Versailles’ Songwriting Aesthetic


My favorite band these days is Japan’s Versailles. They have yet to gain any traction in the US or Europe, but they are in many ways, a sign of things to come. Just like Finland’s Nightwish was the prototype for multi-platinum Evanescence, I believe that western bands will soon start raiding Tokyo for song ideas and looks.

Sound-wise, Versailles plays Visual Kei, a brand of symphonic metal that has been perfected since the mid-80’s by bands like X-Japan. Others would describe them as Dream Theater in drag (yeah, they’re all guys), but they are far more melodic than most progressive bands. For example, there is no unusual timing or chord structure. The level of musicianship is astronomical. Interestingly, they have no official keyboard player despite every song relying on synths and/or strings.

Melody-wise, they use a lot of traditional European top lines. Some melodies remind me of old Joe Dassin or Mireille Mathieu (60’s and 70’s French pop music). Makes sense, since French artists have always done well in Japan. I remember entering a Tokyo shop in 2001 to be greeted with some France Galles.

For all these reasons, I think Versailles is the most concentrated form or international influences I have ever heard. Melodies are back baby!


2 thoughts on “Versailles’ Songwriting Aesthetic

  1. Pierre B. says:

    Salut Nick!

    Content de voir ton logiciel terminé, j’espère que tout va bien de ton bord. Ca tombe plutôt mal que Jasmine You soit mort juste au moment que tu blog sur Versailles. Coïncidence? I think not. 🙂

    Porte-toi bien, A+.

  2. Pierre,

    Heureux de savoir que tu aimes Versailles 😉 .

    Yeah, too bad about Jasmine You’s death. He was so perfect for the band. Thankfully, there’s quite a few available musicians in the Visual Kei community.

    Keep rockin’!

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