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Plastic Love: The best pop song you’ve never heard of by Mariya Takeuchi

The Internet is an amazing thing sometimes. Who would’ve thought that a Japanese city pop song from the 1980s would ever become popular with western audiences all these years later? I never listen to Japanese music so I’m not sure how it came up on my YouTube playlist, but something about the black and white picture had me click on it and I instantly fell in love.

Plastic Love by Mariya Takeuchi

I’ve listened to Plastic Love at least a few hundred times in the past month. I just can’t get it out of my head. There is something hypnotic and nostalgic about it. The lyrics don’t start until a minute and seven seconds into the song and there are a few English words throughout the song, but only the ending is fully in English. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand Japanese because it’s truly an awesome song.

plasicloveprinout.jpg

I was a student of Japanese back in high school, but I forgot everything when I learned Thai in the US Army. That was 24 years ago so it’s amazing that I can still read the Hiragana and Katakana characters. I printed out the song and highlighted all the Katakana in red ink. Katakana is usually English but pronounced in a Japanese way. If you are a student of Japanese or ever visit Japan, knowing Katakana can be very useful. I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting Japan a few times but found reading Katakana to be a big help.


突然のキスや熱いまなざしで
恋のプログラムを狂わせないでね
出逢いと別れ上手に打ち込んで
時間がくれば終わる don’t hurry!

愛に傷ついたあの日からずっと
昼と夜が逆の暮らしを続けて
はやりの disco で踊り明かすうちに
おぼえた魔術なのよ I’m sorry!

私のことを決して本気で愛さないで
恋なんてただのゲーム
楽しめばそれでいいの
閉ざした心を飾る
派手なドレスも靴も孤独な友だち

私を誘う人は皮肉なものね
いつも彼に似てるわ
なぜか思い出と重なり合う
グラスを落として急に涙ぐんでも
わけは尋ねないでね

夜更けの高速で眠りにつくころ
ハロゲンライトだけ妖しく輝く
氷のように冷たい女だと
ささやく声がしても don’t worry!

English version of Plastic Love

There are many covers of Plastic Love in several languages too. I love how the artist captured her look in the English version above.

Korean version of Plastic Love

There is also a Korean version.

Official Music Video of Plastic Love

After gaining so much popularity, they made an official music video last year. I wonder how she feels about her song blowing up all these years later. There are a few YouTube videos about the song as well.

Alan Levenson, the photographer who took the black and white photo, fought to get the song taken down only to have him get credit for it later and a lot of internet hate for being greedy. Hopefully, both artists got to cash in on the song’s recent popularity. This is a good case for making everything NFT or blockchain-based. Rather than having crazy censorship AI taking everything down, there should be a 50/50 split between the cover and original artists.

In the song, she sings about a lost love she used to dance with only to see his face and think about him later in life in all the other guys’ faces. Mariya Takeuchi said she never got to enjoy the city pop scene because she was busy raising her children, but her song singlehandedly brought back the genre.

Way Back Home LYRICS LESSON

Learning with music is fun because we remember the real language used in our favorite songs.

Listen to 2018’s Way Back Home by Shaun featuring Justin Bieber one time WITHOUT reading any lyrics, then see what you can repeat…

What words, sentences, or expressions got stuck in your head that you can repeat? Listen and read the lyrics this time…

(Lyrics)

Remember when I told you
No matter where I go
I’ll never leave your side
You will never be alone
Even when we go through changes
Even when we’re old
Remember that I told you
I’ll find my way back home

I could never let you go
Couldn’t run away if I tried
‘Cause even when I’m all alone
You still got a hold on my mind
And I’ll always let you know
That I’m always gonna hold on

And I told you right from the start
You just say the word and I’ll go
No, it doesn’t matter how far
‘Cause your love is all that I know
Baby you just stay where you are
And you know I won’t be too long
Hold on
Hold on

Remember when I told you
No matter where I go
I’ll never leave your side
You will never be alone
Even when we go through changes
Even when we’re old
Remember that I told you
I’ll find my way back home

조용히 잠든 방을 열어 기억을 꺼내 들어
부서진 시간 위에서 선명히 너는 떠올라
길 잃은 마음속에 널 가둔 채 살아
그만 그만

멈춘 시간 속 잠든 너를 찾아가
아무리 막아도 결국 너의 곁인 걸
길고 긴 여행을 끝내 이젠 돌아가
너라는 집으로 지금 다시 way back home

세상을 뒤집어 찾으려 해
오직 너로 완결된 이야기를
No, I won’t ever lose
As long as you’re there
빛이 다 꺼진 여기 나를 안아줘

눈을 감으면 소리 없이 밀려와
이 마음 그 위로 넌 또 한 겹 쌓여가
Even when we go through changes
Even when we’re old
Remember that I told you
I’ll find my way back home

Apply to real life.

Take parts of the song and use it your own way. For example:

Even when students are lazy, I still love them.
Remember when we went outside without phones?
I’ll always be a gamer.
I’ll never do that again!

No you try. Make your own sentences or expressions.

More Songs

Watch the Conversation Gaming Lyrics YouTube Playlist: