Fantasy Travel for Teens: Connection between CITY POP and Animation

This article is provided by the public illusion. .


※ This article is an extension of City Pop, which is closely related to animation. It is an extension of the second edition of “The Song of the Japanese Anime Gold 80s”, so this issue is an extra part. .

1. What is the music in the “GARDEN” coffee shop in “Love as Rain”? .

This year’s new show “Love Like Rain” is a work worthy of attention. Its delicate, retro expression is like asking you to watch the girl comics of the Showa era in the window. .

In this story, the girl works part-time at a coffee restaurant called “GARDEN”, and she has her own secrets. When the store was busy, she took a dessert from the kitchen stall and sent it to the guest, then walked back and looked at the manager who was leaning against the guest to apologize. This scene in the animation is surrounded by a kind of brisk music. The simple performances of various musical instruments are combined with each other. Half of them will pull people into the leisurely field, and half will remind you of the surrounding busyness. Perfunctory. .


GARDEN Cafe interior. .

This is the music that almost all story backgrounds use in modern city animations. It describes an objective environment: people in restaurants, hotels, and coffee bars are eating, resting, and talking. The girl’s heart in the animation is hidden under such excitement. .

In this animation, girls’ minds are more important than eating. So we clearly heard the music in the restaurant, completely accepted the information it delivered, but quickly threw it away. No one will ask about it, and there are very (few) animated soundtracks to include it. This is the fate of this kind of music – such fate is a natural thing, because it is a kind of music, just like its name “Lounge music” (Chinese is mostly translated as “sofa music”, in fact, the word “Lounge” covers the sofa, There are many leisure homes and places, such as lounge chairs, lounges, and bar rooms. At the same time, it has the meaning of laziness and leisure.) It is easy to hear it in various leisure places. At this moment, there is no need to taste, no need to think, just bathe in It creates a laid-back atmosphere. .

But it is such a kind of personalized music that has a very important influence on the distinctive Japanese pop music: in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it directly inspired the Shibuya system like other 1960s music. Music. In the early 1970s, it was quoted alongside its own hedonistic spirit by the “City POP” (urban pop music) that showed signs of revival in recent years. .

2, CITY POP, and the youth who listen to CITY POP.

CITY POP is a unique Japanese pop music type. In European and American societies, there is basically no difference between local and foreign pop music. But in Japan, the distinction between local music (“Bangle”) and foreign English music (“Yangle”) is quite obvious. In the 1960s, due to trade liberalization, foreign music industry capital entered the Japanese market in a large amount, and the difference in the form of music between Bangle and Yangle became increasingly blurred. Japanese native musicians imitated and studied foreign music, and finally set off a wave of “new music” in the mid-1970s. CITY POP is such a kind of foreign music. In the form of music, it gradually absorbs the soft and smooth melody of the Western adult era, the rhythm of disco and disco, the complex structure of jazz, and the music of sofa and exotic music. Casual fun. .

Unlike the purely state music and the songs rooted in folk music, the audience of CITY POP is not the first generation of urban residents who are full of nostalgia – but their children, born in 1960, receiving urban education, like to be brisk Young peoples in rhythm. .

These young people have a developed musical sense. They are the “new humans” defined by the prosperous consumer society. In 1979, Sony introduced the first tape audio-visual, this fashionable, high-tech, young product advertisement was overwhelming, and the young people wearing headphones all over the city for a time, constructing their own exquisiteness in public. Private world. .


The world’s first Walkman SONY TPS-L2.

In the 1980s, a magazine called FM Station was favored by young people from the age of ten to twenty. It is a program guide and a music magazine. Suzuki, who has designed a cover for many classic CITY POP albums, has been working for this magazine for a long time. The glamorous magazine covers are from Suzuki. These covers, like many of the CITY POP album covers, create an ideal casual landmark, with dazzling spots and saturated colors covering the merchandise and buildings. It is the place where the sports car will eventually stop through a list of billboards. It smells like coconut juice and cola. .

In an ordinary summer, boys and girls turn on the radio at home, take out the music playing time on the FM Station, and wait for the songs played on the radio station. This is the most teenagers at that time. Fresh entertainment. In 2008, in order to commemorate this collective memory of music, Sony Music and Victory Entertainment launched a song mix with the theme of “FM Station”. In these compilations, we can hear the music of the whole country, the impression that the music left to people is no longer simple, they are refined and pay attention to. .


“FM Station” cover of a certain period, Suzuki British people draw (started to 1988, each cover is by Suzuki Yingren).

CITY POP has been more widely welcomed due to the upgrade and popularization of car audio technology. In 1984, car audio began to support the tape and CD, people can finally play their favorite music on the road as they please. Today, the smartest music producers are still trying a way to detect whether a song has the potential to be circulated: put the song in a sports car, drive the car all the way to the beach, and see if the song has something to do with it. People feel the same charm. .

