Credits

I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Friday, November 15, 2013

hi-posi/Juicy Fruits -- Jenny wa Gokigen Naname (ジェニーはご機嫌ななめ)




This is probably my first article talking about two obscure but appealingly quirky bands which sang the same quirky song. First off, let's get into Juicy Fruits. Starting off as a rock band with some techno kayo stylings called Haruo Chikada & BEEF in 1979, a year later, Chikada(近田春夫) left and the band changed names (and food groups, apparently) and became Juicy Fruits in 1980.




Juicy Fruits debuted with what would probably be known as an earworm now with "Jenny wa Gokigen Naname"(Jenny in a Bad Mood). Written by the band bassist, Yuji Okiyama(沖山優司), and composed by the departed Chikada for release in June 1980, the lead singer and guitarist, Atsuko Okuno(奥野敦子), sings the song in a chirpy falsetto. The lyrics talk about the difficult title character getting herself into a lather about a boyfriend possibly straying far afield.




But what got my attention besides Okuno's voice was the combination of novelty pop and technopop with a bit of 50s twang in a blippety-bloppity rhythm. It just reminded me of what Polysics would later do. In any case, the song peaked at No. 5 on Oricon and sold 370,000 records, although it didn't chart onto the yearly Top 100. Still, considering how many singers and groups have covered it in the past 3 decades, Juicy Fruits was able to make its mark in Japanese music history.



One of those bands which covered "Jenny" was hi-posi. I vaguely remember seeing a video of this duo on some show with vocal Miho Moribayashi(もりばやしみほ) as the camera jerked around strangely while the whole video looked very blurry. Moribayashi was singing in this soft whispery voice and everything led to this rather non-mainstream feeling coming through the screen.

hi-posi(ハイポジ) was formed in 1988 with Moribayashi, Kenji Kondo(近藤研二), Naomi Araki(あらきなおみ) and Yu Yamaguchi(山口優). In 1991, they made their major debut but Araki and Yamaguchi left a few years later. The band was a part of Shibuya-kei with their own techno stylings., and in 2000, Moribayashi brought her own whispery vocals to bear through a cover of "Jenny", some 30 years after its debut as the band's 12th single. There was a rather odd video to it but I can't seem to find it on YouTube at this time.

After Kondo left in 2000, Moribayashi was left all by herself but decided to create the first Terran interspecies band by having her Golden Retriever, Mizette, join. Then to further add to the canine content, Mizette's daughter, Mir, came aboard in 2003.

Anyways, some of the other artists who have covered "Jenny" are a couple of members from Morning Musume, Perfume and GO!GO!7188.

4 comments:

  1. i was hoping you had written something about this song in the past. I really love Juicy Fruits' sound, but what i love even more is when Okuno sings like she does in Jenny in a Bad Mood. as far as i know she only did it in one other song which i believe is called Love Slump. i wish she had done it more. despite that, Juicy Fruits' range of musical styles seemed to wildly vary, every track was so different from the last. I love that about them.

    There's also a definitively 80's video of them performing Jenny that is essential viewing for fans of the song. Out of all the covers, I really do prefer the original. It's so lively and quirky. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0IuxkZkuoo

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  2. i also have to add that seeing Okuno rock the solo on guitar is amazing and very cute as well.

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    1. Thanks very much for that video, by the way. To see someone in that age of frilly-dressed aidoru shredding an electric guitar was quite something to see.

      I'd only known Juicy Fruits for "Jenny", so it was a bit of a surprise to see and hear some of their other output and find out that Okuno sings in a lower register. Definitely an interesting group and a band that gets me in that nostalgic 80s mood.

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    2. yes i was surprised as well when i first listened to their albums because Jenny was the first song of theirs i had heard. but i still love them all the same. she definitely stands out from that era in a good way. like a Jun Togawa type. but only in that they stood out, heh.

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