Back In The USSR

In America, we are free to use lame memes.

It is generally not considered appropriate, and certainly not politically correct to laugh about differences in cultures…. never mind that they’re often fucking hilarious.  One nation’s normal is another country’s extremely fucked up.  This is why we can watch the world’s worst Japanese to English translation program and laugh our asses off at how batshit crazy the people of Japan must be before we go back to posting photos of our half eaten dinner on Facebook.

Third world nations without electricity are mocking us… and not out of jealousy.

When we watch a video of people from a different place and even time, it’s hard not to be amused at details that just seem so foreign or out of place to us no matter how much we might tell ourselves it’s wrong to be an asshole.  But there are videos which that it is just impossible to watch and keep a straight face.  Let me show you something Nest follower Kosmo and the gang from Finland left in the comments of one of my posts a couple days ago….

Now you all remember those music programs that aired on TV way back in the day where a group would perform some of its hit songs in front of a studio audience.  Do you have a picture in your mind?  Does it look something like this?

She’s a DANCING! DANCING! Dancing machine…

Good!  Now here’s a clip from just such a program that aired in the Soviet Union in 1987.  What, you didn’t think they had pop music or even TV behind the Iron Curtain?  Shows how much you know.  The USSR not only had its own rock stars, but even promoted them on television as well!  The band you’re about to see translates from cyrillic into real letters as Alyans, which I think means “Alliance.”  The song is called “Na Zare,” which seems to become “At the Dawn” when you run it through a Google translator.  This five minute and forty second video is guaranteed to change your life.  Please do not attempt to drink any liquids while watching this…

If laughter is truly the best medicine, I’d like to think everyone who watches this train wreck should be able to skip all their flu shots for the next decade…

Wow, that’s really something else, isn’t it?  Alyans reminds me of a commie version of Depeche Mode, and their members look like a random group of weirdos who were all thrown together to sing songs about peace, love and glasnost.  The music isn’t bad, if you’re into 80’s stuff.  The singing is annoying as goddamn hell, but that’s what Stalin invented the mute button for.

This is still better than a televised Miley Cyrus concert.

Let’s meet the band!

The bass always sounds better when you move your lips to the plucking.

The bassist is the first guy we get to see plucking away at his sweatshop made instrument, and we can see he’s either moving his mouth along with the groove he’s laying down, or he’s actually a goldfish who leaped out of their bowl.  That green sweater he’s wearing is beyond hideous, but I guess it’ll be good for keeping warm when he gets sent to Siberia after this travesty airs down at the Kremlin.

I’d look just as cray cray if my bangs were hanging all the way down to my mouth.

Even in Mother Russia every good synth pop band needed multiple keyboardists, and Alyans has two.  Here’s one of them wearing a crappy leather jacket over…. yep, another hideous sweater.  Knowing the Soviet Union, the studio probably had to skimp on the furnace in order to afford all the production equipment.  The lock of hair that’s constantly dangling over his face is almost as distracting as the fake pin-on medals he got out of a gumball machine for his jacket.

The lead singer is a real piece of work.  Hey!  Cap’n Crunch called, and he wants his shoulder pads back.  While the image above is technically a still, it was captured in between verses when our singer’s voice isn’t needed, so he decides to stand like a statue and stare blankly into the studio lights… possibly searching deep into his soul to figure out just why in the hell he chose this career path in a strict communist country.  His Adam’s apple looks like it’s about to do a John Hurt and give birth to some nasty little alien out of his neck that, when it emerged, wouldn’t even be the weirdest creature on this show, because…..

The coolest dude in the entire fucking communist bloc!

This guy just fucking rules.  The Hawaiian shirt, the awesome shades, the cheesy 80’s John Oates mustache, the ballcap he took off the head of some KGB agent.  What makes this keyboardist so great is the way he stands out because he looks like an extra off the set of Cocktail rather than a Russian musician.  He’s probably a brilliant American spy who figured out that the best way to make the Russians not suspect he was not working for the free world was to look like he just stepped out of a Florida cabana.  Reverse psychology for the win!

The drum set is conspicuously unmanned, but I guess even Soviet Russia had lame ass drum machine technology… or maybe a well worn vinyl sample from a New Order album.  Anyway, let’s take a look at that beautiful studio audience who gets to witness all this awesomeness firsthand…

Hmmmmm, this is gonna be a tough crowd, I see.

Did your mom ever drag you to your little sister’s dance recital when you really, really didn’t want to go because you’d end up missing a brand new episode of Punky Brewster?  I think that happened to pretty much every member of the audience who looks like they’re being forced to watch this pathetic excuse for a concert against their will by the state.  Or maybe all those years of having to stand in line three hours for the last roll of toilet paper at the store just begin to take their toll on your patience after a while.  Perestroika can’t possibly come soon enough…

Forget nylons and capitalism… maybe we should have introduced Prozac to the former USSR.

I guess I’d be upset if the camera got a close up of my latest outbreak of zits, too.  But geez, is there anyone out there actually enjoying this muzak?

