Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Rock Box" Track of the Day: Brother Noland, "Coconut Girl"

Before doing The Worm, James Franco hung out with worms for a few weeks and interviewed them about their day-to-day lives.
Song: "Coconut Girl" by Brother Noland
Released: 1982
Why's it part of the "Rock Box" playlist?: It's featured in Pineapple Express.
Which moment in Pineapple Express does it appear?: It accompanies the montage of pothead Dale (Seth Rogen) and his dealer Saul (current Best Actor Oscar nominee James Franco, in a performance I thought he should have been nominated for) hanging out with a trio of tough-talking kids they sold weed to. Dale and Saul's interaction with "Chachi" and his friends is reminiscent of the naturalistic scenes between the kids and Paul Schneider's railroad worker character in Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green's earlier film, the much more serious George Washington. Who knew Green would turn out to be such a good comedy director in Pineapple Express and Eastbound & Down? (Green's next film reunites him with Franco and Danny McBride--it's Your Highness, the medieval comedy that's become an Internet sensation because of, mmm, Natalie Portman in a thong).

Yesterday's "Rock Box" track was part of a Sym-Bionic Titan episode that was a source of minor controversy. Today's "Rock Box" track is also tied to some controversy--in England, that is. Pineapple Express was more controversial in England than it was here in America. Because they found the stoner kids sequence offensive, the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification), the English equivalent of the MPAA, gave the film an 18 certificate (their NC-17), which Columbia Pictures didn't want. The studio was shooting for a 15 for their release, so Columbia, Rogen and the Judd Apatow-led producers agreed to delete the stoner kids sequence to get a 15. Yeah, that BBFC uproar really stopped British kids from sneaking in to Pineapple Express like The Green Hornet said he used to do as a kid in order to glimpse racier fare when he noted that "I've been seeing R-rated movies since I was 12 years old and I'm okay!"

The maligned-in-the-U.K. sequence gives some nice exposure to a catchy tune I never heard before. "Coconut Girl," which was a radio hit in Brother Noland's home state of Hawaii, is an example of a sound called "Jawaiian," a genre that mixes Caribbean and Hawaiian elements. According to a 1992 Billboard article, the Jawaiian sound exploded in Hawaii in 1990 before peaking sales-wise in 1991.

From Honolulu magazine's 2010 "100 Years of Hawaiian Music" article:
Jawaiian became the scapegoat of choice for Hawaiian music buffs lamenting the decline of traditional culture. Not that it did anything to quell the reggae takeover. “If you talk to Hawaiian music purists, they revile Jawaiian,” says Amy Stillman. “If you talk to the rank and file, though, they love it. As soon as they’re out of halau, that’s what’s on the radio on the drive home. It’s expressing thoughts and sentiments that are relevant, in a musical language that is relevant.”

No comments:

Post a Comment