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, June 15, 2016

Chisato Moritaka -- Hae Otoko (ハエ男)

I'm not sure if this had ever been a thing back in the 1960s but once I saw the opening of the old CBS comedy series "The Munsters", I often equated some of those monster movies with surf rock melodies.

My assumption was probably furthered deepened with a 1962 novelty song that I used to hear on those K-Tel commercials, "Monster Mash" by Bobby Pickett. Dracula, the Frankenstein monster and the Wolfman didn't seem so scary anymore.

Those pop cultural memories were the ones that popped up in my head when I first saw this video for Chisato Moritaka's(森高千里)18th single, "Hae Otoko" (The Fly) from June 1993. Actually the title translates as "The Fly-Man" but I think in keeping with the horror theme here, "The Fly" is better since it has been the title for some famous scary movies. And watching the first few minutes of Moritaka's mini-parody of "Alien" (In space, no one can hear you sing?), I think the singer-songwriter was well in on the joke, although watching the first several seconds, I had thought that it was more of a shout out to an old "Twilight Zone" episode starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson (yep, Samantha and the "Death Wish" guy).

But I digress. As soon as the climax arrives, Moritaka goes into "Hae Otoko", the electric guitars start swinging and the singer begins shimmying across the floor. Perhaps later into the 1990s, her hair was shorter and she wasn't wearing that amazing Sgt. Pepper's suit as much, but Moritaka still had that swagger in her music and that cheekiness in her lyrics.

And the misdirection here is that "Hae Otoko" isn't about a monster at all. Well, at least not the horror type, anyways. Moritaka is simply and happily griping about that noxious sycophant at work who seems to be an essential character in any Japanese corporate comedy-drama. He is the one that hovers about the arrogant senior staffer like a mosquito while he snipes away at the main nice characters in the office. Yet, the music brings back memories of Halloween and "Monster Mash". Genius combination!

"Hae Otoko" was written and composed by Moritaka. It hit No. 12 on the charts and was also included as a track on her 8th album "Lucky 7" from May 1993. That album became a purchase of mine here at Sun Wa way back when, and when I saw the title "Hae Otoko" at the back, I just thought, "Yep, that's a Chisato title alright."

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