“ROUGE” is the second track on VANGUARD – Of the Muses – and the last track I have left to translate from that release! Woo!
Unfortunately, miko hasn’t written anything about this song on her blog; I only found posts that mentioned it in set lists. So I won’t be able to share any officially verified notes on this song’s meaning, making-of, etc. But, I think it’s a pretty straight-forward song, so I’m confident of my translation.
Three general notes: this song uses the feminine pronoun “atashi” instead of the masculine “boku” or neutral “watashi” which is more common for exist†trace. Given the title, it’s a logical switch.
Also, CW for lyrics that could be taken as suicidal ideation.
Speaking of which, this is the song that made me realize why John Everett Millais’ 1852 painting Ophelia was used as the cover for this EP.
Edit [July 31, 2021]: Well, I thought I had stumbled upon some interesting connections, but it turns out miko said in an interview with JaME that the painting was chosen because it’s “an amazing painting” of a woman. Thanks to Silphion for bringing this interview to my attention!
I’m leaving my Pepe Silvia moment in the comments for fun. XD
Anyway, on to it!
Lyrics in Japanese can be found here on Rock Lyric.
yoku ni mamireta kono sekai de wa katachi dake no ai ga habikori
akai kuchibiru kara kobosu uso de atashi wa ikiru sube wo oboeta
hontou wa yuku beki michi ga naku hontou wa kodoku ni kuzurete
sagashita sora ni hoshi wa miezu furikaeru koto sae kowakute
kono mama kono mi yo hondeshimae1
sore demo kono mi wa ikitai to negau
hatenai yami wo sakete nemuru yume no naka wa atatakai kedo
toki ga tachi kareteshimau no nara utsukushii mama owaritakute
kono mama kono mi yo hondeshimae
sore demo kono mi wa ikitai to
doushite kono ashi wa shizunde ugokenai
sore demo nazeka fushigi to kokoro odayaka na no
hitorikiri no atashi wa dare ni mo kizukarezu
atashi no yami e shizuka ni ochiteyuku deshou
In this world smeared with lust, fake love spreads like weeds2
I figured out a way to live using the lies dripping from my red lips
Truth is I have nowhere I should go
Truth is I’m falling apart in loneliness
I found the sky but couldn’t see any stars
And was afraid to even look back
(Like this) Just die already3
(Even so) This body wants to live
I sleep to avoid the endless darkness
It’s warm inside the dream, but
If time withers all I’d rather it end while it’s still beautiful
(Like this) Just die already
(Even so) This body wants to—
Why are my feet sinking? I can’t move
Yet for some reason I feel calm
I’m all alone and no one notices
I’ll probably just fall into my darkness quietly
1. It sounds to me fairly clearly like Jyou sings 滅んでしまえ, which would normally be “horondeshimae,” as “hondeshimae” instead. The only verb that would conjugate to just “honde” in the te-form is 褒ぶ (also written 誉ぶ) “hobu” meaning “to praise, to compliment,” which doesn’t make sense here. Maybe “honde” for 滅んで is dialect? Or some obscure classical form? Whatever the case may be, “horonde” doesn’t fit the melody, because “horonde” is four mora, but the melody fits only three. So I’m writing “hondeshimae” in the romaji on the assumption anyone who wants to see romaji wants to sing along! ⤴
2. A direct translation would be “fake love proliferates [and that’s a bad thing].” Which is, clearly, rather awkward as a song lyric. So I went with “fake love spreads like weeds” to capture both the proliferation and the nuance of this being a bad thing. It also fits nicely with plant-related terminology later in the song, as well as the fact that the primary meaning of 蔓延る (habikoru) does relate to the rapid growth & spread of plants. ⤴
3. As I wrote in a footnote for “Hana no Sakanai Machi,” clause-final よ (yo) denotes direct address, so this line is, more literally, “Like this, O this body, be destroyed!” Which sounds really dumb in English. I couldn’t think of a way to work in that direct address aspect without sounding similarly bad, so I just went with this, which I think is a more natural way of expressing wanting to die. If, by the way, you’re feeling like that right now, please reach out to someone for help, and if you’re seriously thinking of acting on such thoughts, US-based folks can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline via their website or by phone at 1-800-273-8255. For folks in other countries, the fastest thing I can link to is Wikipedia’s list of global crisis hotlines. ⤴