It’s October, and it’s been 2 years since foregroundnoises was born.
It went through several changes as the time passed.
Started as a website to promote my Gaki no Tsukai translation on youtube and then turned, briefly, into a comical weekly anime episode review blog, foregroundnoises is now the home of non-doujin and doujin japanese music translation, with a sprinkle of poetry and madness.
It has surely changed from when I opened it, and it evolved a lot since I started translating music.
So, after 2 years, I can finally say that foregroundnoises has finally come to a revolution, changing into a better shaped and more complete website then it was before.
So, here’s the third version of ForegroundNoises: a little bit of revolution!
The logo will stay the V3.0 one for the whole month of October, and after that it will change accordingly to events, seasons or simply randomly.
Because why not?
By the way, that’s enough for the V3.0 stuff, let’s get back to today’s topic.
Many of you guys asked me the same question (and probably you did because of my ignorance I displayed when talking about touhou doujin music).
And that question was: What are your favourite Touhou-arrange songs?
It’s difficult to answer a question like that.
I got to listen to a lot of touhou music, and it’s really difficult to me to say “I like X” or “I like Y” without thinking about it for at least 1 year.
But one year has passed since then, and now I can make a friggin’ top ten of them!
I mean, things COULD change.
Maybe one day a new song will be produced, and it could become my new personal best one…
But I still like those songs after years, so I don’t think after, I don’t know, 5 years I’ll say “man, those songs suck!”
So, this is my top ten touhou arranges. For now.
Starting from number 15 to number 1, so scrolling the page will be an adventure*.
*note: it actually isn’t an adventure.
N#15: Kanpyo’s MIDI – エネルギー黎明～地霊達の帰宅
– エネルギー黎明 ～ Future Dream (Energy Daybreak ~ Future Dream)
+ 死体旅行～Be of good Cheer! (Corpse Voyage ~ Be of good Cheer!)
+ 霊知の太陽信仰 ～ Nuclear Fusion (Solar Sect of Mystic Wisdom ～ Nuclear Fusion)
+ テーマ・オブ・イースタンストーリー (Theme of Eastern Story)
+ 華のさかづき大江山 (A Flower-studded Sake Dish on Mt. Ooe)
+ 封じられた妖怪 ～ Lost Place (The Sealed-away Youkai ~ Lost Place)
+ 少女さとり ～ 3rd eye (Satori Maiden ~ Third Eye)
+ ハルトマンの妖怪少女 (Hartmann’s Youkai Girl)
+ 緑眼のジェラシー (Green-eyed Jealousy)
Listen to it here: Kanpyo’s MIDI – エネルギー黎明～地霊達の帰宅
Sooo, let’s say this before posting everything else.
Each song in this list is of course part of my personal opinion, and the reason why they feature in this top ten is of course because, in some ways or another, they mean something to me.
And that’s exactly why エネルギー黎明～地霊達の帰宅 (aka Energy Daybreak ~ Homecoming of the Chirei) MUST be in this list.
This song has no voice, and doesn’t need any to be honest.
It’s a techno/trance instrumental track which is the arrange of EVERY boss’ theme in Subterranean Animism and has the main rhythm of SA’s staff roll theme (and of course bits of Theme of Eastern Story).
In terms of music, the arrange couldn’t be better. Everything is at the right place and the instruments choice is perfect (and dayum, dat bass).
The whole song’s rhythm is very energetic, but to me is very calming.
I love the main riff of energy daybreak and I can’t help getting chills at the song’s ending.
Listening to it is like gazing down the clouds from the top of a mountain where silence reigns and one can feel at ease.
Oh, yeah, almost forgot. This song reminds me that period of time when I was starting to study japanese and was ready for every change that my life could have take.
Ahh, good memories, good memories…
N#14: RD-Sounds – とおいよびごえ
Original theme: 蓬莱伝説 (Legend of Hourai)
Listen to it here: RD-Sounds – とおいよびごえ
Once you open the link to listen to it, if you already know this song, you’ll probably kill me.
Why? Because the とおいよびごえ (tooi yobigoe, distant calling) I’m placing at the 14th place of my top 15 is not the song you were expecting.
The original one is longer and sung by Merami.
