New Clear Days – The Vapors

The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).

New Clear Days, by The Vapors

  • Debut album by British new wave band The Vapors, released in 1980.
  • Junior year of college – I am totally hooked on new wave pop music. The Cars, Elvis Costello, Devo, Talking Heads, Joe Jackson, Squeeze, The Knack. Then I heard Turning Japanese by The Vapors on the radio – and this album immediately became a “must have” record.
  • Definitely a one hit wonder – Turning Japanese snuck into the top 40, peaking at 36 (it reached #1 in Australia, #3 in the UK, and #7 in Canada), and the band never came close to charting again in the U.S.
  • Soon after the single was released, rumors that “Turning Japanese” was a euphemism for masturbation began to circulate – the facial expression during “the moment” resembling a man “turning Japanese.” David Fenton, songwriter and leader of The Vapors, denied this, though he thanked whoever first came up with the idea, since the publicity helped the song’s popularity.
  • This album has all of the new wave pop hooks that make it infectious. I’m listening to it as I write this – probably for the first time in 10 years –  and I can sing along with all the lyrics of every song as if it was 1981. I am sure I will listen to it 10 times in the next week! All of the songs are classic to me – I’ll call out Waiting For The Weekend and Letter From Hiro as the best.
  • The Vapors only released 1 more album before breaking up. Magnets was released in 1981 – a more ambitious album than New Clear Days, but totally ignored by The Vapors’ record company, radio and the public in general. I’m happy I purchased it though – more great new wave music!
  • The video of Turning Japanese can no longer be found on YouTube – bummer, it is low budget, cheesy and hilarious. But you can find their performance of the song on the UK music show Top of the Pops, and here it is!

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