Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Catchy songs by offbeat Japanese girl groups

Ever hear a song that you find so damn irritating, but the more you listen to it, the more it worms its way into your brain? Pretty soon, you catch yourself humming along to the song and wonder what has happened to you.

Well, Chatmonchy's "Shangri-la" (Shan-gu-ri-ra) is one of those songs. I first heard it after renting Countdown TV (a weekly TV show that counts down the top 50 hits in Japan) from the local Japanese video store. Anyway, Chatmonchy (チャットモンチー)is a all-girl trio from Tokushima prefecture Japan, on the island of Shikoku. Their members are Kumiko on the drums, Eriko on the guitar and vocals, and Akiko on their bass. The first time I heard them do a live performance song on Countdown TV, I thought the Eriko's voice sounded like a poor imitation of the quirky Japanese singer YUKI. And we've already seen this genre of off-beat quasi-amateurish girl trios, like the group Shonen Knife. I grumbled, "Oh no, not ANOTHER one of THOSE Japanese girl groups," and I fast forwarded the DVD to skip their performance (click here or the clip above to see their video posted by Tofumon).

And then it happened. I was chopping vegetables in the kitchen and caught myself humming the chorus: "Shan-gu-ri-ra shiawase datte..." I was doing medicine ball push-ups in the gym and found the beat in my head "Shan-gu-ri-ra..." Then I was trying to write a lecture for a class and heard the walls sing to me: "Shan-gu-ri-ra. "The song would not go away, so I popped in the DVD and listened to their live performance again. "Shan-gu-ri-ra..."

Halcali's Strawberry Chips - a surprisingly catchy song!

So I admit defeat. Chatmonchy has gotten into my head and now I await their American debut. Now they've joined other irritatingly catchy tunes by quasi-amateurish girl groups that have wormed their way into my head such as Halcali's Strawberry Chips (subtitled and posted by Novaforever) or Kigurumi's Tarako Tarako Tarako (posted by Prekorata).

Kigurumi (dressed as Tarakos) singing Tarako, Tarako, Tarako

NOTE: Tarako Tarako Tarako is from a commercial for Kewpie brand tarako (salted Alaska Pollock roe) spaghetti sauce. This must one of the oddest commercials I have seen, even by Japanees standards (click here to see a commercial posted by ebisen). Yes, the Japanese like to mix cream and tarako to make pasta topping- believe it or not, it's quite delicious!

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