“WTF Shion! You said you love Foreground Eclipse and Merami!” I do, I swear to God my heart and soul belong to Merami and only Merami (don’t kill my dreams, please, we’re both ’93s).
But again, when instruments are able to convey something more than simple music, then a voice is something not necessary.
The original song is beautiful, but the voice felt not so needed. I like this version more.
If someone asks me “why do you like Japan?” I won’t answer.
I’d just take my iPod out of my pocket and make him/her listen to this 3 and half minutes long masterpiece.
That’s the song that comes to my mind whenever I think about what lies beyond the horizon.
It makes me want to go to Japan so bad. F*ck.
N#13: IOSYS – タイヨウノハナ
Original theme: 今昔幻想郷 ～ Flower Land (Gensokyo, Part and Present ~ Flower Land)
Listen to it here: IOSYS – タイヨウノハナ
“Seriously, Shion? Are your tastes that unrefined?” F*CK YOU, this song kicks ass!
Jokes aside, lots of people tend to cast away songs that are more popular than others.
And that’s this one’s case.
You all have watched Fragrance of Oriental Sunflower (if you didn’t, just click the link before), and you know it’s a classic every touhou fan knows about.
I listened to this song like 50000 years ago (seriously, it was a long time ago) even before I knew what touhou was to begin with.
I liked it, but nothing more. Then, I got into the touhou world and started digging up informations about it and about its music that caught my attention.
And when I listened to this song again, I fell in love with it.
This is easily the best rock / vocal arrange of a Touhou theme ever done.
And don’t just judge it because it’s IOSYS, they made a lot of wtf-stuff, but also some great tracks that are part of touhou doujin music’s history.
I know that this song is that good partly because of the animated music video, but it works fine even without it.
And by the way, the solo at 0:58 made me pregnant. Twice in a row. Several times.
N#12: Draw The Emotional – Their World
Original theme: メイドと血の懐中時計 (The Maid and the Pocket Watch of Blood)
Listen to it here: Draw The Emotional – Their World
“An arrange of The Maid and the Pocket Watch of Blood is always a good arrange” – Gandhi.
Yeah, that’s right. Never heard an arrange from this theme that sucked.
For some reason, they’re always good. Maybe it’s because it’s one of the few themes from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil that’s more than decent (sorry eosd lovers, it’s probably the chapter I despise the most).
But the ruler of goodmaidandpocketwatcharranges (that’s a word now) is surely Their World, sung by calo and featured in Draw the Emotional‘s Funny Party in the Fog.
Calo should deserve a nobel prize for being a japanese girl who tamed that fierce beast that is correct english pronunciation.
Her voice is really sweet and her english is almost perfect.
Plus, the arrange is of course by Yuyoyuppe, so it’s obviously gorgeous.
But the best part of this song is, in my opinion, its lyrics.
I remember I used to listen to this song nonstop when I was still in highschool, between my third and fourth year of it (the infamous emo period every kid had).
If my feels had a pair of legs, this song would have been a foot kicking their nuts.
That’s the worst metaphore possible,
But what I meant to say was that I love this song and its lyrics are so true they hurt.
“like a game, we are never in the real world, being played by others”
N#11: CLOCKWORKS TRACER – Everlasting [S]tory
Of course on this list there are also songs I’ve already translated. So, if that’s the case, just click the links and go to read them!
If you have already lurked around foregroundnoises before, you probably noticed the huge amount of CLOCKWORKS TRACER‘s posts. And the fact that I always write CLOCKWORKS TRACER in CAPS LOCK.
There are a lot of songs from this circle that I like a lot (let me add few more “lot”s: lot lot lot lot lot), like Always and Forever, Drowning Emotion Has A Short-lived Dream, Phantom Torchbearer, Behind The Wall Of Apathy, Anamnesis or Cross the Luminous Ocean, but this one in particular is the one I like the most.
Maybe that’s because it’s an arrange from Emotional Skyscraper ~ Cosmic Mind, which is surely one of the best touhou themes ever composed, but that’s not just it.
This song is sorrounded by a strange atmosphere.
Rebellion, freedom, strenght. It’s like a scream, as if someone is shouting “I want to be alive!”
I can’t listen to it without getting chills!
I should probably mention another arrange from Cosmic Mind that I like a lot, and that’s Four Seasons of Loneliness.
