I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Marcos V.'s Retro Grooves and Underground Aidoru Gems Playlist

Inspired by my own post about Greeen Linez’s “HibiscusPacific”, I came up with a small playlist of retro inspired songs focusing mostly in late night grooves and some underground aidoru-pop gems that also flirts with a retro style. As always, I had a lot of fun “building” this entry, and I hope you guys enjoy the songs presented here. Also, different from my other lists, there's no preference order here.


Hitomitoi -- Dive

I consider Hitomitoi’s (一十三十一) “Dive” to be Greeen Linez’s “Hibiscus Pacific” sister track. They’re not directly related, but both songs were released around the same time (summer of 2012) and featured a City Pop inspiration. Based on that, “Dive” is a lovely light disco song that would not be out of place in a late night walk around the city. It was included in Hitomitoi’s 2012 City Pop album, “City Dive”. Also, the video portrays a beautiful and sexy Hitomitoi. It’s worth a watch.


Especia -- Umibe no Sati

Especia is quite an underground aidoru group with a gimmick focused on a retro 80s style. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I couldn’t find the original version of “Umibe no Sati” (海辺のサティ), which is not as lengthy as this one. On the other hand, this "Vexation Edit" remix is amazing for people that, just like me, love extended versions of these types of grooves. As for the song, it’s a nice late-night funky gem with a warm melody. Also, the arrangement is incredibly rich with lots of synths and catchy electronic drums. Finally, “Umibe no Sati” can be found in Especia’s “Midnight Confusion” (ミッドナイトConfusion) single ("Midnight Confusion", the title track, is also a killer synthpop aidoru song).

As a side note, a Greeen Linez remix of "Umibe no Sati" was also included in the "Midnight Confusion" single, but I couldn't find it on YouTube.


Negicco -- Aidoru Bakari Kikanaide

Negicco’s shibuya-key styled “Aidoru Bakari Kikanaide” (アイドルばかり聴かないで) is a bright aidoru song about a girl who wants her boyfriend to pay more attention to her instead of keep listening to aidoru songs. It’s a fun critique that reveals the self-awareness of this aidoru group. The song, which was released in 2013, features strong and tense strings, courtesy of Pizzicato Five’s Konishi Yasuharu (小西康陽). As for the video, while not very complex, features an interesting retro and classy style.


saori@destiny -- OFF THE WALL

NOTE: If the link above gets deleted, here's an alternative link featuring half of the song (click here). Since this alternative link is from the label's official YouTube channel, it probably won't go away.

saori@destiny was an electro-pop artist that started singing around 2007, when Perfume and a bunch of other auto-tuned artists were trying to conquer the Oricon charts. Also, as everybody knows, only Perfume reached stardom while the others faded after a couple of good releases. In the case of “OFF THE WALL”, it’s an album track that was included in saori@destiny’s 2011 mini-album “Domestic domain”. Alongside the laid-back funky vibe, I dig the synth melody that comes along in the 1:07 mark. It also makes a second appearance in a filtered form after the 2:29 mark. As for saori, her vocals, although auto-tuned to death, are kind of wispy and sexy in a way that matches the song’s vibe very well.


Tomato n' Pine -- Captain wa Kimi da!

The now disbanded Tomato n’ Pine released the glittery disco “Captain wa Kimi da!” (キャプテンは君だ!) as their first "indies" single back in 2010. The song is quite something and I remember that it was the only “new” thing that caught my eyes when I watched the DVD featuring performances of the first Tokyo Idol Festival at the time. Although not a laidback groovy song like some of the others it has a nice throwback sound and a bright aidoru vibe. Bass, strings, horns, cute girls and a good melody… what more could I ask?


  1. Wow I really like Especia! Thank your this post, might not have found them otherwise!

    1. I'm glad that you liked Especia. It's a very interesting group and I hope it continues to release great music. It'd be great if they, eventually, turn into a mainstream group (that's kind of hard, but we can always dream about).

  2. Hi, Marcos.

    Great list and I'm happy to hear some more of this new music from that part of the J-Pop iceberg under the surface of the ocean. At this point, I've just listened to Hitomitoi's "Dive"....another wonderful reminder of those City Pop days...or nights. I didn't have a chance to hear any of her stuff but I remember the name because of the interesting arrangement of the kanji.

    Looking forward to trying out the rest of your list.

    1. Hi J-canuck.

      I'm not gonna lie. I really thought about your musica taste when I came up with this list. I guess you're going to have some fun.

      Hitomitoi's name in kanji is very interesting. I'm still listening to her discography, but, from what I heard so far, "City Dive" is a great album. Her voice is also very beautiful.

    2. Yep, it's been fun, Marcos.

      I just listened to Negicco right now and the video does remind me of early Capsule. And it is definitely a Konishi-sounding composition. The thing about the lyrics is that probably there quite a few women who are suffering a similar situation. :) Then again, it's also possible that both boyfriend and girlfriend are enamoured with the same aidoru.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.