Desert Years (Or Desire Years?)

Hellllooooooo! Aruaruruu here with a review of Desert Years by Shibayan Records! Right away let me get these few points straight:

  1. I’m an avid fan of Yanagi Nagi
  2. i absolutely love Shibayan Records
  3. I don’t have the best knowledge on Touhou lore
  4. Did I mention I absolutely love Yanagi Nagi?

These points pretty much cover my reasons for wanting to review this song. Yanagi Nagi sang this, and with it also being one of my introductory songs to Shibayan Records, I felt extremely inclined to give this a go. I was always fascinated with Touhou and the amazing amount of content/lore it had, but otherwise never had the time or reason to conduct extensive research on it, so this gave me a reason to do so.

Without further ado, an introduction to the makers of the song!

Yanagi Nagi is a /currently/ mainstream J-pop and anisong artiste who’s been around for quite some time. She’s gone by many names tho: gazelle, CorLeonis, and in this case, yana. Yanagi Nagi started off as a niconico utaite (see here for explanation: http://utaite.wikia.com/wiki/Utaite) covering vocaloid songs under the moniker gazelle. She then gained the attention of then rising niconico artiste Ryo of supercell, and together they released the album Today is a Beautiful Day. Before and during this period, she was also involved in other doujin albums and circles such as Polyphonic Branch and Shibayan Records. The rest is pretty much recent history.

I must apologise though; while claiming to adore Shibayan’s work, I admire his work alone. As a person I’m more attached to the work that a artiste makes and so I often neglect to research on their background. As a more recent fan of Shibayan, I do not have much to share about their  history and their story. HOWEVER, here’s what I know: Shibayan Records is a doujin circle comprised of many individuals led by a man who goes by the moniker Shibayan and they make good GOOD music. Then again, I guess taste is perspective. The genres they produce include electronic music, nu-disco, and even bossa nova. Their songs are inspired by the Touhou soundtracks and they seem to place a heavy importance on their lyrics, as I will go through in a while.


Let’s have a look at the lyrics first: (lifted from https://kafkafuura.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/desert-years/)

Desert Years
デザイアドライブ|東方神霊廟
vocal.yana
arrange.Shibayan
lyric.cittan*
circle.Shibayan Records
album.Retro Future Girls
event.C85

ah 心に渦巻く 計算や欲望は全て
笑顔で隠れる 少しだけ邪なPoker Face
短き人間の命 パッと咲かせてあげるから on my Tao
愛らしいお人形になりましょう I’m ready
It’s not really fun knowing the choices
往く先々待つ玩具たち
我想要的一切!さぁ順番
“良い子”は先に お持ち帰り
Please now let you be in my sweet little thangs
ヤな事ナシの桃源郷へ 堅いことは此処では言わないで
果てしなく続く幻想郷

ah kokoro ni uzumaku keisan’ ya yokubou wa subete
egao de kakureru sukoshi dake yokoshima na poker face
mijikaki hito no inochi patto sakaseteageru kara on my tao
airashi onin’gyou ni narimashou I’m ready
it’s not really fun knowing the choices
yukusakizaki matsu omochatachi
wǒ xiǎng yào de yīqiè! saa jun’ban’
“iiko” wa saki ni omochikaeri
please now let you be in my sweet little thangs
ya na koto nashi no shangri-la e katai koko wa koko de wa iwanaide
hateshinaku tsudzuku fantasia

All the desire and calculations swirling in my heart
I hide behind my smile, a poker face with hints of wickedness
I’ll make your short human life blossom, like that! Swear on my tao,
So why don’t you be one of my lovely dolls? I’m ready
It’s not really fun, knowing all our choices
The toys, each one waiting for their futures
Anything you could ever want! Now come, one by one
The “good children” come first, take home whatever you please!
Please now, let you be in my sweet little things~
Welcome to Shangri-la, free from all your worries –
so don’t be like that, act stiff or say anything stubborn here,
For this is an endless fantasia.

How can I get it from around the world?
童子のように 鼓動が歌う I just keep my desire
幾千の時さえ piece of cake like ordinal breathing
超えてゆける 願いを小心
「二つに一つ」なんて退屈な事 言わないで頂戴
anything in my hands
ただ一つの後悔も背負う気はないわ
今を生きて 乙女のように
“Now let me please, ask you a question”
私のように? なりたいだなんて…お莫迦さんは
コレクションに加わる事から始めて
それで如何?イケないセレブレーション
just be in fantasia それも悪くない
此処にある夢や faith of 私以外
飽きるまでふわりふわり雲のように
自由に流れてくdesert years

how can I get it from around the world?
kodomo no you ni kodou ga utau I just keep my desire
ikusen’ no toki sae piece of cake like ordinal breathing
koeteyukeru negai wo shoushin’
“futatsu ni hitotsu” nan’te taikutsu na koto iwanaide choudai
anything in my hands
tada hitotsu no koukai mo seou ki wa nai wa
ima wo ikite otome no you ni
“now let me please, ask you a question”
watashi no you ni? naritai da nan’te … obaka-san’ wa
collection ni kuwawaru koto kara hajimete
sore de ikaga? ikenai celebration
just be in fantasia sore mo warukunai
koko ni aru yume ya faith of watashi igai
akiru made fuwarifuwari kumo no you ni
jiyuu ni nagareteku desert years

How can I get what I want from around the world?
Like a child, my heartbeat sings, I just keep my desire
Thousands of years? A piece of cake, like ordinal breathing
I will transcend, desires in my timid heart
So don’t say idle things like “only one of two options”
Anything, I’ll have in my hands
I will not shoulder regret over any single thing!
I live in the present, just as a maiden does
“Now let me please, ask you a question -”
What? You want to be like me…? What a silly person you are!
Why don’t you start by being part of my collection?
Will that suit your fancy, this forbidden celebration?
Just be in fantasia, there’s nothing wrong with that!
Until we’re bored of the dreams that can be found here, of
The faith of anything but me, we will float on like clouds
Floating free over desert years

ah「いつでも待ってる」そんなロマンチックな言葉
痺れて 感じて 骨抜きにさせてあげちゃうわ
短き人間の命 パッと咲かせてあげるから on my Tao
愛らしい人形になりましょう you’re welcome
It’s not really fun knowing the choices
ギャンブルライクに生きましょう
我想要的一切!さぁ順番守らない子もお持ち帰り
Please now let you be in my sweet little thangs
いいコト尽くしの理想郷 堅いことは此処では言わないで
まぁすぐに言えなくなるから
It’s not really fun knowing the choices
往く先々待つ玩具たち
我想要的一切!さぁ順番守らない子もお持ち帰り
Please now let you be in my sweet little thangs
ヤな事ナシの桃源郷へ 片道切符握りしめて
夢の都へDive

ah “itsudemo matteru” son’na romantic na kotoba
shibirete kan’jite honenuki ni saseteagechau wa
mijikaki hito no inochi patto sakaseteageru kara on my tao
airashii nin’gyou ni narimashou you’re welcome
it’s not really fun knowing the choices
gambler-like ni ikimashou
wǒ xiǎng yào de yīqiè! saa jun’ban’ mamoranai ko mo omochikaeri
please now let you be in my sweet little thangs
ii koto tsukushi no risoukyou katai koto wa koko de wa iwanaide
maa sugu ni ienakunaru kara
It’s not really fun knowing the choices
yukusakizaki matsu omochatachi
wǒ xiǎng yào de yīqiè! saa jun’ban’ mamoranai ko mo omochikaeri
please now let you be in my sweet little thangs
ya na koto nashi no shangri-la e katamichikippu nigirishimete
yume no miyako e dive

Ah, “I’ll be waiting for you, always,” such romantic words!!
They make me shiver, turn me on! I’ll have to let you be entranced by my charms!
I’ll make your short human life blossom, like that! Swear on my tao,
So why don’t you be one of my lovely dolls? You’re welcome!
It’s not really fun, knowing all our choices.
Let us live like gamblers!
Anything you could ever want! Now come, the
children who won’t wait their turn, take home whatever you please!
Please now, let you be in my sweet little things~
Welcome to Shangri-la, filled with everything wonderful –
so don’t be like that, act stiff or say anything stubborn here,
Well, it’s not like you would be able to much longer anyway…
It’s not really fun, knowing all our choices
The toys, each one waiting for their futures
Anything you could ever want! Now come, the
children who won’t wait their turn, take home whatever you please!
Please let you be in my sweet little things~
Cluthing your one-way ticket to Shangri-la, free from all your worries
Dive into your city of dreams!

手に入れるチャンスが転がっているのに
見つめてるだけの自分なんて見たくないのよ baby
How many things 人間は後悔を重ねていくのでしょう
so you can beg me 救いの手を
今 此処へ 差し出すわ It’s so easy
ah 変わる世界の情景を此処で見つめたい
変わりゆく自分にも出会えたら良いな…なんてね
たまにはちょっとノスタルジックになったりするけど
思い出せることは全て 私 手にしてきた事

te ni ireru chance ga korogatteiru no ni
mitsumeteru dake no jibun’ nan’te mitakunai no yo baby
how many things hito wa koukai wo kasaneteiku no deshou
so you can beg me sukui no te wo
ima koko e sashidasu wa it’s so easy
ah kawaru sekai no joukei wo koko de mitsumetai
kawariyuku jibun’ ni mo deaetara ii na… nan’te ne
tama ni wa chotto nostalgic ni nattari suru kedo
omoidaseru koto wa subete watashi te ni shitekita koto

Chances for me to have what I want are lying all over the place
I don’t want to see myself just looking, not taking, baby
How many things, how many regrets do humans pile on top of themselves?
So you can beg me for my hand of saving grace
I’m extending it to you right here and now – it’s so easy!
Ah, I want to sit here and watch the changing ways of the world
It’d be nice too if I could meet a changing me… Well I’m just kidding
Though at times I become a little nostalgic
Everything that I remember are things that I have taken for myself