Of course that’s a top 15 and not a top 26374623 so I won’t put it. But it was really hard to build this all up.
N#10: TUMENECO – らせんのゆめ
Simply the best TUMENECO‘s song I’ve listened to.
TUMENECO is not the most original circle out there, I must say.
The vocalist has always the same tone and the lyrics / rhythm or their songs are pretty much similar between each other.
But does it really matter? They’re easy to listen to and their arranges are really something.
Plus, their lyrics are always clear, charming and well selected.
What I like about rasen no yume so much it reached the top ten are a lot of things.
First of all, its rhythm which lies just on the edge between energy and quietness.
I can’t say that this song is energetic but I can’t say it isn’t neither. Same goes if I write “calm” instead of “energetic”.
It’s like a wave, growing bigger and calming down, and sometimes crashing on some rocks spraying water everywhere.
Each time the vocals goes to the Izanagi Object‘s main riff pattern (aka when the song says “nandodemo kurikaesou” or “abakidashi yoru wo kakeru” or “mata yume de deaeru nara” or “kimi to mata yoru wo kakeru“) my heart stops and an ambulance parks down my house.
I love that vocal part and I don’t know why, it makes me FEEL THE FEELS.
Also, the lyrics are the reason the ambulance is so fast when rushes to my house. I love them so much. Just read them!
N#9: RegaSound – ヒャッカ
Original theme: さくらさくら ~ Japanize Dream (Sakura Sakura ~ Japanize Dream)
Listen to it here: RegaSound – ヒャッカ
I never listen to this song.
I like sad songs and songs that makes me feel emotional, but this one is a no-no.
And that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good song. Because it is.
Hyakka is an arrange from Sakura Sakura ~ Japanize Dream (probably the best credit theme right behind The Eternal Steam Engine, to me) and it’s just… sad.
It’s so sad yet stunning.
Now, I don’t know how much I can write about this song, because while online I’m Shion, outside internet I’m a normal guy who probably, and I repeat, PROBABLY, made someone listen to this song.
And that someone might find out about this. And that wasn’t a good story that I want to tell.
In other words, hyakka is a beautiful song I don’t listen to anymore because it’s linked to bad memories I had, but it still deserves to be high on this top 15 because it’s seriously one of the most touching arrange I’ve ever listened to.
Curse you, myself from 2 years ago for fouling up this piece of art with wrong memories with the wrong person!
N#8: Further Ahead of Warp – Calm Days Are Drawing A Distant Star
Listen to it here: Further Ahead of Warp – Calm Days Are Drawing A Distant Star
Read my translation here: Further Ahead of Warp – Calm Days Are Drawing A Distant Star
There’s no way I can describe how and what this song makes me feel.
Just read my translation.
Just this line: “ズレていく時間から いつか忘れてしまうね 少し悲しい目をして好きと呟く”
“Because time ticks away so fast, you’ll end up forgetting about it, right? So, I whisper “I love you”, with a bit sad eyes…”
It hurts so much, my God.
It hurts and it’s beautiful beyond words.
But why is this song only the number #8?
Because while the lyrics are perfect and the instruments / rhythm couldn’t have been better, the screaming / clean vocals could have had (is this english?lol).
So, it could have higher if the vocalists were more appropriate*.
*appropriate = fit my sissy unrefined f@cking tastes
N#7: Foreground Eclipse – Dear Are You Getting Sober? (+R.U.)
– 神さびた古戦場 ～ Suwa Foughten Field (The Venerable Ancient Battlefield ～ Suwa Foughten Field)
+ 御柱の墓場 ～ Grave of Being (Cemetery of Onbashira ~ Grave of Being)
Listen to it here: Foreground Eclipse – Dear Are You Getting Sober? (+R.U.)
WOAH WOAH WOAH, Chill out, man.
I know what are you going to say. Something like:
“Foreground Eclipse only on #7?” or “Why this song and not the others?” or “Why is Shion assuming that I was going to say something?” or “wtf is a Shion?”.
There’s a reason why this song and not others, and there’s a reason why a FE song is only a number 7.
I’d just say that, for now. I love Foreground Eclipse and they’re my favourite touhou doujin band, and that means I can enjoy their music together with its ups and downs.
But… I’m not going to explain anything else about this song.
Maybe there will be another post talking about it in the future… Who knows?
