In the internet age, we have all become crate diggers and plunderers of the abstract. One of the great things about the vast information we have at our disposal is not just its spread through communities, but how it takes on a life of its own. Online movements like net art or vaporwave may not have always conduced extraordinary work, yet it has brought about knowledge to pieces and genres many had not known before. By extension of the hypnagogic craze that Tumblr, 4chan, and Reddit have all spurred on, city pop has re-surged in popularity and rightfully so.
But let’s not give curation all the credit for city pop’s acclaim. To be frank, the genre has been ripe for a reawakening and the sequence of sampling connections linking Tatsuro Yamashita to today’s youth was an easy outlet. Despite anime’s huge presence here in the West, we collectively haven’t given Japanese music a chance, yet culturally there is a wide attraction to their media and style of creation. Hence, city pop enters as a perfect conduit. The rateyourmusic generation synthesizes as whole with this avenue, a type of music so focused on hybridizing jazz, funk, and pop that it’s easy to love whether or not you ever found smooth jazz far too kitschy.
Take Toshiki Kadomatsu for example. This is a composer that not only writes virtuosic melodies, but links the rhythm with a pictorial quality on the level of a Steely Dan or Bob Dylan. However, in his case, city pop was intrinsically linked with the prosperity of 80s japan. When one sees the neon lights and tropical locales everpresent on album covers, it belies the prospect of a serene, capitalist utopia that Japan modeled itself as. He makes you believe you’re on a beautiful Okinawa beach and not Ohio in February. It’s euphoria only an excessively funky Japanese man can provide, and doubly impressive being an all-instrumental album too.
City pop is also a genre that can pride itself on having a strong sense of gender equality. Some of the best artists who crafted this style were female, including Junko Ohashi, Momoko Kikuchi, and Noriko Miyamoto. One could argue that female singers were merely used as an object to draw in the male idol audience, but this reductive idea doesn’t acknowledge the presence these women commanded as Japan’s top artists of the 80s. Check out this clip of Momoko Kikuchi and watch how she only needs her ethereal voice in order to put on a classic performance, neglecting to move around as if showmanship can hold her back. It’s a moment of the sublime, city pop as true transcendence, and it beats through a shy girl’s heart.
We’re always wishing for a better place or a better time. To share experiences with ones we hold dear, and make meaningful memories. City pop makes these dreams a reality, at least insofar as providing a musical gateway to personal satisfaction.
Ok, so I know the fandom’s already setting their sights on Lotor manipulating Lance in s3, but here are my two cents:
My first thought was that maybe Haggar just needs a figure head. I figured that Lotor could easily be written off as a young prince forced into this responsibility, and not really cut out for leadership, so Haggar ends up running the show, just by using Lotor as a Proxy.
But then I thought, let’s give him a bit of fun with this.
I’m hoping thinking that Lotor is gonna be really two-faced. Like, he’ll tell Haggar and his generals that he’ll pretend to be opposed to his father’s empire so that he can get closer to the Paladins and strike at them more effectively. Then he’ll go to the Paladins and tell them the same thing, just switched; that he’s only pretending to carry on in his father’s ways so that no one will suspect him until he helps Voltron take down the Galra Empire once and for all. Only the audience will see him play to both sides, and we won’t know who’s side he’s really on until the very last minute.