The Music Behind the Books, Part 2: Mona Lisa Overdrive, Cyberpunk, and William Gibson

I wrote about Versailles and their impact on my literary choices last week, which can be read here.  This week, I will introduce the second band that affected my book purchases and genre preferences.  This band also takes top honors as my FAVORITE BAND EVER.  Please excuse any major fangirling about them that may be contained in this post.  Or band member gifs.  I really just can’t help myself.



They are one of the fathers of visual kei, though they refuse to allow that term to be used to describe their band.  They’ve been major for 26 years now.  And they still manage to release something EVERY YEAR.  And yes, if you’re wondering, those releases are consistently good.  They are very versatile in style, having played everything from pop, punk, dark wave, goth, straight up rock and roll, and even music with heavy electronic influences as well.  This band knows how to keep it fresh and wonderful.  Oh, and have I mentioned the members are pretty bookish people for band members as well?  Here’s a link to an interview of their vocalist, Sakurai Atsushi, talking about reading Natsume Souseki’s famous novel Kokoro:

Unfortunately I haven’t gotten a chance to read that particular book yet, though I am planning to read it in the future.  Considering the fact that Sakurai Atsushi is one of, if not my favorite, vocalists, I do enjoy diving into his reading material.  However, now that I have established the fact that these guys are pretty damn awesome, let me tell you about how one of their albums takes its name from one of William Gibson’s novels.  That album would be their 2003 release, Mona Lisa Overdrive.

At the time in which I really began diving into their music, I wasn’t aware that cyberpunk was anything but a clothing style.  This band taught me I was DEAD WRONG.  Not only is that album named after the last novel of the series that started with Neuromancer, one of the definitive novels of the genre, their music in certain periods follows what I would call a cyberpunk style as well.  It’s not even limited to this album, really.  Let’s take, for example, the entire Sexy Stream Liner album, “My Fuckin’ Valentine” coming to mind.  Also their song “Heroin” is pretty indicative of this as well.

Of course, after learning the source of that album’s title, I became quite curious.  I checked out the premise of the novels and they seemed absolutely fascinating to me.  I ended up picking up the entire trilogy at a Borders back when they were still in business.  It’s certainly fitting that we see the opening setting in Chiba, a fact that brought a smile to my face.

Something like this adorable Sakurai Atsushi smile. 😀

BUCK-TICK opened me up to an entire genre of novels I wasn’t even aware of.  And I thank them greatly for that, among the other things this band has done for me.  I’ve been connected to so many great people, even helped a fan pass on her collection because she had a terminal illness.  And without their music, I don’t think my life would be nearly as fulfilling as it has become.  I wish one day I could speak with them, even for a few minutes, and explain to them how much they’ve done for me and so many others.  One of my life goals is to be able to see them live in Japan since they have not performed in the United States.  All I know is I better not be wearing heavy makeup when I do manage to go.  I’ll get mascara streaks from hell from the amount of sheer emotion I will experience.  You know, the whole tears of joy deal that seems to happen to me more often than I’d like.

I will end before I get too overly excited with a couple of songs off of the album in question, as well as a link to a website with lyric translations if you are interested.  I hope you will enjoy them, even if it is only a fraction of how I feel about them.  Sharing the love, if you will.  Because you can’t resist Sakurai’s smile.  You really can’t.

Link to translations:

This is the PV for “Zangai”, one of the main singles off of the album.  I really enjoy the style of the video and it’s also one of the more harder rock songs that they’ve done.

The Mona Lisa Overdrive concert DVD is full of gems.  This is their live performance of “Limbo”, which I think sets the tone of the album well and has a crapton of references to older songs of theirs.  It’s really fun~ (And yes, if you were wondering, that is a tits-and-ass microphone stand.  Gotta love these guys.)

I hope you enjoyed hearing about how music can be a great influence for learning about new books and encouraging reading.  ❤


3 thoughts on “The Music Behind the Books, Part 2: Mona Lisa Overdrive, Cyberpunk, and William Gibson

  1. Hi there,
    Glad you wrote about Buck Tick who happens to be my favourite band. They introduced me to J-rock in general and I became an Acc-chan fan girl!
    I knew Sakurai-san read a lot but I did not realise how much relevance that reading material is reflected in their music.
    Enjoyed reading your post! All the Best!


    • Always love to see BUCK-TICK fans. 😀 ❤ There's not enough of us, I swear!

      Yeah, when I was first really getting into them, I never quite realized that either. I know way too many tidbits about that band. There's also the song Shippuu no Blade Runner — Blade Runner is Yuta's favorite movie and the movie is based off of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Fun facts. 😀

  2. Thanks for coming by, Its always great to “meet” another fan! Ah, knew the last bit about Blade Runner and Phillip K. Dick as he is one of the authors I read when I was younger. I read a lot of SF and Fantasy books but didn’t know the part about Blade Runner being Yuta’s favourite movie.
    How I wish BT would do a world tour but BT never leaves the shore of their homeland……sigh….going to have to plan to jump the big pond to go see them! 😀

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