MRML makes no claim of being a world music blog or even an internationalist one. Call us ethnocentric if you must, but we fuss over Britain and its one-time colonies because that's what we know. Sure we've visited Germany and France (with more Euro-punk to come) but it's all been so...Western. Case in point, the only Japanese album I've ever owned was a Shonen Knife CD and I'm guessing that Shonen Knife, like pizza, are not considered an exemplar of the culture from which they originated. After all, while Shonen Knife built up a North American cult following, the Blue Hearts stormed Japan's arenas and pop charts.
(Charming video but scroll down here for a more accurate version of the lyrics).
I'm woefully ignorant of the intricacies of Japanese pop culture, so I'll spare you theories of the Blue Hearts' breaking of cultural taboos or their use traditional melodies etc. Instead, I'll just say that through Western eyes and ears they sound like the Ramones being fronted by Darby Crash - especially with this song's recurring animal imagery. It's hard to believe that this was any nation's idea of what constituted a pop song in the saccharine year that was 1987. The glory of the song, however, is that joyously infectious hook, "Linda!, Linda!" - hear it once and you'll be singing it forever, hell, so will anyone else in the world.
Linda, Linda 7"
(There is a Japanese film about school girls learning the song for a battle of the bands-type event, and yes, to me this version does sound a bit like Shonen Knife, which is only a good thing.)
(Thanks to Bookhouse over on MetaFilter for inspiring this post.)
Supporting the band may be difficult for Westerners but Amazon does stock a few things.