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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Satellite Young -- Satellite Young (サテライトヤング)

Satellite Young is a Technopop (they call themselves synthwave, which is a electronic music genre obsessed with 80s pop culture, such as cartoons, series, movies and, of course, synthpop music) unit that have a very obvious passion for 80s Japanese synthpop. In fact, in many interviews, they mention how 80s electronic pop music and female aidoru singers are the main source of inspiration for their work (somehow, Seiko Matsuda’s [松田聖子] “The 9th Wave”, from 1985, is an influential synthpop album in their opinion).

This month, they released a self-titled debut album, which is a collection of all the singles released since late 2013/early 2014, plus some new songs. Well, I can tell that if you like cheesy synthpop music from the 80s with lots of catchy hooks, than this album is for you. Every song is a grower and the synth work is amazingly over-the-top.

Satellite Young’s songs can be divided in two categories: the hard-hitting and retrofuturistic Techno songs, but also some great girly synthpop tunes that could’ve been handled to Kylie Minogue or Sinitta back in the SAW era. Let’s start with the cute songs before going to the more exciting ones.

“Fake Memory” and “Geeky Boyfriend” are cute songs that evokes nostalgy in the listener with the cotton candy-like melodies and dated synths. Satellite Young is not trying to reinvent the wheel with these songs… on the contrary, I like how they play with the concept of familiarity here, which is all people willing to listen to their type of music want. With that in mind, I could truly see Moulin Rouge, the Eurobeat duo from Slovenia, which was responsible for Wink’s “Namida wo Misenaide ~Boys Don’t Cry~” (涙をみせないで), recording both song back in the late 80s.

As for their hard-hitting retrofuturistic Techno songs, there’s “Sniper Rouge”, an amazing collaboration with Swedish synthpop artist Mitch Murder that evokes 80s anime series in a very exciting and dynamic way (the epic synth solo just kills me every time I listen to this song), but also “Dividual Heart”, which even features an almighty guitar solo amidst all the synth chaos.

To finish, there’s one more song to feature, which is “Sotsugyou Shinaide, Senpai!” (卒業しないで、先輩!). This one could be described as one of their cute songs, which in fact is, but there’s more to it since the tune was composed especially for an internet anime (more a parody of old school anime) called “Senpai Club”.

What I like about Satellite Young is how loyal they are to the genre. Absolutely nothing is restrained here, from the awkward aidoru-like vocals to the cascade of icy synths… everything is sincere, and obviously hit or miss (if you hate J-Pop vocals, like I’ve seen some people complaining about on YT, or dated electronic music, there’s nothing here that your ears will like). Like I said earlier, every song is a grower, and I recommend the full album if you like the songs I featured here.

In the end, I wasn’t able to resist and bought my copy from CDJapan. It’ll take a while to get here in Brazil, but I became too addicted to this album to let it pass.


  1. I am from Brazil too. I've discovered Satellite Young years ago on SoundCloud. I love their music and style. Do you know other similar bands to recommend?

    1. Hi, Henrique.

      It's always hard to recommend something, especially when it's so specific, but I will try my harder here.

      Two different things came to my mind while thinking about the topic. First, Western songs/artists from the 80s that were just slightly similar to Satellite Young. In fact, I think a lot of the Italo Disco productions from the 80s are good if you're into synth stuff, but I'll list some "futuristic" songs that came to my mind.

      "Digital Signal Processor" by Cyber People:

      "Spin It" by Sunbelt:

      "Humanoid Invasion" by Laserdisc:

      As for cheesy/cute tunes, Moulin Rouge offers some interesting ones, like "Baby I Miss You" and "Za večno skupaj" (the two songs are respectively listed below).

      Second, J-Pop artists that sound or sounded somewhat similar to Satellite Young. From the past, maybe a little bit of Chisato Moritaka and Wink. Well, they're not that similar, but the band surely listened to them a lot in the past (they mentioned Moritaka in an interview).

      As I could see on YT, Satellite Young likes to cover this song by Shizuka Kudo as well:

      For more modern takes on this past sound, I think Shibayan's "Aurora", which was released a couple of years ago, is a pretty nice instrumental piece with some serious synth work:

      And now, something a little bit more alternative in the form of NECRONOMIDOL's "Skulls In The Stars":

      You can also check Tommy February6's songs. Here's one I like a lot:

      Monari Wakita's recent single "Boy Friend" is a nice piece of cheesy 80s synthpop as well:

      Sorry if I possibly listed too many songs and artists you already know or aren't interested in. Since I don't know how much background on 80s J-Pop you have, I listed just some pretty basic aidoru acts, among other recent stuff.

      Anyway, I hope I was able to help somehow, and you like at least one of the songs I recommended.

