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Discovolante's Best of 1987 (Japan Edition)

From the beginning of the year to the end, via the Sputnik release calendar.
1Terra Rosa
The Endless Basis

Progressive and hard hitting, Terra Rosa were one of the greatest (and earliest) female-fronted metal bands in Japanese music history. Kicking around for five years, they finally released their masterpiece "The Endless Basis", which is just as cutting edge and unique as much now as then. It's got heart, speed, technique and powerful melodies that makes it such a brilliant early metal Japanese album.
2Mayumi Chiwaki
Attack Treatment

Mayumi Chiwaki digs deeper into her image as an alternative idol hero with the release of her 1987 album "Attack Treatment", which shows her moving towards a harder edge that is even heavier than what she experimented with on her 1985 debut "Jewels". As a matter of fact, "Attack Treatment" ends up becoming an album that bridges her sophisto-pop-esqued predecessor "Angel-We Are Beautiful" with the harder post-punk influenced sound that would reach its peak with the following 1988 album "Dangerous is My Middle Name". The very best of both worlds.

After releasing a few hit-and-misses, T-Square finally hit a career high with the release of their seventh album "Truth". There is just a right amount of new wave and jazz fusion elements, which is a formula that T-Square during the 80s had such a hard time mastering. With "Truth", not only did they master it, but they created one of the greatest Japanese jazz fusion albums of all time.
TV no Naka ni

Kan offered a calm, cool and collected alternative to the electro-tinged new wave styling of Japanese popular music. It would take him a while to catch on, but when he did in 1990, he would acquire four top 5 albums. But it would be his debut "TV no Naka ni" that would really be one of his best efforts, in my opinion. The album gives to mind a nice cool drive out into town, adult contemporary done just right.
5The Checkers

The colossal fifth original album of 80s pop icons The Checkers, "Go", is not only a huge step-up in terms of quality over their mediocre previous album "Flower", but it also proved to be one of their most commercially successful and significant albums critically-speaking. It took influence from hot young bands like Barbee Boys and Kome Kome Club, and mixed the dancy pop rock influences from those two bands with their retro homage-to-the-50s sound, creating one of the most distinctive albums of the decade, as well as one of their best overall.
6The Blue Hearts

Called the greatest and most influential punk band in Japanese music history, The Blue Hearts came out with both barrels blazing with their 1987 self-titled debut. Containing some of the most masterful punk songs to date, it perfectly encapsulates the youthful punk feel of the mid 80s, and is one of the utmost premiere albums in Japanese punk history.
7Fence of Defense
Fence of Defense

1987 would be the sudden breakout year for up-and-coming proggy pop-rockers Fence of Defense, where they released their first two albums 6 months apart. While they're both fantastic, the greater of the two in my opinion would be their self-titled debut. Spearheaded by the levitating feelgood track "Fathia (フェイシア)", Fence of Defense's self-titled album would not only be one of their most fantastic efforts, but it would also be one of the greatest prog-pop albums ever made.
8Chisato Moritaka
New Season

Every idol has a beginning, and hardly any idol had a beginning as stellar as Chisato Moritaka. Debuting at the age of 18, she released her first EP "New Season", which ultimately ushered in a new phase of idol pop music which was more modern and dance-oriented. A brand new face for brand new times.
9Unicorn (JPN)

Unicorn was a band that crawled through the sewers of Japanese pop music that eventually became one of the most eclectic and unique bands to emerge from the rock boom by 1990. But it all started with this very album, "Boom", which today has a mixed legacy. Fans of their later, more sophisticated work disavow "Boom" due to its simplistic sound. But those who champion the album praise it for its fun and exciting sound, a trait that would be lost as they chose to expand upon their sound later on. A deliciously thrilling album.
10Barbee Boys
Listen! Barbee Boys 4

After a bit of a stumble with the release of their previous album "3rd Break", Barbee Boys return with a vengeance in 1987 with the release of "Listen! Barbee Boys 4", which is where they really step it up and prove themselves. Containing some of their most remarkable songs in their catalog, the entire album is practically a non-stop barrage of ingenious melodies and masterfully crafted 80s pop rock. Their second best album in my opinion, right behind their following album, the career-defining "√5".
11Pink (JPN)

In 1987, Pink released two amazing follow-ups to the majestic "Hikari no ko": "Psycho-Delicious" and "Cyber". While both albums are superb in their own right, my personal edge goes to "Cyber" with just how brazenly complex of a listen it is. Undoubtedly their most experimental album, it has influences of tribal drumming, alternative dance and minimalistic electronica, while also simultaneously maintaining their catchy new wave pop sound. Further evidence that Pink were lightyears ahead of the competition.
Welcome to Zabadak

Zabadak are now regarded as leaders of the Japanese geek music realm, and that is a role they've held since near their formation. With a sound that blended Medieval elements with a synthetic new wave crunch, Zabadak made magic with their first full length "Welcome to Zabadak". There's a hypnotic and dizzying ole time theme which pulls you into their world of surrealistic wonder. With lyrics that are multilingual, "Welcome to Zabadak" is truly an album that stands out to this day.

La-Ppisch were a band like nothing else. Primarily a ska band, they were also known to blend in elements of all sorts of rock, some of which I can't even accurately describe. One of those songs, "Tanpopo (Toys II)", is featured on this very album, their self-titled 1987 debut. It is an album that maintains a strong cult following today due to how ahead of its time it was.

By the time they released their third full length "Poison", Rebecca were already on top of the Japanese pop stratosphere. But it would be "Poison" that would become their finest effort to date. Dancy with a good amount of soul and brilliant melodies, it really is a quintessential 1980s Japanese album.
15The Alfee
UK Breakfast

In 1987, The Alfee released their career-defining album "UK Breakfast", which is their all-time magnum opus in my eyes. It manages to elevate their prog-pop sound to a perfect area of pure pop brilliance. An album that they would never top again in terms of sheer quality.
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