I’ve prob­a­bly seen Sho­nen Knife (Wikipedia if you don’t read Ja­pane­se) more than any oth­er currently-performing rock band. When they get on stage you can count on a cou­ple of hours of pure high-energy high-melody high-rhythm hard-rockin’ fun, and you just can’t have too much of that. Rid­ing the Rock­et is just one of a cou­ple of dozen to­tal­ly great as-good-as-Rock-gets tunes.

Naoko Yamano


Just the fact­s: Sho­nen Knife were orig­i­nal­ly three young Ja­panese wom­en from Osaka, two of them sis­ter­s. They’ve switched in­stru­ments and mem­bers and have, over the years, be­come a ro­tat­ing plan­e­tary sys­tem around Naoko Ya­mano, who pro­vides lead gui­tar and vo­cals and a lot of song­writ­ing. Sho­nen Knife songs are short, loud, melo­di­ous and com­plete­ly in­com­pre­hen­si­ble. They are al­so usu­al­ly ex­treme­ly well-recorded, I orig­i­nal­ly ran across them in the au­dio­phile press. It helps that Naoko has fab­u­lous gui­tar sound and has nev­er, over the years, failed to hire a drum­mer who ap­par­ent­ly eats high ex­plo­sives for break­fast.

Did I say in­com­pre­hen­si­ble? They sing in both Ja­panese and English but you can’t un­der­stand ei­ther; they have adorably-cute Ja­panese ac­cents but even if you can lis­ten through that, it’s still pret­ty hard to un­der­stand. Con­sid­er our song of the day: Rid­ing on the rock­et / I wan­na go to Plu­to / Space foods are marsh­mal­lows, / as­para­gus, ice cream, ooh / Blue eyed kit­ty cat said / “Please let me go with you”.

BTW, the food theme is part of the sto­ry too; their (a­mus­ing and bilin­gual) blog is very food-centric.



I know that buy­ing “records” or “albums” is so passé these days, but if you were go­ing to do such a thing, there are very few things that will juice up your mu­sic col­lec­tion than a col­lec­tion of Sho­nen Knife tunes. I have their greatest-hits col­lec­tion Let’s Knife; an­oth­er good op­tion Burn­ing Farm, whose ti­tle track is ex­plo­sive­ly bril­liant and some­what based on Land of a Thou­sand Dances, which was a big hit for Wil­son Pick­et­t. But even more im­por­tan­t, go vis­it the Live page on their Web site; they tour the Anglo-sphere al­most ev­ery year (in fact I see they’re in Bri­tain next mon­th), and go see them! I guar­an­tee you’ll walk away with a big smile. Al­so, take your cam­er­a, I have loads of fun shoot­ing them.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. Wel­l, I wrote all this on­ly to dis­cov­er that you can’t get Rid­ing on the Rock­et from ei­ther iTunes or Ama­zon. So, I’m go­ing to sub­sti­tute some oth­er tunes: Twist Bar­bie on Ama­zon, Ex­plo­sion! on iTunes, Cal­abash on Spo­ti­fy. Aaaand, here’s live video of Rid­ing On The Rock­et.


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From: Walter Underwood (Mar 07 2018, at 09:04)

Ah, thank you. Now I know what I'll be listening to as a write my multi-threaded search metrics code today.

For a while, I used "Konnichiwa" as a ring tone. I loved it, but other people were startled.



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March 07, 2018
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