For the songs from this period, I decided (with the assistance of fellow writer Ronald and friends of the podcast Tim and K) on the following iconic songs to reflect the feeling of gyaru pop from the ’90s:
Namie Amuro – Can You Celebrate?
Can You Celebrate? is so popular that even today, almost 25 years later, you can still hear people playing this song at weddings across Japan. For the 1997 TV drama Virgin Road, Komuro was asked by the creators of the series to create “the final and greatest wedding song of the 20th century”, a song that could be played during both happy and sad scenes.
Ryoko Shinohara with t.komuro – Itoshisa to Setsunasa to Kokoroduyosa to
It is incredibly hard to talk about the popular music of the 1990s in Japan, and particularly popular gyaru music, without talking about the music of producer Tetsuya Komuro. The song showcases Komuro‘s signature composition style with the hook frequently the “introduction” to the song, a feature he helped to really push into Jpop mainstream. Other songs in this style include Hitomi‘s Candy Girl and globe‘s Departures.
TRF – Ez Do Dance
Almost running parallel to the gyaru boom, the para para boom was forming and really taking the country by storm, first in Japan’s clubs, and then later in homes everywhere across Japan. Instrumental to the movement’s popularity was Avex focusing on popularizing dance music throughout the country, frequently using choreographed para para routines to sell singles. Ez Do Dance is credited with first introducing the average Japanese person with the type of dance music that we associate with the 90’s and has taken on an iconic status as a result. Other songs in this style include Namie Amuro‘s Try Me ~Watashiwo Shinjite~ and Yoko Oginome‘s Dancing Hero (Eat You Up).
Unfortunately for those in the United States, much of this music is not available on American Spotify. As such I’ve included a Japanese Apple Music playlist for all listeners.
Next week – the Ayumi Hamasaki influenced “shirogal“.