I think someone is about to bust a move…. or have a seizure.

There is actually one comrade in this audience who apparently doesn’t act like the Russian military is ready to snipe anyone who dares to have a good time.  This guy is seen very actively singing and dancing flailing around with the song…. much to the horror (lady, top right) and annoyance (lady, top left) of those around him.  You go with bad self, dude!

OK, you may be pushing the limits of mandatory fun now.

Oh my…. this guy is… really…. special.

Close your eyes….. must not laugh, must not laugh, must not laugh….

I’d worry about what a young Vladimir Putin was going to do with that stick he’s waving around at you, dude.

Aw, fuck it!  This guy’s a riot!

I told you that you’d never be able to keep a straight face!

Wasn’t that video just the greatest thing ever!?!!?

Yeah, rock on dude! Now when does Shelf Critter Theatre start?


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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26 Responses to Back In The USSR

  1. Merbear74 says:

    It just got about 5 degrees colder in here…

  2. crimsonowl63 says:

    Ah the USSR. I know it was bad for the people, but I couldn’t keep track of what countries separated and which merged with others. I know a few today, but not many. This was obviously about me. Same with Africa when the countries there wer all changing names. Did I say I’m horrible at geography.
    Anyway. This is an awful, awful song. You were able to catch a lot of horribleness though. I never noticed all that the first time I heard it because I was staring in disbelief. But you broke it all down for us.

    Oh yeah, when is Shelf Critter Theatre on again?

    • Ha! I learned geography at the tail end of the Cold War, and that’s how I still think of Europe even though about 15 new countries have sprung up since then. My 7th grade geography teacher even made sure we knew where all of the communist countries were in the world. Most of them have since moved on to….. well, other forms of government.

      I was laughing like a hyena the whole time I watched this video for the first time…. in fact, I was so focused on all of the visual fail in it that it took a few more watches before I really paid any attention to the music at all. I could tolerate the music, but that voice is ear bleeding….

      • crimsonowl63 says:

        I was taught geography but it never stuck. I am learning about different cultures but I couldn’t pick most out on a map. I laughed my ass off at all the “different” things in this video.

  3. Good thing you weren’t around during the annual Euro song contest in which Israel competed (unsuccessfully) every year. It was all the countries in and around Europe ranging from “hey, not bad!” to “OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT NOISE?”

    I’ve spent considerable time pondering the translation from Chinese and Japanese into proto-English. I used to think it was the middle school granddaughter of the CEO with her Japanese-English dictionary, but I think I was wrong. I think it was automated, like what they do on Google these days … but not nearly as good.

    • This is almost like a parody of 80’s Euro song contests…. or at least I would hope it is. The audience is what really gets me…. could they (with one exception) be any less excited to be there?

  4. Ladybuggz says:

    That was fucking painful! Don’t ever post anything like that again!! The guy in the Hawaiian shirt looked just like a guy I babysat for in 1981, Scary!

  5. That lead singer with his self-hugging epaulets is beyond bizarre, isn’t he? I can only imagine how you feel about Eurovision.

  6. thanks for the reminder…. I will unfriend buster immediately….
    I like this song, the lead singer has a voice what’s unique and what stays in our mind …

    • I will agree with you on the music, but that voice just wasn’t my cup of tea. And I don’t even think the audience was music fans…

      BTW, thank you for the nice card! There was a typo in the zip code, but the US Postal Service somehow still got it to my door, which is a Christmas miracle if there ever was one!

  7. Oh my…….oh me oh my……I absolutely HAD to watch it twice to be sure I saw what I thought I saw – which was not much. That audience could not have been less tuned in than they were with the exception of the guys you mentioned – and I think maybe they were four or five of the only ones there who MIGHT have had a little “sumthin-sumthin” in their pre-video vodka shots. I was semi-able to tolerate the singer’s voice until the last few minutes when it sounded more like a Russian tank had run over his foot than actual singing. Loved the Hawaiian shirt/shades though. Thanks for making my day. Truly.


  8. draliman says:

    Once again I find myself the only voice of reason, That was awesome! Okay, so most of the studio audience had been carefully lobotomised. Apart from that one dude who looked like he was going to burst into tears that he was actually there, in the crowd, watching his heroes live. I don’t blame him. Shame he got sent to a Gulag for “expressing enjoyment in a public space”. Oh well. Alyans rocks!

  9. So you didn´t like it, but I love it. Maye yoy should try the Russian band Kino.That Eurovision winner from Finland is the only time we have succeeded in that contest, I am so sorry.

    • I only didn’t like the singer… but he, as well as pretty much everyone else in that video, gave me a great laugh.

      That band in Fran’s video would probably be rock stars in the US. That’s some of the best concert costumery I have ever seen!

  10. Luis Ignacio Diaz Rodriguez says:

    God… the only guy who actually enjoyed the performance… I’d bet that he went to that show straight from Chernobyl.

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