"Linda Linda" is a famous Japanese punk rock song by a famous Japanese punk rock band called The Blue Hearts. It can be recognized in the field by its inscrutable refrain of


and by the fact that, if you hear it in or around 2008, it is invariably being sung in a karaoke box by an intoxicated salaryman around the age of 40.

The song came out in 1987. If you search for it on YouTube (which is, at least for the next few months, the modern-day equivalent of Audiogalaxy) you can find a live version performed on a Japanese music program around this time, back when Japan was still the Wild West of the OECD. It is rather painful to watch, because around 1987, the average Japanese person was too busy buying Manhattan to have any idea what the word "style" meant. (I should add that the Japanese have recently graduated to the stage where they can buy Manhattan and be stylish in the process.)

Anyway, this was the environment in which the Blue Hearts unleashed their most notable song, and it stuck to the blue hearts of all the young people growing up in Japan at the time. Which is part of the reason why its biggest proponents today are those same young people upon receipt of a lot of alcohol and a microphone. But "Linda Linda" has a secret weapon, or rather, a slew of them.

See, being a true punk rock song, it is not actually meant to be sung. Rather, it is meant to be drunkenly screamed, preferably with several friends providing harmony. (You can tell this is the intention because this is how the Blue Hearts themselves "sing" the "song.") This had the side effect of making it a perfect karaoke selection for guys with no singing voice and minimal shame.

And there is the added bonus that one word, "Linda," appears 60 times in the canonical text of the song, not including all the times it must be repeated on the fade out at the end. This provides the added benefit of not having to worry about forgetting the words.

Applying the scientific method as I learned it in community college, I am forced to conclude that "Linda Linda" represents one of the greatest feats of musical engineering ever to emerge from Japan: its brilliantly evil designers managed to conjure up the perfect storm of acoustics to guarantee the status of this song as a cult favorite, at least until the children of the eighties lose their ability to scream.

The few comprehensible lyrics there are in this song pertain to unrequited love, which is what most Japanese guys in their 40s feel every time they expense a trip to the hostess club.

Like I said, perfect storm.

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