How can I get it with you?
Temptation is taking, taking over
鼓動が歌う I just keep my desire
幾千の時さえ piece of cake like ordinal breathing
超えてゆける 願いを小心
二つに一つの世界で目覚めた our fate
いつまでも言わせて anything in my hands
ただ一つの後悔も背負う気はないわ
今を生きて 乙女のように
“Now let me please, ask you a question”
私のように? なりたいだなんて…まぁ当たり前ね
コレクションに空きはいつでもあるのよ baby
気持ちはまさにロイヤルセレブレーション
just be in fantasia それも悪くない
此処にある夢や faith of 私以外
飽きるまでふわりふわり風に乗って
気の向くままに we can be in desert years

how can I get it with you?
temptation is taking, taking over
kodou wa utau I just keep my desire
ikusen’ no toki sae piece of cake like ordinal breathing
koeteyukeru negai wo shoushin’
futatsu ni hitotsu no sekai de mezameta our fate
itsumademo iwasete anything in my hands
tada hitotsu no koukai mo seou ki wa nai wa
ima wo ikite otome no you ni
“now let me please, ask you a question”
watashi no you ni? naritai da nan’te … maa atari mae ne
collection ni aki wa itsudemo aru no yo baby
kimochi wa masa ni royal celebration
just be in fantasia sore mo waruku nai
koko ni aru yume ya faith of watashi igai
akiru made fuwarifuwari kaze ni notte
ki no muku mama ni we can be in desert years

How can I get what I want with you?
Temptation is taking, taking over
My heartbeat sings, I just keep my desire
Thousands of years? A piece of cake, like ordinal breathing
I will transcend, desires in my timid heart
Our fate awoke in a world only one of two options
Let me say forever, anything in my hands
I will not shoulder regret over any single thing!
I live in the present, just as a maiden does
“Now let me please, ask you a question -”
What? You want to be like me…? Well, I don’t blame you.
There’s always space for you in my collection, baby
This feels just like a royal celebration
Just be in fantasia, there’s nothing wrong with that!
Until we’re bored of the dreams that can be found here, of
The faith of anything but me, we will ride upon the winds
Just as we please – we can be in desert years


Alright, yes this song is pretty damn long. 10 whole minutes of goodness. MMMHMM. So ok let’s go over the music. I’m not an expert of electronic music, but one thing I do note is that it has a very steady beat, as with most of Shibayan’s songs. While it may seem repetitive to some, I personally find it good when we’re dealing with a song as long as this one. On my portable music rig, I feel that everything is just nice; yana’s singing (yes I’m going to refer to her as yana for now) fits well into this song. This is impressive because while yana does have an impressive vocal range, it is also difficult to make music that fits with that powerful vocals of hers. The steady upbeat music take center stage in this song however. They impart a sense of cheer and the undertones of this song makes us aware of the slight teasing feel that it tries to project. yana’s voice is also seductive with a hint of mischief, obviously a calculated move taken by the makers of this song.

I’m guessing most of the stuff I just typed doesn’t make sense. Well, they’re not really making much sense to me either; I’m not very good at this expressing emotions thing, so I can’t fully explain the emotions I feel from this song. I can explain why the music was produced this way though. As I’ve mentioned, I do not have a good knowledge of Touhou lore, so I had to dig into the Touhou wiki.

The original song that inspired Desert Years is [desire drive], Seiga’s theme in Touhou Ten Desires. Seiga is the wicked hermit that plays the antagonist in the game. According to the Touhou wiki, Seiga is a cunning Taoist who has attained immortal life and will do anything for her own benefits. She seems to have been from China and was once married to a man. she apparently faked her own death just so that she could get the freedom to do whatever  she wanted. Because of her nature, despite reaching and learning the highest of the Taoist arts, she was rejected by the higher beings who gave her the label “the wicked hermit”. I got all this information from the Touhou wiki but may have gotten some facts wrong so please feel free to read up! There is so much more about her that I could not cover within a short review of the song.

This song essentially is sung from her perspective, of her many years spent unaging, holding her desires close to herself. The lyrics show her cunning nature and how she tries to sweet talk other humans into becoming her lovely little dolls. We get a reference to her possible life as the namesake of the Chinese folktale Qing’e. Throughout the song, we see her attitude towards her audience changing. At first, she was completely adverse and retorted violently when said audience tries to ask her how to be immortal like her to. Nearing the end, however, she goes “Oh well I guess it can’t be helped!” and even offers to bring him/her along on a ride on the clouds. Except that well, knowing her cunning and manipulative nature, the end could all just be a front for her to further seduce her prey.

I wasn’t able to make out exactly who Seiga was singing to in this song…. My knowledge of Touhou lore, combined with a severe lack of sleep isn’t really helping me at this point of time… But when I do, I’ll probably get back to this one more time! This review essentially is just the case of a fanboy wanting to share some cool ass music with the rest of the internet. I think that this piece is a ridiculously messy one as compared to the Shelter one but ehhhhhhh I hope you’ve enjoyed it, dear reader!

Before I end off, I want to point out that all the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. A big thanks to Touhou wiki and kafka-fuura that i quietly lifted off… Please do check out kafka’s website right here though, there are some great song lyrics translations on there for those interested!

Thanks ya’ll, we’ll meet again soon!

 

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