Samantha’s Favorite – Whatever Happened To Power Pop

Artist: Samantha’s Favorite
Genre: Power Pop
Title: Whatever Happened To Power Pop
Released: 1998
Label: KOGA40
Format: CD (Real Japanese import)
Musicians: Koji Ozaki-lead vocal, guitar, trumpet, Teruyuki Shimamura-lead guitar,background vocals, keyboards, Takuo Kasuya-bass, background vocals, Takashi Ikeda-drums, backing vocals
Producer: Samantha’s Favorite
Mastering Engineer: Hikari Mitsufuji

The title of this album asks the question: Whatever Happened To Power Pop. Answer: It went to Japan. What’s more interesting is how I got this CD.

I attended a local stop of the International Pop Overthrow tour back in 1999 at a park near me at the time. There were a bunch of bands that were finalists and they were taking votes at each stop to see who got the most votes to win the contest.

I was alerted by a friend of mine who was into power pop to check this band out. So the time came for them to take the stage, but it turned out that the bass player was MIA. He had gone to eat with someone in their entourage and had not returned and nobody knew where he was. One of the other guys in the band asked me through an interpreter if I played bass. (I don’t ). Finally after about 10 more minutes the bass player arrived and they started.
I was expecting some half-hearted effort and screaming in Japanese. That’s not what happened. These guys came on with an all out power pop assault, fine-tuned and sang in perfect English! I stood there thinking, “not only are these guys really good, but how did we go from not speaking or understanding a single word of English 15 minutes ago, to perfect sung English now”? It was a joy to watch these guys play and the crowd was really into them and they were very humbled by it all.
After the set, they came off the stage and walked over to me. (I was active in the music scene, not necessarily the pop music, but none the less, they did not know I was working in the music scene, so I think it was just that I happen to be standing there and they saw me first. They had this really nice girl with them, she was an interpreter and also had some business position with the band. Through her, the lead singer started talking to me asking what I thought and I gave deserved high marks, they really gave what power pop is to the crowd. After a few minutes the voting started and they won. It was a big deal apparently because they actually started crying in joy! After composing themselves and thanking everyone all over the place, they came back up to me and wanted to talk some more.
There was some more interpreter back and forth and I asked her how it was that they can’t speak or understand a word of English in conversation, but sing perfect English in music. The answer was that they understand music is the universal language. How did they know what I was thinking?! (That is an example of the power of music)!
Actually, it’s true and made a good point. So through their interpreter (who was having more fun chatting with me as well for some reason), the lead singer and the rest asked who some of my favorite bands were. I said the first one, “Rush” and they recognized it  and all said, “ah, yes, Rush” enthusiastically with thumbs up to me standing there with a somewhat surprised and delighted look. Every band I named they knew and liked and tried to talk about with very broken English. Wow, “A” for effort!. They wouldn’t stop, so we went on like that with a bit of help from the girl with them for another 20 minutes and then it was time to go. The singer reached into his shoulder bag he had with him and pulled out this very CD and had told me through the girl to hold on before he gave it to me. He signed it and then had all the others sign it too and all in English and humbly handed it to me for which I was very grateful, they did not have to do that. The interpreter girl thanked me too and gave me a hug, I don’t know why. And that is how I got this CD.

I’m not going to break down the songs, but I can tell you that if you like power pop and like it pure, these guys deliver. Unfortunately, I can’t find any examples on YouTube nor would I know where to get their CD.


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