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.
Every Little Thing – Feel My Heart
Released August 7, 1996
Every Little Thing were just unstoppable during the build-up to their first album. I mean, they were fantastic after that as well, but these early songs have an energy and spirit that’s unlike anything else. Though Future World is my favorite of the three singles taken from Everlasting, the other two are not far behind.
Feel My Heart served as the group’s debut. Released in the summer of 1996, its bright synth sound tells you pretty much all you need to know about the group’s charms. Its opening riff is a thing of beauty, acting as a celebratory blast that kicks off the track with aplomb. We then move into the propulsive verse, with its rhythmic delivery, surging guitar and buoyant strings.
My favorite segment of Feel My Heart is its pre-chorus, which hits the listener with stabs of synth as the vocals become a battle cry of sorts. This segues brilliantly into the chugging chorus. The energy builds and builds here, and will definitely get your heart racing. But, the song doesn’t skimp on its details either. I’m obsessed with the guitar-led transition from chorus to verse. This previews a wicked guitar solo that will later appear during the bridge, and gives the track a gritty texture that acts as a perfect anchor.