I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

hide with Spread Beaver -- Pink Spider(ピンク スパイダー)

I don't remember the events of May 2, 1998 when X Japan's guitarist hide suddenly passed away but I do remember the aftermath. There were news reports for days about grieving fans racing over to his apartment to leave flowers and mourn together. Then, there was the funeral at Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple in Tokyo a few days later which made huge news on TV and in the papers since it was estimated that about 50,000 people were in attendance. I don't think I had ever heard of a funeral for a celebrity getting that much overt attention before or since.

Eleven days after hide's death, his 9th solo single, "Pink Spider" was released under his name of hide with Spread Beaver. Whether it be "Music Station" or "Countdown TV", the music video for the song had a long presence in the rankings, according to my memories. I would be watching one of the two shows when that familiar yell of "PINK SPIDER!" would ring in my ears while quick-cut scenes of a semi-nude woman and hide would pop up.

Finally, after so many years, and a little over 20 years after his passing, I listened to the totality of "Pink Spider", which hide wrote, composed and arranged. Crazily enough, I appreciate the song quite a bit more now than I used to. My thing was that as soon as I saw folks going glam rock and heard ear-shattering guitars, my instant response would be to change the channel or tune the song out if it were a momentary clip.

Ironically, now that I've mellowed out somewhat, I can say that I'm more open to "Pink Spider". As a guitarist for X Japan, I think hide had a pretty decent voice; it wasn't all screams and screeches. He could take things down, and I also liked his voice after he had yelled out the "PINK SPIDER" verse when it took on a loftier tone.

I vaguely remember the various tarento and pundits on the morning wide shows spinning all sorts of conspiracies about whether the lyrics and video for "Pink Spider" were in effect an elaborate suicide note by the singer-songwriter. Officially to the police and media, hide's death had been deemed a suicide but there has been some push back on that conclusion. To me, though, looking at the lyrics and their translation here, I think the pink spider in question represents a person who has become so self-absorbed and hopelessly tied up in lies that despite desperate attempts to get out of the web, there is no escape. Yes, they tell of a tragic tale but I think the lyrics actually involve the spider and one of his/her former victims, with the latter starting with an admonishment against the spider, and the song ending with the spider wringing a fist at the sky defiantly to declare the intent to get out.

Another crazy observation by me is that listening to "Pink Spider", I got the impression that hide's posthumously released hit sounded so epic that it could have become the theme song for a rough n' tumble superhero or even the latest chapter in the 007 franchise.

"Pink Spider" debuted at No. 1 on Oricon and became hide's first and only million seller. It just skirted the Top 10 of the year by finishing at No. 11 on the annual rankings. It also appeared as a track on hide's 3rd album, "Ja, Zoo" which was released in November 1998. The album peaked at No. 2 and ranked in at No. 40 for 1998 and then went up even further by the end of 1999 by placing in at No. 34.

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