Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
Welcome back to #MemeMusicMonday, where we make up the rules and the hashtags don’t matter. Last week, we tackled a serious offering in Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. (If you want to see what’s ahead, look no further.)
Born a sketch on the comedy show Warau Inu no Bouken (or Silly Go Lucky), Happaitai is a group made up of owarai personalities. To be more specific, it is made up of leader Nanbara Kiyotaka (the “Nanchan” of the duo Ucchan Nanchan) and members of the owarai combis Bibiru (Oki Jun and Ouchi Noboru*) and Neptune (Nagura Jun, Harada Taizou, and Horiuchi Ken).
*When the group reunited for an appearance on Jimmy Kemmel Live! in March 2003, Ouchi was replaced by Dacho-Club’s Ueshima Ryuuhei as he had retired from the entertainment industry at that point.
Released on April 18, 2001, the single was the group’s sole CD release, which did rather well (gaining #6 on the Oricon charts if Japanese Wikipedia is to be believed).
With that in mind, let’s dig into Happatai’s YATTA! and see what’s so easy and happy-go-lucky about it.
The song is a happy disco-pop song with feel-good lyrics (even if it was all one big joke — one most non-Japanese didn’t fully when we came across it). The song was written by Happatai, while composition/arrangement and production was done by DANCE*MAN (a familiar figure to Hello! Project fans). As such, jestful lyrics aside, it wouldn’t be out of place in the H!P discography at the time.
…Actually, even with the tongue-in-cheek nature of the lyrics, it’d fit in. H!P (especially during the Tsunku Era) is notorious for its… quirkiness.
Anyway, it’s a catchy tune with lyrics that spouts cliche lyrics like “It’s so easy,” “We are the world” (and spoofing cultural cliches, which gets expanded in the MV), all executed with a straight seriousness that is… really sincere. Happatai really got into character with this song (which, again, will carry over to the MV) so it’s easy for some to take it seriously. Through it all, digging through the comedic nature of the song, you can take away a message of enjoying life and living to the lyrics.
Might as well if your only outfit is a leaf-emblazoned garment….
(Darnit, thanks to a bit on the Japanese Wikipedia page for this song, I can’t unhear Pachobel’s Canon in the chord progression, especially during the chorus…)
Going with the comedic nature of the song, the MV carries on the joke. It primarily takes place at a live with the sextet on stage, all in front of packed house. During the chorus, we see a mini-slideshow, showcasing our guys in front of random backgronds with the title (and member… pun so not intended!) coming towards us. All of sparkles with as much efferfescence as the song gives out.
During the second verse, we see the guys in an outdoor setting. It’s bright and sunny, next to a body of water… and a giant billboard of themselves.
Going back to the spoofing cliches bit, in addition to the above, we also see them on a road flanked by cherry blossoms and on a street doing the whole “passing lovers” schtick (to the with the lyrics in the bridge).
Either way, even if it was just an extension of a joke (a comedy sketch even which it technically is!), amounting to nothing more than a novelty song attached to a sketch, you can’t help but admire the work put into it all. Everything is so well-done and it’s all so heartfelt that you can’t help but get into it.
Then again, it’s a well-known fact that I love novelty songs (I grew up listening to Dr. Demento stuff and count Weird Al as part of my musical landscape) and as you can kinda tell from this blog’s primary focus, I’m no stranger to earnest quirkiness. Peeps costumes, monkey suits, dancing in a ship’s bathroom, singing about “noisy girls” on a train… the list goes on (and most of those examples came from one group).
This has been quite a fascinating piece to tackle. YATTA! presents us with a tongue-in-cheek display of everything that’s great (and quirky) about idols and Japanese culture. If anything, we can take away that being alive truly makes you lucky. With the right frame of mind, a sense of openness, you can go forward with sincerity. If you’re willing to bear it all and expose yourself honestly, you can be sure to go through life with a clean view.
I leave you with this cover from Bandjanaimon!, who is keeping this song alive for a new generation of music fans. (Maybe I’ll review that later on. Also, see? This review is still relevant to the blog’s focus!)
Tune in next time as we talk about nature stuff with apples, pineapples, and pens! …Wait.
Last Time: PON This WAY WAY WAY
Next Time: Picking, Poking And Peeking at PPAP
Coming Up on Hello! Pro 20th: A Melon-Flavored Carelessly Whispered Chance of LOVE
Until the Next One!