Salaryman Tunes: Pradana & His Peers’ Greatest 10 City Pop/AOR Tracks For Your Cruise/Commute Playlist

source: Eizin Suzuki

Image Eizin Suzuki

During weekdays, a salaryman like me (and you maybe) would probably spend a good hour (or more) in the morning trying to get our asses off to where we should be in the next eight hours (and often more than that), which is the workplace, of course. And being in the city and driving/commuting to work have proven to be a journey to hell considering how this bunghole is concentrated with other people trying to do the same.

So, I’ll do my best to list 10 tracks that’ll evoke the nicest imageries of palm trees and those breezy driveways near the beach, so that you’d get to your workplace with greatly reduced stress. By the way, special shouts to cohorts Adam Kasturi and Azzief aka Jerk Kerouac for their top notch assist for this curated listicle. Enjoy!

1. Toshiki Kadomatsu – Sea Line

The song title itself does the track justice, from the rhythmic bonga intro to when the guitar solo kicks in, you’ll be transported to where an endless, blue blanket – with similarly perfect azure skies – is right before your eyes in no time.

2. Kiyotaka Sugiyama & Omega Tribe – Futarinonatsumonogatari (Never Ending Summer)

Adam (Kasturi) linked me to this band Omega Tribe, which was quite popular in Japan in the early ‘80s, and I was intrigued by the lead Kiyotaka Sugiyama, who really stuck out like a sore thumb (sharply dressed to the nines and never without his Wayfarer). Furthermore, Adam also claimed that he had perfect execution skills, (whatever that is) which really backs up his whole style?

3. Carlos Toshiki & 1986 Omega Tribe – Aquamarine no mama de ite

Some time in the mid ‘80s, Kiyotaka Sugiyama quitted Omega Tribe for the most clichéd reason of all time (*cough* creative differences *cough*), so the band replaced him with this charismatic Brazil-born Japanese dude who went by the name of Carlos Toshiki. Within a few maxi singles, Omega Tribe reclaimed their summer pop/AOR throne along with this new kid on the block. Carlos Toshiki, who was proven to be a worthy successor of Sugiyama-san himself, brought maximum amount of flamboyant to this song effortlessly. To be honest, I don’t really know what the song is all about, but with an opening line like, “Kill me girl with your eyes,” I’m pretty sure this song is about the greatest summer fling waiting to happen *wink wink*.

P.S. Present day city pop siren (and also my current favourite) Hitomitoi also covered this song for a compilation called Twilight Time. I can only find the preview by way of the SoundCloud player below, but I can tell you that the whole song is gonna sound nothing short of fantastic the same way as the original did before.

4. Hitomitoi – Last Friday Night Summer Rain

Her 2013 album Surf Bank Social Club gotta be my all time favourite summer album even though I don’t understand most the word that she’s been serenading me with, haha. The album opener, ‘Last Friday Night Summer Rain’, just gives that perfect palm tree vibes and those feeling that you just got off your ride about to check in to some nice beach resort (there’s a line that says “We can arrive on time” that can justify this claim).

5. ‪Nami Shimada – Summer School Rendezvous

Soooo, yeah, just because we don’t really have summer school here since it’s always summer all year round makes this song an all time favourite, hahaha.

6. Katara – Masa Bodo

Okay, now from Yokohama I’m gonna shift it all the waaayyy to Bandung, which is where this Katara Band is from. Well, apart from breezy weather all day, Bandung doesn’t really have any palm trees or beaches to even begin with, but nonetheless, this song manages to capture those long vacation vibes with style and pizzazz. Unfortunately, like the song title (masa bodo actually means IDGAF, an Indonesian slang backdated to the early ‘90s, or maybe waaayy earlier than that) Katara seems to blanket themselves in oblivion after their amazing debut album.

7. Ikkubaru – Amusement Park

While we’re still in discussion about bands from Bandung, here’s another one that’s worth mentioning because who knew, being influenced by city pop greats like Toshiki Kadomatsu and Tatsuro Yamashita can actually lands you a record deal from a label based in Japan? Daaaaaaaaaamnn!!!!!

8. Mus Mujiono – Tanda Tanda

City pop aside, I first heard this song in my parents’ car back in 1989, which makes this song my earliest all time favourite, plus all those late ‘80s vibes in it can pass this song as a bonafide city pop track, not to mention lines from the song that go “Burung-burung bernyanyi/ Alam berwarna-warni/ Mentari di hujung rambutnya” kinda make me wonder if Mus Mujiono downed a couple of LSD when writing this song.

9. Chrisye – Windy

This song is actually my pet peeve of a template for male singers in Indonesian pop songs. It always goes like; guy meets girl, they’re still in their preteen, nothing happens, after a few years pass by, guy meets the same girl again, girl grows up beautiful, guy not giving a fuck that she might not be legal yet, proceeds to woo and bang her anyway. The intro might makes you go, “Hmm, good stuff,” until Chrisye sings and at the same time tells the audience how the story goes… And by the end of the song, you’ve come to realise that this song has been doing a good ass job in planting some horrifying paedophiliac thoughts inside your brain. Poor Windy.

10. Itang Yunasz – Aku Cinta Padamu

Look, I got nothing against that certain national biduanita’s (or whatever you call that) version, but this one – IMHO – is the version that always gains the upper hand because of that haunting ‘80s ballad vibes. Plus, I can do an anagram on the original songwriter’s name as well (Oddie Agam = OG Adam).

Bonus: Apparently, I found someone karaoke-ing the OG (sorry for the pun, again) version of the original song by OG Adam (I mean, Oddie Agam himself), complete with that funny generic template of a karaoke video on YouTube. See below:

Listen to Pradana’s own music here – and yes, some were influenced by city pop.