Written by: Naoreen Kabir – Grade 10
Ask any music listener what their favourite band or song is, and you will usually be met with hesitation and an unsure response. Picking favourites can be difficult, especially as your tastes evolve over time. What was once your infinitely-on-repeat jam fades as you get bored and find something new. At other times, it’s difficult to pick favourites if your tastes are diverse or if you just love your music too much to pick the best few.
Once in a while, you find something that stands out. A band whose every song is gold, an album that you listen to from beginning to end and savor the entire ride. Perhaps it takes you a while to grow into the music, but once you do, you cling to it tight and never quite let go. For me, this piece of music is the album Today Is A Beautiful Day by Supercell.
Supercell is a Japanese music group consisting of eleven members: Ryo, the songwriter, and ten illustrators and designers responsible for their creative album booklets and music videos. Released in 2011, Today Is A Beautiful Day is their second album of the three to date, and my personal favourite.
The album largely features piano and acoustic and electric guitars, with melodic tunes, creating a unified experience throughout its length. That said, each song definitely has its own flavour. From the laid-back jazzy sound of “Feel so good” to the funk rock of “Rock n Roll Nandesu Yo”, the electropop background of “LOVE & ROLL”, or the elegant solo piano in “Watashi e”, there are sounds for everyone to appreciate.
Vocals are provided by Nagi Yanagi, whose performance is a beautiful complement to Ryo’s compositions. Her singing is sweet and expressive- she’s one of those singers whose smiles and struggles can be heard in their voices. Ryo’s music is superb, but her voice is what really makes for a pleasant listening experience.
Being a Japanese album, the lyrics are in Japanese with occasional bits of English mixed in. If out of curiosity, you decide to look at translations, you’ll find that the songs are usually written as stories. There is the tale of an outcast boy who loves drawing manga told in “Hero”. There’s the story of someone in love with their friend and their eventual confession expressed in “Sayonara Memories”. Love, revenge, nostalgia, relaxing through the weekend, and being unable to fall asleep are just a few of the topics explored within the songs. The elaborate storytelling and human themes make the lyrics a fascinating read on their own, and can result in your subsequent listens being more engaging and emotional.
However, understanding the words isn’t entirely necessary. The music and Nagi Yanagi’s vocals do well to communicate the ‘feeling’ of each song. I enjoyed listening to this album for almost half a year before I began reading translations, and still felt deeply connected to the music through the sound alone.
There’s a good reason as to why I love this album so much, why I’ve listened to it too many times to count. It’s not just that the melodies are catchy or that the vocals are like chocolate for the ears. It’s a piece of artwork. Each track possesses its own colour- some sweet yet melancholic, others upbeat and uplifting. All the colours join together to form a unique picture, a story. An adventure in human experiences, an exploration of human emotions. It’s easy to get lost in the music and end up reminiscing about your own experiences or daydreaming in some other world. I know I have.
That is why I recommend Today Is A Beautiful Day by Supercell to anyone, particularly those who already listen to Japanese songs (you may recognize some of the tracks!). I also highly recommend diving in translation-free at first, so you can focus on the music.
You can listen to it for free as a playlist (in the original album order) here:
If you don’t have the time and/or soul to listen to it in full length, at least give track two, “Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari”, a try.
Enjoy! If you’d like, buy it on iTunes. I promise it’s worth every penny. 🙂