I think the world has forgotten what spectacle is supposed to make you feel like. As someone somewhere surely once said, “the extraordinary has become common, and the common has become mind-numbingly boring.”
Japanese recording artists are expected to put out an album a year, release 3-5 singles in the lead up to the album release, release the cover art, title and tracklisting at least 3 months in advance and to promote said singles and album by going on a variety of talk shows and appearing in a pile of magazines. Although some of the rules vary, it’s the same sad hype machine as anywhere in the world and it’s become a drag.
That’s why it was so much fun to watch Mr. Children piss all over it.
A cynic would call it “non-marketing marketing” but I, an eternal optimist, would call it art. Let me regale you with the tale of Mr. Children’s new album and the beautiful silence that lead up to its release this past December 1st.
Following the success of the million selling Supermarket Fantasy Mr. Children had only released the digital single “fanfare” a tie-in to the latest One Piece movie, and a live performance of a song featured in a commercial, “365nichi.” Word of a new album was whispered but nothing materialized and with no singles officially released, it seemed like the album would be delayed.
Then in October of last year, a full two years after their last album, suddenly we had a release date… and nothing else. December 1st, 2010.
As the date grew closer and the first signs of promotion began to surface. A strange video with the sea as a motif. And then this:
(translation: mimic the flying fish)
This was just a week before the album’s release date. Fans were swinging wildly from panic to pipe dreams. Maybe it’s a double album release? Maybe they’re going to announce their retirement? What if this one doesn’t sell a million copies?
You know what though? The most common thought wasn’t ‘why are they doing this?,’ it was ‘I wonder what the album’s title is’ and ‘I wonder what songs are on it’ and most importantly, ‘I wonder what it sounds like?’
Fan began to call the phenomenon “misuchirious” a playful take on the band’s nickname. Whatever the album was, no one was talking.
And then… on day of release, the poster of the sea was replaced by this breathtaking scene.
It certainly lit up all five of mine.
Sometimes we need to remember that shouting isn’t the only way to get someone’s attention. Thanks for reminding us Misuchiru.