Thursday, August 25, 2011

Akiko Yano - Japanese Girl (1976)

Alright, Pop Overbite is back for real now. Been on a bit of an avant singer/songwriter jag here lately, and I figured this was as good a place to start as any. "Japanese Girl" is Akiko Yano's debut from 1976 and the 26th-best Japanese rock record of all time, according to Rolling Stone Japan (ahem). I don't know if this really even qualifies as rock, though. It's a truly odd mix of lots of things that shouldn't work together in theory but do. Isn't that always the way? '70s synths clash with rubbery bass lines and compressed drums, Latin percussion patters behind Akiko's piano and vocal acrobatics, traditional Japanese instruments and melodies are squeezed into almost-proggy time signatures. But always glued together by a tight pop sensibility. Oh, and did I mention that she was backed on half of this record by Little Feat? Better just check it out before you get any more confused.

All but the best three songs are available on Youtube. This should give you an idea, though: