Last weekend, powerhouse comedians Sandwichman teamed up with long running pop-rock band Monkey Majik to release a new video & single that can only be described as channeling the funky spirit of the 1970s and future aesthetic of the 1980s. This isn’t something that is too out of place in the current musical landscape with global sensations like Bruno Mars and Daft Punk reaching back in time for inspiration to some of their biggest hits in recent memory. The reason for this to be on anyone’s radar is the instant success the video saw on YouTube immediately after release. While the collaborating acts both have long-storied careers, the response to this video has been overwhelmingly positive and garnered a lot of attention from netizens in Japan.
The track itself is a funky ride with a message of pure positivity. The lyrics have a theme of enjoying yourself and not sweating the little things. The chorus’s assertion that “Everything is no calorie” with lyrics that advise you to go to the gym and work it off later are a metaphor for that message. Using food as a theme throughout the song is something everyone can relate to and allows for some pretty solid wordplay throughout (as the duo of Sandwichman is most known for). Even the title is a portmanteau of Umai (Delicious) and Marvelous, something that might be lost on listeners who aren’t native Japanese speakers.
The video itself plays up on the funky sound of the song with visuals that seem clearly influenced by the video for Earth Wind & Fire’s “Let’s Groove”, and an overall pastiche that mimics the video quality of the time. The familiar look might even stand out to fans of recent hit anime, Pop Team Epic, as the show parodied the same overall aesthetic for their “Let’s Pop Together” segment in the first season. A coincidence I’m sure, as Monkey Majik hasn’t exactly shied away from parodying or mimicking the look of the past for their videos. The video for their 2016 single “Delicious” was a blatant parody of the now infamous “1988 Crystal Light National Aerobics Championships” opening video.
With “Umarvelous” racking up 750,000 views over the past week, it’s great as a fan of Monkey Majik to see success 16 years into their career. I’m really excited to see what they do next, as a band who has shown plenty of variety with their tracks over the years and participated in a number of amazing collaborations (including “Picture Perfect” with m-flo in 2007) the sky is the limit!