Album Review: Miki Matsubara’s “Pocket Park”

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Credit: Owen Smith

The album “Pocket Park” by Miki Matsubara was released in 1980. Whether you are a fan of J-Pop or not, it’s definitely worthwhile to just sit down and enjoy the music. The timeless songs and stand-out singles make “Pocket Park” a fantastic album.

Out of her entire discography, Matsubara’s “Mayonaka no Door/Stay With Me” is by far her most popular song with its 30,142,317 streams on Spotify. Although “Stay With Me” made its debut on “Pocket Park” in 1980, Matsubara has included it on every album since then. With its sad lyrics yet upbeat tempo, the song is a great opener to the album. Despite these attributes, “Stay With Me” owes its recent popularity to TikTok.

The rest of the album is just as phenomenal. “Ai wa Energy” and “Manhattan Wind” were clear standouts to me because one doesn’t need to understand Japanese to appreciate the melody and tempo of the songs. Both songs have a head-bopping feel to them that will leave you tapping your finger or foot along to the beat.

If slower, calmer songs are more your thing, “Pocket Park” has that too. Matsubara’s velvety voice will leave you daydreaming behind closed eyes in “That’s All” and “Soushite Watashi ga.” Maybe you’ll even imagine yourself in their music videos.

The album gets a 4.75/5 from me because of its variety and excellent production. “Pocket Park’s” mix of genres and lyrics caters to many different listeners. It may have been released in the 80s, but with the help of TikTok fame, the album will live on forever.

Listen along to “Stay With Me” with the Genius English translation