2013/09/08

BABYMETAL DEATH

Released on 2013 Jan. 9th, coupled with IJIME, DAME, ZETTAI (included in the limited edition).
Lyric: KITSUNE of METAL GOD / Music: KITSUNE of METAL GOD / Arr.: Yuyoyuppe

Usually, this is the opening tune of BABYMETAL's concert.

BABYMETAL DEATH (We Are BABYMETAL)

B x A x B x Y x M x E x T x A x L   DEATH!!



[i] The letters "DEATH" only means "to be" (= DESU/DES_).

The official lyric really consists of only the above one line. Maybe the staff thought too many "DEATH"s are inappropriate.

The Japanese word "desu" (です) is a copula (= to be). The Eastern Japanese almost drop "u" of this word, so the word "desu/des" sounds like "death". And someone started writing "DEATH" instead of "です" (desu). It makes sense only where the Japanese word "desu" is expected to come. The title "BABYMETAL DEATH" means only "We are BABYMETAL." No relation to the death itself.

I'm not sure of its origin, but I saw long before such a character as a vampire or a death metal singer in a comic and all his "です" (desu) were replaced with "DEATH" to emphasize his character. With such an air, it will work well. Without it, it won't work.

[ii] Is This Death Metal?

There is a genre named "Death Metal". The sound of this tune seems to fall within that genre, and the lyric writer may have put many "DEATH"s to emphasize the Death-Metal-ness. It might be alright to use many "DEATH"s without thinking of death if some of Death Metal bands also chose their style just to differentiate themselves rather than driven by the feeling about death. But I don't know the Death Metal well.

  ROMAJI LYRIC AND NOTES ARE BELOW.


BABYMETAL DEATH (We Are BABYMETAL)

Romaji LyricEnglish TranslationNotes
 
  [[BABYMETAL DEATH. (x16)]]       [[We are BABYMETAL. (x16)]]    1,[i]
 
  [[B, A, B, Y, M, E, T, A, L]]   [[B, A, B, Y, M, E, T, A, L]]
 
  [[DEATH (x6)]]2,[ii]
SU-METAL DEATH.I am SU-METAL.
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
YUIMETAL DEATH.I am YUIMETAL.
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
MOAMETAL DEATH.I am MOAMETAL.
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
BABYMETAL DEATH.We are BABYMETAL.
 
  [[B, A, B, Y, M, E, T, A, L]]   [[B, A, B, Y, M, E, T, A, L]]
 
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
SU-METAL DEATH.I am SU-METAL.
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
YUIMETAL DEATH.I am YUIMETAL.
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
MOAMETAL DEATH.I am MOAMETAL.
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
  [[BABY METAL DEATH.]]  [[We are BABYMETAL.]]
 
  [[DEATH (x16)]]3
 
[[Gyaa!]][[Gyah!]]
 
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
SU-METAL DEATH.I am SU-METAL.
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
YUIMETAL DEATH.I am YUIMETAL.
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
MOAMETAL DEATH.I am MOAMETAL.
  [[DEATH (x6)]]
BABYMETAL DEATH.We are BABYMETAL.
 
  [[DEATH (x30)]]
  [[BABY METAL DEATH.]]  [[We are BABYMETAL.]]
 

Notes

  1. I think I hear this, but not for sure.
  2. I'm sure these lines never means the death itself. I have no idea for translation.
  3. On a certain BBS, I asked what words the audience of the concerts shout in this part, and got an answer "DEATH" without dissents.

19 comments :

  1. Thank you very much for that explanation. I had no idea about the meaning of the word "Death" before. Turns out it's just the word "desu." Hahaha.
    Your blog is a godsend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this title needs an explanation because even Japanese think it strange unless they know it is actually "desu" and why it is written as "death".

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Konichiwa du enki-san. I thought the girls were saying "desu" after their name. I believe another word is used for death in japanese. A friend of mine still thinks it is " death ".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. SU-METAL always says "SU-METAL desu" and YUIMETAL always says "YUIMETAL desu", but, no matter how it sounds like, definitely MOAMETAL always tries to pronounce "desu" as "death" to obey the gimmick described above, and I can never ignore her effort. That's why I write this way.

      The Japanese word for "death" is "死"(shi), "死ぬ"(shinu) for "to die".
      Probably the producer doesn't think seriously how people think of "BABYMETAL DEATH" because(?) there are such words as "death metal", "death growl".... And Japanese preteen boys very easily say "die" like "I will die if I eat carrot". Of course they are educated not to say so, but he may not have been educated such way.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply, very informative as always. Agree with you about moa-chan at first I thought it was just a lisp or mild speech impediment but now I see why she does it...she is great by the way!

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    3. I don't think there is a -th sound in Asian language just like -La . I love when Moa says death.

