Abel Tesafaye follows up his video for “Belong to the World” with a gloomy, drug-addled sequel, that keeps with Kiss Land’s Japan-inspired aesthetic. No art school girls this time around though. Just OVO and XO traipsing around a defunct office building/warehouse, emoting in the darkness from behind occasional bursts of hiragana that reiterate to the j-audience that this is, indeed, the shit he lives for.
Again, the use of Japanese here seems strange. Like, what’s the basis? The Weeknd has said before that Kiss Land is like a horror movie, and now that I think of it, his character in these videos does remind me of that weird dude from Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s The Cure.
But still, why Japan?
“Kiss Land is the story after Trilogy; it’s pretty much the second chapter of my life,” he continued. “The narrative takes place after my first flight; it’s very foreign, very Asian-inspired. When people ask me ‘Why Japan?’ I simply tell them it’s the furthest I’ve ever been from home. It really is a different planet.”
Country music to many people is a sort of albatross hanging around the neck of popular American music. Those who love it, LOVE IT while those who hate it seem to really, really hate it. I can’t say I know enough about country to fall into either faction, but I do know the “Tennessee Waltz” and can register a bit of sadness at the fact that the person who brought that into the world is no longer living in it.
Country is a quintessentially American musical form, and Patti Page was a dominant voice throughout her early career. In the 50s, Patti Page’s influence stretched across the Pacific to Japan where local entertainers adapted American popular music for the expatriates (mostly soldiers at the time) that filled the clubs and bars. Eventually a 14-year old by the name of Chiemi Eri got her hands on the music and used her version of the American classic to launch a bright, if unfortunately short, career. I’m tempted to say that her version of “Tennessee Waltz” was the first real crossover hit in the Japan-US postwar era, but I really don’t have any “facts” to back that up.
Here is Page’s original version for context / listening pleasure. We should all be so lucky to be remembered looking like this.
It’s winter again, which means I spend most of my time cultivating an escapist fantasy where I’m back in San Diego and my car is not buried under a foot of snow. To that end, I’ve been eating way too many fish tacos, drinking beachy beers (Tecate + lime/salt) and listening to Japanese dub-type R&B. And when it comes to Japanese dub-type R&B, there’s only one name I know, and it is Chiyori.
Normally, I’d run your through a tiny biography and explain how I learned about this artist etc. etc. but it’s the holidays and you have the Internet, buddy.
A little summery JRNB goes a long way to staving off winter blues, so if you’re in a similarly afflicted climate stop reading and press play to join in my Summer Fantasy®.
This one speaks for itself. I will say that earlier this weekend, “super dead” would have described my physical and mental state, though DARTHREIDER is having a lot more fun than I was. Tell him how good he smells @DARTHREIDER.
Japan has earned a reputation for somehow being weirder than other countries, which is a bit unfair because when you look in the right places, it’s pretty clear that most countries are completely fucking insane. Danny Boyle illustrated that with his Opening Ceremony Carnival of Insanity for the London 2012 Olympics. Whereas that spectacle was a sort of tongue-in-cheek celebration of bizarre humor, Japan’s jokes often get lost in translation and mistaken for sincerity.
If you watch this video and think “Dag, Japan can’t rap,” you’d be missing the point. That said, it is pretty weird, but you gotta sell milk to the kids somehow.