Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
Welcome back to #MemeMusicMonday, where we make up the rules and the hashtags don’t matter. Last week, we took a trip to the early 2000s to watch a bunch of leaf-wearing guys make us laugh and be cheerful. (If you want to see what’s ahead, look no further.)
Out of all of the memes talked about so far, this is actually the most recent.
- PON PON PON came out in 2013.
- YATTA! came out in 2001 and reached meme status around 2005.
- GAL-o Sengen was relevant around then.
To compare, this came out in 2016. Heck, I didn’t even know this was a thing until Pikotaro was interviewed on Newsroom Tokyo. (This marks the second time I discovered blogging material from NRT.) This singer-songwriter from Chiba captured the hearts and minds of countless people on the Internet with his quirky “PPAP (Pen Pineapple Apple Pen).”
To quickly summarize the KnowYourMeme article: Ever since the original video‘s release in August 2016, it spread slowly but quickly (it had gotten over 7 million views and 4,000 comments in one month alone). It truly spread like wildfire around Twitter and a video sharing service, garnering parodies and homages within the month. By September’s end, major new outlets (namely CNN and BBC) were talking about it, boosting Pikotaro’s tune’s reach. It further went into the stratosphere when Justin Bieber gave it a shoutout to his Twitter followers.
As Pikotaro himself put it…
The fantasy of expressing love & peace through Pen, Apple, and Pineapple… Now bringing you the long-awaited “Long” ver. of PPAP!! It’s not just simply ‘long’… the world will now witness this unbeliebale moment… It’s SHOWTIME!!
You heard the man…
PPAP (Pen Pineapple Apple Pen)
The song is simple, minimalist even. The lyrics are straightforward (the verses amount to “I have a [this], I have [that]. Unh! [This/That]), but similarly to YATTA!, the delivery is earnest and sincere that you can’t help but get into it. (To be fair, I’m no stranger to playful lyrics, be they from Shonen Knife, Takako Minekawa, or anything written by Tsunku!)
Similar, the music is minimalist in construction. It’s a bouncy track of synth electronicisms that is full of fun. It’s silly, but I dare you to not be amused.
Going with the nature of the song, the MV is of an equally minimalist simply showing Pikotaro in a white space. It may look simple and cheap to some, but it does bring attention to our performer. Besides, you’re you busy having fun alongside him to care.
One recurring theme here is the power of music to lift people and act as nepenthe to numb us from daily living. Sure, YATTA! and Pen Pineapple Apple Pen are more comedic in nature, but you can’t help but get into what they do. I mean, there’s a sense of sincerity to their material, which helps the earworms burrow into your consciousness.
It’s “simple,” it’s silly, but it’s fun. What’s the harm in having (harmless) fun (especially in this tragedy-laden age)?
I’ll leave you with this memorable moment from the year’s end, featuring Pikotaro alongside members of Morning Musume ’16, C-ute, Momoiro Clover Z, AKB48, Nogizaka46, Keyakizaka46, and Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku.
Credit to Malaysians love Morning Musume for sharing this priceless moment.
Tune in next time as we dig into the inspiration for all of this insanity — and eat mushrooms while listening to trance music. GO GO GO GO!
Until the Next One!