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    4. Pierce san, thank you for comment.
      Just for information: Some Asian languages (Korean etc.) have "th" sound distinguished from "t", which is called "aspirated consonant" and different from English "th". And Japanese (& Korean) has one liquid consonant ("r", "l", etc.), but it is different from English "r" (in some condition, it is pronounced like "l"), and Modern Mandarin Chinese seems to distinguish "r" & "l".

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  4. I have noticed that many Japanese have a lisp, so it is easy to see how 'des(u)' could be heard as 'death' - especially in the context of the genre. Moa-chan has a more noticeable lisp.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many Japanese may speak with a lisp, but pronouncing "des(u)" is not thought as a lisp in Japanese. It is called the devoicing of vowel (or voiceless vowel). It is a characteristic of Tokyo (or other) dialects, and the nationwide announcers are trained to do so. In principle "u" & "i" are devoiced at the end of the word or in between two voiceless consonants.

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  5. I think it's meant to sound like it could be either "Death" or "des". They love having a play on words and the English word 'death' is often associated with Metal music. So I think they do mean so say "death" while really meaning "des" and simultaneously saying "We are BABYMETAL". It matches up with the fact that they usually start their performances with this song and then end the concert by saying "We are" in English. Comes around full circle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It may be because I'm not familiar with the death metal that I can't hear their voice have any smell of death. And, as you know, at the end BABYMETAL call "We are" and the audience respond "BABYMETAL" to make "We are BABYMETAL".

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  6. I have a weird question. In the live version, after the intro, you can hear a girl's voice screaming something like "Nete janē! Buta yarō", which I guess would translate as "Don't sleep, you swine!". I'm wondering whose voice it is (it's hard to tell, since it's screaming) or what the connection is between this line and Babymetal. If this is a reference that a Japanese native would understand, I would love to hear what you have to say about this. Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neten janē! = Nete iru no dewa nai! = Don't be asleep! (= Wake up!)
      Buta yarō = you swine
      I can't hear it after the intro of BMD of Legend I,D,Z and Summer Sonic 2013 at hand, but I know the word. On 2013 Oct 8th, 3-5 a.m., the special radio program was broadcasted, BABYMETAL's All Night Nippon (ANN).
      YUIMETAL shouted the word in the program. It was one of "the words I want BABYMETAL to shout", requested by a listener in reply to asking of the radio station.
      The shout is good for alarm clock but has no special meaning.
      Maybe this listener shouted at the live venue and then requested, or someone overdubbed YUIMETAL's voice if you hear it on YouTube, etc.

      Delete
  7. Thank you very much for the explanation. You're right, I did not hear it either in the Legend I,D,Z recording, it was on a YouTube version of the song. It's entirely possible that it was dubbed over the original sound. So, it was YUIMETAL who said it :), I was quite surprised.
    It seems to me like there's a lot of BABYMETAL content that I'm missing out on (like radio and television appearances) because I don't live in Japan. It would be nice to see our dark heroines more often :)

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  8. I saw a lot of fans at Europe tour's video in July
    I wondered How the global fans think about the word "death"of this song,

    For many Japanese, the English word "death" is well known
    Of course, the sound is similar to the Japanese "des(u)"
    We Japanese fans simply enjoy the humor of this phrase.
    We use sometimes in Twitter and BBS the word "DEATH!!" for "~です des(u)"
    in the Fan communication as a internet slang.

    All of Fans except Japanese need to know the meaning of the word
    for understanding this humor.
    I think this page helps a lot


    7月からのヨーロッパツアー動画でたくさんのファンを見ました。
    この曲の「death」について、どう考えているのか気になりました
    多くの日本人にとって、英単語の「death」はよく知られていて
    もちろん、日本語の「~です」と音が似ていることも、よくわかっています。
    すべての日本のファンはこのフレーズのユーモアを楽しんでいます。
    英語圏のファンがこのユーモアを理解するには、
    日本語の意味を知る必要があるでしょう。

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  9. I have a small suggestion and/or question. Since "death" is supposed to sound like "des", which is a 'short form' (or abbreviation) for "desu", then perhaps it would make sense stylistically to think of an analogy of abbreviation where "des" is to "desu" as "I'm" is to "I am" and "We're" is to "We are". (If it were an English word, we might write it with an abbreviation apostrophe as: des' )

    So perhaps the translation should read: I'm SU-METAL ... etc. ... We're BABYMETAL.

    For comparison, see a video of the famous line from the first Batman movie, where a freaked-out criminal says, "What are you?!" and the reply is, "I'm Batman." :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment.
      It is not abbreviation but special pronunciation that is called "unvoicing of vowels" or "unvoiced vowels" in Japanese linguistics, a kind of vowel reduction, and it is the authentic pronunciation in Tokyo dialect, so nationwide announcers must master it. Except some special cases, Tokyo people don't pronounce "u" of "desu" clearly. To emphasize the sentence, they stress "de" of "desu". Therefore, I think the pronunciation of "u" of "desu" is unrelated to whether "I am" or "I'm".

      Delete