Review

The 90’s J-Pop Roadmap: TRF – Boy Meets Girl

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


TRF – Boy Meets Girl

Released June 22, 1994

One name looms large over 90’s J-pop: Tetsuya Komuro. Starting his career in groups Speedway and the highly influential TM Network, Komuro grew into the kind of super producer who defines a decade. He’s often credited for bringing dance music into the J-pop mainstream, and that’s no more apparent than on his work with TRF (aka: Tetsuya Komuro Rave Factory). This colorful collective is a 90’s mainstay, releasing a series of iconic singles that are still loved and referenced today. Fronted by the beguiling Yu-Ki, TRF covered a surprisingly robust collection of genres within their dancefloor-ready sound.

Boy Meets Girl is one of the group’s enduring classics, and about as joyful and sunny as pop music gets. It’s almost hymnal in its energy, repeating a limited series of robust melodies to create a hypnotic landscape that’s hard not to get swept up in. And given that pop music is essentially my religion, this is an approach I can wholeheartedly get behind.

Build around chanted loops, Boy Meets Girl opens with a brief vocal before revealing its synth-driven beat. This is the kind of instrumental that’s in constant build, refusing to resolve into a sense of calm. But, there’s no tension here. It’s all release – five minutes of joyful catharsis. Yu-Ki’s vocals have never sounded better than on the chorus, which teases upward for a sneaky finale that gives the track instant character. Footfalls of percussion take us into the verse as a bright synth line becomes the aural equivalent of a warm sunrise.

This song is never rushed, taking its time to luxuriate in its gorgeous soundscape. And though the chorus repeats more often than in most pop tracks, it’s never unwelcome. Boy Meets Girl is Komuro at his full earworm power, and an instant mood-lifter any time it plays.

 Hooks 10
 Production 10
 Longevity 10
 Bias 10
 RATING 10

5 thoughts on “The 90’s J-Pop Roadmap: TRF – Boy Meets Girl

  1. Hymnal is spot on. I’m not sold on that aspect yet.

    Listening to the last few songs on this feature I notice that I’m just not used to this kind of vocal – it sounds kind of far away (?), soft and gentle. My exposure to western and k-pop probably biased me towards a more powerful vocal that’s processed very differently (I don’t know differently how because I have NO idea how vocal processing works).

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    • It’s not just vocal processing. Belting has replaced lighter and softer singing since the 2000s, and not just in pop. I’ve read that even opera singers belt more than they used to now.

      I have zero musical training, so someone else can probably give a much more detailed and accurate explanation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s interesting! It’s true, I feel like belting is such a staple in music nowadays (to the point that idols do it even when their voice physically is not suited to it). I wonder if the softer singing will make a comeback. It can be a very nice style – just not on a dance track (for me).

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  2. Hoping to some more Komuro Tetsuya songs on here. Anything from Suzuki Ami (love the island), Amuro Namie (Chase the chance) or hitomi’s (in the future) early discographies would be great.

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