Hmmm, Shonen Knife Get The Wow, another 12 ” from university days. In truth I never really knew what to make of this one and I’m not sure I do now, 19 years later.
I’m sure I don’t need to give too much history but in short; Japanese all-girl, buzzsaw pop band – much touted by Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth and Redd Kross, sounded like a Mattel version of the Ramones and sang lots of songs about fuzzy animals and candy. They were fairly prone to giving unintelligible interviews and dressed in a cutesy uniform manner. I went to see them live in 1993 and they were just brilliant live, they really were – did a very good cover of ‘Boys’ by the Beatles with the drummer singing. I bought the cassette of their LP ‘Let’s Ride’ the next day and it was just a pale imitation of what I’d seen the night before.
Now here’s where my trouble with them starts, I had a real sense that they were just being marketed, by the UK press at least, as a Japanese novelty act, the prevailing press attitude seemed to be ‘let’s all laugh at their funny English phrasing, their accents and their cutey-pie obsessions with bison and turtles’. I would liken it to being force fed cream soda and chocolate all day, every day – great at first, but before you knew it your teeth would politely ask if they could leave your mouth. It sort of got to the point where I just found it all really quite patronising and there seemed to be a bit of a dodgy sexual element to it too*. At what point does it all stop being open-minded joy at a, perceived, naïve take on pop-punk by Japanese women who don’t know any better and start being culturally sinister? as a liberal-minded fellow, this is the sort of thing I used to agonize over (when I wasn’t drinking, or singing along to Ratt). Does it matter anyway? particularly when the production on the album was so awful.
But anyway, music: the title track is pants, don’t get me started on ‘Twist Barbie’ and quite frankly I will never listen to ‘Fruit Loop Dreams’ again in my life (where the title of this post comes from). However, they then cover a Brian Wilson song I didn’t know called ‘Don’t hurt my Little Sister’ which is really good; although possibly also a bit sexually dodgy.
I don’t want to get all Woody Allen on y’all and I know I do have a tendency to overthink things, so I’m perfectly willing to accept its just me and everything’s fine, fine, fine…
When you open my little box, w-w-wow
Big surprise from me to you, w-w-wow
Give it to you one more time, w-w-wow
You’re my friend, so say it again, w-w-wow
It’s not just me is it? (strokes chin and contemplates deeply)
* as any regular readers might have noted, I was a recovering glam metal fan and therefore not really able to take the moral high ground here – especially not, as I boasted Warrant’s ‘Cherry Pie’ cassingle (remember them) in my collection.