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Words And Music: Paya's Yuutai Gurai De Chooudo Ii | Make Believe Melodies
The recent focus on pop music going "international" via K-pop and Latin pop has resulted in an interesting tension in how these songs get interpreted. How important are lyrics to this? They obviously are central, and no doubt that's part of the appeal to listeners who actually are fluent in these languages. But a big celebratory point for listeners and media has been the ability for all of these songs to transcend language barriers. A bop is a bop in any tongue, right? But is that ignoring too much context from the original? It's a slight dilemma central to Kyoto artist Paya's new album, a collection touted by a lot of folks online for its great lyricism. This isn't a new issue for this blog -- Japanese isn't my first language, and I often need to spend dedicated time deciphering lyrics, just because it doesn't always hit immediately. Taking some time with Paya's set does reveal some pretty clever observations on life in the city, an issue central to the Japanese experience in 2019.