Cultural Exchange: Japanese Music For Your American Icon

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If you’re looking for some ‘new’ music to play in your C4, look no further.

America’s postwar boom years in the 1950s and 1960s ushered in an entirely new youth culture. The interstate highway system, more powerful automobiles, and the birth of rock & roll helped to shape American culture forever.

New Music For Your C4: City Pop

Japan experienced a boom as well, that manifested itself in remarkably similar (but subtly different) ways as they  became more and more Westernized. Their boom happened roughly two decades later, in the 1970s and 1980s. All the pieces were there, though: A growing infrastructure, a new way of looking at the automobile, and a new type of music.

To the Japanese, cars like the Nissan Skyline, Mazda Cosmo, and Mitsubishi GTO were their Corvette, Mustang, and, uh, GTO…they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we suggest both Pontiac and Mitsubishi take it up with Ferrari.

What we’re here about today, though, is the music. Dubbed ‘City Pop’, it was a genre that musically expressed the mood and optimism of the era and the love of a luxurious urban lifestyle. Combining elements of jazz, funk, and even soft rock, City Pop songs just drip with nostalgia–even if you’ve never heard them before.


ALSO SEE: What The Forums Are Saying About City Pop


Speaking of 1980s nostalgia, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been on a bit of a C4 kick lately. Imagine our surprise when we found this video of an early C4 driving down the A1A in the Florida Keys, accompanied by one of our favorite City Pop artists, Toshiki Kadomatsu. The tracks played are the beginning of his excellent album, “Sea is a Lady.”

While finding City Pop CDs or cassettes in America is difficult, there’s a treasure trove of music available on YouTube. If you’re enterprising enough, you’ll figure out a way to get these tunes out of your computer, onto a cassette, and into the Delco Bose tape deck. Trust us, it’s worth it.

Cam Vanderhorst is a contributor to Harley-Davidson Forums, Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and MB World. He is also a co-host of the Cammed & Tubbed podcast.

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