The saddest moments of my life are when I discover an amazing artist… only to discover that they’ve either disbanded or are part of the 27 club. Within the past year, I discovered an amazing band called きのこ帝国, or kinokoteikoku, or Mushroom Empire. Unfortunately, they disbanded back in 2019.
kinokoteikoku is a post-rock shoegazer band, although their more recent albums lean closer towards dream pop. From their discography, I’ve been listening a lot to their album 渦になる, which can roughly be translated to Becoming a Whirlpool. While there are a lot of great songs on the album, the one I’m focusing on writing about today is Girl meets NUMBER GIRL. A wonderful translation of the lyrics done by kimonobeat can be found here. (cue the music)
The title of the song is in reference to a famous rock band Number Girl, which disbanded in 2002. Coincidentally, both Number Girl and kinokoteikoku both disbanded due to the bassist leaving. The song is clearly an homage to Number Girl and the influence they had on kinokoteikoku.
Girl meets NUMBER GIRL is the fourth song of the album, and continues on the album’s overarching theme of getting lost. The song takes place on a bus, describing the feeling of the bus rocking as you sink into the music, losing yourself in the blurry world beyond the window. In those moments, you’re taken away to a faraway place; one where you can dismiss the trivialities within every-day life.
The colour blue has been a recurring element within the album, with the first song WHIRLPOOL repeating the line “I looked up at the blue sky and it was so blue that I forgot to blink” multiple times. In Girl meets NUMBER GIRL, the lyrics frequently reference blue, in both the context of blue “piercing into your head through your ears” and how the blue backdrop of the sky remains constant against the cacophony of colours flying past. In this manner, blue is experienced through not only sight, but also through sound.
One of my favourite parts of the song is the ending:
だから take me away take me away
The “me” I was that day is still here right now
So take me away take me away
As far, as far, as far as you can
The world is so simple
Even with all your regrets and worries
The sky is still blue, blue, blue
As time passes, we inevitably change from the people that we used to be. There’s a certain sadness attached to that feeling; while we strive towards becoming the type of person we want to be, we can’t help but lose something in exchange for that progress. We gain emotional maturity in exchange for the ability to better suppress our emotions, or become better able to navigate responsibility while losing that feeling of absolute freedom from it. Still, this song serves as a reminder that some things may never change. Just as the sky is still blue, right now I’m still there on that bus — feeling the wind gently blow in from the window, swaying back and forth, idly gazing out at the ever-changing scenery, and getting lost in the world.
If you like the song, it’s fun to compare it with the original demo track before all the production that went into the album version. I prefer the album version, personally, but listening to the demo version gives the song a touch more rawness.