City pop fans around the world are freaking out right now. After 35 years of “Plastic Love’s” release, the iconic track finally gets the music video we’ve been all hoping for.
Warner Music Japan uploaded a music video for Mariya Takeuchi‘s “Plastic Love“ in their Youtube Channel. Directed by Kyoutaro Hayashi, the music video tries to encapsulate the era when the smash hit dropped, which was Japan’s thriving nightlife in the ’80s. The track is a single from VARIETY. It’s one of Takeuchi’s biggest releases that cemented her legacy in Japan.
However, “Plastic Love” cemented her legacy around the world. It sparked the worldwide interest for city pop once again. After a fan-uploaded video of the track went viral on Youtube, it started popping up randomly on people’s recommendations. It urged listeners to explore other figures of the genre like Junko Ohashi, Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Haruomi Hosono, and Miki Matsubara among other phenomenal city pop artists.
City pop is the genre that defined Tokyo nightlife in the late ’70s. VICE describes it as “easy-listening J-pop that drew on a variety of American and Asian influences including funk, soul, disco, lounge, and even yacht rock.” Due to “Plastic Love’s” viral fame, it became the figure of city pop’s resurgence in the late 2000s.
We can expect another huge release from Mariya Takeuchi real soon. On August 21, she plans to drop a 3-disc, 62 track compilation titled Turntable, in honor of her 40 years in the music industry.
Interested in knowing more about city pop? Or maybe you want to listen to tracks similar to “Plastic Love?” Here are some reccos from us to get you started.
“Stay with Me” by Miki Matsubara
Miki Matsubara’s single is a synth-funk bop. Like “Plastic Love,” it explores the themes of unrequited love and the longing it comes with. She’s more known as an anime singer outside Japan and has collaborated with Motown musicians from America. Sadly, she passed away from cervical cancer back in 2007. Her single still defined city pop for what it is today.
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“Sports Men” by Haruomi Hosono
Haruomi Hosono, along with the Yellow Magic Orchestra, did not only define city pop. They defined electronic music as we know it today alongside Kraftwerk and DEVO. It’s safe to say that “Sports Men” is the ultimate gateway drug to love this genre. With the lyrics in English, the language barrier for most of us vanishes, but the infectious simple synth patterns stay. TLDR; it’s guaranteed bop.
“Telephone Number” by Junko Ohashi
Like her contemporaries, Junko Ohashi tends to be prolific. She thrived during the peak of city pop. Apart from “Telephone Number,” she released hit after hit. “I Love You So” is another track from that pushed her success forward. She loves a good horns section and some lights synths elevating her already powerful vocal range. And frankly, so do we.
“Magic Ways” by Tatsuro Yamashita
How can we forget Tatsuro Yamashita? He’s not only the husband of Mariya, but he is also the king of “city pop.” He pioneered the genre alongside his wife. Both of their legacies are cemented in Japan’s contemporary music’s history. He has somehow merged soft-rock, synth pop, and funk into his distinctive sound palette. The result of this merge created hits under the genre like the track above.
Still from “Plastic Love”