Buon COMPleanno!!!11 to my favorite polar bear and composer!
It’s time for the final part of my pseudo-analysis of BUTAOTOME’s lyrics… and we end with the one who pretty much wrote 80%* of the entire vocal catalog: Comp!
*not actually calculated, I just put a large percentage number. btw, I have 940 files tagged as BUTAOTOME in my music library, and 385 of those are tagged with コンプ as lyricist. Do note that the numbers include compilation tracks, but also remixes and re-arrangements, so there are 5 Machibito was Kozu. and other duplicates.
Comp wrote so many songs over the course of these 10+ years, and his style (and quality) can vary. On good days, he can write a story, he can give fantastic imagery, or he can include excellent references. On other days, his lyrics are not that great, with phrases copypasted 4 times, tons of unchanged and standalone idiomatic phrases, or stuff that overall just feels uninspired. He is one who typically writes whatever suits the mood of the song, and leaves the listeners to interpret it as they like (there are times when he comments on his lyrics, but it’s very rare and usually during live performances).
Anyway, here is my top 10 favorite lyrics written by the polar bear!
10. Yodare (from Trauma Recorder)
This song was my very first serious attempt at translating lyrics, so I think it deserves to be here! The general mood I get from Comp’s lyrics is typically optimistic – live your life to the fulliest, believe in yourself, think of the present while looking forward to the future… but sometimes he can be pretty cynical. Yodare criticizes this world filled with lies, convenient phrases, and what-ifs, while expressing a desire to find happiness, authentic feelings, the true colors.
9. Monosashi (from Juushin)
Honestly I just love how the lyrics sound and flow in this song, and while it was pretty wtf in some parts, it was one of the songs I had the most fun translating. Some lyrics are just meant to have cool words that sound good and good imagery, and I think Monosashi does the job very well. Sure, it doesn’t really feel “Chimata-esque” outside of mentions of rainbow colors and value of things, but I don’t mind it, and I prefer it over bland “open the market, return to nothing!!111” repeated all over again. The refrains just feel cool to read and listen to, and then we have Comp’s usual hope for a bright future (foreshadow…) with “Today we are confused, lost, sad, reflect, tomorrow we hope, love, cheer”
8. Futatsu no Cinema (from Shoujo Rengoku 3)
Hifuu has been a recurring element in this series and well, BUTAOTOME has made plenty of songs about the ZUN’s Music Collection girls. The recurring topics in Comp’s Hifuu lyrics are the unknown and the things beyond our reality, with also a good dose of “you are my bestie let’s go to an adventure together!!111”. Sometimes he just takes some of the elements related to the story or the setting of the original theme, such as Akai Hitomi being… well, I’ll just say it was made for a horror-themed Hifuu anthology. But in the end, I chose Futatsu no Cinema, because we stan Sumireko in this house. These lyrics are pure Sumireko, with all her elements from ULiL being in center stage (from her being the coolest being of this ordinary world to the doppelganger shenanigans), while still managing to keep the Hifuu-ish atmosphere of the border between reality and fantasies being blurred. And well, I’m also a fan of when a word is sung differently from the one written in the lyrics sheet in a creative way!
7. Akarui Mirai (from Sega’s CHUNITHM)
Best rhythm game song (although some of the Bemani ones might give it a run for its money). I think Akarui Mirai is the one that conveys “Comp’s typical optimism” the best. It talks about creating a wonderful world for us, and getting rid of the unpleasant past, believing in a bright future even though our life is a boring routine. You never know when a unexpected, but welcomed change happens, after all! By the way, I particularly like the stanza about creating “a world of zeros and ones”, and throwing away the distorted (corrupted?) data. If you were a programmer (of a game or anything), wouldn’t you try to create your own perfect (virtual) world?
