Being successful in the music world must be really tough, as the number of “one hit wonder” bands we can no doubt all think of testifies. Why is it that a group can come out with one song that somehow ticks all the right boxes and becomes incredibly popular, yet then fail to find that magic mix again?
The Vapors apparently thought themselves that they could become a one hit wonder after writing Turning Japanese, to the extent that they held the song back to be their second released single, in the hope that this damning fate wouldn’t happen to them. Sadly for them the strategy didn’t work, and so they will now forever be known to the masses just for this song.
However, it’s a good song to be remembered for, as its distinctive oriental sounding snatches make it instantly recognisable right from the start. The song is a very lively one with a catchy chorus that you only need to hear once to have it indelibly stamped into your brain (to be fair though the whole chorus does just consist of the following three lines repeated four times, so perhaps it’s no wonder)
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
The main lyrics talk about someone having a photograph of their big crush which they just can’t stop staring at because they are so besotted by them. So taken is the singer with their love interest that they would even like a Doctor to take a picture so they can look at then from the inside as well (as my particular favourite lyrics from the song state!).
Quite what this has to do with turning Japanese though I’m really not sure.
All in all a great fun song that whenever I hear it always takes me straight back to my youth. I also particularly like it for the weird sound effect that always reminds me of the ace puppet series Star Fleet. Listen out for it at the end of the song, which you can watch and listen to below. It’s when the traditionally dressed Japanese woman is playing the tubular bells.