This one is pulling deep into that annul known as the late 90s where MP3s were non existent and everyone had a mandatory duty to report to Real Groovy for their fix of music.
If the Beastie Boys knew that they caused a big pop explosion within their small circle, then effectively we would’ve got a newly named genre of music which I would’ve called ‘Beastie Alt’ because it had this raw uncertainty of not being too conventional and not being too edgy for the sake of being too edgy. I mean let’s look at the bands that were involved with Grand Royal Records before it closed its doors. We had bands and artists such as Butter 08 (a side project of Cibo Matto), Buffalo Daughter, Luscious Jackson, Money Mark, At the Drive in, BS 2000, Bran Van 3000, and Sean Lennon.
Now looking at that does make you think that Grand Royal was not a conventional label to begin with having punk, electronic, and alt sound bands within their roster. I would say that this was the golden era of Beastie Alt……..until it all ended in 2001.
So how does Cibo Matto fit into this equation, The Answer?…..Stereotype A.
With the bands aforementioned earlier, this was Cibo Matto in their prime. But sadly this was the last album from them because they knew that a newer generation will not understand them if they continued, and believe me, I really wouldn’t blame them if they still went on. They knew when to call it quits and they did leave an impressive album to remember them by.
Stereotype A does a good job at shattering perceptions about Eastern music, especially from Japan. Sure Japanese artists have been passed off as being overtly cute, saccharine, reinterpret of western music, but that’s the beauty of it. However in Cibo Matto’s case it’s a matter of alot of American influences coupled with pop punk alt aggressiveness of their Japanese upbringing of hello USA. I mean both of them did move to New York from their native Japan
‘Working for Vacation’ is a salary man’s dream anthem to free themselves from the shackles of the boring 9 to 5 with Miho Hatori rapping ‘Working for vacation walking for meditation. Watching television for as long as I want’
‘Spoon’ is another beauty with classic wah wah guitars, flamenco solos and odd word placement here and there.
‘Lint of Love’ is your oddball hip hop inspired tune with some quirky rapping back n forth with Miho and Duma Love. And I swear I can hear backing vocals from Sean Lennon!
‘Moon Child’ has Miho sweet vocals in this rather obligatory crooner-like melody. I specially love the lyric ‘Moonchild still lives in my heart. Can I ask you something
is your life better now?’
‘Sci-Fi Wasabi’ is probably the only standout track from them due to it having mainstream airplay on various media at the time, and who could blame them? It’s catchy, fun and bouncy with a strange Doomsday like instrument arrangement….or a very good sample, depending on how one views it. And again, you got to give it up to Miho’s playfulness with lyrics such as ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi told me in the lobby’
‘King of Silence’ has Miho (again) over announcing she can ‘take your pain away’ with some Brazil like guitars, Organs and a love amalgamation of horns with some ‘dadadadadaaa’ in between.
‘Blue Train’ is Cibo Matto’s testament to eclectic-ness and open minded experimental-ness as it shocks the listen in wonder as to what happened to the cuteness factor of Cibo Matto’s exterior to WTF. It’s basically a faux death metal tune with evil strumming from the provided guitars and the screaming and almost evil whisper of Miho’s voice echoing, almost tapping into their cousins Buffalo Daughter.
‘Sunday part II’ slows it down with a lovely church organ wailing and some nice slow drumming and god if I have to mention Miho in another paragraph, I’m going to scream because she is fucking awesome!
Although this is a brand new generation, I hope that this review will convince you to have a look into our rich past of Generation X starting with this classic gem. I mean the late 90s was my apex of what good music was, and my MTV was actually worth watching before selling out to Viacom.
Even though Cibo Matto is no longer, this will be etched into my subconsciousness as a great classic album!