To this day, one of the best anime series about music is still BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad from nearly a decade and a half ago. Naturally, it features some pretty awesome tunes, and recently, my appreciation of one of my favorites has deepened even more after taking an honest musical dive into one of the UK’s most notorious bands.
BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad
“My World Down”
This is the first ending theme of the anime. It’s fucking awesome, something I immediately fell in love with from the very first listen. Something about the way “My World Down” is put together spills out with pure irrational ROCK N ROLL hype. Could be how it sounds like it’s barely held together by a string, threatening to fall apart if the wind so much as tickles it wrong. Could be how the guitars are so ridiculously fuzzed-out and distorted that they register as fake instruments rather than real stringed instruments. Regardless of how it got there, though, the simple truth still holds: It rules.
It also has a meaningful place within the show’s universe beyond its role in the first ED, though explaining how that is must involve briefly explaining how the soundtrack ties into the show. In BECK, pretty much all of the bands and musicians are depicted as analogues of real-world musicians. For example, the titular band Beck takes a lot from California alternative rock, with at least one song that’s a dead ringer for Rage Against the Machine, and their bassist being heavily inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea. Additionally, the music used virtually all consists of already-existing songs which get contextualized in-universe as being by the fictional bands.
That brings us to Dying Breed, one of the BECK world’s biggest rock bands. “My World Down” may be meister’s song in actuality, but in the context of the show, it’s part of Dying Breed repertoire. By the way, on a brief sidenote (and minor spoiler warning, I guess), the sequence for their “live performance” of the track is one of the most sublime scenes of the whole series.
As for how they’re supposed to relate to the topic of real-world comparisons? I read or heard somewhere, forever ago, that Dying Breed were apparently based off of Oasis. However, with an extremely limited awareness of them that pretty much consisted of “Wonderwall” and whatever tunes of theirs that showed up as Rock Band DLC—I was far more familiar with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds solo offshoot than Oasis proper, for goodness’ sake!—it wasn’t a connection that I ever fully made on the gut level as a listener.
That just changed. Very recently.
(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
One of my biggest addictions these last several months has been the series of Trainwreckords videos from YouTube-based music critic Todd in the Shadows, tackling a plethora of career-derailing albums from a variety of bands and artists. Thus far, he’s reached as far back in time as Credence Clearwater Festival, along with up to as recently as Jewel, and through it all, it’s consistently been an entertaining, compelling watch.
One of my favorite entries in Trainwreckords thus far is his look back at Oasis’ third album, Be Here Now. And funnily enough, after a long time of knowing about Oasis but never being interested enough to delve into their catalog, hearing about that apparently hubristic mammoth of a disaster got me the most intrigued about their glory days that I had ever been. Last weekend, I finally decided to give a listed to their second album, i.e. the one with “Wonderwall” on it.
And I’ve gotta say, I am...not entirely sure how I feel about them! I can definitely confirm that sonically, they really are one of the most in-your-face bands I’ve ever heard. It is a lot to take in. Like, a WHOLE LOT—practically the polar opposite of easy listening—to the point where it literally gets exhausting to hear. There’s something almost admirable about their dedication to mercilessly drowning out the mind with noise and more noise. But the line between whether it works in the songs’ or whether it doesn’t is extremely thin.
One of the best arguments in favor of their approach, though, is the album’s title track, “Morning Glory”, the hardest-rocking thing it’s got. The (un)intentional Link Wray “Rumble”-jacking introductory riff, the overwhelming chords, an exceptional turn from Liam Gallagher—everything is just titanic in scope, it collectively exudes sheer momentum, and holy shit does it all barrel the senses in the most awesome-feeling way. It’s intense to the point of delirium, a song that may have been pulled straight from a fever dream; paired with a chorus in part about “need[ing] a little time to wake up,” coincidence or not?
Going back to BECK, however, hearing this song was the moment when something finally clicked. THIS RIGHT HERE must be the side of Oasis that the Dying Breed of “My World Down” was meant to conjure up! If “Moon on the Water” is their “Wonderwall”, then “My World Down” has to be their “Morning Glory”.
Some things have been making a little bit more sense since then.