If you watched any of the mind-boggling existential abstraction of Serial Experiments Lain, a bleakly stylish cyberpunk anime in the early-to-mid 2000s (though I think it aired in Japan in the late 90s) you will undoubtedly recall the hypnotic voice of Jasmine Rodgers. Rodgers was the vocalist from the band bôa, who were the creators of the show’s opening song, “Duvet.” Perhaps you didn’t know her name at the time (I didn’t) but you certainly knew that song.
When I think back on the series and that song these many years later, one of the first things I recall are the following lyrics. I often felt these helpless, hopeless sentiments while immersed in this bizarre story, teeming with insistent dread and urgent paranoia, a sense of profoundly shifting realities and inevitable loss of identity. I suppose at the time I was experiencing instances of this in my own life, as well. Leading a double existence while involved with someone very bad for me, floundering and grasping and sinking, in every respect.
I am falling
I am fading
I have lost it all…
I originally watched Serial Experiments Lain in 2003 or so, and though it was certainly a story whose many aspects haunted me long afterward, I really hadn’t given it much real thought in years. And then, in 2016 a record label reached out to me about a new release from Jasmine Rodgers. I’m still not sure how I got on all of these PR lists– I have only written one or two (or maybe three) full-length album reviews in my life– but I am not at all complaining, because sometimes these press emails yield gems like this.
The praise read as follows: “…relentlessly captivating and inspired, Jasmine Rodgers releases her remarkably accomplished lyrical debut Blood Red Sun.” It then went on to refer to her as “…the daughter of a Japanese poet and Free/Bad Company/Queen vocalist Paul Rodgers” and reference her previous projects, which included ….bôa! That name I recognized right away, and so I was of course immediately compelled to give the whole album a listen.
Fast forward a few years after, again, forgetting about these moments entirely. I was feeling unwell this weekend and had decided that after nearly 20 years, a rewatch of Lain was exactly what was needed that afternoon. That and a sour, spicy bowl of kimchi jjigae, which has become one of my favorite wintertime foods.
When I heard these lyrics again, my heart skipped a beat for a brief trembling second. It’s always so strange to revisit something you have such strong memories attached to, isn’t it? But now I can separate myself from the screen and the story. And the song, while still mesmerizing, doesn’t strangle and bludgeon my heart in the same way. I’m excited to spend more time with Jasmine Rodgers’ music too, now that I am thinking about all of these things again. The single “Icicle” which I have shared above, is especially stirring.
What are you revisiting lately? Does it hold up to your memories of it? And does it feel like coming home, or is it hitting in an entirely different way?