Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Satellite Young -- Satellite Young (サテライトヤング)
Satellite Young is a Technopop (they call themselves synthwave, which is a electronic music genre obsessed with 80s pop culture, such as cartoons, series, movies and, of course, synthpop music) unit that have a very obvious passion for 80s Japanese synthpop. In fact, in many interviews, they mention how 80s electronic pop music and female aidoru singers are the main source of inspiration for their work (somehow, Seiko Matsuda’s [松田聖子] “The 9th Wave”, from 1985, is an influential synthpop album in their opinion).
This month, they released a self-titled debut album, which is a collection of all the singles released since late 2013/early 2014, plus some new songs. Well, I can tell that if you like cheesy synthpop music from the 80s with lots of catchy hooks, than this album is for you. Every song is a grower and the synth work is amazingly over-the-top.
Satellite Young’s songs can be divided in two categories: the hard-hitting and retrofuturistic Techno songs, but also some great girly synthpop tunes that could’ve been handled to Kylie Minogue or Sinitta back in the SAW era. Let’s start with the cute songs before going to the more exciting ones.
“Fake Memory” and “Geeky Boyfriend” are cute songs that evokes nostalgy in the listener with the cotton candy-like melodies and dated synths. Satellite Young is not trying to reinvent the wheel with these songs… on the contrary, I like how they play with the concept of familiarity here, which is all people willing to listen to their type of music want. With that in mind, I could truly see Moulin Rouge, the Eurobeat duo from Slovenia, which was responsible for Wink’s “Namida wo Misenaide ~Boys Don’t Cry~” (涙をみせないで), recording both song back in the late 80s.
As for their hard-hitting retrofuturistic Techno songs, there’s “Sniper Rouge”, an amazing collaboration with Swedish synthpop artist Mitch Murder that evokes 80s anime series in a very exciting and dynamic way (the epic synth solo just kills me every time I listen to this song), but also “Dividual Heart”, which even features an almighty guitar solo amidst all the synth chaos.
To finish, there’s one more song to feature, which is “Sotsugyou Shinaide, Senpai!” (卒業しないで、先輩！). This one could be described as one of their cute songs, which in fact is, but there’s more to it since the tune was composed especially for an internet anime (more a parody of old school anime) called “Senpai Club”.
What I like about Satellite Young is how loyal they are to the genre. Absolutely nothing is restrained here, from the awkward aidoru-like vocals to the cascade of icy synths… everything is sincere, and obviously hit or miss (if you hate J-Pop vocals, like I’ve seen some people complaining about on YT, or dated electronic music, there’s nothing here that your ears will like). Like I said earlier, every song is a grower, and I recommend the full album if you like the songs I featured here.
In the end, I wasn’t able to resist and bought my copy from CDJapan. It’ll take a while to get here in Brazil, but I became too addicted to this album to let it pass.