Thursday 27 July 2023

Tatsuro Yamashita - For You

Then you realise sometimes the best records are the most popular. For You, despite being a number one LP in Japan in 1982 and one of the most revered Japanese city pop albums ever recorded, is still an elusive listen. It had a vinyl reissue a month ago but if you missed it, like me, you can now only pay an absurd fortune for a copy. The For You full album youtube uploads keep getting struck down and Yamashita refuses to put it up on spotify. So you gotta grab a piece of the fleeting phenomenon while you can. I mean is anybody really gonna pay over sixty Australian dollars plus shipping for the bloody reissue of the tape? Enjoyment for tonight only and maybe tomorrow night too... you never know your luck in the big city (pop)!

*For those who haven't been paying attention the boring mainstream rock-crit consensus cannons have become increasingly irrelevant since the internet. Lists by the likes of Rolling Stone, NME etc. were notoriously snobby particularly towards non American/English acts and heaven forbid genres like metal. 

So now we get to see ratings of music by the music fan people. The two lists of best albums of any particular year as voted by the website's users seem to be Best Ever Albums and Rate Your Music. The Best Ever Albums lists appear to best accurately reflect the choices and rankings of people I know. I love how Europe sits next to The Feelies as 43 & 44 respectively in the list of best 1986 LPs. Rate Your Music is more uber fan-ish but no less populist and with a broader scope than just rock & pop radio LPs. That is to say their lists encompass a lot more classical, experimental and niché genres.   

In recent years it has been noticeable and pretty embarrassing to see places like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone retroactively scrub their canonical lists and replace them with lists that don't accurately reflect the magazine's past identity, past music obsessions and past musical biases. They're probably doing this for retarded cultural revolutionary (DEI) points, definitely for broader market appeal but also because they might have realised that legacy rock critics thought they were better than the average popular music fan, were narrow minded and had petty grievances with certain genre music tribes. 

What I'm getting at here is that Tatsuro Yamashita's For You LP has gained a lot of status in the last twenty years. The World Wide Web is exactly that: Worldwide. For You never dented a western country's pop chart back in the day but due to a change in popular music listening paradigms, 41 years later it is rated by Best Ever Albums as the 30th best record of 1982 trailing Michael Jackson, Iron Maiden, Kate Bush, Donald Fagan, Bad Brains and The Fall while coming out ahead of 1982 efforts by Toto, Talking Heads, The Dream Syndicate, Gun Club and Siouxsie & The Banshees.

In the Rate Your Music's best LPs of 1982 list For You comes in at an astonishing number sixteen behind The Cure, Philip Glass, Glenn Gould doing Bach, Judas Priest & Prince but just ahead of Alice Coltrane, Discharge, SPK, Pagan Altar and Faustos. 

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