Yume No Machi by Opus Science Collective (Review)
Within the last few years, city pop — a highly polished blend of pop, funk, and R&B whose rise in popularity coincided with Japan’s economic dominance during the late ’70s and early ’80s — has experienced something of a resurgence thanks to YouTube’s algorithms. But given the music’s inherent breeziness and catchiness, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the influence of folks like Toshiki Kadomatsu and Mariya Takeuchi would expand beyond Japan’s borders.
Case in point: Yume No Machi, the latest album from Opus Science Collective, is a love letter to all things city pop. The album’s second track, “Yoru No Kōsoku Dōro,” is a perfect example of OSC’s loving approach to the genre. With glassy synths aplenty and a pensive piano bridge, this ultra-smooth jam sounds 100% like a long-lost gem that was only recently unearthed in the basement of some tiny record shop nestled in the corner of Shibuya.
There are moments on “Yoru No Kōsoku Dōro,” and by extension, the rest of Yume No Machi, where I half-expect Kadomatsu’s vocals to sing of yet another night of high fashion and unrequited love in the Tokyo nightclub scene. And even if you don’t live in Tokyo — as I assume is the case for most of Opus’ readership — don’t be surprised if Yume No Machi puts you in the mood to hop into a vintage Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan Skyline, or Toyota AE86, and go cruising through the city streets with the windows down and the volume waaaay up.
Also, as befitting city pop’s influence on the vaporwave genre — indeed, would vaporwave even be a thing without its sampling of artists like Kaoru Akimoto, Junko Yagami, and Tatsuro Yamashita? — OSC has released a “Vapor Edition” of Yume No Machi that slows the album’s songs down and covers them in bleary, lo-fi fuzz for a little extra dose of nostalgia.