Flowering is one of my favorite albums of all time. Toru Kitajima, from J-Rock band 凛として時雨 (Rin Toshite Sigure), is, in my opinion, one of the greatest Japanese lyricists and musicians of the modern era. Best known for “Unravel” the first opening theme for the Tokyo Ghoul anime, he writes songs about the human condition, and what makes someone human.
The first song in Flowering is “Flower” (linked below)
“Flower” portrays the initial loss. It is a very reminiscent song, with lyrics such as (loosely translated, not perfect) “My past brightened when I met you” and “I live in a colorful dream-world I don’t want to end”. This song also, as shown in the second line quoted, deals with the denial stage of grief. Overall, this is my second-favorite song in the entire album.
Next, we have “Abnormal Trick”.
“Abnormal Trick” delves deeper into denial. The mourner does not want to accept the truth. This is shown with lyrics such as “Still hiding? What looked like secrets (don’t change) have pierced me” and “You can’t wake me up, me up/although someday I won’t be blamed for my sins,/Will I exist within?” . It, however, begins to fade into a form of acceptance with the line “Like a fool, I can’t change/Are the wonders destroyed by the unchangeable me still here? I want to see/I can’t wake me up, me up, me up” as the mourner begins to wish for freedom from their self-imposed catatonic state.
After this, comes the song “Haze” (linked below is the Egomaniac Feedback version, though it’s the same song.)
This song is about the hatred towards the world can feel when grieving. It showcases a sense of apathy. This can be found as early as the first stanza:
This stanza seems to portray a sense of both derealization and apathy. It is likely that the tears referenced are the singers own, and the line “I don’t have any kindness to give anyone” speaks for itself in terms of portraying apathy. It also delves into how people who are grieving feel like they’re losing everything around them. This is shown in the third stanza:
However, the song shines a bit of hope with the fifth stanza, as TK sings:
This portrays a sense of willpower. Even though one cannot regain what is lost, you can move forward with your life and be happy again.
After this comes the song “Phase to Phrase”:
This song portrays a sense of fault within the singer, and the idea that they are the reason everything is out of control. This is emphasized with the lyrics of the song:
The singer says that everybody could become anything, and, despite his efforts, he becomes a chaos he cannot control. I believe that this is the peak of the self-loathing that can occur with grief. This song represents the upmost limit of his hatred for himself.
Next comes one of my favorite songs, “White Silence”:
This is the softest lyrical song in the album. It features Shione Yukawa for a portion of the song. This song is from a different perspective than the rest of the album, and is from the POV of the deceased. The song urges the mourner to move on. Showcased in the lyrics:
This is a stark contrast from the rest of the album, as oftentimes the singer refers to “you” in reference to being lost, instead of “I”. This song represents a transition into the next stage of the song, and the mourners life.
After this is “12th Laser”:
This song seems to be looking back on the previous songs. Once again in the perspective of the mourner, the song portrays the helplessness they felt when the person they are mourning first died. This is the first case of healing being shown.
Example lyrics for this are:
My heart couldn’t understand, a picture drawn by my left hand
The unconveyable color of sadness
A laser of memories beyond is shining through
I could not escape
The first stanza (shown above) portrays the idea that they were trapped, and “could not escape”. The thing keeping them trapped was their inability to allow themselves to heal and move on.
“Film a Moment” the fifth song in the album, is another song that focuses on looking back.
It both looks back on the time when the deceased was still alive, and once again at the period of time that the mourner was at their worst. It discusses the way that time had felt like it stopped. The song also portrays the struggle between wanting to remember the precious moments forever and wanting to forget them completely. This is shown in the lyrics:
The song feels almost like a blur, both musically and lyrically. The singer portrays a desperateness to become “whole” again; a desire to finally move on from their grief. However, they struggle to balance the happy memories and their future. This is what causes that “time freeze”.
The 8th song, “Daylily”, has no lyrics.
The daylily flower is a flower of many meanings, but the one most thematically correct would most likely be “forgetfulness and loss of memory”. It is a decision to forget everything and move on that way. A “bad” ending, though it’s not entirely over yet. It’s merely a step in the process.
After this comes the song “Fourth”.
This song is filled with a sense of yearning. The singer shows their desire to talk to the person they lost again, to experience the good times. The lyrics show this:
It is not desperate or rushed. It is filled with a sense of acceptance and finality. The singer understands that they cannot regain what is lost, but they have finally accepted it. They’ve realized that moving on is not forgetting, but living on in their name. It is bittersweet, filled with a sense of joy, yet also an understanding that it’s all over.
Finally, “Sound_am326 (Secret Track)”.
Once again a song with no lyrics, it is instead filled with acoustic guitar and piano. Reminiscent of all of the previous songs, namely “White Silence”, it represents a finality. It was made to be the closing track for the album, and fills that role excellently. It portrays all of the difficult feelings of mourning and moving on without a single word being sung.
This is, as I’ve stated before, one of my favorite albums of all time. Toru Kitajima did a phenomenal job with the composition and portrays the story of a person in mourning wonderfully. The title is very fitting, as the album tells a sort of “coming of age” story about accepting ones emotions and learning to feel again after a severe loss.
Thank you all for reading! Next time, I’ll be covering the album White Noise, and the story it tells.
All translations initially found on Lyrics Translations (lyricstranslate.com)