CITY POP is a music with such a charm. .

3, CITY POP and animation.

Browse the CITY POP songbooks built by users on all kinds of music platforms, and you will find a very interesting phenomenon. Unlike other music-type song lists, most of the CITY POP song list covers are animated posters or screenshots from the 1980s. It is not difficult to guess the connection behind this: like the CITY POP, the 1980s was also the golden age of Japanese animation, and together they formed the cultural impression of the prosperous Japan of the last century. There is also a deeper connection between them. Their main audiences are the new consumer groups that emerged in the 1980s – those who are willing to spend their leisure and information consumption, expecting these consumers to rebuild their identity. .

Just as the developed music industry gave birth to CITY POP, Japanese animation has gradually evolved into a richer variety in this golden age. The most representative and most representative of the youth occupying the market is the birth of OVA. OVA is an animation type that is specially classified according to the form of the carrier. It is only distributed through video tapes and video discs. These animations are usually not visible on public channels such as TV channels, cinemas, etc. You only have to buy or rent it to enjoy it. – This means that the young people whose economic power is still controlled by their parents are not within their audience. This also means that the subject matter and culture involved will be more than those that people can see in public. Rich and more marginal. .

Among the many subjects covered by the OVA in the 1980s, the story of the urban legend type occupies a considerable proportion. Whether these stories are restricted or unrestricted, these stories are mostly similar to many scenes: their most extravagant imagination of urban life is American leisure life, Tokyo is New York – a row of billboards, Yokohama is Los Angeles – – Sports car and hot girl. In these inevitable scenarios, CITY POP cannot be absent.

The OVA “California Crisis” in 1986 is a typical example. Its story background is directly in the United States, and with the end of the two young people chatting in the bar in the evening, the story begins – Fujiwara’s “Street Are Hot” sounds as the theme song, it will remind you of this urban legend. The frame picture can be cut off as a commemoration of the CITY POP. The whole animation is full of chasing and scrambling, until the priceless treasure that caused it all breaks. At the end of the story, the male and female protagonists stared blankly at the broken glass ball, the lens slowly moved up, and moved into a dead silence – the passionate theme song resounded, as if yelling at you: “Hey, it’s over, come dancing. – only this is true.” .


“California Crisis” VSH cover. .

With the California Crisis as a reference, we can find out how CITY POP exists in many animations. The OVA, “Returning to See Her”, which was released one year earlier, shows another expression of CITY POP. In the California Crisis, countless vehicles were destroyed, beer was often held in the hands of everyone, and people in dangerous lives were still embraced by fanatical consumerism. In “Looking back to see her,” the city means loneliness, the unknown one. .

In 1985, “Looking back to see her”, the protagonist is a Japanese high school student on the verge. He loves motorcycles, often clashes with his father, skips to school to work in a coffee shop, and runs away from home. He has a pen pal, a lonely girl, she is gentle and quiet – the opposite of the loneliness she presents. Nomura Hiroshi’s “Rock’n Roll” rang when the teenager was riding a motorcycle. It was full of CITY POP, but it was not as aggressive as Street Are Hot. The emotion it conveyed was always introverted and long. It appears as a monologue within the character’s heart. .


“Looking back to see him” poster. .

CITY POP and the golden age of Japanese animation overlap each other, and the cross is too numerous to enumerate. “California Crisis” and “Reviewing Her” are not the most prominent works, but they accurately reflect the aesthetics developed by the young people at the time. The aesthetics is both entertaining and high. Sensitive emotions. This kind of aesthetics also made the 1980s a treasure for today’s young people to explore more entertainment and discover more secrets. Even with the rise of the Shibuya in the 1990s, CITY POP gradually withdrew from animation, and its unique casual atmosphere in Japanese animation still affects today’s animated soundtrack, and can always easily evoke experienced audiences. Memory of CITY POP. .

4, Continuation of youth culture: from CITY POP to steam wave.

In the early 2010s, a type of music called Vaporwave invaded the playlists in a teenager’s bedroom through the network, just as the CITY POP ruled one by one with tape and CD. A car driving in Tokyo. .


The steam wave is the most classic picture. .

Steam Wave is a youth cultural movement that has emerged as a network. Teenagers frantically copy and paste all kinds of music and images from the last century for their second creation and enjoyment. CITY POP is one of the important material libraries of this movement. . This nostalgic movement can be traced back to the birth of the previous Hypnagigic pop or Chillwave, which both screen and re-edit the material and wrap it again with an almost high distortion. The texture of science and technology to achieve the purpose of recurring pop culture, these works usually sound more embarrassing and lazy than the original. .

