Stripe’s Song of the Day: Tatsuro Yamashita – Sparkle

The classic city pop opener is the dream of the 80s – clear, upbeat, and spotlessly clean

Shoumik Hassin
Published : 17 May 2023, 01:25 PM
Updated : 17 May 2023, 01:25 PM

Nostalgia is strange. Its warped lens softens edges, making things warm, personal, even comforting.

Over the past decade, nostalgia for the 80s overtook global pop culture. Throwbacks like Stranger Things, revivals like Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and aesthetics like vaporwave inundated the landscape. Somewhere in that endless haze I came across Tatsuro Yamashita’s For You and its opener ‘Sparkle’.

Clean guitar lines punctured by gleaming horns, a blue-eyed funk groove, and pristine percussion. It’s everything you could want from the crisp spotlessness of 80s Japanese pop. You can just imagine the glass and plastic of skyscrapers giving away to an unblemished beach and an expanse of immaculate blue.

It’s a fantasy, of course. It’s so meticulous that it even feels a bit sterile. But Yamashita’s a canny lad and he’ll get you back with a quick riff, a burst of brass, or those uplifting backing vocals.

This isn’t a song meant to be probed and analysed. It’s meant to be put on in the background as you cruise in your car or bounce around your bedroom. It’s a dream that lifts your mood before dissipating in the cold light of morning. And it’s dang good at it.