Review

The 90’s J-Pop Roadmap: T.M.Revolution – High Pressure

If you were to map my musical DNA, a sizable portion would be indebted to 90’s J-pop. To me, this is a truly magical time in music, but it’s rarely discussed or shared outside of Japan.

Being an aficionado of certain sounds within this era, I’ve tracked down hundreds of highlights over the years. And I think it’s time to share my carefully curated playlists with the world.

With this in mind, we have a new ongoing Bias List feature – The 90’s J-Pop Roadmap.

I’ll be writing about (and rating!) a number of singles from Japan’s 90’s pop boom, constructing a timeline of the era piece-by-piece.

Whether you’re familiar with these artists or not, I invite you to go on this journey with me and discover new classics you may have never heard before.

The roadmap in full


T.M.Revolution – High Pressure

Released July 1, 1997

T.M.Revolution — aka: Takanori Nishikawa, aka: Takanori Makes Revolution – is one of J-pop’s most colorful characters. With his bobbed hair, flamboyant outfits, and hurricane-force vocals, he certainly makes an impression. He also happens to be one of my favorite performers of all time. And, High Pressure is almost certainly my favorite J-pop song of the 90’s.

Pairing with super-producer Daisuke Asakura, T.M.Revolution expertly weaves together rock and dance, filtered through a glam image and powered by an ultra-theatrical performance style. He’s like an anime character come to life, in the absolute best way possible. You’re going to be reading about him a lot as part of this feature.

High Pressure is a behemoth. From its pumping, guitar-fueled dance beat to that whopper of a chorus, this is an anthem with a capital “A.” Nishikawa wouldn’t have it any other way, and as usual he performs the hell out of the track. Like most anthems worth their title, High Pressure opens with its chorus, eliciting a sense of triumphant energy as that iconic vocal offers a punky growl to contrast brilliantly with the polished instrumental. This refrain has a thrilling structure — all punchy, exclamation point hooks before drifting into a more gently-phrased response. And I don’t think you’ve truly experienced this song until you’ve seen an army concert-goers echo that fun, arms-above-the-head choreography.

Meanwhile, the verses are mostly rhythmic, performed in staccato to give the track maximum drive. It all climaxes in the expected electric guitar solo before the production pulls back to lend greater impact to the final chorus. This is pop music at its most maximalist, and if you were to create a shortlist of songs that best represent my taste as a music fan, High Pressure would have no problem finding a spot.

 Hooks 10
 Production 10
 Longevity 10
 Bias 10
 RATING 10

13 thoughts on “The 90’s J-Pop Roadmap: T.M.Revolution – High Pressure

  1. My favorite songs put me on an adventure, and help me to write an epic, un-told journey. And I love T.M.Revolution, his performances just make him an out-of-this-world hero!

    High Pressure is the pinnacle of this certain sound, every single second of this song just soars with utmost grandeur, It truly takes you on journey. It’s certainly ONE of my favorite J-pop songs of the 90’s. Seriously, that melody is bold.

    It’s weird how I didn’t notice you started this section….lemme go through some digging.

    Like

  2. This one needs very little growing time – I already love it.

    I mentioned on the Sunshine review already- but this music style reminds me of openings for my favourite cartoons and anime. It makes sense of course, as most of those aired in the 90’s and thus had 90’s songs as themes (I watched them much later, but I digress). I think this is the cause of the strange sense of nostalgia that this type of music gives me – even though I’ve never heard these songs before.

    Like

    • I can’t wait for the title track review! Oh my goodness, I have never wished for Nick to review a full album so much-

      I am losing my absolute mind over here. I’m serious when I say this could be the album of the year for me. Every single track I absolutely love. Hearing their voices again in new music makes me unreasonably emotional. I can’t even begin to pick a favourite yet- do you have one?

      Liked by 1 person

        • RIOT! RIOT! RIOT! – Im kidding, I know Nick is probably busy enough, but I am not too proud to beg for a full album review if necessary.

          After listening through everything twice, my top picks are Heart Attack and Body Rhythm. I Really Want You, Kiss Kiss and Code are following very close behind though and I also love the other songs. There isn’t a single song that I dislike- not even slightly.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqBveGPDOjA”

    I seriously can’t wait for ONF’s comeback!

    Also, coming back here to say, that this is the best Jpop song of the 90’s. That melody is pure sing along and gives me nostalgia for some reason. Does anyone fine a melody similar to it?

    Liked by 1 person

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