Japanese City Pop

Plastic Love by Mariya Takeuchi Official Video

Getting an official music video decades after its initial release is a rarity for a pop song. For Mariya Takeuchi’s 1984 song Plastic Love this was indeed the case. It took until 2019 for her record label, Warner Music Japan, to release an official music video. In the meantime, Plastic Love had become a smash hit on the Internet, racking up millions of views on YouTube and other music sharing platforms.

Plastic Love belongs to a subgenre of J-pop called Japanese City Pop. Stylistically, it is a blend of Western disco and funk music, spiced up with a bit of East-Asian flavor. The song tells the story of a woman who has lost the man she truly loves. No matter how much a new guy pursued her, she could not forget the loneliness she felt after her loss.

Music You Knew

The comeback of Plastic Love and City Pop is closely tied to streaming and music sharing platforms.

Andy Cabic of the American folk band Vetiver explains the music’s appeal to Westerners with its similarities to US West Coast pop. According to Cabic, the musical experience is like “a fresh listen to the stuff you may have already heard and thought you knew.”