Various Artists

Nippon Girls: Japanese Pop, Beat & Bossa Nova 1967-1969

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Another volume in the killer GS I Love You series on Ace’s Big Beat imprint reveals the sultry, swaggering, and tough, hip-shaking young pop and bossa sounds of Japan’s girl pop scene from 1966 through 1970, which is considered one of the more revolutionary eras in Japanese rock modernism. The sounds were adapted straight from America, whether they were the Farfisa-driven pulses of “Kaze to Otoko No Ko” by Mieko Harada that contained more than a hint of the melody and arrangement of John Phillips' “California Dreamin',” or the dreamy Brazilian pop sounds of Ryoko Moriyama's “Ame Agari No Samba” that was adapted straight from the Los Angeles-produced Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66 sound. There’s some sassier stuff here, as well, such as the brassy “Suki Yo Ai Shite” by the infamous Mari Atsumi, with its popping snares, big horns, and strings that come off sounding like Hugo Montenegro writing for Twiggy. “Peacock Baby,” by Reiko Ohara, is equal parts acoustic Ramsey Lewis Trio and Brazil ’66. The beautiful rave-up in “Hatsu Koi No Letter” by Miki Obata is a more drunken Petula Clark if she were backed by the Dave Clark Five. In sum, this is a 25-cut delight, and shows no let up in the sheer campy quality in the GS I Love You compilations.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:57
2 2:26
3 2:49
4 2:36
5 2:24
6 2:55
7 2:12
8 2:41
9 2:59
10 2:28
11 2:37
12 3:03
13 2:39
14 2:41
15 2:39
16 3:13
17 3:04
18 3:48
19 2:14
20 2:46
21 3:01
22 2:24
23 2:31
24 2:29
25 3:13
blue highlight denotes track pick