‘One Piece Film: Red’s Song ‘New Genesis’ Is Topping Global Charts, and It’s Not Even My Favorite One
Also, I think they're all about trauma. SUMMER BOPS!
If you’re inhabiting the One Piece fandom right now, the hype for One Piece Film: Red is positively absurd. The newest film in the (beloved? greatest-ever?) long-running franchise, which just celebrated its 25 birthday, just released in theaters on August 6—but only if you live in Japan or France. The rest of us are out here losing our goddamn minds pining over scraps on Twitter from our Japanese and French counterparts. And one scrap of evidence (as worldwide fans bounce against the walls, trying to suck every ounce of available One Piece Film: Red juice out of the internet) is the film’s theme song, “New Genesis,”—which is currently the Number One Song in the WORLD on Apple Music.
“New Genesis” is one of eight songs crafted for the One Piece Film: Red soundtrack that are in-world performed by the new character, Uta, who made the internet explode upon the revelation that she’s Red-Haired Shanks’ daughter. In the real world, the songs are performed by Ado, a semi-anonymous 19-year-old who has recently become the biggest name in JPop. Also, Holy Land of Marijoa, she can really fucking SING.
Ado’s song for One Piece Film: Red “New Genesis” has been out on YouTube for a month, but Ado’s contributions to the film were only released onto streaming services yesterday. In Japanese, the soundtrack is coyly named Uta no Uta—”Uta’s Songs” (“uta” is the word for “song” in Japanese). Considering the aforementioned hype for the largely globally unattainable, the fact that “New Genesis” is charting makes perfect sense to me. The fact that it is charting over a nearly brand-new Beyonce album, however, is a rather mind-blowing moment for One Piece fans everywhere. Though, of course, Ado’s star power is also at play here.
If you take out Ado’s rendition of One Piece classic “Bink’s Sake” (MY HEART), each of the seven remaining songs on Uta no Uta signify a collaboration between Ado and another Japanese musician or band. The collaborators take some really fascinating pulls, too—like Hiroyuki Sawano, who’s most famous for composing the score to Attack on Titan. “New Genesis” was written by Yasutaka Nakata, who has written a number of songs for my girl Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, including “Tsukematsukeru.” (Watch that music video in the link. Trust me.) What’s more, all these songs are getting lyric videos.
Now, I’m a huge music snob. Professionally so, in the other half of my life. So I’m not just being biased here: these songs are excellent. Team One Piece really knocked this one out of the park. “New Genesis” isn’t even my favorite song. That honor goes to “Backlight” (composed by Vaundy), which kind of seems like it was written for all of us angry at America in the year 2022. Chorus lyric sample: “Let’s run wild! / Release your rage / Let the winds of wrath blow them away / Not gonna live in compliance / I’m not playin’ the victim no more.” The title of the song? “Backlit by the flames.” It’s the anthem of my villain era! Come on over.
Villain era aside, the One Piece Film: Red soundtrack—including “Backlight”—seem to have a common thread in that they seem to touch on the different stages and emotions one goes through when coping with childhood trauma. For example: “Backlight” focuses on the anger, “New Genesis” on the self re-invention, “The World’s Continuation” on the grief, “I’m Invincible” on the reconciliation. Considering Uta’s backstory—she was abandoned on an island by Papa Shanks when she was a kid, for reasons supposedly elucidated in the film—I don’t think this is just me reading into the lyrics too much.
Given how strong all these songs in One Piece Film: Red are, I cannot freaking wait to see how they’re used in the film. From my Twitter-siphoning, I’ve learned that One Piece Film: Red has legitimate musical numbers. And from Anime Expo, I know that the film’s producer said the music in One Piece Film: Red is used in a very One Piece kind of way and furthers the plot. Again, my brain has turned into incomprehensible mush over how badly I want to see this film. Unfortunately, the film’s English-speaking-world distributor, Crunchyroll, has yet to release any more specific details than “fall.” I actually just had a contact tell me it might be December, but I can’t substantiate that claim—I merely mention it just in case, so that you may brace yourself for a long wait if it’s necessary.
In any case, I’m going to Japan in two weeks (heh heh). Trust me, I’ll come back here with my impressions.
(Image credit: Toei Animation)
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