      By the way, where are you from in Brazil? =)

      Take care,

    2. Hey, Marcos. Sou do Espírito Santo. E você?

      WOW. That was a huge list. Thank you for all recommendations. I've listened to everything and liked Monari Wakita and Shibayan the most. I will search for more from them.

      Some of the artists you mentioned, like Chisato Moritaka, Shizuka Kudo and Tommy February6 are already in my playlists since my early teens. I love the beat from their songs. There is a nostalgic feeling (that I can't explain) attached to them.
      In fact, when I was a teenager, I was crazy about Tommy February6. While most of my friends who I've introduced her music to enjoyed Tommy Heavenly6 the most, I was was obsessed with the synths from February6 songs.

      Thanks again for the recommendations.


  2. Thank you Marcos; this is great vaporwave (or whatever they're calling it today). I listened to some of the genre but it was too much imitation - but your remark about "sincere" is spot-on and the synths on Dividual Heart are spectacular ! Props to J-C for the "+" in KK; there's a lot of excellent current music now and I appreciate his opening the blog to it. Special thanks to YOU for turning me on to Negicco; my new 2nd-favourite band. and also thank you ;)

    1. Hi, T-cat.

      Thanks for the reply and I'm glad you like Kayo Kyoku Plus. J-Canuck surely works hard on this blog, even if it's just a hobby for all of us. And I also appretiate how open he is to music in general as well, especially the sounds coming out of Japan (some of the things I post are very, very questionable, but he's always receptive about them).

      As for vaporwave, I tried to like it several times, with no success. I like the so-called aesthetic, but I prefer when a band or group creates its own music based on that particular universe to go with the imagery, just like Satellite Young and Especia, for example. Vaporwave, on the other hand, uses some very cool visual themes, but, when it comes to music, they just throw some odd remixed, slowed down versions of old songs... and that's it. Nothing truly new to the table. I respect and all, but it's not for me.

      About Negicco, I'm surprised I was responsible for turning someone into a fan of the group, especially since I don't consider myself one. Aside from "Aidoru Bakari Kikanaide", I like "Ano Sora he" (serious electropop tune), "Sweet Sour Negi" (a bouncy and groovy little disco tune), "Triple! WONDERLAND" (one of the catchiest and solidest single in the group's career), "Futari no Yuugi" (a masterpiece. Period) and "Space Nekojaracy" (one of the strange yet fascinating moments when J-Pop goes experimental).

    2. Hello, Henrique, T-Cat and Marcos!

      Many thanks, Marcos (and Satellite Young) for bringing back THE decade of my life back to me! I listened to all of the songs in your article and I'm like...WOW! There's all that 80s aidoru feeling in there but also some good dollops of the 80s from my side of the Pacific.

      With "Fake Memory", I think the only person who was missing from that video was the fellow in a shiny gray suit with a skinny tie. And the song seems like a throwback to an 80s Billboard-friendly hit by a band from California.

      "My Geeky Boyfriend" sounds similar to an old J-Pop hit from the late 80s, "Diamonds" by Princess Princess, and any video that starts off with "SCTV" footage and ends on Buddy Holly will be fine with me! Hail to the geeks!

      And there's something about "Dividual Heart" that cries out Rebecca to me. I took a look at Satellite Young's website and especially enjoyed reading about their biography ( In particular, I liked the word "infobesity".

    3. Hi, J-Canuck.

      You're right about "Geeky Boyfriend" and "Dividual Heart" sounding similar to Princess Princess and Rebecca. It's a detail that passed by on me while listening to those songs. The band surely had many artists/acts to draw inspiration from, and they're happy to talk about them in interviews. Like I said, even Seiko Matsuda was mentioned (I gave a listen to the album they mentioned, "The 5th Wave", and it really offers some three or four synthpop tunes amidst all the more traditional aidoru sound).

    4. Hi, Marcos.

      As much as the fashion was much derided back in that decade, artists seem to come back to the music of that time, probably because the folks back then were having so much fun exploring synths. Will be looking forward to seeing what else Satellite Young has up its sleeve.

    5. J-Canuck and Marcos...Hi!

      I feel the same '80s aidoru feeling' you guys feel listening to this album.
      My two favorite songs here are Ai Threnody and Melancholy 2016:
      (minutes 20:35 and 41:36)

      They remind me so much of something Sonoko Kawai would sing circa 87/88, or Wink (or even Mi-ke) would sing a bit latter.

    6. Hi, Henrique.

      Yep, it's nice to hear that the 80s can still come back from time to time. I think the one sub-genre from that decade I would love to hear again through a Japanese artist is the soulful Quiet Storm. Perhaps one of the singers that was quite close to it was Toko Furuuchi.


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