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Archive for November, 2012

Everything flows – Teenage Fanclub

How much does this sound like the band Big Star? And if Teenage Fanclub do sound as closely as everyone says they do, why would i even need Big Star in my life? Except to fall for the perpetuation of rock myths and legitimacies, and to be like all the other dull people when faced with a Teenage Fanclub song and race to be the first to say “Big Star want their sound back.” It is as though something depends on it, like knowing and glibly exclaiming it is a blow for a true, proper rock history, and fixing anything that fits into that history to an image, personage, period and purpose. Nuts to that. Teenage Fanclub are enough, and i’m against anything that takes from that and denies them.

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Voulez-Vous

Voulez-vous – ABBA

ABBA were such a powerful band. Mastery of songwriting met Agnetha and Anni-Frid’s voices met the production means and know-how to achieve anything they wanted. To be the world’s most perfect pop band. And boy were they. Not perfect in any sense of being better or the best, or even my most favourite, but in their impeccable divination and execution of pop’s rules, traditions and effect. I think this might be my favourite ABBA song. No, wait, it’s Dancing Queen.

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Ochiba no Cresendo

Ochiba no cresendo – Kawai Sonoko

The crescendo of fallen leaves. I refer to her a lot, but i’ve never outrightly said that Sonoko is my absolute favourite of the 80’s Japanese idols. Kawai Sonoko is my absolute favourite of the 80’s Japanese idols. Not just of the Onyanko Club, maybe even beyong 1980’s Japan as well. Maybe my favourite person to ever hold a microphone and convey and bear something through it. I will have to think about it some more. Or not and just let it live as unexamined fact.

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Roly Poly

Roly poly -T-ara

I’m a few months late on this, but poor T-ara. They were my favourite group, and to combat the reactionary nonsense that followed Hwayeong (who was my second favourite member behind Hyomin) being kicked out, they still are. I do still love them, but i don’t like being drawn into contest and taking sides, which is what anything about T-ara seems to be about now. I don’t like my fandom becoming polemic, and i don’t like dumb, vindictive, baseless shit colouring my approach to music, but i can’t shake either. T-ara are performing in Indonesia at the moment, and don’t think they’ll escape more scorn as fans there perpetuate an internet-learned appropriateness of how K-pop fans are meant to be, think, and hold prejudices.

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I can’t break it to my heart – Delta Goodrem

I can’t believe how many Delta Goodrem songs have come up here. I mean it’s only a few, but the spread of things here still makes it a good many. I am Australian, have ears, and those ears are (or were) often in places her music was aired (i.e. Australia), but every time a song comes up here it is due to my work. Delta Goodrem falls on the less hellish things i’m exposed to there. I will quit after Christmas. I mean it. It turns out i have a high threshold to misery, but i’ve reached it.

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Rat Fink

Rat fink – Dirt Bike Annie

Dirt Bike Annie’s enthusiasm and energy always seemed counter to something – appearing cool, the city of New York, better judgement. As if their music alone were not enough to draw it out, everything seemed to be pushed out and over with such determination not to fall into image-serving indolence. Nothing forced or pretentious, just a drive to not be, because who does want to be that?

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Natsu wo Mattenai

Natsu wo mattenai – Kokusho Sayuri

I went out with my best friend the other night for the first time in months and naturally the talk turned to what we each are fond of in the world of music now. He, trapped in his office working on some academic paper on whatever, is pointedly listening to those classic albums we are all supposed to know, to pick out with the most discriminating mindset what actually is as good as everyone pedestals them as. Me, i’m listening to the usual.

I always say that. For the last five years (or more) it has been the usual. Never defined, just the usual, to escape explaining it, or to share something he can’t possibly share back. I didn’t tell him i love 80’s J-pop. I didn’t tell him i love anything. Just the usual – the things of use to no one else that affirm and complete my life so. He knows about my stupid hang ups. He knows what use i am. I’m safe with him, to share with him anything, and he knows why i often don’t. I don’t need to.

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Otto Chikan!

