A remembered conversation from 1982.
INFLUENTIAL FRIEND: Yeah you'd like the first Vapors album.
JEFFEN: The Vapors? (wrinkles nose) Like, as in, "Turning Japanese"?
INFLUENTIAL FRIEND: Yeah that's the worst song on the album; the rest is fucking brilliant!
Jeffen: No way.
Now, my late friend was not entirely correct. "Turning Japanese" (mini-doc here) is a clever, catchy construction, which has proved lasting due to its utter brilliance. But true devotees of The Vapors will occasionally go to desperate lengths to attempt to lessen the song's over-shadowing of leader David Fenton's magnificent song-writing. Lyrically, Fenton mined both a new wavish Cold War paranoia and a Ray Davies-ish eye for the quiet desperation of British life which he set to stirring tunes that the band (Edward Bazalgette: lead guitar, Steve Smith: bass, vocals, Howard Smith: drums) meted out with tightly-controlled power-pop-punk drive. It turned out I was wrong about a lot of things in 1982; country music didn't suck, a nuclear war was not inevitable and The Vapors were not one-hit wonders - they were, in fact, fucking brilliant!
Peel Session (1979-07-04)
V1) Turning Japanese
V3) Cold War
V4) Waiting For the Weekend
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