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.
ROmantic Mode – Resolution
Released October 23, 1996
I feel like the Gundam series – and anime in general – can be thanked for so many 90’s classics. I’ve always loved the symbiotic relationship between anime and pop music in Japan. It gives the artists an excuse to go big and bold and adventurous with their songs.
Dance pop trio ROmantic Mode were one of the acts connected to the Gundam franchise. Resolution is their second single tied to the series, and follows the equally grand Dreams. Of the two, I feel like Dreams is the song that gets more love, but I prefer Resolution by a hair. The tracks are quite similar in sound and composition. However, Resolution opens with a ceremonial, trumpet-like synth riff that gives it the edge. That introduction is pure, bombastic cheese – and I am one hundred percent here for it.
Though ROmantic Mode’s albums occasionally veer toward jazzier material, the trio are best known for this overblown dance music. Like other acts around the time, they’re comprised of a female vocalist and male guitarist/keyboardist/composers. Asakura Akira’s powerful vocals have an almost operatic fervor to them at times, and ROmantic Mode’s sound is often built around that soaring drama. She’d been a professional singer even before this project kicked off in 1995, and her polish as a performer really elevates the group. If you need a jolt of cathartic energy for your Friday, Resolution is just what the doctor ordered.