Radio Junk and Other Garbage To Distract You

I just finished the latest chapter in my ever-growing guide to Yellow Magic Orchestra. This one covers the side-projects. It was a lot of fun to write so I hope you all check it out when you have the time.

You’ll also need to read it to understand who I’m writing about tonight. I just wrote a few thousand words on these guys, I’m not doing anymore! Go read that and then come back here to enjoy the tunes.

Takahashi/Jansen
Memory Without Consequence
Memory without Consequence (Extra Polated Mix) [Remixed by Reflection]
Memory without Consequence (Reflection Confused Bits) [Remixed by Reflection]
These tracks are from the Takahashi/Jansen releases that came out in the late 90s, PulseXPulse, and its remix record. I actually put off buying these for a long time because I just assumed they weren’t very good. Takahashi’s first collaboration with Steve Jansen was back in the 80s, and it was a three-song EP of boring sonic wallpaper that I forgot as soon as I finished listening to it. I just figured their later effort was more of the same. Now I’m wishing I had bought them much sooner. While neither are gobsmackingly great, both are very good records that feature some great, hella catchy tunes. Of them, “Memory Without Consequence,” and its remixes are also great, although they have very little to do with the source material.

Metafive
La Femme Chinoise [Live]
Radio Junk [Live]
I cannot possibly express how much I like Metafive and how much I highly recommend all of you pick up their self-titled studio debut, which came out last year.

But that wasn’t their first album. The group actually started as a live project, one that was almost solely dedicated to playing previously recorded Yukihiro Takahashi tracks. They must’ve meshed well enough on the tour to go into the studio.  Whatever the reason, I’m glad it happened. Like I said, that album is wonderful, such a perfect synthpop record. You can also buy it in America on iTunes! So please go do that!  You can’t find their live albums there though, which gives me a good excuse to share a few tracks from those albums tonight.

Like I said, their first live album is comprised almost entirely of Takahashi material, and mostly his solo work. Most of the YMO tracks they do perform aren’t the big tracks, and are instead album cuts or lesser known cuts like “Cue” or “Ballet.” The only big number from his YMO days that they do pull out is “La Femme Chinoise,” and that’s probably because he wrote it. Although he also is the sole songwriter for “Rydeen” and they didn’t play that live, so what do I know.

After their first studio album came out, their live shows shifted gears to feature, not surprisingly, material from that record. But on Metalive, the live album documenting that tour, they still threw in one cover from Takahashi’s past, and I couldn’t be happier with the one they chose – “Radio Junk.”

“Radio Junk” is my favorite YMO song, although technically speaking, “Radio Junk” isn’t even a YMO song. It’s a Sheena And The Rokkets track that YMO wrote for them. It’s the “Nothing Compares 2 U” of YMO. A fantastic track that was cast aside and found new life in the arms of another artist. Despite the fact that YMO never released a studio version of the track, they’ve performed it live on multiple occasions during different tours. You can find them performing on several of their live albums, and other live takes have been included on compilation releases. They must have a soft spot for it. Because it’s the greatest song of all time ever.

Okay. Hyperbole. I know, but it’s really fucking great. Such a good combination of punk/new wave and synthpop. So simple, so effective, and with such great lyrics.

“Fill me with radio junk.”

I can’t breathe. I can’t move. I can’t even think. And I don’t to anymore.

“Fill me with radio junk.”

There’s just too much going on. Too much around me. Too much to handle. I need to drown it out.

“Fill me with radio junk.”

It’s all horrible. I know it’s all horrible. And I know I should care more and do more. But I can’t and I won’t because when I try to, it kills me. So pump me full of bubblegum pop, hair metal, and cheesy love songs. Make me forget. Make it all go away. Make it better.

“Fill me with radio junk.”

Friends Of Earth (FOE)
Total Eclipse
I think I might’ve downplayed how weird this group was in my guide. Because they’re really freaking weird. Maybe the awfulness of their hip-hop blinded me to the overall weirdness of the rest of their tracks. I said that this track was beautiful, and it is, but it’s also damned strange. Mostly because of the samples. The keyboards here have a very hard to describe effect running through them, kind of like a generic “eastern” sound effect, but run through a flange or something. They really set the song apart. I wish I was a better writer so I could describe it in more detail.

But for me, what really makes the song are the haunting, wordless vocalizing by Koshi Miharu. Her voice is just ungodly great. While I’ve had some of her albums for the past few years, I’ve only recently really begun to dig into her back catalog, and so far everything I’ve found has been amazing. Her range (both vocally and stylistically) is just completely incomparable to anyone else, both in Japan and in the West. She’ll definitely be a large focus on the next part of my YMO guide, which focuses on the greatest and most interesting of their associates.

You think Prince had a lot of disciples and proteges? He had nothing compared to the guys in YMO.

BONUS TRACKS
Radio Junk (Live At Budokan 1980) – Yellow Magic Orchestra
Radio Junk – Sheena And The Rokkets
Radio Junk – Yukihiro Takahashi 
Fill me with Radio Junk!

3 Responses to “Radio Junk and Other Garbage To Distract You”

  1. I love Radio Junk just as well. And although I was aware of most of it, your YMO guide has been an interesting reading. Just like your blog always is. (There, you have a comment ! 🙂 )

  2. Stephen Carter says:

    Sheena always kicks ass.

  3. jonder says:

    Your writing and your sense of humor are a cut above most blogs. Like “Radio Junk” you are providing a respite from the insanity. That is an act of kindness. You put a lot into this blog, and I always enjoy reading it but don’t often remember to say thanks. I learned a lot about YMO. I hope you will keep sharing the goodness!

Leave a Reply