Hello Cool Cass from Dalian, China, visiting her pals Hazel and Brandon (who’ll I’ll feature in the following posts), on her 3rd or 4th trip to Japan and who had scored a sweet and recent repress of an, until recently, out-of-print “Heaven Beach”, the fourth studio album by highly-successful Citypop rocker, Anri, whose long-beloved tunes are, with the renewed popularity of City Pop, being sampled by many new artists of the Vaporwave and Future Funk genres.

I’d guess that of the nearly 200 people I’ve photographed, some sizable 20% are young people in their early or mid-20’s not-at-all-necessarily-from-Japan, like this crew, who are crazy for these soft-rock sounds of Japanese City Pop, which if you are living under a rock, is the very loosely defined sub-genre or Japanese pop that draws upon a mid-late 70’s west-coast vibe / US Soft Rock (think buttery-voiced Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross or the Doobie Brothers,) with slick arrangements and high production, jazzy, disco-ish at times, (think Steely Dan perhaps), that later become known a yacht rock and came into huge popularity in the affluent boom-era/Sony-Walkman era of Japan. It’s a bit synonymous with “New Music” or “Adult Contemporary Rock” (AOR) which I assume we’re all on the same page about, but just catching up those who might not be. Basically, it’s the overproduced cheesy 80’s mainstream pop that was originally thought never to be able to stand the test of time, but that is sounding less and less shitty as the years are going by, in fact, maybe it’s good, maybe great, and maybe it was great all along, and we just didn’t notice. Interesting how music can play that trick on you.

Anyway, Cass and her pals were really friendly, and she actually said something to me that kindly blew me away. When asked “Why Records,” she said that it was important to have and hold physical things from outside of China, to connect with and know the world beyond its borders. I found that to be a pretty interesting insight, music not just opening doors of emotion or perception, but of actual awareness, knowledge, and understanding.

Now that’s the power of music!

More Tokyo Record Style on the Way!

PS. Cass went from being cool to being about 1000x cooler when she took my photo with a Lomo’instant square, a camera I’ve known about for a while, but suddenly lusting over. If you know me, you know my long history with Instant Cameras. Long Live Instant Film!

Anri – Heaven Beach [ヘブン・ビーチ]
Label: For Life Records – 28K-43
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Japan
Released: Nov 21, 1982
Genre: Funk / Soul, Pop
Style: Boogie, City Pop, Disco, Funk, Soul, Kayōkyoku

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