Anata ga Koko ni iru Riyuu, by Rie fu

13-anata

Tracks 2 and 3 only

Released October 24, 2007

7 min, 5 sec

Rie fu is a Japanese musician, primarily based out of the United Kingdom. Her music is unique among Japanese artists in that many of her songs are sung fully in English, with a roughly 50/50 split between full English and full Japanese lyrics, and numerous songs incorporating both. This distinction has allowed Rie fu to gain a bit of a foothold in the Western music scene, primarily in the UK where she records, though her recent releases have also become available on the U.S. iTunes as well.

This single isn’t really all that important – it’s another example of my uncontrollable desire for completionism in the libraries of artists I enjoy. The first track is sung in English, while the second is, as it says in the title itself, an instrumental version of the “Anata…” single. I have most of Rie fu’s singles, because Japanese artists tend to still participate in the tradition of placing B-sides on single releases, as CDs remain popular in Japan. Rie fu’s music is difficult to get ahold of in the states; I won’t talk about how I acquired most of it. However, Rie fu gives me the opportunity to discuss a quirk I have in regards to how I listen to music.

See, as Rie fu sings in Japanese in many of her songs, I obviously have no idea what she’s singing about. If I wanted to, I could look up lyric translations, but that seems to miss the point a bit. Rather, this highlights something I’ve always subconsciously realized but never really acknowledged about my music habits – vocals being just another instrument, as opposed to a vehicle for lyrical subject matter.

When I listen to a song, most times, I only hear the rhythms and melodies of the vocals, as opposed to the words themselves. I tend to listen more closely on the first few listens of a new album or single; after that, the lyrics start to meld together into a single line of music, and they fall into the background alongside the rest of the instruments in a given song. There are a lot of times where I know that I love a particular song, but if one were to ask me to sing even a single verse of a song, I’ll draw a blank, because that’s not how I hear songs. Maybe it’s my marching band background. Maybe it’s just because I don’t care all that much for lyrics. In any case, I’ve always found the music to be much, much more important than the lyrics.

On that note, Rie fu is a great musician. She’s got great variety in her music, and she’s demonstrated a ton of versatility when composing solely on her own, whether she’s got multi-layered rock music behind her, or the solitary notes of her own piano. She’s got the rare talent of completely distinguishing her solo work from her work in side-project delofamilia, as well; delofamilia has an edge to it, both in its darker, dronier music, and in Rie fu’s fully English vocal delivery. I follow everything she does – she’s easily one of my favorite musicians, and I can’t wait for her next pair of albums this year.

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