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Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love: the Face of City Pop

Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love: the Face of City Pop

As advocates for and practitioners of Vaporwave as a culture rummaged through forgotten songs from Japan’s City Pop boom of the 1980s, they uncovered a number of hits that were given a second chance at worldwide acclaim. One of the most notorious recipients of this re-emerging City Pop phenomenon is, of course, Mariya Takeuchi’s 1984 hit Plastic Love

Vaporwave and Future Funk artists scoured old hits for source material to sample in order to create the sounds and aesthetics associated with their genre. In the process of this, they have come across hits within the City Pop genre that was rather popular in the time period where City Pop thrived during the 80s, but relatively unknown to foreign markets.

The digital chopping board for such artists ends up producing pleasant results as they give old Japanese hooks a fresh, modern sound. However, an unexpected byproduct of the production of such music is the realization that the original tracks were excellent, to begin with. This has been proved with numerous songs, but the one that truly sticks out for most right now is Plastic Love. 

How did Plastic Love Become so Popular in recent years?

Well, Mariya Takeuchi has always been an extremely popular artist – that is, in Japan. The only difference is that with the emergence of City Pop due to in part Vaporwave culture, as well as Japanese culture as a whole, becoming more popular worldwide, the popularity of Mariya Takeuchi and Plastic Love has reached new audiences. 

Of course, there is also the fact that Vaporwave as a genre is seen as and feeds off of being a meme. Memes tend to spread like a brushfire in windy conditions. The accessibility and convenience of Youtube make spreading a song like Plastic Love as easy as posting a link to a video. 

With musical memes in the past like Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, we were essentially “tricked” into clicking links with feigned disdain for having clicked on the link, however, it was the idea that we were tricked that actually brought about the grievance in this case; many of us eventually came to the conclusion that Never Gonna Give You Up is actually a decent song. 

Consider that Rickrolling was merely the masses getting their first taste of the conveniences of streamable music, though in a rather quirky way. Years later, we have grown up as consumers of Youtube and memes as a part of daily life, and when we hear an unlikely jam, we take it at face value.

Could it have been another song that was propelled to new popularity? Sure. But Plastic Love is a good fit. Seeing as it wasn’t one of Takeuchi’s most popular songs, to begin with, an interesting side-effect of this boom to popularity is that while the rest of the world is learning of the song for the first time, it essentially gets a second chance to be rediscovered in Japan as well, which is, perhaps, the unintentional meta-game of Vaporwave and Future Funk.

What are the Lyrics to Plastic Love?

Those familiar with the song are probably also familiar with the bits of Engrish found throughout, including the outro which is entirely in Engrish. Below you’ll find the lyrics to the entire song in both Japanese, and Romanized Japanese:

Japanese

突然のキスや 熱いまなざしで

恋のプログラムを 狂わせないでね

出逢いと別れ 上手に打ち込んで

時間がくれば終わる Don’t hurry!

 

愛に傷ついた あの日からずっと

昼と夜が逆の 暮らしを続けて

はやりのDiscoで 踊り明かすうちに

おぼえた魔術なのよ I’m sorry!

 

わたしのことを決して 本気で愛さないで

恋なんてただのゲーム 楽しめばそれでいいの

閉ざした心を飾る 派手なドレスも靴も

孤独な友達

 

わたしを誘う人は 皮肉なものね いつも

彼に似てるわなぜか 思い出と重なり合う

グラスを落として急に 涙ぐんでも

わけは尋ねないでね

 

愛に傷ついた あの日からずっと

昼と夜が逆の 暮らしを続けて

はやりのDiscoで 踊り明かすうちに

おぼえた魔術なのよ I’m sorry!

 

わたしのことを決して 本気で愛さないで

恋なんてただのゲーム 楽しめばそれでいいの

閉ざした心を飾る 派手なドレスも靴も

孤独な友達

 

夜更けの高速で 眠りにつくころ

ハロゲンライトだけ 妖しく輝く

氷のように冷たい女だと

ささやく声がしても Don’t worry!

 

I’m just playing games

I know that’s plastic love

Dance to the plastic beat

Another morning comes

I’m just playing games

I know that’s plastic love

Dance to the plastic beat

Another morning comes

I’m just playing games

I know that’s plastic love

Dance to the plastic beat

Another morning comes

 

Romanized Japanese

Totsuzen no kiss ya 

Atsui manazashi de

Koi no PUROGURAMU wo kuruwasenai de ne

Deai to wakare jouzu ni uchikon de

Jikan ga kureba owaru don’t hurry!

 

Ai ni kizutsuita anohi kara zutto

Hiru to yoru ga gyaku no

Kurashi wo tsuzukete

Hayari no disco de odoriakasu uchi ni

Oboeta majutsu nanoyo I’m sorry!

 

Watashi no koto wo keshite

Honki de aisanaide

Koi nante tada no GEEMU 

Tanoshimeba sore de ii no

Tozashita kokoro wo kazaru

Hadena dress mo kutsu mo

Kodokuna tomodachi

 

Watashi wo sasou hito wa

Hiniku na monone itsumo

Kare ni niteiru wa nazeka

Omoide to kasanari au

GURASU o otoshite kyuni

Namida gunde mo wake wa

Tazune naidene

 

Ai ni kizutsuita ano hi kara zutto

Hiru to yoru ga gyaku no

Kurashi wo tsuzukete

Hayari no disco de odoriakasu uchi ni

Oboeta majutsu nanoyo I’m sorry!

 

Watashi no koto wo keshite

Honki de aisanai de

Koi nante tadano GEEMU

Tanoshimeba sore de ii no

Tozashita kokoro wo kazaru

Hadena DORESU mo kutsu mo

Kodoku na tomodachi

 

Yofuke no kousoku de

Nemuri ni tsuku koro

HAROGENRAITO dake ayashiku kagayaku

Koori no you ni tsumetai onna da to

Sasayaku koe ga shite mo Don’t worry!

 

I’m just playing games

I know that’s plastic love

Dance to the plastic beat

Another morning comes

I’m just playing games

I know that’s plastic love

Dance to the plastic beat

Another morning comes

I’m just playing games

I know that’s plastic love

Dance to the plastic beat

Another morning comes

Mariya Takeuchi
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