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.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Especia -- No. 1 Sweeper

Man, I really had a major craving for salad after watching this video! I thought it was the opening credits for a TV show starring the most impossibly cool vegetables on the planet. Carter McBroccoli...that would be the lead's name.

After Marcos V. introduced me to the good ladies of Especia last year, I was pretty fascinated by a 21st-century aidoru group doing some very niche late 20th-century music...namely Japanese City Pop....or Japanese Funk, as I've seen it labeled on YouTube recently. Then, talking with commenter Ryan Miller, I found out about this genre known as Vaporwave which, and I quote, "...serves as both a critique and a parody of consumerist society, '80s yuppie culture, and New Age music, while sonically and aesthetically showcasing a curious nostalgic fascination with their artifacts."  (Thank you, Wikipedia) In other words, it's poking a little good-natured fun at the decade that I started discovering music and movies....and there's plenty to make fun of (big hair, skinny ties, mullets...need I say more?).

And perhaps Especia's "No. 1 Sweeper" is an example of this Vaporwave, even more than City Pop. It just reminds me of some of the glorious bubble-era music from the late 80s. After listening to Toshiki Kadomatsu's(角松敏生)"Sea Line Rie" the other day, I think the veteran singer-songwriter could be the ancestor of this shiny-new genre. In any case, my hat is off to the composers of Schtein & Longer, especially with the addition of that pumping sax.

With that above quote about what Vaporwave is all about, I wonder if I could add the expression, "urban anarchy". Listening and reading through the Japanese lyrics by mirco, my take-away was just going nuts and having it all in Tokyo while painting the whole town red. I couldn't quite do that in The Big Sushi (since I already got too old) but I had my own time of that stuff back in the 80s as a university student in good ol' Toronto. However, a blog dedicated to Especia by the name of "Especia va Bien en EL MUNDO" has provided a pretty fine translation of the words for "No. 1 Sweeper", and it seems that there is also a mix of pep talk, philosophy and sexy come-ons buried in there as well.

"No. 1 Sweeper" is a track on Especia's first album, "Gusto" from May 2014 which peaked at No. 42 on the charts. I love the video but I think I'm still going to go with "Kurukana"(くるかな)as my favourite by the band. And I'm still scratching my head about the title. Instead of some stud in Shibuya, my mind gets filled with images of the best athlete in curling.

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