X Japan, the biggest band you have never heard of, or at least that is the tagline from the documentary film, We Are X. The film follows the life of the band’s mastermind, Yoshiki discussing the trials and tribulations that befall the drummer/pianist/composer and his thirty year career. From losing his father at an early age, to losing his guitarist and then his singer to a cult. We Are X showcases the band in a new light.
Like all films, this documentary will have a soundtrack to go with the upcoming DVD release on April 25th. We Are X, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is out now from your favorite digital retailers. The album features 14 tracks total and all are pulled from their studio albums, live versions from three live shows, as well as unplugged, and acoustic songs. The album also includes two exclusive songs, La Venus and Without You (Unplugged). La Venus was nominated for ‘Best Original Song’ at the Oscars.
The music, much like the film is a historical lens into the band’s history, emphasizing the band’s diverse musical evolution from a burgeoning speed/power metal band to becoming one of the forefathers of symphonic metal, and as the most recognized band of the wholly Japanese movement of “visual kei” to their more sappy rock ballad hits.
The band debuted with Vanishing Vision in 1988 and helped to define the ‘Visual Kei’ movement with songs such as ‘Kurenai’, although the one featured on the album is from The Last Live. ‘Kurenai’ much like X and ‘Standing Sex’ showcase the band’s faster speed metal roots that continued with 1989’s Blue Blood. But, Blue Blood also featured the hard rocker ‘Xclamation’ and the ballad ‘Endless Rain’. Although the version of ‘Endless Rain’ on the soundtrack is from The Last Live.
Jealousy was release in 1991 and continues the flirtation with ballads and fast guitar work, but it was in this album that the band would start to experiment with symphonic elements, making them one of the first bands to accomplish this. ‘Piano Strings of Es Dur’ is a good example of this. However, in 1993 X Japan would release Art of Life which is a 29 minute love orchestrated song that was recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Third Movement from Art of Life is available on the album.
In 1995, X Japan released the singles ‘Longing ~ Togireta Melody’ and ‘Longing ~ Setsubou no Yoru’. Interesting factoid about these singles is that music videos for both were filmed and directed by David Lynch. ‘Longing ~ Togireta Melody’ was the only video that was released, the documentary features behind the scenes footage of the shooting.
The rest of the songs from the soundtrack: ‘Dahlia’, ‘Crucify My Love’, ‘Longing ~ Togireta Melody’, ‘Tears’ and ‘Forever Love’ all are from the album Dahlia. It is their last studio album, and is mostly full of ballads. It shows the evolution away from the power and speed metal elements, and is the last album to feature guitarist hide, who would pass away two years later in 1998.
X Japan broke up in 1997, and then returned in 2007 and have gone on to play at Madison Square Arena, which is what the documentary leads up to, and will play Wembley Arena later in the year. They have inspired fans and bands from both their country of origin and throughout the world. They have been considered one of the best live acts in rock, and Yoshiki has become known as a producer, classical composer, and voice of the band. Fans of X Japan should check out, ‘We Are X’ and if you liked the film, then maybe purchase this soundtrack as well.
The Good: It showcases the band’s diverse catalog, and is something any fan would like, especially if you have watched the documentary.
The Bad: Besides La Venus and Without You, there is no new songs, and they are just extras included.
The Final Verdict: This soundtrack features the history of one of the most important rock/metal bands from Japan, and is a must have for any fan of the band.
Favorite Tracks: Kurenai, Dahlia, Standing Sex, Endless Rain, X
Total Score: 4/5
X Japan, We Are x Soundtrack:
1. ‘La Venus’ (acoustic version) *
2. ‘Kurenai’ (from The Last Live)
3. ‘Forever Love’
4. ‘A Piano String in Es Dur’
6. ‘Crucify My Love’
8. ‘Standing Sex’ (from X Japan Returns)
10. ‘Longing ~Setsubo-no-yoru~’
11. ‘Art of Life -Third Movement-‘
12. ‘Endless Rain’ (From The Last Live)
13. ‘X’ (from The Last Live)
14. ‘Without You’ (Unplugged)*
* Soundtrack Exclusives
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