Sunday, 8 February 2009

1981 Aneka: Japanese Boy

It's hard to know which is the more bizarre; the fact that a Scottish singer called Mary Sandeman plucked the name 'Aneka' from a phone book, got dressed up as a Kwik Save geisha girl and had a worldwide hit, or the fact there were enough people willing to buy this nonsense brew of cod oriental musical motifs, cantering disco backbeat with a helium high vocal warbling over the top of it like some early version of Little Britain's Ting Tong Macadangdang.

So what's the issue here? Well, it seems Aneka woke up one morning to find the love of her life has done a runner leaving no forwarding address:

"Was it something I've said or done

That made him pack his
bags up and run?
Could it be another he's found? -

It's breaking up the happy home".

And the chorus

"Mister can you tell me where
my love has gone?
He's a Japanese boy.

I woke up one morning and

my love was gone"

And that's about it. There's nothing specifically 'Japanese' about any of this; the titular 'boy' could have been any race under the sun, Scottish even, and it would not have made a slightest bit of difference to the 'message' which boils down to
'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep' as written by Proust.

And I think therein lies the rub - Sandeman's natural vocal lends itself to faux Peking Opera stylings and so when given Japanese lemons, she made Japanese lemonade and sold it like a carnival barker to anybody with an eye for the exotic (the 'eighties' of theme bar legend were spluttering into life and Boy George was just around the corner) and the ear for some harmless bubblegum.

Exotic and harmless - essential ingredients for any true, classic one hit wonder.

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