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A 25-Year-Old Dinosaur Jr. Song Is a Hit in Japan. Nobody Knows Why.

Pitchfork logo Pitchfork 2/8/2019 Noah Yoo
a person holding a guitar: Dinosaur Jr. © Dinosaur Jr. photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr.’s 1994 song “Over Your Shoulder” hit the Billboard Japan charts this week, topping the Hot Overseas chart and entering the Hot 100 at #18 (above other Western artists such as Ariana Grande and Queen). The closing track from their album Without a Sound garnered the majority of its plays in Japan via YouTube, according to a Billboard report, racking up a staggering 8 million views last week.

Nobody seems to know why, though some Japanese readers have claimed that the song was recently used in a popular TV show called “Gachniko Fight Club.”

“Over Your Shoulder” was never released as a single, and has not been reissued in any capacity in Japan recently. It does not appear in a new popular film, nor does it appear to soundtrack a meme or viral video. Pitchfork has been unable to source the video or videos that garnered these plays; Billboard was also unable to find the source of the 8 million views.

“The likely answer is that some unknown user uploaded a video or videos using these songs, which were then viewed enough times for the songs to make significant inroads into the ranking,” their report reads. It is possible that the videos in question are region-locked to Japan.

Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for Dinosaur Jr., Billboard, and YouTube for further comment. 

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