A Japanese Woman Covering a Weezer Song Just Seems Super-Meta

Sorry for last night’s random foray into drunk self-loathing. It won’t happen again…for at least a few more months.

Totally didn’t plan for another all-Japan post tonight. It just kind of worked out that way. I actually should have some interesting 80s/British/New Wave/dance stuff in the coming weeks. Grinding through a major backlog of records right now.

Pizzicato Five
Love’s Theme (Automator Mix)
Love’s Theme (Saint Etienne Mix)
Maybe someone more in the know can than me explain this to me: How the hell did Shibuya-kei music get ever-so-briefly popular in America during the mid-90s? Why that genre? What was so special about it? Remember when Cibo Mato and Pizzicato Five were on American MTV? How the hell did that happen?

Don’t get me wrong, I love both bands, but what made them the breakout stars? How come America couldn’t get behind X Japan? Or YMO? Or Boom Boom Motherfucking Satellites? Did someone from the Beastie Boys really dig Shibuya-kei or something? I assume it had to be a “this American artist likes this foreign music so let’s all like it now” kind of thing.

These remixes are from a 12″ single I found last week. I’m really digging them both, super chill. I need more stuff like that right now.

Akiko Yano
Tong Poo
Dogs Awaiting
Coloured Water
Say It Ain’t So

Akiko Yano is a singer who first starting releasing music in the mid-70s. While I don’t think she ever achieved super pop star idol status in Japan, she’s managed to maintain some level of success throughout her career, continuing to this day – a rarity in the Japanese pop scene. Throughout her career she’s also collaborated with countless other musicians of note, including Little Feat, David Sylvian, Thomas Dolby and Swing Out Sister.

One of her most notable collaborations, at least in my opinion, was with Yellow Magic Orchestra, who worked with her extensively on her 1982 album Dinner Is Ready. All three members play on the record, and Sakamoto produced the album (the pair also married around this time), pretty much making it an unofficial YMO album with a different lead singer. The album even featured a cover of YMO’s “Tong Poo,” which I’m featuring here, as well as a pair of other songs from the album that I especially love.

I’m also including her 2010 cover of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So,” because damn.

2 Responses to “A Japanese Woman Covering a Weezer Song Just Seems Super-Meta”

  1. Tim Griffith says:

    Recently found your site when searching for Mr. T’s Commandments album that you had.
    You said you do real old stuff never released on cd. As been tried to find the 3 Hudson Brothers albums, “Hollywood Situation”, “Ba_fa”, “Totally Out Of Control” as impossible to find as places do have it can’t download or tried to install bunch of junk.Let me know.

  2. unheard78 says:

    Honestly, I never thought either group really caught on in the US, but they each had their moment. Cibo Matto could have been so much bigger, but their existence was short lived, though they’re finishing a new record right now. As for P5, I love Maki Nomiya to death, but apart from Baby Love Child appearing in Futurama and Twiggy Twiggy in the first Charlie’s Angels movie, only “hipsters”, Japanophiles and indie folks dared listen back in the day, and indie wasn’t as accessible as it is now. I hate to say that, but there is a lot of truth behind it. That said, love P5, love Maki, love Cibo Matto, love Automator, and love the site. As always, keep kicking.

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