Fishmans (Music Review by Colin Allen)

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98.12.28 男達の別れ (Otokotachi no Wakare) is the third live album, final overall album, and final live performance by Japanese dream pop/dub band Fishmans. It was performed and recorded on December 28, 1998, and released on September 29, 1999 (Sharifi).

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This is the last performance Fishmans ever undertook before their enigmatic singer and frontman Shinji Sato tragically died of heart problems he suffered from since birth. 98.12.28 男達の別れ is more than just an album. It’s a eulogy. It’s a love letter. It’s a retrospective. It’s a funeral. It’s a wedding. It’s oh-so-very bittersweet. It’s absolutely perfect. Fishmans had a habit of having live performances that were monumentally better than their already amazing studio recordings. They’d make their songs longer and more expansive, becoming dancier or dreamier or more beautiful in the process. 男達の別れ is no different, and in fact expands upon every single thing that made Fishmans amazing in the first place. It’s a journey through the Fishmans discography, and shows their evolution from a traditional dub/reggae sound, to alternative rock, to dream pop and experimental rock. It’s like a journey through space and time, visiting every single planet along the way, visiting all the weird little aliens and their different quirks and weird music.

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The entire album is amazing, but there’s one piece that just absolutely blows literally every single piece of music ever composed out of the water. It is Long Season. Long Season is the sixth studio album by Fishmans, but it is composed of one, 35 minute song. The studio version is absolutely amazing, but on 男達の別れ, Long Season just becomes completely transcendent. It is extended to 41 minutes, and god, there’s just absolutely no way to describe how completely amazing this song is. Long Season is just so very beautiful, it’s the best song ever made, and I say that as a fact. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a song. It’s impossible to do it justice in a writing format; through one’s own ears is the only way to truly experience Long Season. It’s so good I can barely write about it. It makes me feel more than human emotion. The song surrounds oneself with absolute euphoria, as if the universe was closing in to a warm, tight embrace. It’s a hug from the mother universe, telling you that you can let out all your emotions and cry, and everything will be okay.

Rest in Peace, Shinji.


Sharifi, Hossein.  Rate Your Music.  “Fishmans: 98.12.28 男達の別れ (98.12.28 Otokotachi no Wakare)

Sonemic.  2018.


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