Tokyo-based Satellite Young is one of those retrosynth groups that’s just tongue-in-cheek enough to be fun, but earnest enough to have a good shelf life.
On both the original and superior synthpop remix of “Geeky Boyfriend,” released last year, the duo of Emi Kusano and Seikine Bellmezion tap into the best of 80s synthpop from both Japan and the United States.
In some ways, their work reminds me of the music from the VHS tapes my uncle used to send me from Japan in the 80s. Somewhere I have eight or more hours of Japanese television from that decade on aging tape. Satellite Young’s cuts would fit in well among Doraemon and the outlandish advertisements.
The remix especially stands out. Its shiny synth riffs, quite obviously inspired by Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” sound triumphant behind Kusano’s emotive Japanese-English vocals. It’s a mid-tempo gem.
The original version has a Faux-Town hot-step-kinda-bop like Phil Collins’ version of “You Can’t Hurry Love.” It’s less synth-oriented than the remix, seemingly more reliant on the artifice of MIDI-controlled guitars and more acoustic-sounding drums. While not as great as the remix, it’s still a lot of fun.
Overall, the songwriting on these songs is superb. The melodies are catchy, the chorus is eminently repeatable, and the chord progressions are colorful and pleasant. It’s a good time.
Other Satellite Young highlights from last year include “Break! Break! Tic! Tac!” and “Fake Memory,” both of which have synthpop and/or synthwave remixes for counterparts. (UPDATE Oct. 14: Satellite Young has a new release coming out very soon. Check it out.)
ReSounds is a Vehlinggo column dedicated to older and contemporary classics that deserve another look.