want the meaning of my life
Do I try to live
Do I try to love"
―『ART OF LIFE』
By quoting lyrics from the song I like, what can I tell?
Will someone listen to the song and read the lyrics, and will be as impressed as I am?
Perhaps yes, most probably no
Because I wasn't only impressed by these lines
There is something more behind these lines
There is something much more behind the surface of art works
What is this "something"?
Admittedly, there is a countless number of songs, films, books, paintings I just enjoy without knowing anything about its behind
But thinking about works I'm deeply impressed by, or deeply obsessed with, the essential part is always.....
the reason why he created this work
the struggles he had to cope with
the drama he had to go through
or, the pain he had to endure
or, the pain he tried to heal through this creative activity
Mishima's "Golden Temple" is a book that I'm unable to "remove" from my life
Now I can clearly see Mishima's pain, Mishima's struggles, and Mishima's loneliness
But it wasn't obvious from the beginning
It took me several years to comprehend Mishima's life and dramas he had to go through
And after that, "Golden Temple" started to give off different lights and brought me much more
I was able to see every single line of the book screams out of loneliness and no longer see this book other than "a book of loneliness"
I still have no idea about things like, Buddhism concepts which the book talks about, how many awards it received, what kind of value it has in the history of Japanese literature
Or how other people read this book
The only thing I know is Mishima was in deep pain, Mishima was very struggling, and Mishima was so lonely
And in "Golden Temple", Mishima expressed himself to the extent that makes everyone wonder how he could complete such a dreadful work and created this novel
This is the drama I always can't help feeling while reading "Golden Temple"
And this song, "ART OF LIFE"
15 years since my first listen and still didn't come across a single song that brings an impression that "listening" feels like "watching (a film)"
It's simply due to an intensity of the song
This song is the only song I don't pay attention to vocal, guitar or base, but only to drums & piano
The more I got to know about this song, why the song's composer.....a drummer & pianist.....created it, how he played in a concert,
the more I could see what is behind
the more I could sense sadness, anger & pain he injected into the song
the more I could feel this bottomless sadness, this violent anger, this destructive pain & this uncontrollable impulse of destroying everything
And I still think expressing these emotions to this tremendous extent.....in this extremely violent yet sensitive way.....was probably something only music can do, not painting, filming, not to mention writing
It's always unbearable to listen to a song that the vocalist doesn't write its lyrics by himself
I can't stand its fake-ness and emptiness when he emotionally passionately sings lines written by others
If it's someone's words, this singing is just a stupid acting performance
He writes lyrics for his songs....., this is the only way to remains authenticity & realness of his emotions he wants to convey in the song and to keep its consistency
However, lyrics of "ART OF LIFE" was written by the pianist & drummer, not by the vocalist
Yet still "ART OF LIFE" keeps its "consistency"
This drummer & pianist looks very fragile
And watching how the song was played, it's impossible not to think his physicality was also one of means of expressing song's key concepts
His physicality on the stage embodies
"violence", "anger" & "pain" through his drum banging
"sadness", "loneliness" & "self-destruction" through his piano play
"fragility", "sensitivity" & "beauty" through his look
This song itself contains many contradictory elements as listed above, but the most prominent one is "Sensitivity & Strength"
And he is exactly the one who expresses this concept more than anything through his own physique
If he'd been a big macho shaved-head man, I must've sensed only unacceptable, unbearable, unforgivable dis-harmony and never found any consistency between the song & the creator/him
As is obvious now, watching how the song is played is necessary in order to fully enjoy what the music brings
So that, while listening, I can subconsciously/consciously picture in my mind his moves, his facial expressions and his emotions
To take an example, "ART OF LIFE" contains 10 min piano solo part and, as many say, I also thought it's too long and redundant
But when seeing his performance, I soon realised it was wrong
Rather, this piano part is absolutely essential to express his drama
This song was played only twice in 1993, .....and obviously I watched it on YouTube....., and this loneliness he showed during the piano part, in the middle of huge Tokyo Dome stadium alone, was something any words can't depict
From the beginning to the end, "Golden Temple" & "ART OF LIFE" is entirely filled with their life drama
This ability of expressing himself, this courage of exposing himself, is what I'm touched, moved and impressed by
Or more accurately, this relentless courage of facing his true-self
this fearless will of exposing himself to the world
or just simply, this sincere attitude towards his own life
is what deeply touches me
If he doesn't face himself sincerely, I would feel what he creates is lukewarm, tasteless shit, despicable garbage, vulgar mental masturbation, disgusting nasty smelly sperm, just like all books of Murakami and Kazuo Ishiguro
But then, did they felt better after they released these deep uncontrollable emotions inside them by creating works?
I don't think so
I'm absolutely certain that, an enormous sense of satisfaction & liberation from finishing the work was immediately fading, as if dreams, and they had to realise emotions, which had pushed them for creative activity in the first place, still remained exactly as it were, and they had to live with it, most likely, forever
This become apparently obvious if we listen to the last 7 min of "ART OF LIFE" towards the end
On the surface, this piano-featured grand finale-like part sounds very rich and gorgeous, surely brings a sense of catharsis, and so it looks like he was released from the pain & anger
However, it's also very apparent, he wasn't in the slightest
Then, what's the point of creating works?
Probably, it is the way to co-exist with emotions which we don't want to feel yet we have to live with
I'm enough aware that this type of "too dramatic" works, like "ART OF LIFE" or "Golden Temple", is not for everyone and I sometimes wonder why I'm always so attracted to it
Perhaps I subconsciously feel my life lacks dramas and look for compensation from external things, like art
But probably, through this type of works, I feel I touch their most humanly aspects and, more than anything, I can see who they really are
...There is something much more behind the surface of art works
What is this "something"?
The more I touched this type of art, the more I could see why some/many artists show a little interest in things which normal ordinary average citizens usually do, such as job, money, marriage or relationships
Comparing to intoxications & eXtasy that art and creative activity gives, engaging these un-original, cookie-cutter, factory-made, mass-produced things & values must feel shallow, absurd, basically garbage
".....I'm making the wall inside my heart
I don't wanna let my emotions get out
It scares me to look at the world
Don't want to find myself lost in your eyes"
―『ART OF LIFE』
".....Can't go back
No place to go back to
Life is lost, flowers fall
If it's all dreams, now wake me up
If it's all real, just kill me
―『ART OF LIFE』