The sounds of Tokyo in the 80s are back in fashion

Nostalgia is seen by many to be something of an antidote to the uncertainty of our times.

City pop is a genre of music that originated in Japan in the 70s and 80s.

It sounds a lot like American jazz fusion (yes, the stuff that they still play in elevators and branches of Romans), but a bit more funky, and the lyrics are all obviously Japanese.

But apparently due to algorithmic recommendations on platforms like YouTube a Spotify - city pop is making a hellava comeback and is the meme music of choice on TikTok.

City pop is Japan's cultural interpretation of American glitz. It's how the East sees abundant money, style, fashion, mobile phones, success, cocaine and fast cars.

Ironically, Japan's audio translation of 80s American glam is now popular 40 years later back in America.

'One of the most explosive Japanese YouTube recommendation hits in recent memory is “Plastic Love,” Mariya Takeuchi’s 1984 disco-funk track about trying to dance away heartache. Selling a modest 10,000 copies upon release, the song suddenly spiked in popularity after an anonymous user named “Plastic Lover” uploaded an eight-minute version onto YouTube in July 2017. The song soon rose to the top of the music discovery subreddit r/listentothis, and proliferated further through memes and fan art. The video now has over 55 million views, although it was temporarily taken down after photographer Alan Levenson mounted a copyright strike over the thumbnail photo, a dreamy black-and-white headshot of Takeuchi. Nearly every young city pop fan I’ve talked to has cited “Plastic Love” as their gateway to the genre, and the YouTube algorithm as their route. Surprisingly, the song wasn’t available on Spotify until two months ago.' - via

Nostalgia is seen by many to be something of an antidote to the uncertainty of our times. When the world around you looks foreign, there is always an escape into the world of the past, where happy memories still exist - even if they're not exactly memories that you yourself have personally experienced.

Ambient soundscapes are another way to drown out the world, which have also become very popular recently.

Harry Potter fans are enjoying the background sounds of the Hogwarts dining hall, while others are just relaxing to the sounds of rain gently falling on the windows of a quiet coffeeshop.

For those wanting to create a 'memory of the future' - how about the soothing ambiance of a bedroom on a spaceship?

We all have our coping mechanisms to help us navigate the emotional rollercoaster of our times. These seem less invasive than some of the more extreme measure some people are taking, but are no less of a mental escape.


The Endless Life Cycle of Japanese City Pop
Boosted by the YouTube recommendations algorithm, and now TikTok memes, an American-influenced strain of vintage Japanese music has become a perennial cult hit online. The trend says more about Western perceptions of the East than the other way around.
The Soothing, Digital Rooms of YouTube
Ambience videos pair relaxing soundscapes with animated scenery to make viewers feel immersed in specific spaces, like a cozy library. They’re big with “Harry Potter” fans.
City Pop: Why Does the Soundtrack to Tokyo’s Tech Boom Still Resonate?
A new comp explores the opulent, gently surreal genre that once flooded Japan — and sheds light on modern pop tailor-made for the streaming age