I've written a bit about HOTWAX in a previous post (link), so since it's been a while I thought I'd write about their new CD release 悪なあなた (Waru na Anata) aka. "It's Your Fault". Falling under HOTWAX's 'Queen of Japanese Pops' sub-section, it is a bit of a departure from their (typically) more movie related releases.
Advertised as a collection of awesome songs performed by "Cute and Slutty 1970s Bad Girls" (!), I knew I had to own it once I saw the cover featuring the foxy Tsutsui Mari (津々井まり) taken from her album "The Love of the Mermaid" (人魚の恋).
The disc is an 18 track omnibus of different sexy ladies crooning and moaning their way through different pop songs. Much less overtly pornographic (like NOT at all) than the Ike Reiko's 恍惚の世界 "The Ecstatic World of Ike Reiko" album I wrote about previously, the tracks follow a typical formula of sing about a current lover, a lover who spurned the singer, or someone they want to get nasty with.
The music itself is pure 70s pop sensation with some tracks veering towards disco or funk, while others feel like they're leftover from some late 1960s studio sessions.
One of my favorite ones musically is the disco funk dripping track by "Erunand" (is this even the correct romaji?) called "Love is Um-Um" (エルナンド／恋はウムウム-- and no, I have no idea what it means either).
For the most part the music is fairly bland but the lyrics are a hoot. Often times their lyrical content is the kind that should, by rights, infuriate any self respecting woman while at others seem like they were written by a love torn 12-year-old girl (or, more likely, a man pretending to be a 12-year-old girl!).
Check out these ones from the excellent "Always in Bed..." (フラワー・メグ／ベッドにばかりいるの).
I'm always together with you in bed
The flowers haven't been watered... [we're] always in bed
We just stare at each other without doing anything
We just smile at each other without doing anything
We're always smooching without doing anything
We don't do anything
I'm always together with you in bed
Pretty mind-blowing lyrics, eh?
The booklet is, as usual, printed on high quality paper stock with beautiful graphic design and font choices. There is a brief forward by the HOTWAX staff introducing the album as a treat for those who remember these songs and for those for whom it is their first time hearing them. (I fall in the latter camp, 'natch.) We then go on to brief bios of all of the artists in order of appearance on the CD and then in the final section all of the lyrics are reprinted in their brilliant glory. Additionally, there are photos of all of the singers and since this was the 1970s and therefore the heyday of the pop idol as pin-up star, there are many pix of these ladies in bikinis-- or sometimes even less. (Meow!)
It seems clear that the "It's Your Fault" comp appears to be designed for joint consumption with HOTWAX's 「Hotwax presents 歌謡曲名曲名盤ガイド」Queen of Japanese Pops Vol. 1. ** , a full color guide book to1970s Japanese girl pop. Many of the HOTWAX releases are like this, but for me, I'm not sure this time how far I'm prepared to dive into it and therefore will probably pass on buying it or any others in this series, preferring to stick with the movie related releases.
When taken as a whole, the entire HOTWAX catalog showcases a lot of cool retro Japanese pop culture, but for me, I think I was expecting a little more bad ass biker chick and less bikini wearing sauciness. But, for what it is, the "It's Your Fault" CD release is a lot of fun.
**On the HOTWAX page there's a dubious subtitle for the book, which I can't find on the dust jacket: 「バッド・ガール＊セクシー＊やさぐれ：Bitch, Sexy & Fury (!)」. Chart this up as a Japanese misunderstanding of the word 'bitch'-- and we can thank 50 Cent and Dre for dat.