Each month, All Things Considered tries to learn a little bit more about what people on the other side of the radio are listening to — songs that might not be heard on the FM dial, or featured in Rolling Stone, or even found on the Internet. That's clearly the case with the selections of 17-year-old Lexi Sanborn, a high school senior from West Sacramento, Calif.
Sanborn's first selection is "Secret Garden" by Gackt, from the album Rebirth. Gackt is a multi-instrumental Japanese artist who tends towards the pop orchestral; this song might remind some people of the music of Duran Duran. Sanborn first encountered Gackt while watching a Japanese television show (aired in California) called Hey! Hey! Hey!.
Sanborn says she became interested in Japanese culture when she started watching anime (Japanese animation) at age 13. That initial interest led to a trip to Japan, as well as her ongoing studies of the country's language. Sanborn plans to continue studying Japanese language and culture next year in college.
The second musical pick comes from several continents away. The song is "Der Weg" by German artist Herbert Gronemeyer. Der Weg is a tragic ballad Gronemeyer wrote about his wife having cancer. Sanborn found out about Herbert Gronemeyer's music from an Austrian pen pal, who also provided her with a translation of the lyrics.
Sanborn's third selection is the "Lupin the 3rd Theme" by the Yuji Ohno Trio, a jazz group. The song is the theme to a popular Japanese anime series about a master thief. The show started in the late 1960s, and the theme song has a mod jazzy sound reminiscent of music from the Austin Powers movies. Sanborn says she grew up listening to classical and jazz, and now tends to seek out music that suits her international tastes. And although she rarely listens to American music, she says she's trying to change that.