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It was only a matter of time before I created this thread lol so here we are.

 

City Pop, also known/seen as シティーポップ (shitī poppu) online, is the name given to the fusion genre of funk/disco/jazz/easy-listening music that existed in Japan from the late 70's and well into the 80's, where it became the national soundtrack of the times, providing an urban expression to the success and wonders of the city-life. Japan at this time was thriving due to the technological advancements during the 70's that allowed Japan's economy to explode when it came to exportation of consumer electronics and more, essentially making them a conglomerate for tech in the next decade that followed, and creating what many refer to as an "economic miracle", yet to be seen again today.

 

Here are several articles I've saved over the years if you'd like to know more:

 

The Musical Almanac: Japan’s City-Pop

The Breathless Bliss of City Pop

A Dreamy Trip back to Japans Capitalist Fantasy of the 1980s

A Guide to City Pop, the Soundtrack for Japan’s Bubble-Era Generation

 

The recent return of the genre state-side (we're always late to this stuff) by a number of DJs on YouTube, SoundCloud, and even Band Camp have given City Pop a breath of new life, and the reception has been so great that studios existing back then have since remastered and re-released albums (even on vinyl) for collectors and new fans alike.

 

Edit: According to @colorful人生:

 

On 8/20/2019 at 5:57 PM, colorful人生 said:

As someone who followed the resurgence early on, it is absolutely the rise in searches for vaporwave/future-funk sources that kicked the YT algorithm into high gear for suggesting city pop music. 

Very Cool!

 

While City Pop predates the surge of JPOP in the 90's and can be seen as one genre as a whole, I felt that City Pop deserved its own thread as the number of releases that spanned the 70's-80's are ENDLESS, and even today new music artists utilize/associate the music genre to their own work, so it's safe to make the distinction between the two.

 

Now I don't have a starter-pack for those looking to get into the genre, but I've listened to a major chunk of the releases online to give a great recommendations list for those curious. These releases are easily available on YouTube, are varied in musical style and year of release, and they were some of the first listens for me when I got started, so hopefully at least one of them will interest you guys.

 

(ラジ) Rajie - Heart to Heart (1977)

 

(山下 達郎)Tatsuro Yamashita - SPACY (1977)

 

(みき松原 ) Miki Matsubara - Pocket Park (1980)

 

(貴子間宮)Takako Mamiya - Love Trip (1982)

 

(パイパー) Piper - Summer Breeze (1983)

 

(知子亜蘭) Tomoko Aran - More Relax (1984)

 

(敏生角松)Toshiki Kadomatsu - After 5 Clash (1984)

 

(桃子菊池) Momoko Kikuchi - Adventure (1986)

 

(明菜中森) Akina Nakamori - Stock (1988) 

NOTE:

Spoiler

At this point, City Pop music began to incorporate styles that were then used to start the wave of JPOP in the 90's, and this album is great representation of those changes.

 

That being said, there are still many artists to check out, so here's are a few more names for you to search for in your spare time.

Spoiler

 

Junko Ohashi

Makoto Matsushita

Mariya Takeuchi

Taeko Ohnuki

Kingo Hamada

Yuko Tomita

Ritsuko Kazami

Anri

Hiroshi Sato

Kiyotaka Sugiyama (with or w/o Omega Tribe)

Yasuha

Kaoru Akimoto

Mai Yamane

Junko Yagami

CINDY

Kimiko Kasai

Yumi Matsutoya

Noriki

 

 

I'll come back and update this (took a couple days to put together lol) with more recommendations when I can.

 

So who else here listens to these J-Oldies?

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yay, someone finally made this thread 😄

 

As someone who followed the resurgence early on, it is absolutely the rise in searches for vaporwave/future-funk sources that kicked the YT algorithm into high gear for suggesting city pop music. 

 

I had a smattering of city pop in my "repertoire", including Rajie and Kikuchi Momoko, before its 2010's resurgence, but the vaporwave/future funk boom def. grew that tenfold. There's a lot of parallels and inspiration between yacht rock, quiet storm (which I grew up listening to), and city pop, so the genre is something that appeals to me. In fact, Haruomi Hosono (of Apryl Fool, YMO, and other works) second band, Happy End, was pretty much nippon yacht-rock. He could basically have his own thread for how much he's influenced in the jpop world. 

