After all these years the music industry still cannot give a clear answer on whether it’s good or bad to work on an album with your childhood hero. We’ve seen enough of Damon Albarn and Adele throwing mud at each other while no one can tell what really has happened. Now we raise the same question here to our young friends DYGL and their most significant influence, 1/5 of the strokes, Albert Hammond Jr.. Today DYGL’s debut album “Say Goodbye to Memory Den” is released and I just got myself another living sample for this ultimate question.
可以说这么多年过去，对于跟自己的偶像合作到底是好是坏这个问题音乐圈还是没法给出一个明确的答案。我们见太多Damon Albarn和Adele互泼脏水这种破烂事以至于现在真的也想要来问一问我们年轻的朋友DYGL和对他们影响最大的乐队成员之一Albert Hammond Jr. 同样的问题。4月19号他们的处女专辑“Say Goodbye to Memory Den” 好评发行，而我则对回答这个宇宙终极难题又得到一份新样本。
I can’t deny my drastic excitement when I first heard the news of Albert Hammond Jr. to produce DYGL’s debut album. I remember vividly the days of DYGL guys sharing their admiration for the boundless creativity of the Strokes members as well as their unshakable prominence in American indie rock legend. My hunch was that this would be a seamless collaboration and that’s all. Having met Albert Hammond Jr at one of his solo gigs I was under the impression that he was a very down-to-earth guy, which should’ve guaranteed a smooth and thorough conversation between the young Japanese band and the successful American musician/producer (with no doubt language could be a barrier for communication in depth despite that DYGL are no green hand dealing with English speakers at all). However after listening to the two pre-released singles I began to have rather mixed feelings. Now looking at the whole picture the mixed feelings still hold, but in a mostly positive way.
无法否认在听说Albert Hammond Jr.即将制作DYGL新专辑的时候我有多欣喜若狂。我至今还记得DYGL这群人在提到the Strokes绵延的创造力以及他们在美国独立音乐界无上的地位有多么崇拜。我直觉这张专辑不会差。在Albert个人solo演出后有幸聊过后我对他印象就是一个非常有亲和力和正能量的男子，心想这样的性格应该可以为日本年轻若手乐队和美国成功音乐人士之间无碍乃至深入的沟通打包票了（不管DYGL之前多经常跟英语母语人士打交道，语言障碍一定还是存在的）。可是听完先行发售的两首单曲后我迟疑着已经心情有些复杂。现在全专出来后复杂的心情还是有，但是稍微有向好的方向发展了。
The opening bomb “Come Together” could have been mind-blowing with full of sparks but failed. I am prepared to be psyched up to headbang to the bouncy drumbeat but the urge degrades when the artificial scream hits my eardrum. The furious vocal sounds deliberate. Yet the panic of them becoming “just another Brooklyn band” stops immediately when I recognize the spontaneous guitar entry from “Crazy”. The impulse to embrace everything in my eye horizon emerges and I’m not alien to this impulse because this is the typical DYGL sound that I know. Still and all, the familiarity leaves me again as the already jolly “Let It Sway” takes a step up to an allegro but the vocal falls through by trying too hard to be Julian Casablancas in the Voidz.
开头劲曲“Come Together”本可以成为一首颠覆听觉火花四溅的大hit，可惜失败了。都有准备好跟着弹性十足的鼓点甩头释放自己，可是在做作的愤怒嘶吼撞击耳鼓那一瞬间就变得欲望全无。好在这种对他们成为“随便哪个布鲁克林小乐队”的担心在耳朵认出下中在“Crazy”中精妙的的吉他前奏后一下子烟消云散，并接着心里突然产生了拥抱目光所及每一个人的冲动。这感觉我不陌生的呀，因为这才是我知道的DYGL。然而这熟悉感再次离我而去了。快板节奏的“Let It Sway”没什么错，但就算是Albert来制作，也请不要强撑Julian Casablancas在the Voidz中的奇怪唱腔好吗。
“Thousand Miles” is one of the few remixes that I favor over the old versions. Rich layers are applied on top of the thin tune and empower the song with profound emotion by presenting an imago of tender waves, warm wind and salty air. The accumulation of meticulous guitar lines gradually escalates to a new level of thickness when stiffer drum pitches in, and fades out in the same exquisite chords yet still leaves a lingering charm.
As a single, “Let It Out” does not seem to have much of a presence if you compare it with the preceding release “Waste of Time”. The misfortune is that the new version of the latter killed the touch of being within reach of the band, thus lost the magic. “Let It Out” on the other hand, keeps it real by conveying the long stretches of pavement and progression without hurting the impetuous vent.
