MACHINE CIVILIZATION – World Order lyrics

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“WORLD ORDER” is a song written and choreographed by Genki Sudo (須藤 元気; sudou genki) and performed by WORLD ORDER, a dancing crew assembled by Sudo to dance like robots while wearing business suits.

The song was first posted on YouTube on March 18th, 2011, which can be seen here. The music video was released in response to the 2011 Touhouku earthquake & tsunami that had occurred a week prior to the video’s release, on March 11th. This is apparent in the fact that the members of WORLD ORDER visit the affected region in the music video. The music video has received much recognition for its message in regards to the disaster, becoming the band’s most watched video on their YouTube channel and also one of its key songs in making the band as popular as it is today.

The song was first featured in their album “2012” which was released on June 20th, 2012 under the Pony Canyon label. It was also remixed and featured in their album “HAVE A NICE DAY” which was released on December 7th, 2014.

The world won’t change on its own. We do change one by one. That makes the world change. The darkness just before the dawn is deepest. So, we do rise up together to greet the brilliant morning truly coming for the human beings.
WE ARE ALL ONE” – Genki Sudo YouTube message

Synopsis

Reflecting on life, “MACHINE CIVILIZATION” by WORLD ORDER is about the titular machine civilization Japan (and likely the world) has become, going through the days like a robot. It makes the narrator wander notice that something is amiss in such a world. Are they, the people of this civilization, really acting together in unity? Are the thoughts they think actual reality, or are they nothing more than an illusion? Will the world be able to change for the better? At such a time, the narrator hopes that a revolution will occur, waking everyone from the stagnant flow of life and introduce them to a world where they can smile and dream freely.

Lyrics

The morning of machine civilization
On a morning of machine civilization
赤い楯 影迷い
akai tate kage mayoi
The shadow of the red shield wanders*
灰色の服纏い
haiiro no fuku matoi
I dress in a grey suit
リズムに囚われた朝
RIZUMU ni torawareta asa
as the mechanical rhythm consumes the morning
いつもと同じ瞬間
itsumo to onaji shunkan
Every moment is always the same
止めない生産ライン
tomenai seisan RAIN
on this endless production line
何かが欠けてる
nanika ga kaketeru
Something seems to be amiss*
In the twilight of machinery*

Where’s the world going
Where is the world going?
Won’t somebody tell me
Won’t somebody tell me?
Are these thoughts illusion
Are these thoughts an illusion?
Are we all one
Are we all one?
この世界は変われるのか
kono sekai wa kawareru no ka
Will this world be able to change?
この想いは幻か
kono omoi wa maboroshi ka
Are these thoughts just an illusion?*

People find work to be done
People find work that needs to be done
人は働き 鳥歌う
hito wa hataraki tori utau
People work and birds sing*
眠りに落ちた夢
nemuri ni ochita yume
The dreams are falling asleep
目を覚ませ 彼叫ぶ
me wo samase kare sakebu
He calls out to them to wake up
いつもと同じ瞬間
itsumo to onaji shunkan
Every moment is always the same
この刹那に生きる
kono setsuna ni ikiru
And yet I live for the moment
いつか革命求め
itsuka kakumei motome
Hoping for a revolution to happen someday,
In the twilight of machinery

Where’s the world going
Where is the world going?
Won’t somebody tell me
Won’t somebody tell me?
Are these thoughts illusion
Are these thoughts an illusion?
Are we all one
Are we all one?
この想いを変えられるのか
kono omoi wo kaerareru no ka
Will I be able to change how I feel*
いつも夢に笑いかける
itsumo yume ni waraikakeru
So that I can always smile for my dream?

Are these thoughts illusion (x16)
Are these thoughts an illusion?