 

---

 

I think Yuki Saito counts (whom I'm a huge fan of.) There's a huge overlap between 70's~80's idol kayo and city pop, but I tend to associate city pop w/ more pronounced beats and disco influence (?) Though city pop is not exactly absent of slow songs and not everything in that time period could really be considered city pop. I guess it's whatever has that "big city" feel, lol.

 

 

 

Edited by colorful人生

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1 hour ago, colorful人生 said:

As someone who followed the resurgence early on, it is absolutely the rise in searches for vaporwave/future-funk sources that kicked the YT algorithm into high gear for suggesting city pop music. 

I had no idea this was a thing.

 

My exposure was around 2013, after finding a YT vid for Miki Matsubara's "Stay With Me", followed by the future funk/bass/disco/trap/etc, and then getting in touch with DJs (like the DJ Van Paugam I mentioned before, now living in Chicago) who were starting YT channels for City Pop (including a 24/7 livestream). Damn!

 

Thanks for the info! I'll be sure to add this to the OP @colorful人生.

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32 minutes ago, YuyoDrift said:

I had no idea this was a thing.

 

My exposure was around 2013, after finding a YT vid for Miki Matsubara's "Stay With Me", followed by the future funk/bass/disco/trap/etc, and then getting in touch with DJs (like the DJ Van Paugam I mentioned before, now living in Chicago) who were starting YT channels for City Pop (including a 24/7 livestream). Damn!

 

Thanks for the info! I'll be sure to add this to the OP @colorful人生.

 

This goes into the whole Plastic Love phenomenon (w/ some detours into meme culture), but 6:20~ish on can be extrapolated to a lot of the city pop resurgence. I go a bit more into Future Funk on the vaporwave thread. While vaporwave and ff have moved away from the spotlight, city pop is picking back up again thanks to DJ Van Paugam and the like. 

 

I'll also add that 4chan has had city pop discussions since forever on /mu/, /gif/, and /wsg/. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the proto-stuff was influenced from that existing circulation. Though they were initially pretty critical of Ramona Xavier/Vektroid/Macintosh Plus' Floral Shoppe in 2012.

Edited by colorful人生

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^^ I actually just discovered her the other day lol.

This album I hear was one of the last known albums to retain the city-pop theme, as it was released in 1990, I think. Right now I'm trying to investigate what happened to the trend, and pinpoint exactly when the shift to a more JPOP oriented era began. But I'll get back to you guys on that.

 

One artist that I had in my head for a while now (but I kept forgetting her name) was (柴田 妙子) Taeko Rei, who I've only ever seen featured in a city pop playlist once. Guess she went under the radar during the resurgence for many people. Her albums were meh, and she was a part of those artists that had a more intense city pop vibe.

 

This track was one of my favorites from her LP in 1984.

 

Spoiler

 

 

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To me, city-pop is just an extension of the old-school r&b/soul/funk stuff that I was raised on - everything from motown to Earth, Wind & Fire, and more. Basically, stuff that my parents used to listen to that's still dope to this day. So naturally, I enjoy this style of music.

 

I'll give a shout-out to HITOMITOI (一十三十一), who's a more recent artist than some of the names mentioned so far. She started off making some pretty quirky jpop in the early to mid 00's, but I don't think she's ever been particularly well-known...or at least I've never really seen her talked about much among overseas fans. Anyways, here last few albums have taken on city-poppish direction, and I think she's worth a mention!

 

 

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Since city-pop never actually died as a style, there are diamonds hidden within the many genres that emerged since going back into hiding, and part of this thread is finding some of those "in between the times" releases that prove that city pop is the fusion genre that adapted to make it this far.

 

I stumbled on this 2013 album by BLU-SWING, a musical group that began activities around 2008, focusing on swing/jazz and adapting with funk/hip-hop as well. Pretty good.

