The Catchy Japanese Pop Song That Dominates Your YouTube Recs Is Back!

Since Mariya Takeuchi’s “Plastic Love” was first uploaded to YouTube in 2017, it has scooped up tens of millions of views, even when copyright claims temporarily take it down. For some reason, the YouTube algorithm just loves to push “Plastic Love” into users’ Recommendations — not that anyone’s gonna complain about hearing the bubbly pop song one more time, in all its seven-minute glory.

Finally, “Plastic Love” is seeing release as a standalone single for the first time since it was released in 1984.

Even if you don’t recognize the music, you probably recognize the image used for the upload. That photo of a smiling Takeuchi caught mid-spin originally appeared as the cover for Takeuchi’s 1980 single, “Sweetest Music,” but it’s a better fit for the irresistibly saccharine “Plastic Love.”

“Plastic Love” is perhaps the quintessential example of city pop, a strain of ’80s Japanese pop music that has enjoyed renewed relevance over the past couple years.

City pop is demarcated by charmingly retro production that buoys ballad-y, mid-tempo vocals with syrupy strings, bouncy bass, and punchy drums. There’s a bit of funk, a bit of muzak, and plenty of lyrics about forlorn love. Very much the kinda thing that’d play over the intro of a syrupy anime of the era.

The everlasting popularity of “Plastic Love” took Warner Music Japan, its publisher, by surprise. Then again, how could you expect a seven-minute single to digitally catch fire nearly forty years later? There’ve been covers (in Japanese, English and practically every other language), reworks, and tributes aplenty.

It took Warner Japan until 2019 to issue an official “Plastic Love” music video — better late than never, though, considering that “Plastic Love” is still raking in the views on YouTube.

On November 3, Tower Records will release a new, 12″ version of “Plastic Love” and Variety as part of Record Day, organized in Japan by music production company Toyokasei since 2016. Takeuchi herself will make an appearance, as well.

The new 12″ vinyl version of “Plastic Love” appropriately sports the “Sweetest Music” cover photograph, boasting a new “Extended Club Mix” of “Plastic Love” as the A-side and the original radio edit on the B-side. This new mix is even longer than the original by nearly a minute and a half, giving fans plenty more “Plastic Love” to savor.