Thursday, March 8, 2007

Strawberry Switchblade

We're traveling back to the eighties again, this time with Strawberry Switchblade's biggest hit, "Since Yesterday."

At first listen, the song seems like pure, unadulterated 80s kitsch. The primitive and jaunty drum machine, the lighthearted pulse of the synthesizer, the big, big, BIG hair - it's like stepping into the mind of a 12 year old girl circa 1984.

And it's all completely forgettable until you notice the woe-is-me lyrics: "And as we sit here alone... Looking for a reason to go on..." And so on. It's as if for two and a half minutes, the depressing lyrics are locked in battle with the bouncy synthpop instrumentation and the wacky stop motion video. Is this a happy fun song about two girls who love polka dots, or is it a melancholy ode to a universe devoid of meaning?

The song's understated edgy side gets another boost at the end when Rose McDowall (the black haired one) starts dancing like a doll. Cute, but also kind of creepy. Ah Rose McDowall... what a voice, what a beauty... Check out more of her music at her site, and her myspace page. Still cute, still creepy (in a good way!).

Last musing: maybe it's a stretch, maybe it isn't - but I look at Strawberry Switchblade's over-the-top, quasi-proto-gothish DIY getups and I see the beginnings of Japanese harajuku-style, gothic lolita fashion.

And as we know, Strawberry Switchblade was huge in Japan... For reals.

From Glasgow to Tokyo... what a journey. We here at All-Pop love it when subcultures blend and merge, becoming something new. Especially when it happens "organically," that is, not contrived by marketing types and focus groups. While pretty much forgotten, these two Scottish girls were something more than one hit wonders.

Check out this site for more on Strawberry Switchblade.

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