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, January 23, 2015

Kaela Kimura -- Funkytown

Oh my was the best of times and the disco of times. "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc. by virtue of its release year (1980) was probably one of the last gasps of disco. I had never heard of this band (from Minneapolis, Minnesota) and would never hear from them again. But they grabbed their 15 minutes of fame and squeezed for all its worth to worldwide success. I used to hear "Funkytown" all the time and then when Mel Brooks' "History of the World, Part 1" appeared on the big screen, I saw Gregory Hines funking to it in the commercial...while he was playing an Ethiopian slave in the Roman Era (I did say that this was a Mel Brooks film).

Then, half a decade later, as I was watching local video show "Toronto Rocks" as a university student, I was introduced to the oh-so-80s even more kinetic cover of "Funkytown" by Australian band, Pseudo Echo....complete with mullets. I have to admit that I like this version even more than the original.

Then, when I was looking up material for yesterday's article on Takkyu Ishino's(石野卓球)"The Rising Suns", I came across Kaela Kimura's(木村カエラ)album, "ROCK" which was released in October 2013. It was an album of cover songs performed with artists such as Ishino and reformed J-funkster Yasuyuki Okamura(岡村靖幸). And these covers were of tunes from my ever-fading-past-the-horizon youth. There was stuff like Blondie's "Heart of Glass", Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"....and "Funkytown"

Ishino helped out on Kimura's cover of Lipps Inc.'s big hit, and that collaboration I was very keen on listening to, remembering their work together on "Jasper". And yep, it was very much as I expected from the duo...the Ishino techno touch along with Kimura's bright and slightly clipped vocals although both of them kept things fairly faithful to the original version. Then when I heard her sing "Welllll...", I just thought Lipps Inc. had come on back to the fold. To be honest, I was surprised that in the land where disco never really died...or sucked..."Funkytown" hadn't really got its due from the singers there.

The above is just a highlight video of three of the songs from the album including Kimura's take on A-Ha's "Take On Me" with Okamura, "Funkytown", and "Sunday Morning" with Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣).

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