It was just last week that I encountered this compilation of Neo-City Pop tunes from uploader Tone by Gridge, and the first song simply grabbed me. The track is titled "Staying in the Groove" and the band is ALI. Man, does it contain a number of styles including funk, jazz, soul and hip-hop, and the whole effect reminds me of what Jamiroquai was doing back in the late 1990s.
Wow! It's just like there's a party on my screen and everyone's invited. "Staying in the Groove" was the third digital download single by Shibuya-born outfit ALI from April 2019, and it sounds like the ideal theme song for a night out in the Youth Mecca of Japan itself. It's cool and supremely busy as if it's intentionally pushing you to run all over the neighbourhood from the famous Shibuya Crossing, up and down Spain-zaka, to the Shibuya 109 building...and enjoy it. Good golly...I think that I can even pick up on a little Stevie Wonder in there as well.
I do love that video, too. The band is basically serenading some young women who aren't sure what to do for their evening, but then gradually get drawn into ALI's dance party. Sounds like a typical Friday night in Shibuya. Plus, some of those dancing scenes remind me of that Gap commercial from over twenty years ago.
To give some background on ALI, the name is an acronym which stands for ALIEN LIBERTY INTERNATIONAL. Apparently, it took over a year for the band to come up with that name, but when a couple of members saw the tribute to Muhammad Ali after his passing on television one day in 2016, the decision was finally made. Up to this May, ALI consisted of vocalist Leo, guitarist Cesar, bassist Luthfi, saxophonist Yu, keyboardist Jin and percussionist Alex. The band has dabbled into the genres of hip-hop, house, blues rock, soul, reggae and jazz-funk according to their J-Wiki profile.
I also found out that ALI is also on indefinite hiatus as of May 2021, since one of their currently very former members, drummer Kahadio was indicted on fraud charges along with some accomplices. Supposedly also in penance, the band has taken down all of their songs from YouTube and other platforms, but their fans are still holding the torch for them by bringing back some of those songs. Certainly, I would be interested in seeing them come back someday. Until then, I will be happy to check out some more of their past work.