Where’s the world going
Where is the world going?
Won’t somebody tell me
Won’t somebody tell me?
Are these thoughts illusion
Are these thoughts an illusion?
Are we all one
Are we all one?
この想いを変えられるのか
kono omoi wo kaerareru no ka
Will I be able to change how I feel
いつも夢に笑いかける
itsumo yume ni waraikakeru
So that I can always smile for my dream?

break through
paradigm
in your mind
revolution
desire
science
ascension
thirteen*
white shirt
white shirt
white shirt
black shirt
black shirt
singularity
we are all one
are we all one?

Translation Notes

  • I had to consult the lyrics booklet, generously translated by Genki Sudo himself, in regards to what this sentence was about. Talking about a red shield and its shadows wandering, it’s hard to decipher what is the true meaning behind these words. Does it refer to how the buildings are like in the morning sun? Or is it about something else? I won’t propose much, but would like to admit that if you are lost to its meaning, I’m just the same.
  • Something seems to be amiss in this mechanical civilization. That is what the narrator asks, leading to the questions in the main chorus. It shows that even as he moves with the crowd, he has realized that something is just not right. Otherwise, why would he question about something being amiss?
  • The magic of when you finally realize the meaning behind words. “In the twilight of machinery” is synonymous to saying “in this civilization at dusk.” I came to this conclusion, and believe it is correct, since the lyrics starts off talking about “the morning of machine civilization.” To correspond, the narrator realizes his thoughts at the very end of the day. I did not make changes to the original lyrics as it still delivers the message… and because it sounds much more in rhythm with the song.
  • “Are these thoughts an illusion?” A critical question to ask when you find yourself working like you are on a production line, mindlessly doing the same action over and over. The narrator wonders, “if I am working like a machine, are these thoughts I think of even mine?”
  • A simple comparison. As humans work, the birds sing. I am aware that birds and other animals have their hardship, but the song is creating a comparison that humans at time seem to work as birds are able to sing freely.
  • Omoi” (想い) is different from its other homonyms. Compared to the simple “思い” which usually means “thoughts,” “想い” has a deeper connotation that can be described as “longing” or “heartfelt feelings.” It drives forward the idea that deep emotions are being questioned by the narrator, if they can ever change for the better.
  • At the start of this verse, what is listed can mean many things, from being a list of accomplishments of the human race to being what the narrator is thinking about in regards to the “machine civilization.” Then at the end , there is the number “thirteen.” What is thirteen, and why is it placed within the lyrics? One possible (not definite) theory is that 13 is the next yet unreachable destination. Many common aspects of a civilized world has been limited to 12, such as the calendar months and the clock. In response, 13 is that unforeseen the world may need for it to grow beyond the defined boundaries the machine civilization has placed on itself.

Glossary

Other songs by WORLD ORDER

 

 

Author’s Notes

It has been a long while since I’ve posted to this blog,out of either being busy with my own schedule and from the fact that I hadn’t been translating as often as I usually do. Nonetheless, it’s best to get back into the translating spirit before I find myself not translating at all. I would be terrified if that actually ever happened, since translating has been a core part of my life for the past decade. I will pray now that I will keep on translating for as long as I can.

“MACHINE CIVILIZATION” admittedly was the song that drew me into loving WORLD ORDER and their thought-provoking messages. When the earthquake & tsunami had hit Japan and news about it sprang forth onto the internet, this song eventually came to my attention. And goodness, I am glad that I found them out then than more recently. For me, it takes time to ride a wave and become an avid fan; if I hadn’t become interested in WO at that time, I believe I wouldn’t be where I am now: the translator of the WO international fansite. Truthfully, I only became one of its translators recently, but the time spent before that nurtured my love for the dance group.

The message of this song is something that I believe should be asked to anyone who are in a rut, or hasn’t realized they are in one. There are time when we feel what we do is dull and pointless at times, and we need to realize that something can be done. In part to this song, Genki Sudo’s message explained how each person, no matter how small they may be in this large civilization, can make a difference in the world. It may be daunting to think like so as an individual, but I too believe in what he says. Every person makes an impact, so don’t belittle yourself and what you do.

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