Plastic Love

Can you think of a pop song that has got an official music video from its record company 35 years after its release? Well, this actually happened to Mariya Takeuchi’s 1984 tune Plastic Love.

In 2017, the song became an unexpected smash hit on YouTube, accumulating well over 100 million views in total since then. It seems, the record company did not want to stand apart any longer in the light of this massive exposure.

Plastic Love (& More City Pop)

Plastic Love tells the story of a woman who lost the man she truly loves. Any new guy pursuing her could not make her forget the loneliness she feels after her loss. Stylistically, the song is a blend of Western disco and funk with a few Asian influences. This sound, dubbed City Pop, became mainstream in Japan during the 70s and 80s. Reflecting an urban, middle-class lifestyle, it brings to life the days of the Sony Walkman, when the country was the world’s economic powerhouse.

Attracting Western Audiences

I guess it is fair to say that City Pop probably never would have had its comeback without the existence of music streaming services. Platforms such as SoundCloud, Spotify, or YouTube revolutionized the way how people interact on music they like, paving the way for niche genres to find new audiences.

The greatest surprise in the comeback of City Pop was probably that this time it attracted Western audiences as well. Andy Cabic of the American folk band Vetiver attributes this success to the music’s similarities with US West Coast pop. According to him, City Pop is like “a fresh listen to the stuff you may have already heard and thought you knew.”