It’s safe to say that for many people, Mariya Takeuchi’s 1984 single “Plastic Love” was their introduction to the glamorous world of “city pop,” a slick blend of jazz, pop, and funk that emerged during Japan’s economic boom in the ’80s and celebrated an upscale, cosmopolitan lifestyle. Between its ultra-polished arrangements and funky rhythms, and Takeuchi’s gorgeous vocals, “Plastic Love” is city pop par excellence.
“Plastic Love” achieved middling success upon its original release, selling about 10,000 copies. But in recent years, Takeuchi’s single — along with city pop as a whole — has experienced renewed interest, with various remixes, mashups, and cover versions garnering tens of millions of views on YouTube.
More recently, “Plastic Love” finally broke into the Japanese top ten earlier this month and Warner Music released an official full-length video (after releasing an excerpt back in 2019). Although the video doesn’t include any footage of Takeuchi herself, it does capture the song’s world-weary vibe as it follows a lonely young woman through a neon-lit night as she struggles with a loveless relationship.