It was the summer of 2010, and everything was going well for Trey Songz.
The first single off of his third album was burning up the charts, children across the globe were gleefully reciting his unique brand of sex n’ b and he was about to embark on his first headlining tour playing to crowds of at least 3,000 people. Yes, Trey Songz was riding high, but secretly, he was torn apart inside. TORN dear reader, for he had ben rebuffed by a cute girl with which he had an extensively intimate relationship. Things were over between them and no amount of fame could fill the gap left in his heart. Being an artist, he did the only thing he could do, and sequestered himself away into a remote studio to write and record this deeply personal, full throated lament detailing events and emotions to which I’m sure visitors of this blog not strangers.
In doing so, Trey thought, “What backing music would best capture the relationship between two people who, despite their best efforts to remain harmonious, end in discord?” Naturally, he landed on Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Bibo no Aozora”.
“Bibo no Aozora” originally appeared on the Sakamoto solo album 1996, and gained recognition later as that-sad-song-that-wrapped-things-up-in-the-movie-BABEL.
In case you forgot, Ryuichi Sakamoto was one of the founding members of the Yellow Magic Orchestra and super influential figure in music; you may remember Michael Jackson singing one of his songs. “Bibo no Aozora” is one of my favorite compositions because of its emphasis on melody to tell a story. The same note phrase is repeated throughout with little variation at first; then the piano is the only thing holding the composition together as the strings render a distorted, incompatible version veering wilding in opposite directions; by the end, the piano is off doing its own thing as the strings quietly blah blahblah got tired of writing that real quick.
My point is, this song was already about Trey Songz’ failed love affair, all it needed was lyrics and a weirdly erotic/psychotic music video.
Funny how it works out like that.