The world is a harsh place, and it often seems to be getting worse, not better. Everywhere, there are wars being waged that seem to have no possible satisfactory end. Global warming is imminent, yet people in power like George W. Bush pretend that it isn't in favor of making more money. People are abusing and stealing from each other constantly. Seen in this light, I suppose it's understandable that bands like Komeda are becoming more popular. What better way to forget about the plights of the world than to listen to Sesame Street music for grown-ups?
Take the song "Fade In Fade Out," for instance. I swear they sort of paraphrased the Sesame Street theme song in order to talk about how "...the earth is getting warmer." In fact, the backup singers seem obsessed with this, repeating it over and over again. I like my songs to come with a message, but not to be beat into me like this, and not wrapped in pop music. I'm not even sure what they intend with this repitition, either. Are we supposed to get so annoyed with it that we take aluminum baseball bats to SUVs and refrigerators? Or are we supposed to learn how to tie a noose and find a high place to throw the rope around? This is how I imagine it would be to sleep on a bed of nails; it may be comfortable in one way, but it is uncomfortable in another. Maybe that is their point...?
Unfortunately, at the same time as they are pounding these not-so-great lyrics into your head, Komeda is also insidiously catchy. You may hear them only once, but you will walk away with their skipping beats and silly words velcroed into your brain for the next week. It is not unlike being bitten by a pit bull that locks its jaw in place and will not release you no matter how much you may struggle and fight. Their beats stick to your mind like burrs to your clothes. They reinterpret '70s and '80s music for the '00s. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wasn't even alive in the '70s and see nothing to be nostalgic about from the tasteless '80s.
There are a few songs that are really good examples of this. In "Elvira Maddigan," full of synthetic sounds, the second half of the song suddenly sports an electric guitar. The frantic first half, on the other hand, could easily be on the "Footloose" soundtrack. I don't know who Elvira Maddigan is, but this song has made me incredibly prejudiced against her. The mind-numbingly senseless lyrics of "Blossom (Got To Get It Out)" remind me of lifeless '80s pop as well. "So we never talk 'bout you/ 'Bout me/ 'Bout she/ 'Bout he/ 'Bout them/ And how we all feel," Lena Karlsson sings. There is something about a "victory lane" as well. What the hell is the point of this song?
"Catcher" even gets so cheap as to feature kids as backup singers, repeating "Bup bup ba, Bupbup ba da." According to this song, "there ain't no catcher in the rye." I've never read the book, so I have no clue what this is a reference to, but it seems like they are cheating somehow. Shouldn't your lyrics be your own words and ideas, and not taken from someone else? But then, every Komeda song is a collage of bands that have come before. You can say this is a good thing, since I have some good memories of a lot of the songs they seem to have borrowed from, but I'd rather listen to the original song. Even "Brother" sounds suspiciously like an imitation of a De La Soul song, thanks to Karlsson singing backup to Jonas Holmberg's rap-lite.
Each component of "Kokomemedada" is good in its own way. They know how to play their instruments well. The compositions are complete. Karlsson and Holmberg both have beautiful voices. But it's so cute, it makes me wonder if trepannation might help me appreciate it. Maybe, by removing a small section of my skull, I could actually enjoy this Sesame Street for Adults, but I tend to think it is better to keep the protective covering around my brain intact. 3/10 -- Eden Hemming Rose (25 May, 2005)