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Halcali - Ongaku no Susume


Straight from the middle middle-class ghettos of Gotanda, hard hittin’ MCettes Haruca (age 16) and Yucari (age 16) are back with their bling-bling, bang-bang, and boom-boom second album Ongaku no Susume.

The material is Olympic, but Silver Medal range — losing the Gold for Adolescent Japanese Girl Rap to their first effort, Bacon. I like the opening a capella/beatbox track, I like the the full-out ’80s electrofunk of “Fuwafuwa Brand New,” I have been won over by the 2/4 rock anthem “Marching March.” I may not yet understand the relation between “Strawberry Chips” and Christmas, but my heart is warm like roasted chestnuts. The straight-up techno of “Oboroge Copy View” does not fit with the flow, but I am not annoyed.

Okay, “Shibafu” is bad. Wait, was “Wakakusa Dance” made for Zetima? Why are they going “whoo-a whoo-a whooooo”? And stop that Japanese male from rapping! You are ruining my fantasy world where Japanese hiphop is a subculture made up of young Japanese girls who have no desire to in-authentically adopt African-American mannerisms and customs!

I am won over by “Baby Blue” although I don’t get the reference of sampling Boøwy, but neither will you if you are reading this in English.

Let’s also not kid ourselves, “Densetsu no Futari” is Puffy. It’s not Halcali. It’s Puffy. I don’t know if this is a uncredited guest spot, but it is absolutely Puffy.

The last track is classic Oshare Track Factory (the boys at Rip Slyme) — fun, short, sample-based, synthy. (And they reference a Del tha Funky Homosapien lyric from Handsome Boys Modeling School.) If anything, this album proves that Rip Slyme are really good at producing Halcali and they should fire everyone else.

Overall, I declare this album for the People’s Republic of Good J-Pop. Only the most heartless critic could fully slam this collection. Fine: the songs are way too long — do I really need six minutes of a Halcali track? — but I’ll manage. Paraphrasing someone dead and British and foppish, if there wasn’t Halcali, we’d have to invent them.

Extra Credit: Write an essay comparing Japan and America on the basis of differences between Halcali and FannyPack.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
November 11, 2004

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

2 Responses

  1. marxy Says:

    On second listen, they are really trying to “mature” the sound a bit, which means turning down the energy level. Growing up is hard to do, apparently.

  2. Jamie Says:

    It’s been done. WFMU’s Beware of the Blog: Halcali vs. Fannypack.