Essential Listening: Millennium Parade – THE MILLENNIUM PARADE

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Artist: Millennium Parade

Album: THE MILLENNIUM PARADE

Label: Sony Music Entertainment

Release date: 10 February 2021

Location: Japan

Listen if you like: Jazz, alternative electro, alternative rock

Personal favourites: 2992, Bon Dance, Fly with me

Innovative, inspiring, impactful. Millennium Parade is one of my most recent finds that left me awe-struck. After two years of exploring the J-pop scene, millennium parade style is probably not one of the sounds that would distinctively reflect popular J-pop music. Millennium Parade was founded by Daiki Tsuneta, more famously known as the leader of the popular J-pop band King Gnu. Together in this newfound band, he roped in artists with different styles to “create art through destruction”. Despite spending most of his life in Japan, Tsuneta was heavily influenced by American culture and visual art. This could be clearly reflected in most of his songs from this album, where he combined jazz, synths, and alternative electronic music, fused with underlying chaotic beats. This created an apocalyptic sci-fi image that could parallel the destruction of conventional styles and heritage. Once again, this reiterates the progression of music and its struggle between tradition and modernity. In this day and age, presenting a new concept in Japan, Chaotic Tokyo.

In this album, many samples of songs can be found in other songs. For example, ‘matsuri no ato’ is essentially the intro for ‘2992’ with just some slight variations. The different samples create an interactive album, which immerses you into the story or fictional reality. A personal favourite of mine would be ‘2992‘. Admittedly, being someone who grew up with very classical forms of music, I am a sucker for fusion between classical and traditional styles of music. Hence, without a doubt, my favourite feature would be how Tsuneta fuses classical orchestra notes with the synths that are interwoven into the vocals creating an ethereal experience. However, that’s not all. The subtle vinyl rewind sound effects underlying the track piece almost bring forth a dystopian reality that hides amidst all this beauty. This can be supported by the lyrics themselves which bring forth ideas of running away from reality and control by society.

I first stumbled upon this song when watching a documentary titled ‘Daiki Tsuneta, Tokyo Chaotic‘, which follows the production process of ‘2992’. following the daily life of Daiki Tsuneta. From his ideation process, to his vision for his songs, it was enlightening(to say the least) how all these masterpieces were created. Fun fact: ‘2992’ was titled this way as it reflected Tsuneta’s dream of allowing his music to be passed to the next millennium. Hence, the band name millennium parade. I could almost say that this fact would actually be the album highlight.

With hits like ‘U‘ from the popular anime movie Belle and ‘Fly With Me‘ which was the theme song for GHOST IN THE SHELL: SAC_2045, the latest Ghost in the Shell series (even though they are pretty new to the game) they would definitely shine new light in the music scene in Japan.


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