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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Southern All Stars -- Miss Brand-New Day

Well, I gotta say that I was fairly speechless when I caught the music video for Southern All Stars' 20th single, "Miss Brand-New Day". It was another one of those songs that I'd heard at our old Kuri karaoke sessions over a quarter of a century ago to a good degree but the karaoke video was nowhere near as imaginative as the official one. Certainly, I had known that Keisuke Kuwata (桑田佳祐)and company had a pretty sly sense of the ribald, but for an early 80s video, this was pretty big. Although at the time, Japanese television was showing some risque stuff late at night, I guess even the mass media was taken a little aback at seeing crayon drawings of kids showing off their twigs and berries...among other things. In any case, let's say that the video seemed to resemble something out of the minds of David Lynch and John Waters with a little help from Nagisa Oshima.

As for the song itself, I hadn't heard the Kuwata-created "Miss Brand-New Day" for some years, so on re-acquainting myself with it, I was a bit surprised by the atypical technopop opening. In fact, on hearing the first few notes with some of the other YouTube video depictions of the song, I had been convinced that I got the song wrong. But then, Kuwata's familiar vocals appeared and all was right with the world. Listening to the whole song, I kinda got the impression that this was about as close to a British New Wave song that the band would ever approach....filtered through Brian Eno, perhaps? Instead of the usual aloha shirts, I'd imagined the band wearing Devo uniforms.

As for the derivation of the title, Kuwata was referring to those young ladies at the time who were ravenously going after the latest fashions and trends virtually on a daily basis. However, he made sure to clarify that the lyrics were not intended to criticize them, and in fact, he wanted to say that the song was also about the guys falling in love with the pop culture-crazy gals. Not that it seemed to have anything to do with the Freud-friendly video.

"Miss Brand-New Day" was released in June 1984 and got as high as No. 6 on the Oricon weeklies. It was also a track on Southern All Stars' 7th album, "Ninkimono de Ikou" (人気者で行こう...Let's Be Popular)which came out a month later and hit the top spot. It would become No. 3 on the 1984 album charts.

The cheekiness would reach stratospheric levels a little over a decade later when the band would come up with the immortal "Manpi no G-Spot"(マンピーのG★SPOT...A C--t's G-Spot)!

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