Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips takes on a Japanese translation of his own indie rock staple, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”. It’s a noble gesture, considering the subject matter of the song is a sort of space-age pastiche of Japanese mecha/fight girl genres. It’s also a difficult task considering how the Japanese lyrics have to bend and contort in order to fit into the original melody which was written in English.
The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1 (Japanese Version) | Download
Linguists and J-nerds have nothing positive to say about Coyne’s gaijin accent – an accent which may or may not register with non-Japanese speakers – so I’ve included this cover by Youtube recording artist, H. Nachi, who swags out a more intonational, acoustic version.
The story is mostly the same across both versions, despite the language alchemy. The biggest problem is the restriction the original melody affects on the J-version, and the box into which it places the language; extra syllables dangle while others are held awkwardly long making the listening experience a little rough, if you’re into “that sort of thing”.
Does that make it a shitty song? You decide!