Diving into nostalgia with Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love

A disco-pop track from the 80’s that’s more popular in this decade than when it was produced, ‘Plastic Love’ by Mariya Takeuchi (co-written by Tatsuro Yamashita) is an example of how the digital age has somehow kindled a sense of nostalgia in people for times and places they’ve never existed in. Originally released in 1984 as part of the album ‘Variety‘, it went viral after being posted on Youtube in 2017 and has since been viewed over 20 million times.

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While not being the only piece of music that has surged to fame decades after its release, this song captures an essence of living that many young people seem to relate to. Translating the lyrics reveals an ode to beautiful loneliness; a lament about love after a heartbreak. But the millions of viewers that flocked to the track couldn’t possibly all be fluent in Japanese, which is why the inherent magnetic qualities of the track are so mysterious. After listening to it (many times), I still couldn’t verbally explain why it had adhered to so many all over the world. While it’s definitely a catchy song, it felt like it had reached out a deeper, much more personal level than just ear-pleasing.

Like the pastel-hued Sailor Moon series or a moody Wong Kar Wai film, Plastic Love is another one of those ultra-pretty pieces of art that tend to connect to people subconsciously and immediately. For many, it doesn’t have much on the surface to be understood, and I think that’s what makes it so attractive. The impression that the song gives is felt through the tone and timbre of the music itself, leaving a lot up to the imagination of the listener. Without a doubt, the evocative qualities of Plastic Love are on point.

While Plastic Love is definitely the highlight of the album, the rest of ‘Variety‘ is a full trip into the past. Filled with 80’s pop tropes like reverbed-out drums, rock-n-roll guitar riffs and even saxophone solos, it effortlessly glides between moods, going from wistful to funky to something you could joget to.

 

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