J-Pop Sunday – Bump Of Chicken

“Cowards Strike Back”. Apparently that’s the name this week’s band “Bump of Chicken” wanted for themselves but something was lost in the translation. I suppose we should pause for a moment and have a giggle at the Engrish.

…Eheheheee. “Bump.” “Chicken.” They’re funny words. Hehe.

Have we all got it out of our systems? Good! Let us begin!

Quick Guide:
Act Name: Bump Of Chicken (…Hehe.)

  • Motoo Fujiwara: Composer, Lyricist, Vocalist & Guitarist. He also drew the artwork for two of the band’s albums. Can’t eat spicy food.
  • Hiroaki Masukawa: Pessimistic Guitarist. Likes video games and anime.
  • Yoshifumi Naoi: Bassist who jokes that he falls ill exactly four times per year.
  • Hideo Masu: Drummer with great eyesight but claims he can’t write kanji very well.

Years Active: 1994 – Present
Genre: Mellow upbeat rock.
Kaito’s Choice Tracks: “Tentai Kansoku” (天体観測/Amateur Astronomy) (2001), “Karuma” (カルマ/Karma) (2005), “Arue” (アルエ/R.A) (1999)

First meeting in nursery school, the members of Bump of Chicken were classmates throughout their school years. First performing as a band together during a 9th grade school festival, Bump of Chicken is now one of Japan’s most popular rock acts, with all but two of their 14 singles failing to make it into the top ten of Japan’s Weekly Oricon charts.

I don’t trust the kid with the telescope.

Taken from the band’s third album “Jupiter”, “Tentai Kansoku” was the song that brought Bump of Chicken to the attention of the world – and coincidentally the first track of theirs I ever heard – so it’s definitely worth mentioning. Chilled, up-beat and rock-y, it sums up Bump of Chicken’s general sound quite well as well as being an enjoyable track to listen to.

Bump of Chicken often receive a lot of praise for their lyrics, as such the vocals tend to take up a lot of the focus in each of their songs. Sadly, my Japanese is somewhat limited – I can ask where the loo is and I can order food; that’s enough for me for now. Being unable to understand the majority of the lyrics means that some of their songs – while still enjoyable – end up sounding similar. Well, to my foreigner ears anyway. However “Karuma” seems to stand out, maybe it’s the guitar riff at the start? I’m not entirely sure why. Give it a listen and see what you think. Maybe I’m just going mad…

2005’s Karuma

“Arue” (Or “R.A.”) is my favourite song of Bump of Chicken’s. Yes, it’s another pleasant, chilled, rock anthem with lovely lyrics, but the reason it’s my favourite is for a much sillier reason. “Arue” was written as a tribute to Rei Ayanami, a character from the sci-fi anime franchise “Neon Genesis Evangelion”. Evangelion is one of my favourite anime franchises, with Rei being mai waifu my favourite character. This makes Bump of Chicken and I total bros for life. Or at least in my eyes. And that’s the main reason I like it.

Only in Japan would an emotional rock and roll tribute to a 2D girl reach number 2 in the charts…

Until next time!

More Bump of Chicken:
Official Site: http://www.bumpofchicken.com (Japanese)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bocjapan (Japanese)
Official Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BUMPOFCHICKENch