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Jubilee from Versailles

Somehow I missed the release of Versailles’ newest album by about two weeks. Since I have picked it up, I have been listening to it almost non-stop. It is the first major-label album released by Versailles since they signed with Warner Music Japan. Due to some copyright jumbo, the group is know as Versailles Philharmonic Quintet in the U.S. of A. If you see promotional photos for the album with only 4 members, it is not another misuse of English by a Japanese band.

The band’s bassist, Jasmine You, fell ill in August and later died from his illness while hospitalized. The band took a short break, and the release of the album was pushed back. After returning from their break, guitarist Hizaki picked up the bass recording to finish up their album. Their first single released since his passing, “Serenade” is quite obviously a tribute to the late Jasmine. Translated from the Japanese the lyrics include images of “sleepless nights wanting to see you; You were the bright light in the night’s tear clad sky.” You get the idea. With the melancholy tone, the piano, and the orchestra this ballad really brought me back to some of the ballad’s Yoshiki wrote for X-Japan. (Keep scrolling down after the video.)

Don't be fooled!! There are no girls in this band!

The talent from this band does not cease to amaze either with this new album. I feel that while overall it is not as heavy as Noble, Jubilee shows that Versailles can do more than just hard rock and metal. The song “Amorphous” shows that they can produce an excellent song that could be heard on any popular music station in Japan, or perhaps the song’s intro for some commercial’s BGM.

A song like this is something the visual kei scene really needs in Japan. Since the first split of X-Japan, the death of hide and Luna Sea calling it quits, the visual genre has been in a state of decline in the mainstream market here in Japan. A more pop friendly song is just what is needed to pull people back into visual kei and the awesomeness that it has to offer.

Even though there are some lighter tracks on this album (“Reminiscence” makes me want to sail the ocean for some reason) there are still the heavier tracks. My personal favorite is “Gekkakou” which means Tuberose. To me this song has the heavier tone that we know from their past releases. It could be because this was one of the first tracks recorded after signing with Warner and before Jasmine’s departure. In fact it was included as a B-side to last summer’s single release of “Ascendead Master.” All in all this album doesn’t disappoint. It has a little bit for everyone. If “Reminiscence” doesn’t put you in a good mood then you are probably lame. Peace out, and enjoy the tunes.