Otto chikan! – Onyanko Club

Here’s a translation of the lyrics i found:

Look!
Look! Look!
Somebody is, somebody is checking me out!

The morning rush-hour trains
are over capacity, jam-packed
Uh-oh, that creepy looking guy
is right near us.

Girls say that he’s a big pervert
And he wears those big glasses,
Probably a spoiled brat.
He’s rude in class
and always wears all gray clothes.

Let’s bully him a little!
He just rubbed my hand!
Let’s bully him a little!
On behalf of all women.

That guy is a pervert! Shout it in a scared voice!
That guy is a pervert Everybody now!
We’ll get rid of him – get rid of the trauma!
We’re so lucky!

Look!
Look! Look!
Pretending like he doesn’t know what’s going on!

My school uniform might get messed up
If I keep jumping around like this
But it’s fun screaming like this,
And pretending to cry.

Even a sweet high-school girl who is scared of bugs,
if not treated well she’ll be vicious and make you hurt!
That overprotected daughter may act all gentle,
but when she finally snaps, she really really snaps!

Let’s keep teaching him a lesson!
I just got a great idea
Let’s keep teaching him a lesson!
I pinched him hard!

“S-so-sorry!” He’ says with a confused face!
“S-so-sorry!” He says so awkwardly!
He just wanted to give me a note that said “I like you.”
“I’m sorry!”

That guy is a pervert! Shout it in a scared voice! (Waa!~)
That guy is a pervert Everybody now!
We’ll get rid of him – get rid of the trauma!
We’re so lucky!

Great! Directed venom. There is that penultimate chorus where the threat is alleviated and made an innocent love game, but that is bucked as they say “No!” and return to the main chorus. My trouble with this song is that it calls the chikan, the person and the practice, into being, and i was worried not knowing the content that it might have been teasingly along the lines of: “Come be a pervert around us. We’re a site for it. It’s safe. We’re cute and we don’t really mind. It’s all a game. Grope away.” Something about it and the way people talk about the Onyanko Club just seemed like it would fall to that.

Thankfully it does not, but is a song that lays revulsion to a horrible reality and one that serves as an agitated rallying cry to it. It is a song not for the boy, chikan or not, to identify with, but one completely directed at the girls: to shake them, to unify them, to call them to action, to end this. An anthem to the power of just saying something. Cutting through the silence that only perpetuates things, calling out, naming, shaming… pinching… Yes, it’s not the manifesto of collective murder one would hope for, but in identifying and saying “No more!” to it, in promising retaliation, and most crucially in establishing the power and safety in unified retaliation and female unity in general, it is still such a wonderful thing to find here.

Interestingly, the chikan of the song is a young man, still in school, one they can more easily hold dialogue with, and not the typical older creep. It might have been better if it were the latter, but it is still effective in that it is not just the stereotypical older male who is this threat. In fact, the younger one poses the greater threat while wearing a friendlier mask, and it is an important thing to establish that. And to establish where the older chikan comes from. To stop it all. Potential chikans all are we. This morning i like the Onyanko Club just that little bit more.

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The Light’s On You

The light’s on you – Fastbacks

There’s this thing about Kurt Bloch’s guitar playing with the Fastbacks, especially on their first album, where it seems so excessive and anomalous to the music underneath that i imagine it being not part of the original recording at all, but rather the result of someone so familiar with the Fastbacks and the guitar, living and breathing both, just playing over the top of the record in their room. From a mix of bedroom boredom and elation come these liberties, still wholly reverent to the music yet apart from it as well, that sound like someone’s one wish to be a part of the group. It would not be the same without it.

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Taking Too Long

Taking too long – Wipers

The Wipers to me are a band who never seemed not to know completely what they were doing. From the very beginning, everything seemed born out of this complete mastery, effected so assuredly. And nothing really came before them to make it easy. The tools and inspiration were there, but no one used them the way the Wipers did – used music the way they did. Nor used the music industry. Total control: recording their own music, pressing their own music, keeping to their at that time forgotten corner of the United States. i don’t know. They had to happen. Some singular creative boom of determination and detached brilliance. An uninfluenced birth of influence.

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