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.
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.
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.