Sharing thirteen versions of this song, is definitely overkill. I had planned to share a three-track single and then got carried away and started gathering all the versions I have. I will highlight my favourites as we go along…
The song in question is “Tokyo Wa Yoru No Shichiji” (literally “7pm in Tokyo”, but known in English as “The Night Is Still Young”), a 1993 single which was the first major release by Japanese alt-dance oddments Pizzicato Five after they’d slimmed down to a duo of Maki Nomiya and Yasuharu Konishi. It’s one of their straighter club dance tracks, rather than one of their quirky “modern retro” things like “Twiggy Twiggy” or “Baby Love Child”. At this stage they were still unknown in the West but the single would eventually appear on Matador’s second P5 compilation, The Sound Of Music, where I first heard it. The original version is still a favourite…
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (single version) – recommended pick!
The original single also featured an instrumental version (which I don’t have) and this mellower remix by Yukihiro Fukutomi:
Then in 1994, they revisited it in two very different versions. On the EP “A Television’s Workshop”, they did it in a more disco arrangement with rhythm guitar and strings. Nice! I suspect that if P5 themselves had to choose a definitive version, this might be the one. Probably the most immediately likeable version as well.
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (MFSB Readymade Mix) – recommended pick!
The other 1994 version was this remix (by Fukutomi again) which appeared on their album Overdose:
In 1995, during a promotional tour for The Sound Of Music, the duo did this live acoustic version for KCRW Los Angeles.
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (KCRW acoustic session) – recommended pick!
And when P5 finally split in 2001, their farewell compilation Pizzicato Five RIP (on their Japanese label Nippon Columbia, not Matador) featured yet another remix.
Since the split, both halves of the duo have revisited the song solo. Yasuharu was first, producing this 2006 version for his protege Karia Nomoto, aka Karly. “The First Cut” is the album version (the album being Dance Music, which I will share at some point), and is somewhere between the original and the Readymade MFSB arrangements:
Maki Nomiya waited a bit longer, and then put versions of “The Night Is Still Young” on four consecutive albums! The deluge started in 2012 when she marked 30 years in the business we call show by recording an album of “self covers”, including this:
I’m not sure that really adds anything to the previous versions. However, Nomiya’s more recent takes on the song, actually do something different with it. First is the swing arrangement on her 2014 live album Miss Maki Nomiya Sings Shibuya-kei Standards:
Link: Maki Nomiya – The Night Is Still Young (live) – recommended pick!
…which she also did a studio recording of for her 2015 album What The World Needs Now Is Love.
And her most recent re-invention of the song is this distinctively Japanese “bon odori” version, tacked on as a bonus track to her 2016 album Un Homme Et Une Femme. It’s a little bit cheesy, but an interesting twist all the same.
With The Cardigans on hiatus, 2001 saw Nina Persson branch out with her own band, A Camp, featuring her husband Nathan Larsson together with, at various stages of the recording, Niclas Frisk and Mark Linkous. The country-tinged songs were quite unlike what The Cardigans had been doing up to that point, though those who’d been paying attention to Larsson and Persson’s soundtrack work would have been less surprised. Being happily married didn’t seem to dull Nina’s tendency toward cynical lyrics about the darker side of love, though.
The country stylings spilled over into The Cardigans’ next album Long Gone Before Daylight, and anyone who loves that album (I think it’s their best) should certainly check out A Camp’s two long-players, A Camp (2001) and Colonia (2009). To get you started (or fill in the gaps), here’s all of A Camp’s officially released non-album tracks: three honest-to-goodness B-sides, three quite different versions of tracks from the debut album, and three covers…
Angel Of Sadness (Out On The Porch Version)
Song For The Leftovers (Radio Version)
Train Of Salvation
My Misery Is A Mystery
Such A Bad Comedown (Version 1 – The 1998 Recording)
Us And Them (Pink Floyd cover)
Boys Keep Swinging (Dave Bowie cover)
I’ve Done It Again (Grace Jones cover)
Download: A Camp Uncollected (Mediafire) (re-up)