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The Vapors

The Vapors made a name for themselves with their popular 1980 single "Turning Japanese" and though frontman David Fenton has always denied rumors of the innuendo behind it, the song will probably always be known as a euphemism for self-pleasuring.
KY
Κείμενο Kristen Yoonsoo Kim
10.9.12

Every week, I will be listening to entire discographies of one-hit wonder bands and letting you know if their other songs are worth listening to or not. This week: The Vapors.

As a musician, being reduced to a "one-hit wonder" status can kind of suck, but when your one and only hit is widely regarded as a song about masturbation, can you even complain? The Vapors made a name for themselves with their popular 1980 single "Turning Japanese" and though frontman David Fenton has always denied rumors of the innuendo behind it, the song will probably always be known as a euphemism for self-pleasuring (especially with lyrics like "I've got your picture, I've got your picture, I'd like a million of you all to myself”). Fenton had explained that the song was never supposed to be dirty; rather, it is a post-breakup song, when you feel like you're going crazy and turning into someone else—oh right, like a Japanese person—but that explanation feels a little bit contrived. In an interview on VH1, the singer added: "It could have been [turning] Portuguese, Lebanese, anything that fit with that phrase. It had nothing to do with the Japanese." (Somehow, "turning Portuguese, I think I'm turning Portuguese" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.) In later interviews, though, he has been known to coyly reply, "Maybe, maybe not" to the question of masturbation, probably regretting not having come up with that interpretation first.

Read more about The Vapors over at Noisey.com