It is such an Internet aesthetic that once again closely links CITY POP with Japanese animation in the 1980s. Japanese animation in the golden age is highly regarded in the visual art of steam waves and is repeatedly quoted by the steam wave music short film. Although few teenagers have used steam waves as a novel cultural capital in 2018, this expression of visualizing music through nostalgic animation has undoubtedly inspired more music-type video creations.

Superorganism is a cross-border independent music band with members from five different countries. This band formed by the Internet, behind the constantly overlapping Internet cultures in the MV “Everybody Wants To Be Famous” released in 2018, is a simple animated element: the American President of the Clip Art sings The US dollar symbol produced by the song and obsolete 3D animation technology is rotating rapidly, and the color TV signal detection chart of the last century is blinking. .


“Everybody Wants To Be Famous” MV.

Australian musician GUM also released a psychedelic pop album in April this year, in which one of the MV content of The Blue Marble is all using clay stop motion animation. The clay in this MV is rich in color but has no luster, and the shape that is pinched out is always less regular. The whole video is like a pile of old clay parties that have been cleaned out in a pile of old houses. The spheres are swarming, both clumsy and surreal – making it the perfect touch to the synthesizer in music. .


“The Blue Marble” MV.

If there is no shortage of lines, New Zealand band Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “Not in Love We’re Just High” MV will be closest to the kind of animation we mentioned earlier, its perspective and coloring can not help Reminiscent of Japanese animation in the last century. There are only three scenes in the whole MV, just like a small piece that is just used to steal from an old animation. It fits perfectly into the deep lonely feeling in the city expressed by this alternative rhythm and blues song. .


“Not in Love We’re Just High” MV.

Perhaps the steam wave itself is just a game for teenagers. After experiencing rapid spread and development, it also quickly showed a decline trend. But it finally allowed CITY POP to return to the public’s field of vision in a new way, and it also arranged a honeymoon period of music and animation that has not yet ended. .

5, Special chapter: New and old CITY POP in Space Dandy.

In 2014, an animation called “Space Dandy” assembled the all-star lineup of the Japanese animation industry, completely recreating the animated features of the Japanese golden age. The overall supervision of this animation is the music reputation in the industry. Watanabe Shinichiro. Music is a particularly important part of this animation project, playing a key role in leading people back to the “future” built in the 1980s. .

“Space Dandy” the sixth season of the sixth season ended with a big star explosion, the main character Dandy took a surfboard drifting in the stardust, this time the episode “Stardust の パイプライン” took the disaster Completely transformed into a pleasant casual game, let Dandy and his companions “as far as tomorrow” as confidently described in the lyrics. .


“Space Dandy” 6th. .

This original CITY POP is from Junk Fujiyama, a musician of Victory Entertainment. People often compare him to the POP giant Yamashita Taro in the 1980s. The firm follower of Yamashita Taro did not avoid being influenced by the music of the 1980s. The cover of the album was also designed by the illustrator Nagai Bo, who is the same as Suzuki’s famous person, to perfectly engrave the classic CITY POP. .


Junk Fujiyama Two albums – “あの空の向こうがわへ” (above), “JUNK SCAPE” (below) – cover, all drawn by Yong Yebo.

If “Stardust” proves that “Space Dandy” is a true legacy of the 1980s, then the two songs in the 13th of the first season of this animation will remind you that this animation is still It belongs to the “future” that is far away from the 1980s.

Dandy’s partner, an old cleaning robot called QT, is in love. These two songs are appearing in the most important moments of QT’s love: “ANATATO” appeared on QT’s first date, “lick tonight” Appeared on the way to QT looking for a lover. The vocals conveyed by the two songs through the talkbox, like the ones sent out from the chest of QT, exudes an unstable sense of grain, like the illusion of unstoppable. .

“ANATATO” comes from the independent musician LUVRAW (later renamed Tsuruoka Ryu, and the group band Tsuruoka Ryuu), and “lick tonight” is a combination of LUVRAW and another independent musician BTB (BTB) Individuals in the second quarter of “Space Dandy” also contributed to the episode “I’m losing you”). Both LUVRAW and BTB are from Yokohama’s local label PAN PACIFIC PLAYA (PPP), which replaces CITY POP with the word Urban Music, and promotes Yokohama’s new generation of Western-style music influenced by Western music. For the themes of the artists, their work is like a brand new CITY POP that is being pushed into outer space on a new conveyor belt. .

The OST of Space Dandy is a treasure mine worth exploring. Rock, funk, electronic music… everything, and CITY POP – and its new generation of Urban Music – is the most visible light in this treasure. They awaken people’s memories of the golden age and develop newer and more dynamic forms. This is the most beautiful reflection of this anime masterpiece across the ages. .


“Space Dandy” original soundtrack album 1 cover.