Themesong: Guilty Pleasures
Orange Range - The Locolotion
The Locolotion was the first Japanese song that caught my ear after I moved there. I remember the moment well. I’d been in the country less than a week - not enough time to get over the jet lag - and my supervisor was driving me to lunch. The song came on and I was instantly confused. Isn’t that the opening to the godawful song ‘Trouble’ by godawful British pop duo Shampoo? Isn’t the chorus basically the song ‘The Loco-motion’ by Little Eva (and later Kylie)? What’s going on?
My supervisor knew nothing of the songs I was referring to; she told me that it was a song that had been popular a few months ago, and was still in its death throes of radio airplay. I was intrigued.
Orange Range are a 5-member Okinawan rap-rock group. They were utterly huge while I was in Japan (and may still be, for all I know). The album Musiq, which came out in 2004 and I bought for this song, contained both Locolotion and their biggest hit, ‘Hana’, which is absolutely amazing, one of the most-played songs on my iPod, and one of the songs my wife and I put on our welcome CD for people who came to our wedding in Hawaii.
But Locolotion? It’s utter cheese. It’s several stolen songs with bad Japanese rapping over the top. It has a video in which a black man dressed as a sun lotion container spurts sunblock out of his head while women dance around him. The women in the video appear to have been found via an advert that said ‘Wanted: vaguely semi-attractive (from a distance) non-Japanese women who look really awkward when trying to dance in front of a camera’. One of the lines in the song is “Majide nice body” which translates as “Really nice body”, sung in two languages for no reason that I can think of.
And yet…I love it. It’s awful, but I love it. It’s the first song that I really noticed when I moved to the other side of the world, and it’ll stay with me forever, despite how terrible it is. It takes me back to a place where I was far away, all on my own, and just embarking on an adventure that would take me to other continents and into married life.
And try as I might, I can’t seem to jettison the painful memory of trying to do it in karaoke while drunk with an English friend and a Japanese English teacher.