[laughs in italian]
N#6: Syfurit – hitokata
Original theme: 彼岸帰航 ～ Riverside View (Higan Retour ~ Riverside View)
Listen to it here: Syfurit – hitokata
Another thing that probably everyone already knows is that my favourite touhou character is Komachi.
Why? Because I love how cheerful and clumsy she is despite the fact that she’s the symbol of death. And because boobs, but that goes without saying.
I like her theme a lot too, and there could be several arranges I could mention in this post, but the one I like the most is hitokata by Syrufit.
And with “I like” I mean “OMG”.
The song slowly builds up into something somewhat unsettling but intriguing, blending different genres and alternating sound to silence in order to create a perfect atmosphere.
The lyrics for this song are really mature and choose the most perfect word to describe a world lived by shapeless people, where the time passes by unnoticed and the few realizing that are longing for a violent wave to shake up their whole existence.
That’s the type of song you keep for yourself.
It’s my treasure and I won’t let anyone touch it!
Anyway, it’s a bit different from Syrufit’s typical style, but that circle makes really good arranges. I suggest you to find out more about it!
N#5: Register6 – ずっと
I know: this song is not a touhou arrange.
I mean, it’s not based off a touhou theme, but it’s still based off touhou.
There are only two types of duets: the bad ones and the good ones.
This is a fan-f*cking-tastic one.
The stunning guitar solos are like bridges connecting several islands, and the resulting archipelago is this song.
The voices of the two singers are perfect for the lyrics and the music, and the raison-d’etre of this song is something exceptional.
It reminds me of some novels I’ve read (Norwegian Wood by Murakami, or Jack Frusciante Has Left the Band by Brizzi or again The Magic Mountain by Mann), but most of all it reminds me of a past that’s not that far away from me.
It reminds me of people I used to love and I used to think I couldn’t live without.
And quoting the song, “Even if I know that someday we’ll get separated” I lived those moments with those who meant a lot to me at the fullest.
And even if things happened and I don’t have who I had anymore, nothing has really changed inside me.
Because if I listen to this song I remember everything and anything.
“How I wish to be watching this spinning landscape with you…”
Kind of sad, but can’t help but smiling listening to ずっと (zutto ~ always).
N#4: CROW’SCLAW – MYSTERY METROPOLIS
Original theme: 天空の花の都 (The Capital City of Flowers in the Sky)
Listen to it here: CROW’SCLAW – MYSTERY METROPOLIS
The best CROW’S CLAW arrange I’ve ever listened to, hands down.
As you noticed, I link the music I love with experiences, feelings, people.
But sometimes, I also link songs to ideals.
MYSTERY METROPOLIS doesn’t remind me of no one in particular, and it’s not linked to something that happened.
But listening to it, I feel something.
Standing alone on a seashore with no sound of water whatsoever, holding a guitar and looking at the sun setting far away, as the road behind me stays silent and no one’s there.
It’s so melancholic I can’t help but feel something unknown yet charming.
This song shouts “it’s over” everywhere.
It would be perfect at the end of a movie.
But, to me, it’s not a bad ending song.
It’s the song I know I’ll hear resounding in my mind when I know I reached the conclusion of something important.
Maybe it already came to my mind at least once before? Mhh…
N#3: C-CLAYS – 華胥の夢
Original theme: 華胥の夢 (Dream of Arcadia)
Listen to it here: C-CLAYS – 華胥の夢
It was seriously difficult to me to locate this song and the previous one.
I like them both a lot, and I struggled deciding which one should be #3 and which one #4.
Then, I remembered.
I remembered how this song came to my mind on a very special day.
Not going to bore you to death with my personal life stuff, but let’s just say that this song reminds me of a special person.
And that Dream of Arcadia is a beautiful theme and in this arrange is even more beautiful.
And that the guitar solo at 2:36 is the most perfect soundtrack you can play in your mind while kissing someone special (scientifically tested).
And that this song’s outro speaks more than a thousand pages poem could.
It’s absolutely stunning and I bet no one can’t listen to it without thinking about something, someone. Without smiling, shaking, shedding a tear or without thinking.
That’s the power of music, baby.
The power that may help us giving a reason to this life.
And what if this life was all a dream? Then I’m glad I’m still dreaming.
