I came across a few interesting sentences about how Masafumi Gotoh improved his writing while I was working on the interview part. Naturally, I was wondering if Masafumi Gotoh really did improve his writing, so I gave a quick look into one or two songs from each albums released. The results are quite interesting. Since it is a quick look, please understand that I might overlooked something, that one or two songs isn't representative of the general album 's quality. Also I wish I could have written a huge article about their lyrics but that would be too long. This article is only a scratch of Masafumi Gotoh's works, that is why, once the analysis of at least half of every Asian Kung-Fu Generation albums will be made, I will be able to write a more complete article. When you are reading this article, I invite you to read the lyrics as well.
Masafumi Gotoh commentary about Haruka Kanata:
There may have been times when I had to be emotional to keep living. On the one hand there is the frustration of not getting recognition, and on the other hand there is a feeling of wanting to fight it out in the live venues. For this message to come across in the song, the energy must be direct. This is because I felt the spirit of the times strongly; a nervous way in going about things".
Energy, fight, living and going fast, the whole song is made of metaphor and references to cars. The lexical field of movement, to be in motion is also present. Masafumi Gotoh did write this song well. However, there is a strong lack of rhymes, no implied elements. It's just a good song, something common and we will use this song as starting point of this quick look.
Mirai no Kakera and Kimi to Iu Hana
I am sure you all felt in love with at least Kimi to Iu Hana. Musically speaking of course, I highly doubt you loved it because of its lyrics, and if that's the case, let me tell you that both songs literally have nothing. Yes, nothing, not a single alliteration, rhyme, a lexical field, nothing. I got disappointed because I was thinking we would have had a lyrics that is just equal or slightly better than Haruka Kanata. This isn't not the case here.
The song is quite the same, however Masafumi Gotoh managed to give some background elements to the song but it's still less interesting than Haruka Kanata.
Blackout and Blue Train
These songs are the opposite of what Masafumi Gotoh did at first. There is a clear work on every lines. Fanclub is a turning point in both its music and writing. I am not a fan of Fanclub album, that isn't the album I would recommend first to a newcomer, however I am quite impressed of the lyrics quality, in both songs can be found multiple rhymes and sounds definition, repetitions. This is simply a delight.
After Dark and Korogaru Iwa, Kimi ni Asa ga Furu
Maybe was I unlucky but these two don't have quite interesting sounds definition compared to Fanclub. However, the description of feelings, odour, surroundings are better described and written.
A song that was written like a poem, most of the rhymes and sound definitions found in this lyric is clearly borrowed from the Poetry genre. And better, there is a game between the lines at the beginning and ending of the song. I can definitely tell you that Mustang is the next song analysis I am going to do. Did I forgot to tell you that the majority of fans love the song so much? And then I read Surf Bungaku Kamakura's lyrics. The album was a project started during the writing of Fanclub and songs featured in it are more rock than their previous two previous albums. I confess I didn't find anything in Surf lyrics, just like Kimi Tsunagi FIve M and Sol-Fa, it seems like every time Asian Kung-Fu Generation is creating a rock/punk rock/emo song, the lyrics are way less worked and poor. However, when it's a pop-rock/pop song, the lyrics are way more interesting.
Shinseiki no Love Song and Maigo Inu to Ame no Beat
Exactly like Fanclub but much longer, it's a delight to see the songs featuring poetry patterns, rhymes and sound definitions. Landmark is a more engaged album, with both pop and rock songs. In this album, Masafumi Gotoh rather spend his time delivering a message directly to us than giving some styles to the lyrics. With that quick approach of Asian Kung-Fu Generation lyrics, what do we learn from this exercise?
- We have a wide range of lyrics, some with a real amazing writing, others without.
- The "pop songs" have good lyrics, while "rock songs" have poor lyrics.
Nonetheless, after years spent listening to both the band and fans, Asian Kung-Fu Generation is delivering to their listeners a variety of sounds, music, instruments, styles, lyrics, which make us loving at least an album and only swearing with this one. Magic Disc clearly embodies this variety and what Asian Kung-Fu Generation is, always doing something different.
Did Masafumi Gotoh improve his writing?
When I started to think about it, I thought "yes of course, he is better than ever today since he started to write lyrics" and having this quick look in the lyrics makes me realize that Masafumi Gotoh is better writing pop song lyrics than rock songs lyrics. Just read Gotch Can't Be Forever Young lyrics, and you will see that he is amazing when it's about writing pop songs. To conclude, he did his best and improved the quality of his lyrics every time a new album was released.
However, this is not shown in every album, and depends on the music style of the song. With this in mind, I shall keep doing song analysis and see if I got all wrong from the start.