I’ve been slightly more prolific than usual this week. I continued my Scrunged series with a look at Candlebox, and I also wrote up a quick little thing on UFO catchters in Japan and the various Mario related goods I’ve snagged in them. Check them out if you’re interested.
You know that next year marks the 10th anniversary of this stupid little blog? I wonder if I should plan something.
YMO vs. The Human League
Behind The Mask
Kimi Ni Mune Kyun
Kimi Ni Mune Kyun (Extended Version)
Firecracker～Tong Poo /東風 (Bonus Track)
A while ago I wrote a little thing about the song “Behind The Mask,” mainly tracking how it started as a jingle for a watch commercial only to find its way to Eric Clapton by the way of Michael Jackson’s keyboardist. It’s a weird story, and if you like tracing some of the more unlikely links in pop music history, I suggest you check that article out.
I cited quite a few different versions of the song when I was writing that piece, but somehow this amazing version made it past my radar. Don’t know how the fuck that happened, as this is definitely one of the better takes on the Michael Jackson version of the song. It certainly more faithful to the original from a musical standpoint than just about any other Westerner’s take on the tune – thanks to the fact that it’s actually being covered by a synth-pop act and not a white blues guitarist. Phil Oakey’s vocals oddly match up to the original’s too.
The other two songs are also YMO covers, with their version of “Kimi Ni Mune Kyun” shockingly similar to the original. Their cover of “Tong Poo” takes some pretty interesting liberties, but it still keeps the basic melody that makes the song work so well. All of these tracks were taken from the YMO vs. The Human League EP that was never released outside of Japan.
I wonder if YMO were an influence on The Human League. Of course, The Human League pre-date YMO by a couple years, but they radically changed line-ups and sound in 1981 with Dare, and part of me imagines that perhaps some of that change was inspired by YMO. While YMO were not the first electronic act in the world, the argument can be made that they were the first one that tried to move electronic pop music past something that was cold and distant and into something that was more fun and upbeat – something that The Human League were trying to do in the early 80s as well.