City pop legend Tatsuro Yamashita released underrated album Melodies on Moon Records in June of 1983. Sadly, it was a middle of the road release.
This jazzy, funk and soul pop Japanese album comprised of 10 tracks with lot of impact. The track Marry-go-Round (メリー・ゴー・ラウンド) being the most popular. Marry-go-Round is addicting to listen to for me, because of the bass line and his vocals. They reflect a sound that could only be created in 80s Japan.
There were various releases on cassette, vinyl and it even had a 30th anniversary release a couple years back. It’s a staple for the genre (now) and has stood the test of time. Which makes me wonder if we’ll get a 40th anniversary edition in 2023.
I found someone on YouTube who rips vintage cassettes and they happened to have the B-Side in all its glory. This cassette is unique with a dark blue sticker on a pure white casing – it’s as bold as the original album cover. But more commonly, a white on white cassette release is what I usually see. People who want to collect them all will have a long list to go through with 17 versions from both Hong Kong and Japan.
I personally like the muted Ghibli-like version above but majority of the time you’re going to find it in the loud yellow with wacky font and bold shapes. This probably why the release isn’t nearly as popular as it looks really generic.
The full album can be found on Youtube and there are plenty of physical versions for sale on Discogs, some as low as $5 USD.
It’s not the most talked about record, but it was the one that introduced me to the master of City Pop. It is probably the most affordable City Pop album out there, there’s really isn’t a reason to not have this one in the collection. Also, if you need a Christmas track in your City Pop mixes, check out the B-Side.
Romaji titles / Japanese titles:
A1: Kanashimi no Jody (She Was Crying) / 悲しみのJody
A2: Koukiatsu Girl / 高気圧ガール
A3: Yashou (Night-Fly) / 夜翔 (Night-Fly)
A4: Guess I’m Dumb
A5: Hitotoki / ひととき
B1: Merry-Go-Round / メリー・ゴー・ラウンド
B2: Blue Midnight
B3: Ashioto / あしおと
B4: Mokusou / 黙想
B5: Christmas Eve / クリスマス・イブ