For many decades now, international artists have often felt the need to put pen to paper and write some lyrics about their Japanese experience, particularly visiting Tokyo. Most of the songs are far from being their greatest work but for Japanophiles they can offer an interesting insight into a culture which used to be a mystery to many people in the western world. Without further ado, here is the Tokyo Fox top ten……songs about Japan from the 2010s…
10. Hello Kitty – Avril Lavigne (2014) – Some of my favourite ever songs about Japan were recorded in this decade. This is NOT one of them. I like some of Avril’s songs but this is terrible and only makes the top ten by default!
9. Ichiban – Ash (2010) – It may mean number one in Japanese but Ichiban is not at the top of this chart! It was the first of an incredible 20 singles released by the band that year from their A-Z series. It`s a catchy tune but the video is probably greater than the lyrics and it includes footage from monster movie `Gorgo` (1961)
8. Tokyo Tokyo – 808 State (2019) – An instrumental acid dance track of big riffs with a few sampled train station platform announcement words thrown in too. Classic 808 State!
7. Kamakura – Ash (2010) – A second entry from the Northern Irish trio in this list. This one was a special Japanese bonus track on `A-Z Vol.1. It`s another catchy song with a great video shot in Kamakura and Tokyo. Thanks to Japanese words often ending in a vowel sound it`s quite easy to find words that rhyme and so a load of city names are included along with commonly known Japanese words like konnichiwa, sayonara and arigatou.
6. Lost In Japan – Shawn Mendes (2018) – The music video is certainly inspired by `Lost In Translation` (2003), and the lyrics see Mendes offering to travel the world in order to be closer to his love interest. Admittedly, I`m not familiar with the Canadian singer`s music but this is a quite funky R&B pop tune which reminds me of Justin Timberlake. You can`t beat a key change and this song certainly has one when a fat bass sound kicks in.
5. Welcome To Japan – The Strokes (2013) – This is the fourth track on `Comedown Machine` which is their fifth studio album. Singer Julian Casablanca`s vocals are often indecipherable but that matters not as they still compliment the drum beats, bass lines and short guitar riffs.
4. (I Miss The) Tokyo Skyline – Manic Street Preachers (2013) – Even my huge love for this band is not quite enough to propel it further up this chart. This ode to Tokyo is the sixth track on their eleventh studio album `Rewind The Film`, a more acoustic driven collection of songs. This one is about being seduced by Tokyo and the positivity of it`s alien culture.
3. 3LAU Feat. XIRA – Tokyo (2019) – A beautiful trance-infused single blending Sydney artist Xira`s angelic and endearing vocals and the instrumental beats. 3LAU`s (real name Justin Blau) aim was to capture the essence of spending a night exploring the Japanese capital.
2. Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) – The Wombats (2010) – I was listening to this Liverpool band`s material a fair bit during their most popular era when they had had a couple of successful singles called `Moving to New York` and `Let’s Dance to Joy Division`. This followed from their second album `This Modern Glitch` and was an instant radio hit with it`s singalong-style pub anthem.
1. Rather Be – Clean Bandit (2014) – The video was made in Japan, and of course features Kyoto in the lyrics but is this big hit even about Japan? Well actually yes it is as the video plays true to the lyrics and is about a Japanese fan of the band who becomes delirious and has hallucinations of band members and the Clean Bandit logo appearing unexpectedly in her daily life as a chef. It`s such a fresh and infectious song with Jess Glynne`s amazing vocals and the beautiful melodies.
That’s the ten songs I’ve chosen but are there any others which you think should be included? Let me know about them in the comments below or just tell me what your favourites (2010s only for now please!) are.
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Songs About Japan From The 2000s’
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Songs About Japan From The 1990s’
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Songs About Japan From The 1980s’
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Songs About Japan From The 1960s and 1970s’
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Music Videos Filmed In Japan’