“Bubble Gum”

On April 27th, the editorial and artwork production team of this column, along with their friends, as well as the staff of “Global Ride,” including designers and translators, gathered at my cafe, Cafe Apres-midi, in Shibuya for a DJ party. It was a great turnout and we had a really enjoyable time. I was looking forward to what to play that day and had selected several records since morning. However, by chance, I watched the music video for NewJeans’ new song “Bubble Gum,” which was released at midnight on April 27th, based on a friend’s recommendation. There was a scene of riding a bicycle, combined with the goodness of the song, and I was thrilled all day. So this month, although I felt somewhat ignorant about the various circumstances surrounding K-Pop, I thought it might be gauche to talk about NewJeans, but I’ll write only about what I felt from their music and MV at that time.

In a nutshell, it all boils down to the fact that they embrace the sparkle of youth and its fleeting beauty with natural grace, which deeply resonated with me. Their music feels bittersweet, refreshing, and vibrant, like the kind that makes you want to head to the beach as spring transitions into summer. No, it’s more like music that evokes cherished memories of a carefree but unforgettable summer. Yes, it’s the kind of music that makes you want to hop on a bike and head somewhere like you did back then.

What struck me the most was how it made me realize once again, “Bubbles are so peaceful.” I couldn’t help but flashback to an early summer two years ago when I went camping with my DJ friends. In the beautiful backlight of the sunset, I saw women blowing bubbles, and it made me look back at the photos involuntarily. While the MV also features balloons, chewing gum, and marbles, nothing seemed more fitting for the “Sweet like bubble gum” season of life than bubbles.

Throughout the entire music video, the producer Min Hee-jin’s aesthetic sense shines through, but what’s particularly noteworthy is the captivating opening sequence with the insertion of VHS video following the innocent line, “Today, I’ll teach you how to make soap bubbles.” It truly evokes a sense of youthful nostalgia, “The Age of Innocence.” And one can’t help but notice the white light and cute fashion styling. The preppy style with white shirts, white socks with sneakers (Nike Cortez), almost makes you want to throw on a navy blazer. The handheld shaky shots and amateurish zoom-ins give a real and casual feel to the camerawork, reminiscent of the mid-90s when SMAP emerged. The rhythmically timed cuts add to the tempo, enhancing the allure of the fluctuating melodic synth-pop tunes.

Speaking of musical references, if we were to describe it in Japanese terms, it would likely fall into the realm of Free Soul or City Pop, but personally, I immediately thought of Shakatak’s “Easier Said Than Done.” While it’s uncertain if it’s sampled, in that sense, this song feels like a contemporary update of 80s British Sophisti-Pop. Regardless, thanks to the refreshing tagline “Shining Morning, Starting.” and the MV of this song I watched that morning of April 27th, the “Global Ride ~ CYCLE MUSIC” party we hosted for the first time was a resounding success, filled with good vibes from start to finish.

NewJeans “Bubble Gum”

#01 The Style Council “My Ever Changing Moods”
#02 Cordelia “Play Pretend”
#03 Corinne Bailey Rae “Put Your Records On”
#04 Georgie Fame ”Happiness”
#05 Alulu Paranhos “Bicicletinha”
#06 Motoharu Sano “Angelina”
#07 B.J. Thomas “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”
#08 The Smiths “This Charming Man”
#09 Dominic Miller “Bicycle”
#10 NewJeans “Bubble Gum”


Toru Hashimoto (SUBURBIA)
Editor / Music Selector / DJ / Producer. Founder of Suburbia Factory. Owner of Shibuya’s “Cafe Apres-midi” and “Apres-midi Selecao.” Over 350 compilation CDs, including series like ‘Free Soul,’ ‘Mellow Beats,’ ‘Cafe Apres-midi,’ ‘Jazz Supreme,’ ‘Music With A View,’ and many others, have been curated, making him the world’s foremost selector. He oversees and produces music broadcast channels “usen for Cafe Apres-midi” and “usen for Free Soul” on USEN, wielding significant influence in Japanese music scene since the 1990s. In recent years, his ‘Good Mellows’ series with a focus on mellow chillout has gained great popularity both domestically and internationally.

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Dominic Miller

Monthly column “CYCLE MUSIC” where essays on bicycles and music are written every time. This time, let’s introduce a song called “Bicycle” by the renowned guitarist Dominic Miller. Born in Argentina to an American father and an Irish mother, Dominic Miller has long been hailed by the media as a “great and gentle storyteller.” Based in London for many years, he now resides in the South of France. However, he is perhaps best known for his illustrious career as Sting’s right-hand man. Sting has praised him as a “colourful architect of sound,” while Paul Simon, with whom he has also collaborated, has lauded his guitar playing as “ […]

Georgie Fame”Happiness”

Ever since this column started, when I listen to music, I somehow become conscious of cycling jackets, music videos related to bicycles, titles, and lyrics related to cycling. But when I thought of this song, I was delighted. It’s Georgie Fame’s beloved groovy tune “Happiness.” This song is from the 1971 masterpiece album “Going Home” is known to those in the know, and on the back cover, you can see Georgie Fame wrapped in a boa leather blouson, riding a bicycle.

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