Plastic Love

Mariya Takeuchi Plastic Love Souvenir Live Tour 2000

How many pop songs can you name that received an official music video decades after their release? Well, this is exactly what happened to Mariya Takeuchi’s tune Plastic Love from 1984. It was not before a couple of years ago that it became a smash hit online, accumulating no less than 100 million views on YouTube alone. The record company’s response to this was to produce a music video, 30 years after its first release.

Plastic Love and more

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 little East-Asian flavor. The song 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 was feeling after her loss.

Here is a playlist of my personal City Pop favorites (plus a bit of vaporwave):

A Million Miles Away by Macross 82-99 Cassette Cover Now And Forever
Macross 82-99

Big Wave by Tatsuro Yamashita Album CoverMagic Ways
Tatsuro Yamashita

late-late-summer-bread-and-butterSummer Blue
Bread & Butter

Love Trip by Takako Mamiya Album CoverOne More Night
Takako Mamiya

Mint Jams by Casiopea Album CoverAsayake

Magical by Yunko Ohashi Album CoverI love You So
Junko Ohashi

Mariya Takeuchi Souvenir Live Tour 2000Plastic Love
Mariya Takeuchi

Love Trip by Takako Mamiya Album CoverChinese Restaurant
Takako Mamiya

Japanese City Pop

The comeback of Plastic Love and City Pop could never have happened without the popularity of streaming platforms, which allowed for easy music sharing on a global scale. Interestingly, the comeback sprung from the West, not the East. Andy Cabic of the American folk band Vetiver attributes this to the music’s similarities with US West Coast pop. According to him, the musical experience is like “a fresh listen to the stuff you may have already heard and thought you knew.”