random music fridays : the blue hearts

If I had enough female friends I’d start an all-girl cover band called The Bluest Hearts or something. It would be great. I would play bass.

Since that’s not going to happen, I’ll give you the real thing instead:

I encountered this band during the most informed days of my life, when I had the time to read every article on Wired, Ars Technica, Japan Probe, BBC World and, in its pre-Gawker days, Kotaku, a bunch of whose writers I met later that year at their Tokyo party. Tim Rogers, I am now told, was not one of those people. However, he occasionally contributed Kotaku articles, and in one of them that year (which I could not find — the link above is as close as I could get, from his personal blog) he described riding his bike past a Tokyo traffic jam and hearing this band blasting from a guy’s car. He loved it, asked what it was, and had to repeat himself a few times because of course, foreigners are scary. But the driver eventually said it was The Blue Hearts, and Tim went on to describe how great they were.

What was news to me, and not to him, was that this was the normal face of punk music in Japan. Rainbow colors, not black and grim. An upbeat. Not…whinging. Or morose. Had I been in Japan 20 years earlier (which is to say, had I myself been 20 years older), it would have been right up my alley. I would have moshed in rainbow scarves with the best of them.

Unfortunately I missed that boat. But you, like my lonely 2009 self, can pretend you were a part of it with “Linda Linda” and my tied-for favorite song, “Train Train”:

My fellow student at the college I was studying at let me burn the album from him. As is typical, he was ten years older than me. With four exceptions (thanks guys!), everyone I want to be friends with is about a decade older than me. If I’m lucky and they let me tag along as their kid sister, that’s about as close as I’ll ever get. Which could be worse I guess. Anyway, he was amused at my interest in this band that predated even my birth, and drew the album out of his collection with a kind of flourish, lending it to me for the copying. I proceeded to pedal back to my closet-sized apartment with extreme care, terrified that I’d crash my bike and tip the precious, no-longer-produced album into the river or something. Which would no doubt sour the friendship I was so desperately trying to cultivate with this guy and his wife — which yes, included trying to get into the music and movies they liked, though in this particular instance I’d happened upon the music myself.

Sometimes it seems like I spend my entire life playing cultural catch-up.

But this is just a fun goddamn band, so enjoy it.



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