Fusing Languages, Countries and Sounds

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Money Majik

The Japanese pop group Monkey Majik crosses musical and cultural barriers. hide caption

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Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Thank You"
  • Artist: Monkey Majik
  • CD: Thank You
  • Genre: Pop

The Japanese pop group Monkey Majik stands out in a crowd of its peers, and not just for its clever songwriting, its fusion of pop and hip-hop, and its rapid rise to overseas popularity in the wake of a few highly lauded independent releases. The band is also led by white Canadian brothers Blaise and Maynard Plant, who went to Japan to teach English and ended up sticking around, writing songs and performing with drummer Takuya Kikuchi and bassist Hideki.

"Thank You" expresses gratitude for family and friends far away — an understandable sentiment for two people so far from their home. It's listenable and engaging, and while the "hybrid" label that Monkey Majik carries around doesn't necessarily extend far beyond its demographics, that does bring to mind its songs' most striking element: their fusing of languages.

Listening to the Plants in interviews, it's clear that these guys fluently and fluidly flow from one tongue to the other, with no reason to allow for breaks or barriers. The song's celebration of Japan — "I love it so much, I don't think I could ever leave / I've made it my own and, yeah, it's home" — makes it clear that they're not mixing languages simply for shtick, but instead making the effort to be a part of everything. The result is a true hybrid whole: a new species, with equal balances of cultural genetics, all tied up with a catchy tune and sweet sentiments. "Thank You" represents who they are and where they are, and not just what they're saying.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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