6. Waizatsu Ideology (from Doubt)
Actually, I would call this “the ballad spot”. I think most of BUTAOTOME’s ballad songs have consistently good lyrics (although some others will get a separated spotlight later in the post), and Comp wrote most of them. I could have put anything here: Kagerenbo, Watashi Nokoshi, Kudaranai Hibi, Kyouzon, Usotsuki, Mou ii yo, Hakusen, Fusoku Hokou, Shun’un, Shunshuu… But in the end, I chose the classic, the fan favorite Waizatsu Ideology. Often described as one of the darkest songs in the entire catalog, some listeners may want to give it a bleak ending (especially paired with the funeral visuals in Doubt’s design…). The lyrics are so fragile and pessimistic, depicting a certain inadequacy at living and questioning the existence of god. Honestly, just reading them they make me feel really sad…
5. Sawareru Yume (from CHILD HOOD’S END)
CHILD HOOD’S END is one of those albums that has all the tracks written by Comp, so here it is. Honestly, I could have picked anything from there, but I chose Sawareru Yume because this is my favorite BUTAOTOME Touhou song, period. Maybe I will talk about it in detail if I’ll ever re-review the album, but this is a post about lyrics. It’s one of those cases where Comp tries to do a bit of straightforward storytelling, depicting Mariabelina’s past before she met Renko and formed the Hifuu Club. When she started having all those weird dreams, that’s when her childhood ended. Or perhaps, it’s when she found that one person who could talk about her dreams…
4. Itami Honpo (from Hanafuda)
Hands down, one of BUTAOTOME’s masterpieces. I absolutely love everything here, but this is a lyrics post. And here they are all about a pain shop, where people go to buy and sell their pain. They don’t exist in reality, but the closest thing to them are objects being sold because they remind their owner of unpleasant things. I could also think of people profiting of other people’s pain. But can pain even be given a monetary value?
Btw, this (and Akarui Mirai) is one of the few cases where Comp doesn’t repeat any phrases!
3. Mou Nani mo Hoka ni Iranai hazu sa (from Kyou ga Saigo no Ichinichi)
Kyou ga Saigo no Ichinichi supremacy! It’s my favorite Touhou album, and while I’ve already dedicated a full length review to it, I will never stop spreading my love! And since it’s one of those albums with exclusively Comp lyrics, it deserves its spotlight here.
When someone asks me which song represents Touhou to me, this is my immediate answer. Or rather, Mou Nani mo Hoka ni… represents what Touhou means to me. Touhou is the reason why I’m here, why I’ve met some wonderful people over the years, why I’ve started following BUTAOTOME. It’s this warm place with wonderful creations that will always be there. Yes, here is Gensoukyou. Sometimes I just need that, and nothing else. (even when I’ll keep complaining about the music scene and the gachas)
2. Mesen (from Ayakashi Yokochou)
Can’t believe the pan pan song is here.
I absolutely loved translating this one, to me it was pure challenging fun, which I guess fit these lyrics. Mesen collects several elements related to Aun (or rather, her as a komainu, with phrases like “My mouth is closed by a single kanji, it’s silent enlightenment”), and also adds the typical optimistic Comp stuff of keeping going on and overcome the hardships. Just clap your hands! Or pat the chibi.
And now, we get to the number one song of this post, which is…
1. Ikkagetsu (from Tanjou)
Most philosophical lyrics ever, they are so simple yet effective, they make you realize the time that passes and the actual value of the 30 days that make up a month.
….okay, gotta be serious now.
1. Delicate (from Best)
It’s finally time to talk about this song.
I consider Delicate as a summary of Comp’s recurring topics in his lyrics: how hope is something we should always remember, how we are always in a journey to find something for us, how despite the hardships we are still here, and how sometimes the lack of change can be a good thing. And… also because of this I consider it the perfect song for my “10th-anniversary-as-Buta-fan” (which was last year).
“I found myself looking up at the sky in the dusk / I was looking up at a sky that I don’t always see” is probably my favorite line of all time in a Buta song. It makes me think of how sometimes we just need to look at things from a different perspective, and find beauty in some small things.
The only thing I don’t like about these lyrics is that a couple of parts can be twisted as a reference to Comp’s favorite gacha (looool you recalled the word hope, does it mean that it was a lost word?!?).
And that’s all for today. Comp has so many lyrics, so it was very hard to pick some favorite, and I do admit I went for those with styles that suit my tastes better. What are your favorites? And once again, happy birthday to him!