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.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

bird -- Mind Travel (マインドトラベル)

Saw the Super Bowl last weekend and when you have the two best defensive teams in the NFL go after each's not gonna be the most rousing game. However, there was the halftime show which overall didn't particularly grab me (nope, not a Coldplay fan and I'm choosy about which Beyonce song I like), except for Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars and their "Uptown Funk". Can't get tired of that one. The official music video is fun to watch but I have to say that I was amazed by the video of all that old movie choreography synched up with "Uptown Funk" by UK Nerd Fest, and in fact, I prefer to watch the latter more than the former. Don't believe me? Just watch!

One of the reasons that I enjoy "Uptown Funk" so much is that it not only had me reminiscing of some of the funk and disco of my childhood, it also had me remembering some of the R&B that was coursing through the airwaves on both sides of the Pacific back in the late 90s and into this century. Listening to Mars' hit, I rather felt like digging into the memories for one of the underrated songbirds from Japan at around that time, bird.

Her 9th single, "Mind Travel" from November 2000 (I think the guys behind the video mistakenly put it at 2001) has some of that old-fashioned disco which was fashioned by songwriter Mondo Grosso with bird herself behind the lyrics. If I'm not mistaken, I think the singer was trying to relate about trying to get out of a funk (no pun intended) in one's life even if it means just merely imagining a way out. The disco also reminded me of Jamiroquai from the UK who had his day back in the 90s with one of my students in Tokyo being a huge fan of his.

The music video for "Mind Travel" illustrated that need to break out of the cage of ennui that bird was in. She was stuck in another mindless party surrounded by vapid people from the 1970s before her mind came to the rescue and delivered her to choreography. The video also stood out in that it might be the only time that bird ever truly busted a move in front of the camera for a song, and she wasn't half-bad.

Although the single only reached No. 73 on the charts, her album of the same name "Mind Travel" which was released at the same time peaked at No. 5 and became the 86th-ranked release for 2001. Y'know, I wouldn't mind some of that uptown (or even downtown) funk coming back to Japan. By the way, the above video is an instrumental version of the song.


  1. Thanks for the pointer to "Mind Travel." I have not heard much bird but I do like that track. In doing a bit more research there's a house remix of 'Mind Travel' that I may have to track down on vinyl. I have the mp3 if you're interested to hear it. It's a fairly standard house remix tbh but I do like house music mixes of Japanese vocalists.

    1. Hi, Gen.

      Bird may not have become a superstar but she managed to get a pretty dedicated group of fans, myself included. :) One of her collaborations with Mondo Grosso that I have really enjoyed is "Life"; designed to get one back into a happy frame of mind.


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