The GB Album Club 040 - Samurai Sessions Vol. 3: Worlds Collide by MIYAVI

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unclejam23

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#1  Edited By unclejam23

Duders! Welcome to the 40th edition of the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club! Last week, we took a load off with some (mostly) laid back indie rock. This week, we're kicking things up a notch or two or a thousand (at least based on the songs I previewed, for even though I haven't had the pleasure of giving it a full listen yet, it sounds like it goes pretty fuckin hard) because we got our second pick by our good friend @thatpinguino, and said pick is Samurai Sessions Vol. 3: Worlds Collide byMIYAVI! Got some links for you!

Spotify

Apple Music

Youtube

Here at the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club, we made a pool of albums and we chose one at random every week to listen to and discuss. If you want in, come join us and submit at our Discord! Join. Right fucking now.

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unclejam23

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Posted a link to the wrong discord last night! It's the correct one now!

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unclejam23

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This album starts with Samuel L. Jackson yelling at you that rock and roll isn't dead and "You are now fuckin' with the samurai guitarist." It's important to establish this quickly because I'm pretty sure it's the reason I like this album.

Without that context, I would've spent this post making fun of Samurai Sessions Vol. 3. It's an album that, after all, starts the way it does and the content that follows consists of unbelievably cornball hooks ("All I need is a runway, runway/ cause I'm taking off"), over-the-top guitar solos, and a guest artist on one song named AK-69. In any other circumstance, I'd find all of these things cringy at worst and dumb as shit at best. Except for the fact that an artist named himself AK-69, which is objectively great.

But the thing is that starting with Samuel L. Jackson gives me permission to enjoy it because it lets me know that the album's in on the joke. In fact, as far as I can tell, this is the only moment on the whole album that flashes this kind of self-awareness, which tells me that MIYAVI knows he's making something ridiculous but he's doing it earnestly. That's one of my favorite types of self-aware art.

The chorus to the song that follows Samuel's intro goes, "Imma do a rain dance/Do a rain dance/Imma do a rain dance/Shake it 'till it rains down." When I heard that out loud, I laughed. Then I asked myself if I was laughing with or at it. Honestly, I still can't tell. But at a certain point, I stopped worrying about it because I was having too much fun, and that feeling never really melted away.

I will say that I can't tell if anything I'm saying is sincere, and I can't tell if I really enjoyed this album or if it simply wore me down. But again, I don't think it matters. In spite of myself and my usual inability to enjoy stuff like this, I loved this stupid album, and bless its stupid stupid heart. MIYAVI's clearly a guy who's aware of the phallic nature of the guitar. What's not to love about that?

Favorite Songs: "U.G.L.Y," "Pink Spider (Remix)" "Me and the Moonlight"

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This is maybe the classical music purist inside of me speaking, but I actively hate "popping" or the finger-slapping style of guitar playing. That all but makes this a hard pass.

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I love this album. It has a certain energy that I really only find from Japanese artists. The closest I can come to describing it is a combination of extreme earnestness and total exuberance for the music. This music is entirely made because a guitar player had a bunch of hot licks and he wanted other people to finish songs over top of them. It might as well be called "Hey, Check This Shit Out." This is great driving music, and my teenage daughter also though it was pretty cool. I'm definitely going to check out the other Samurai Session albums. Favorites were "U.G.L.Y.", "I'm So", and "Get Into My Heart", but it was a pretty consistent level throughout, honestly.

As a side note, and I'm not sure if that is what is happening here sometimes, but often English is used in Japanese songs primarily for the phonic nature of the words, and not for its meaning.