N#2: Draw the Emotional / Foreground Eclipse – We Cannot Get Out Of Here Forever
Hah! You thought Foreground Eclipse won’t reappear, didn’t you?
Well, in fact they didn’t.
Because this song is actually a Draw the Emotional‘s one.
But I like more the Foreground Eclipse version of it, so… it’s like this song is both and neither of them at the same time.
But on the analysis think of it as if I’m talking about the DtE one.
Anyway, why is this song that high on this chart?
– The arrange is amazing. The theme is nicely arranged and doesn’t lose its original vibe.
– The digressions in terms of rhythm are absolutely perfect and without them the song wouldn’t have been the same.
– Vocals are great (in FE’s version are even better).
– Dem. Fucking. Lyrics.
One sentence. Or better, two sentences.
“哀しみの要らない朝はまだ遠く、遠く・・・” (“A morning without sadness is still far, far away…“) is the best line from the whole song, but I must confess it’s so good also because of the way it’s sang.
So, this line is, imho, the center of the song. Everything spins around it.
And the most beautiful thing is that is that this sentence is repeated again near the end, but we hear only to a single part of it: 朝はまだ遠く、遠く・・・ (The morning is still far, far away…) (and I swear I never listened to that part without getting chills everywhere).
And those two sentences together are the most important lines I’ve read in a doujin song.
The first one is a longing for a happiness that won’t come, and the second one is an invite to live the moment, to hold firmly who’s next to us during the night which is still long.
Mhh… I think it’s pointless to say that this song is of course linked to personal experiences?
I also once explained those lyrics and the whole “morning far away” thing to someone before.
She liked it a lot.
Ahh, how sweet and frightful is one’s past…
Note it down, btw. Those lines works pretty well with chicks.
…I just ruined the whole post*.
*(but they work tho)
N#1: Sally – min～眠～
Original theme: 門前の妖怪小娘 (Youkai Girl at the Gate)
Read my translation here: Sally – min～眠～
Yup, that’s my favourite touhou arrange of all time.
And I really don’t know why.
First off, Youkai Girl at the Gate is a theme that I easily forget about. I don’t like it that much and it doesn’t particularly appeal to me.
And who the FAQ is Kyouko? (obvjkisobv)
But this arrange is somehow perfect to me.
I can’t really explain why.
Chata‘s rap voice, and that rhythm, and the instrumental base, and the guitar solo, and the lyrics and everything.
They’re just perfect.
Fireworks at night. Over the sea. While standing on the beach as everyone is far away from me.
That’s what I picture while listening to it.
It’s a memory I have, but never happened which keeps coming to my mind when I listen to this song.
I can’t really explain why this song is so important to me.
Maybe it’s because that’s the only song that doesn’t make me think about anything but my life and no one but myself.
I feel so close to this song I can’t explain why.
Even its lyrics aren’t as good as other songs (they’re still good, though), but the whole song just deserves to be the #1 on this list, because it’s the only song I feel that close to me.
N#0: Nomico – Bad Apple!!
Original theme: Bad Apple!!
Listen to it here: Nomico – Bad Apple!!
…No touhou arrange stands a chance against Bad Apple!!
And that’s not a joke at all.
Every touhou fan knows Bad Apple!!, and I don’t believe someone who likes touhou and claims not to like this song.
Of course, it’s mainly thanks to its video that people like it.
But on the other side, I think it’s impossible to listen to this song without thinking about black and white shadows blending together into Touhou characters tossing apples, dancing and doing stuff.
That video, my friends, is history.
And in terms of music, Bad Apple!! is perfect.
Great vocalist, stunning lyrics, catchy rhythm and overall an unique vibe that helped this song to become the most important touhou arrangement of all time.
I placed it #0 because it’s obviously a song that every touhou fan should like, and I personally love it.
Also, its lyrics are probably one of the best lyrics I’ve ever read.
I also suggest you to listen to Merami’s version of this song, it’s amazing too.
And that’s all!
There are a lot of other arranges that I love, but I couldn’t fit everything a 15 songs ranking.
Maybe I will make more posts like this one in the future.
Well, one of those has already been settled, hasn’t it?
Also, no drugs were taken to write this all.
Even if it may sound hard to believe.
See you next post, hope you enjoyed reading my bullsh*t!