J-pop from the ’80s and ’90s—in English
Producer Masami Nishizawa at label Teichiku struck on the idea of reaching Japanese women with an album of hit J-pop from the ’80s and ’90s—all sung sweetly in English by native English speaking girls.
His concept—the start of a series—seems to have been to reach 30-something female listeners with a “healing” approach that also appealed to their interest in English. But the result is an album that also provides a way into J-pop for international music fans.
“There are some wonderful Japanese songs from the ’80s and ’90s,” says English-Japanese singer Emi Evans. “But unless people make the effort to delve through the archives, there is very little chance for these older hits to be heard by the contemporary non-Japanese ear.”
Many of the songs, like Yoshi Inoue’s “Shonen Jidai,” were written during the economic bubble, a time where Japanese dreamed big and creativity flourished. “The songs on this album,” Evans says, “have a positive, poetic and sometimes happy go lucky nature.”
Evans and fellow Japan-based songstresses Mandy Wang and Sorcha Chisholm deliver 12 capable renditions of chestnuts including Spitz’s “Cherry” and Fumiya Fujii’s “True Love,” arranged in soft-rock, bossa nova and piano jazz styles.
“Good songs like The Beatles’ continue to be listened to through different ages and countries—we have many songs in the same category in Japan,” says producer Nishizawa.
“Although the original sound has been rearranged and the lyrics have been translated into English, I would be very happy if that happened to the songs which I selected for the album.”
Buy the album here