Archive for October, 2012

Nagisa no『・・・・・』 – Ushiroyubi Sasaregumi

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Scarface (Push it to the limit) – Paul Engemann

Drug push it to the limit. If montage music did not already have a set style by the time this song came around, it sure found it. If i didn’t already know it from Scarface i would have sworn it was a parody. Push it to the limit? Open up the limit? There are enough yuppie boardroom or aerobics class pump-up motivational battle cries in this to make it seem like a pastiche of its time, but it is very, very real. And was actually written by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, so how’s that for pedigree?

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Kagami no naka no watashi – Yoshizawa Akie

Onyanko Club member #25 and also Yukino in the second series of Sukeban Deka – both roles she won near simultaneously. That must have been a nice time for her. It also meant that the Onyanko Club could guest star in two episodes of her show, and what fun episodes they were. Kawai Sonoko guested in the first series, and Fukunaga Satomi had a supporting role in the third, but never the whole group. It made no difference to the show. If anything they were distracting weeks where things seemed less at stake, but still it’s exciting. For me.

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Jounetsu Rainbow

Jounetsu Rainbow – Takai Mamiko

Because i’m running out of things to say about this song (although hopefully more expertise may come my way someday) here is a video of someone covering this song. She covers a lot of songs of the 80’s Japanese idol era and they do sound most excellent. My indie pop love interpreting my 80’s J-pop love. She seems to have moved on to more complex arrangements and multi-tracking nowdays, but this is all that’s needed, just her and her guitar. And with the guitar right up against the camera, you can follow and learn how to play along at home! I think she might be using a capo most of the time, though.

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Subidubi – Cola Jet Set

Sound and instrumentation would place Cola Jet Set alongside all those other bands that seek to exhume pop history and its affect through retro impression, but there is something completely counter to that here, as though they couldn’t help being this band, writing this music, in any age and any music environment they were to exist in. And they do it better than anyone else to boot.

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Pratoo Jai

Pratoo jai – Sao Sao Sao

Thai pop! T-pop? Th-pop? Thai pop. I found out about Sao Sao Sao just looking to see what i could find in Thailand’s pop history, because i’m convinced that if you look back anywhere, in any country, you will find something incredible. Of course the 60’s beat and pop scene in Thailand is well plowed, but the less cool 80’s happenings seem as usual hidden and forgotten. The fact that by the 80’s the entirety of Thailand’s music production was released on cassette and not the LP’s and 45’s Western music archaeologists usually trawl through to unearth things for their own ethnocentric benefit may contribute to that.

Sao Sao Sao were three school friends who began their pop career in 1981 and were from all reports the biggest and most beloved girl group Thailand in the 80’s. The first group you come across is always going to be the biggest, but all that means is they are fittingly fantastic, and that there’s a world of groups beyond them if you follow the rabbit down the hole they’ve opened for you.

It’s worth noting, on this release anyway, that there is little “80’s” about this song in the accepted sense. No synths, no drum machines, no studio-constructed sound of the future. It was 1982 and it was Thailand. What is here in its primitiveness (primitive as the distance drawn from here to our conventional understanding of 80’s pop) is something that sounds almost post-punk, especially in the drumbeat. Then it opens to the chorus and the sweetest, most glorious harmonies ever to come from a girl group anywhere, anytime. Not that it ever matters, but you can tell they could pull this off live perfectly every time.

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Toki no kawa wo koete- Ushirogami Hikaretai

Here’s a video of them singing it live. You may notice Shizuka, the girl in red, to be a far better singer than the other two, and it was her that would rise to be one of Japan’s biggest ever and most defining pop idols once this was all over. I’ve wondered how they functioned as a group behind the scenes with such disparity in talent, but judging from this video i’m sure they had nothing but fun, and were nothing but supportive of each other.

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