 

Spoiler

 

 

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I wonder if Sai Yoshiko - Mangekyou is even citypop? I stumbled upon it while searching for citypop recommendations and it was aaamazing. But although it was the same era I think it is much experimental. Maybe not citypop. Loved anyway 

 

https://youtu.be/JdhhCCiIx40 

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Though city pop is a loosely defined genre Akina's STOCK album is def not city pop nor a representation of a whole genre subset evolving, if anything this is tame compared to the shock to the nation with her releasing the experimental dark album Fushigi years earlier.  Someone as huge as Nakamori Akina with such a varied career, she is just "the utahime" but some earlier albums have some songs that are more groovy/city pop-ish?.

It seems the term is gaining new meaning in the west that encompasses all 70-80s jpop to some? Ive never heard anyone use it for such big jpop idols like akina or moritaka chisato, they are just majorly popular 80s jpop.

Edited by ghostpepper

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On 2/18/2020 at 5:27 PM, ghostpepper said:

Though city pop is a loosely defined genre Akina's STOCK album is def not city pop nor a representation of a whole genre subset evolving, if anything this is tame compared to the shock to the nation with her releasing the experimental dark album Fushigi years earlier.  Someone as huge as Nakamori Akina with such a varied career, she is just "the utahime" but some earlier albums have some songs that are more groovy/city pop-ish?.

Akina specifically I'd agree does not represent the "transition" that ultimately gave more recognition to JPOP going into the 90's (something I'm more familiar with). It is also why I made sure to NOT include any of her previous work as she as a singer does not fit into any one-category of music. Due to the limited amount of sources that I could find at the time of creating this thread, there was no accurate release that I could link to that would best represent that shift, it was simply that STOCK continued using elements of the genre while introducing composition styles that we're already being used by singers like DCT and ZARD in the 90's and the introduction of idols groups in the late 80's like Onyanko Club if we want to refer to stuff before 1990.

 

But all this reference stuff was more than 1/2 a year ago and if there are now releases available online to listen to and use as a more accurate metric to end the era of city pop, by all means feel free and share them here.

 

On 2/18/2020 at 5:27 PM, ghostpepper said:

It seems the term is gaining new meaning in the west that encompasses all 70-80s jpop to some? Ive never heard anyone use it for such big jpop idols like akina or moritaka chisato, they are just majorly popular 80s jpop.

It's easier to accept this explanation than to try and give an alternative. We are 2 decades too late before the west had access to it thanks to the internet and a TON of 90's music from Japan has been categorized under the umbrella of the "JPOP" genre that most are familiar with, sound-wise (i.e. the mid-late 90's stuff).

 

Edited by YuyoDrift
I'm actually glad that someone actually did the whole "Akina is not city pop!" callout lol. When I put her in as a recommendation I was kind of half-hoping that someone with more clarity on this could infer on why I chose her and not someone else. Heh

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16 hours ago, YuyoDrift said:

Akina specifically I'd agree does not represent the "transition" that ultimately gave more recognition to JPOP going into the 90's (something I'm more familiar with). It is also why I made sure to NOT include any of her previous work as she as a singer does not fit into any one-category of music. Due to the limited amount of sources that I could find at the time of creating this thread, there was no accurate release that I could link to that would best represent that shift, it was simply that STOCK continued using elements of the genre while introducing composition styles that we're already being used by singers like DCT and ZARD in the 90's and the introduction of idols groups in the late 80's like Onyanko Club if we want to refer to stuff before 1990.

 

But all this reference stuff was more than 1/2 a year ago and if there are now releases available online to listen to and use as a more accurate metric to end the era of city pop, by all means feel free and share them here.

 

It's easier to accept this explanation than to try and give an alternative. We are 2 decades too late before the west had access to it thanks to the internet and a TON of 90's music from Japan has been categorized under the umbrella of the "JPOP" genre that most are familiar with, sound-wise (i.e. the mid-late 90's stuff).

 

If you ever come to vist should check out Hit Parade bar in Machida, I think youd love it since you are exploring the 80s jpop stuff (•ө•)♡

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Waiting for a couple shipments before I update my cassette collection (both here and discogs), but I've started collecting city pop + 80's/90's J-pop cassettes.

 

cassettes.jpg

 

---

 

I've recently got into Kazami Ritsuko:

 

 

Probably going to cop the cassette release of アヴァンチュリエ (Avantulier), her second album.

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Forgot to mention this but my boi Van Paugam had a hell of a tweet to share last week.

 

 

I had no idea it happened (I miss my city :()but still cool to hear about.

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