Author Topic: Meaning and inspiration of the lyrics of Innocent Treasures?  (Read 2580 times)

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Meaning and inspiration of the lyrics of Innocent Treasures?
« on: January 28, 2024, 06:39:04 PM »
I've thought about this in the past, but the dream thread inspired me to actually post this discussion.

Kids' Festival ~ Innocent Treasures is the first track of Changeability of Strange Dream, ZUN's third music CD released in December 2004 (a few months after Imperishable Night).

ZUN says it's his own theme, and it was used as his entrance theme to a panel at an event. It's a really emotional song, especially when you get an entire orchestra to play it.

However, something I've noticed people rarely talk about is, if you read the lyrics, this song actually feels pretty melancholy, or even dark. To start with, the first word "Yume-tagae" (also appearing in the Japanese name of the album), is a phrase you utter after a bad dream as a wish that it won't come true. The song then continues to describe an illusionary world sinking, corrupting, and melting away.

What do people think is the meaning of the song? Under what context of ZUN's life would he have been inspired to write this instead of something else?

Re: Meaning and inspiration of the lyrics of Innocent Treasures?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2024, 07:33:52 AM »
The song having lyrics is something that I never knew before. Although I have to admit that after recently discovering Demetori and their metal version of this song (which is my favourite song of theirs by far), I have found it very hard to associate this song with a melancholic mood even after reading the lyrics. I'll do my best to analyze this song, it's meaning and motive are very interesting to try to decipher.

The first stanza seems to be describing our own world, the third verse, "A fabricated dream's history, telling of an ancient profound world." I think is supposed to represent our own world, a dream (world) that is fabricated upon history is just like how our own world is built upon history. But this also a world "...sitting atop a crumbling foundation of sand" which is a commentary on the downfall of our own society (I will probably elaborate on this later on). The final verse "In broad daylight, a town sinks." is just another very pessimistic view on our modern world.

The second stanza is basically like a glue in order to connect both the first and third stanzas. I assume that this part would play during the ritenuto of the song. The first verse of it ponders wherever the world is actually a tower built on sand, a world on the verge of collapse or if it is all merely an illusion, a dream. This pretty much ties it into the main theme of this song (and the album in general). To hammer in this even more, a direct connection to Zhuangzi's butterfly dream is made, a poem which makes us question wherever our own dreams are reality.

The third stanza is a direct parallel to the first, preserving the overall structure and rhyming with the only things changing being a couple of words. I'm 100% sure that instead of describing the world this time, it's describing Gensokyo, shown by the first verse: "Dream changing, the conspicuous color of an illusionary scarlet mansion." the SDM is arguably the most recognizable landmark in Gensokyo and it is being used to show that we are talking about Gensokyo in this stanza. The next verse says that this world is sitting atop a cold-hearted foundation of stone, just like how Gensokyo is a world that hasn't really changed much in terms of technology, culture .etc over the many centuries that it has been in existence. The third verse of the stanza further solidifies that this is Gensokyo because Gensokyo is literally the land fairy tales, it also parallels the first stanza really nicely. The real world bases itself off of history and Gensokyo bases itself off of fairy tales. "In broad daylight, a town is corrupted." is hard to figure out, maybe it's describing how in being such a static world, Gensokyo has become corrupted by the lack of change ocuring or maybe Keine is a corrupt politician.

It's indisputable that the main theme of this song (and the album in general) is the border between dreams and reality, the border between Gensokyo and our Reality. I personally think that at a broad level the song can be interpreted in two ways: either through the eyes of ZUN, or through the eyes of Sumireko and Maribel.

Through Sumireko and Maribel's point of view, the song describes how their journeys in Gensokyo have affected them, their dreams are so realistic that they wonder wherever Gensokyo is the real world and what they're living is a mere dream. Changeability of Strange Dream's story is practically an extended version of Zhuangzi's butterfly dream with a hint of Mokou in it, which is a really cool premise. Though the concept of wondering wherever the world that we have lived in is a dream is kinda scary in a Matrix way and it makes me feel bad for both of them.

Looking at it through ZUN's point of view is much harder. ZUN didn't really have some traumatic childhood experience from what was said in interviews so I highly doubt that this worldview came to him due to some life-changing experience. Some people may argue that the lyrics of Innocent Treasures were made only taking into account the context of the album but in the afterword of the album ZUN acknowledges that the song is a theme for himself even in the album and thus the lyrics were probably made taking into account this was his song. This next part here is extreme speculation from my part so don't blame me if I start going off the rails. At the end of the afterword, ZUN starts talking about how the internet has stumped the growth of a social life within kids and how "children's hearts become smaller and smaller". ZUN could have probably tried to express how we humans are indulging ourselves in a world of fantasy so much that we are starting to lose sight between what is real and what is fantasy. Just like how Don Quixote indulged himself so much in cavalry novels that he began thinking they were real, we start to mix both worlds together so much that we start wondering which is real. Our own reality being made on a foundation of sand could be a metaphor to how reality is constantly changing and it always feels like we're on shaky ground. On the other hand, the fantasy/dream world is always consistent and only changes when we want it to thus being in a foundation of stone.

I have spent all night listening to this song on repeat, reading the lyrics, reading through the story of the album and the more I try to look into this, the less I seem to understand it. It is quite possible that I myself am losing the ability to grasp the border between reality and fantasy...