Monday, December 31, 2007

Nantettatte Idol - This is how you do a cover song!

There's nothing worse than a band covering a famous song and either doing nothing original with it, or just sapping all the energy right out of it. You want to hear some bad cover tunes? Go check up YouTube for Celine Dion's "You Shook Me All Night Long" (AC/DC), Sheryl Crowe's "Sweet Child o' Mine" (Guns 'n' Roses), Britney Spears' "Satisfaction" (the Rolling Stones) or Korn's "Another Brick in the Wall" (Pink Floyd). These covers will literally just suck the life right out of you, and probably make you dumber while you listen.

PUFFY are cover masters. They know how to take an old song and make it rock. They've been doing it for years. They've even got a whole album of cover songs in The Hit Parade. But none of that amounts to a hill of beans in the face of a song that's never even made it onto one of their albums: their totally awesome cover of Kyoko Koizumi's 1985 pop hit "Nantettatte Idol". Unbelievably, it was not on YouTube before today.

Normally I'd just show you PUFFY's video, but you've gotta see the original first. It's a perfectly adequate 1980's pop song, more than a little kitschy these days, though it was extremely popular and is still well-known and liked today.

For their Spike tour, PUFFY enlisted Lolita No. 18 guitarist Enazo to help out with their updated, much harder version. She's a big reason why this works. She's awesome. Ami even cedes her the honor of the trademark bunny hop at the end! Here it is:

If you want an indication of how popular this song still is, and you want to know what inspired this post, for 58 years the most mainstream of all Japanese TV networks, NHK, has been putting on a pop music show to ring in the new year. This year (ie. last night), there was a medley by idol group AKB48, "singer" Leah Dizon and this other chick whose name I can never remember but who has a blog with a bunch of pictures of herself sticking dead bugs all over her face (yeah, she's a weirdo). Anyway, skip to 4:19 in if you don't care about the rest:

Not as good as PUFFY's version, I'm afraid!

Incidentally, PUFFY famously declined an invitation to this show early this decade and haven't appeared on it since. (This year, they did a radio show instead.) Other major stars have also refused, including Kimura Kaela and Utada Hikaru. In every case it's been big news, and the reason for the refusals probably has something to do with it benefiting NHK more than it benefits the artists, who mostly all get lost in such a long and varied lineup.

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