October 6, 2006

As long as it's sort of a quasi-Japanese theme day here at Althouse...

And still meaning to continue my old series of scanned records, here's a 1979 punk rarity, still in its original cover and still quite playable:

A record from 1979

I don't really know why "Turning Japanese" and this song "Japan" came out around the same time. Did The Vapors rip off The Units? It hardly seems likely, though "Turning Japanese" came out a year later. You won't find the lyrics to "Japan" on line, but it's basically paean to Japan, Japanese products, etc. And no, that's not Japan in the picture. You know where that is, don't you? The Units were mostly a local band. Maybe you saw them, back in the day. If so, do tell.

I wanted to buy "Turning Japanese" on iTunes, but it wasn't there. Until it is, you can feast your eyes on the lo-fi YouTube version of the video.

11 comments:

Richard Dolan said...

I can't say I've ever heard of the Vapors or the Units before. Punk, heavy metal, all that screechy noise -- none of it was never my thing. But the album cover makes Albany look even weirder than usual. That's what happens when you combine limitless money, an ego that knows no bounds, and a taste in architecture that was both derivative and a bit pedestrian. (Stay tuned for the new WTC!)

MadisonMan said...

Weren't the late 70s a time when Japan was being called the new big threat to America? I vaguely recall it was supposed to take over the world -- then came the crash. So maybe that's why Music was talking about Japan.

tabarasta said...

um, "turning japanese" isn't about japan...

Ann Althouse said...

Tabasta: No "um" is needed here. Um to you for not reading the previous post.

Henry said...

Whattya Know -- Graham Parker's Discovering Japan came out in 1979 as well (scroll down for sample).

Doesn't Albany always looks like that? That's the way I remember it, anyway.

Tim Sisk said...

I was little young when "Turning Japanese" was a hit on MTV, but remember it well. The whole "umm" meaning went waaaay over my head until much, much later (and only after it was explained to me).

That said, listening to it again after all these years, I'm struck by how similar in sound this song is to The Cars. Replay the opening bars at the Youtube site after the pentatonic riff and start humming The Cars song "Shake It Up".

Does this play into the theme of the day?

JimK said...

Aww, the plaza! I miss going to the Egg, and seeing the fireworks show in that plaza every 4th.

Then I remember the rest of the city and I'm damn glad I moved. :)

lawhawk said...

The joys of Empire State Plaza and Rockefeller's Folly in Albany NY. And yes, it does look like that at this time of year.

How ESP is a quasi Japanese theme, I'll never know.

howzerdo said...

Aside from the red/orange sky (which I have never seen in my over 20 years here, or really anywhere else except occasionally near my parents' farm in the Catksills), it doesn't look quite like that from the picture's vantage point any longer - a few buildings are in the way, including the once Knickerbocker-now Pepsi-soon Times Union Arena.

knoxgirl said...

(my rule: skip over any comment that begins with "um" or "uh")

downtownlad said...

They knocked down historic Albany to build that Stalinesque crap.