Pick Your Poison: Friday 8-31-12
Back in high school, I was pretty into a series of Japanese music games that all fell under the category that game maker Konami classified as Bemani. This was in the days before Guitar Hero and all that became a sensation, and there were Bemani games called Guitar Freaks and Drum Mania that were arcade versions of the same thing, but with all Japanese pop music instead of popular American rock. It was actually pretty rare to find a Guitar Freaks or Drum Mania game in an arcade in the U.S., as were other Bemani titles like Pop’n Music and Beatmania. The most popular of the Bemani series was one that eventually rose to a fair degree of popularity in America, and that was Dance Dance Revolution. It even worked its way into a few TV shows and movies (see: Yes Man and Malcolm in the Middle). There were about a dozen DDR machines in and around the Chicagoland area in the early ’00s, and my friends and I would often drive 30-40 minutes to play on one for hours. These days, you can find one in almost every legitimate arcade, getting far less use than they did 10 years ago. The point I’m getting to, and there is a point here, is that I did learn to like a lot of the J-pop songs they put on these games. In fact, you might say that I still carry a slight fondness for that genre of music, even if I don’t really ever listen to it (or play Bemani games) anymore. Enter the new video from Chairlift. I think their latest album Something is one of 2012′s finest so far, and while I like their particular brand of ’80s inspired synth pop, it didn’t exactly become clear to me why until I saw the video for “I Belong in Your Arms (Japanese Version).” Yes, the band recorded a version in Japanese, and made the video to celebrate the release of their album in Japan. It’s essentially a green screen video with computer generated backgrounds and the words at the bottom for karaoke purposes. In essence, it’s a slice right out of the J-pop playbook, and I kind of love it for exactly that reason. Do I like the Japanese version of the song better than the English version? Well, I can sing along with the English version, so that’s a plus. Anyways, that was a long-winded story to a very shallow point. I encourage you to watch the video though, which can be viewed here. That, plus this edition of Pick Your Poison should set you up for a grand holiday (if you’re celebrating) weekend. Please enjoy downloads from Charley Bickers, The Demos, Kate Miller-Heidke, Mighty Quinn, Shipbuilding Co., and Thrive. Have a great weekend!