1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear #76: Day Above Ground ‘s Asian Girlz


1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear

#76: Day Above Ground – Asian Girlz (2013)

MATT KELLY reviews a song that isn’t particularly bad musically, but fails the good taste test so woefully that it goes straight in the dumpster.

Warning: DO NOT READ, racism and grossness ahoy.

Ordinarily, when I separate a single from an album for this list, it’s because the single is horrid but the album isn’t so bad and doesn’t deserve the same fate. That isn’t the case here.

From what snippets I can find of it, Day Above Ground’s only LP, 2012’s High View, is *terrible* talentless awkward wonky rap-rock that is a cheap xerox of Linkin Park, and it would make this list if I could find a copy of it. But I can’t because it’s been wiped out of existence along with anything else to do with this band, the members self-immolating and doing their best to purge the internet of any reference to it.

If you’re asking why, you haven’t heard this song and missed the firestorm that accompanied its release. If you want to know what’s wrong with the song check those reading comprehension skills because the clue is in the name. “Surely,” you laugh nervously, “it isn’t a song sexually objectifying Asian women?”

Oh, my sweet summer child.


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This is a rare entry on the list where there isn’t any particular musical crime committed. It’s not good music, just standard soft rock given a modern production sheen, like Sugar Ray might attempt for a ballad. The problem here is the lyrics. And I could attempt to analyse and paraphrase what’s wrong here, but it’s better to let them speak for themselves. Warning: these aren’t an easy read and are super gross but that’s the point:

“I love your creamy yellow thighs
Ooh your slanted eyes
It’s the Year of the Dragon
Ninja p***y I’m stabbin’”

“You’re here illegally (best kind)
So baby marry me
Come on sit on my lap (right here baby)
Or we’ll send you back
And you age so well
I can barely tell
17 or 23?
Baby doesn’t matter to me”

Wow. Wow wow wow wow. Wow. And it kicks off with the oriental riff too.
Now this kind of thing often exists on internet-only releases made by teenagers in a basement, buried on some super obscure mp3 thing that will never see the light of day. This however was PROMOTED AS A SINGLE WITH A GLOSSY VIDEO. The band not only thought this was a good idea, they thought it would help their career and profile.

Now to hear them tell it, they’re satirizing clueless/creepy white guys’ stereotyping of Asian women. It’s a joke you see. And I’m sure that’s what they thought they were doing. Except there’s one small detail they got wrong – everything in the song is a lazy, painful jab at Asian people with the white doofus voicing this coming out unscathed.

Satire is supposed to target the culprit, not the victim. Things like “sit on my lap or we’ll send you back” and “slanted eyes” are cruel and insulting, and no Asian person was ever going to find that funny. At the end of the song the vocalists just begin shouting stuff like “Fried Lice, Sailor Moon, Wonton soup, Spring roll, Tibet.” That’s right, fried lice with an L.

I challenge you to spot the difference between this tirade and what a bunch of school bullies would shout at Asian students on the school bus. How hilarious it must be to have those memories brought back to them and to hear non-Asian people singing along. And I wonder if, for even half a minute, DAG would think it was a good idea to write a song like this for African American women. There’s just a fundamental failure here to take Asian people seriously, which takes this from joke racism to actual racism.

How could they not see how hurtful this was? Songwriters like Randy Newman have gotten away with songs like ‘Rednecks’ but successful satire such as that approaches the dangerous territory of voicing bigotry as performance by taking pains to establish that the performer is in character and delivering a message. There’s no message here. Day Above Ground just come roaring up like a bull in a china – I mean porcelain shop. They haven’t stopped to think about being careful with this, they haven’t considered it from the perspective of other communities, the MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF WRITING A SONG ABOUT OTHER COMMUNITIES.

And of course, there’s the video where even the towering beauty of model Levy Tran cannot compensate for the ickiness of the song, including a scene where she shrinks the band members down to tiny size and scrubs herself with them in the bath before they swim up her you know where. I am not making this up, God I wish I was.

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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