japan - 80s pop hearts

annie milward / Sep 9, 2018

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Annie Milward very kindly provided us with this excellent list. Enjoy a myriad of curiosities embedded in these songs made in Japan a few decades ago.

Annie Milward on this collection: “This is an assembly of pop songs from the 1980’s with a synth-pop or disco heart. I stumbled across an all-female compilation from Cultures of Soul Records called Tokyo Nights: Female J-Pop Boogie Funk: 1981 to 1988 at the beginning of summer. It was at a time when I started searching for more female artists to listen to as I realised I was mainly listening to male voices. Each artist listed resist and sometimes playfully parody Western conceptions of the orient. They all avoid easy categorisation by spanning a mesh of genres from disco, proto techno, funk, exotica and folk through to new wave, house, electro and surf pop. The list complied is a reflection of the unbridled optimism, technological transformations and the excess and exuberance of Bubble-era Japan. The cultural collisions present in the sound give some form of future-city sensation. The centre is rooted with the Yellow Magic Orchestra and the solo projects of its members. Haruomi Hosono, Yukihiro Takahashi and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Along-side the Y.M.O and their solo works each member has produced, mixed and co-wrote a number of the other tracks listed. Songs such as ‘Scandal Night’ and ‘Zoot Kook’ are the fruits of long-standing collaborations between Hosono, Miharu Koshi and Sandii. Starting with gentle new wave r&b and soft vocal harmonies ‘Midnight Pretenders’ is from Tomoko Aran’s 1983 album Fuyukukan. Taken from Junko Ohashi’s Magic album ‘Dancin’’ has classic 808 post-disco boogie sounds overridden with soulful female vocals. ‘Kachyakuchyane’ from the album Left Handed Dream is a slow evolving spacious prototechno synth-pop track listed to remind us of the time before Sakamoto had started making wet music for bad films. Bright pop track ‘Sports Man’ is laced with Hosono’s definitive Linndrum sound. Ending with the title tracks from Takahashi’s album What Me Worry? Yukihiro clearly just loves Duran Duran and should have been entrusted to dream up the soundtrack for A View to a Kill with Grace Jones…”

  • 亜蘭知子 浮遊空間 Midnight Pretenders
  • JUNKO OHASHI-Dancin’
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto - Kachyakuchyane
  • Mariya Takeuchi 竹内 まりや Plastic Love
  • Mariah - 心臓の扉 (Shinzo No Tobira)
  • Miharu Koshi – L’Amour Toujours
  • Sandii – Zoot Kook
  • Haruomi Hosono - Sports Men
  • Chiemi Manabe - Untotooku (真鍋ちえみ - うんととおく)
  • Miharu Koshi - Parallelisme
  • Yukihiro Takahashi – Drip Dry Eyes
  • Tatsuro Yamashita and Minako Yoshida - Sparkle
  • Hiroyuki Namba – Hiru No Yume
  • Aragon – Horridula
  • Asami Kado – Kagami No Naka No Zyugatsu
  • Miharu Koshi | Scandal Night | 1983
  • Sandii - Drip Dry Eyes (Japan, 1980)
  • Sunday brunch
  • Yukihiro Takahashi - what, me worry?
  • Yukihiro Takahashi - it’s gonna work out