As a huge lover of Tokyo and Japan since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by the variousness and unique environment of Japan’s capital: From the contrast between tradition and technology to the magic atmosphere surrounding the streets, this beautiful city is a place where anyone can find something to love whatever your passion is, and more than anyone, passion is something Japanese people care to cultivate and keep close in their lives. This means there are many ways to enjoy Tokyo, and while today Music is the main engine behind my passion towards this city and country, it is also the art form that keeps me closer to the city I had the luck to visit twice. Music is the most powerful art form there is, its sound can create images and visions in our minds, and when this power is combined with the magic and particular aspect of Tokyo, the result is unique and magical. When I wasn’t strolling around or attending concerts with my friends, I loved to walk alone by night in Shinjuku, because there’s nothing more hypnotizing than Tokyo by night, and during my neon-bathed long walks in one of the biggest districts of Tokyo I always had my headphones on, emphasizing what I was experiencing one second after another with Music.
And so, these are the five tracks I listened to the most while I was walking surrounded by lights, skyscrapers and thousands of people. When I listen to them today I can visualize and feel the magic of that place inside me, and I hope you’ll feel the same wether you’ve been to the Japanese capital or not. Pur your headphones on and enjoy these tunes.
5. Ayumi Hamasaki – Monochrome (Remo-con Classic Trance Remix)
Sadly, only the instrumental version is available online. Try to get the normal ver. though, it’s awesome!
Even though I appreciate some of her earlier works, I can’t really say I’m a fan of Ayu. Still, the Trance remixes of many of her songs are a total blast, and the fact that I’ve always had a soft spot for this atmospheric genre (even in my metalhead days) helps a lot, and the compilations composed by DJs and producers that gave a different perspective on Ayu’s tracks are absolutely worth listening if you’re a fan of the genre. And what other than Trance can represent the neon-lights, Blade Runner-like streets of the Tokyo night the best? This revisitation of Ayumi Hamasaki‘s classic Monochrome is atmospheric trance at its best and a track that summons lots of images in my mind, particularly of Odaiba and the ride on the Yurikamome Line to reach it through the stunning Rainbow Bridge. That hook halfway the track kills me everytime.
4. Sakanaction – Eureka
While Trance is a genre that suits the Tokyo night atmosphere perfectly, that doesn’t mean other genres can’t reach the same level of emotionality, and Sakanaction‘s beautiful Eureka is a great example. This track and its wonderful video (the band’s artistic peak in visuals) is itself a tribute to Tokyo, and it fits the atmosphere of the city in a more emotional and moving way, but not any less powerful. The hook at the end makes my cry a little bit every time: I see it as an hymn to this city, a declaration of love to its streets and majestic buildings and to all the people walking and giving life to it. The lovely Nippori and its little side streets full of shops are what comes to my mind the most when listening to this wonderful track.
3. Ayami Muto – Symphony N. 1 in B flat Major
This track from nostalgic Idol singer Ayami Muto is a masterpiece of synth-pop and one of my favorites of this year. Flawless composition with every single element at the right place, Symphony N.1 in B Flat Major‘s revolutionary and magic vibe makes this upbeat and exciting track a must when walking around in the Tokyo night, especially in the shining streets of Shibuya and Shinjuku. Pure excitement and energy, you need this pop masterpiece in your life.
2. Oomori Seiko – Midnight Seijun Isei Kouyuu
We all know this girl is as crazy as talented, and this track from her amazing second album Zettai Shoujo is the best showcase of her rebel yet lovely attitude. Midnight Seijun Isei Kouyuu is one of her best – if not the best – track of her vast musical portfolio: Its got a revolutionary vibe to it, and the dreamy melodies and Seiko’s heartfelt interpretation make this piece one of the best things you could ever hear when walking around Tokyo, especially if you’re in a “I’m looking for a relationship” mood.
1. capsule – Never Let Me Go
This track is probably the least complex from a mere technical and annoying-music-journalist point of view, yet it’s the one that hits me right in the feels the most for a reason I can barely describe. It’s a song that summons images of Shinjuku’s Studio Alta, of Kabuki-cho, of water reflecting the neon lights, of a girl that will never come back. It’s probably due to a strong emotional bond that capsule’s Never Let Me Go is the track that almost brings me to tears and makes me feel the distance between me and Tokyo the most. It’s sad, but also good in a way, because it holds the power of memories that makes us go forward in life. Nakata’s fresh synths and the hypnotizing voice of Toshiko here represent the Tokyo night at its best to me, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
What do you think about these tracks? Do they make you travel with your mind to the shiny lights of Tokyo, or reminisce your time in Japan? Let me know down here in the comments!