作为一首单曲，“Let It Out”好像没有之前发行的“Waste of Time”存在感那么高。然而很不幸后者的新版本大肆抹杀了前作里小作坊低保真的音效，那种对乐队触手可及的实感丧失了，魔法也就丧失了。这样对比着看来“Let It Out”起码在不损害情绪发泄的基础上保持传递了足够的铺垫和递进，算是胜出。
“All I Want” is an old track from “EP #1” originally named “All the time”. The only reason for a name change that I can think of is if the original name was used there would be 3 songs ending with the word “time” (call me a data analyst). Other than that I also noticed some slight edit on the lyrics, not only of this song but of the whole album. Most conspicuously, the punch line in the original version was “All I want is to marry an American girl”. In the new album version it’s now “All I want is to make a little noise in this world”, which completely turns the song to a distinct direction. I am quite upset for this change as the band once told me “American girl” was meant to symbolize the Statue of Liberty, letting alone the fact that “American girl” is already very suggestive in terms of the phrase itself.
“All I Want” 是最早“EP #1”发行过，“All the time”之名更广为熟知的经典。我能想到唯一一个改名的原因大概是，要是保留原名这张专辑就连着有三首以“time”结尾的歌了（请叫我数据分析家）。除了这一点之外我也有注意到不光这首歌，整张专辑的歌词都有做轻微改动。最明显的一处，原曲中“All I want is to marry an American girl”被更新成“All I want is to make a little noise in this world”，态度一下子180度大转弯。对此我真的超级沮丧，因为很早之前从下中那里听来，秋山写这句里面“American girl”其实真实意指自由女神，我理解就是对美国的轻松享乐气氛和自由民主生活的向往。更不要说“American girl”这个短语就单纯意象而言本来就具有足够的暗示性。
You can put “Happy Life” in any albums of bands like Surfer Blood or Splashh and not feeling it’s out of place, but who cares. It’s just one of those intimate tracks. It can be a cozy rainy afternoon. It can be a last scene of an empty dance floor. It can also be a schoolgirl holding a melting ice cream. “A Matter of Time” carries on the cushy aura. Only this time DYGL puts on the mask of Mac DeMarco and waves us a goofy salute.
“Happy Life”这首歌，你真的可以把它放到像Surfer Blood 或者Splashh 这种乐队的任何一张专辑里都不会有什么违和感，但是谁在乎呢。这就是一首亲近而私密的曲子。它可以是一个舒适而无事阴雨绵绵的下午，可以是午夜过后清空了的寂寞舞池，也可以是豆蔻少女手中被太阳晒得快要融化了的冰淇淋。 “A Matter of Time”继承了这种随性的气氛，只不过这一次成员们带着Mac DeMarco的假面，向你讽刺地行了个举手礼罢了。
To my surprise the last piece on the playlist is a “cheesy” love song, and it just becomes my best pick of the album. The liquidity of the guitar sounds so sublime and unreal that it speaks for my ideal form of pop, a fusion of the cheerful 80s vibe with a grain of saccharine sorrow to perfection. The refrain “I’ve got to say it’s true, I’ve got to say it’s you” is singularly straightforward, whereas catches me off guard.
我没有想到的是专辑竟然以一首俗俗的小情歌来结尾，然而这曲最后入选了我的全专最佳。如泉水般纵横流动的吉他听起来无比纯净而虚幻，使我回忆起我理想中的波普乐。它应该是一个混合体，一个八十年代欢快旋律夹杂着一小团皱皱巴巴的甜蜜忧虑的混合体。副歌“I’ve got to say it’s true, I’ve got to say it’s you”是如此直白，无防备的我却不幸地被一击命中。
I am not saying this album is a backward step. On the contrary, it stands on my top 3 albums of 2017 even so. But again, I had very high hope in this album as a consequence of the far-fetched collaboration and correspondingly, it does display maturity to an extent that it almost sounds like a “second album”, instead of a debut. Sure it’s nothing wrong to grow up a little, but decisions need to be made wisely on whether you want someone else to scissor you a way out or you yourself to inflate enough to burst out while you are still in the cocoon.
- Come Together
- Let It Sway
- Take It Away
- Thousand Miles
- Boys On TV
- Don’t Know Where It Is
- Let It Out
- Feel the Way
- All I Want
- Happy Life
- A Matter of Time
- Waste of Time
- I’ve Got to Say It’s True