Beauty album cover
Beauty

Ryuichi Sakamoto

1989
Virgin Japan

The aural equivalent of Shinjuku Station at rush hour, Sakamoto’s 1989 major label album Beauty captures the sound of teeming humanity from many walks of life in all of its over-caffeinated glory. Every second of it is overstuffed with sonic details, which would sound like bloat from just about any other pop artist. Yet Sakanmoto is deft, even when mixing Okinawan melodies, hip-hop drums, slick R&B, Indian tabla, cut’n’paste samples, synthesized woodwinds, rock guitar, and MTV pop to tackle the likes of the Rolling Stones and Stephen Foster. How else to explain an album that features Sly Dunbar, Brian Wilson, no wave legend Arto Lindsey, and Youssou N’Dour, all on one song! A global polyglot that on the surface might resemble a Benetton ad yet features plenty of elegant moments (see “Rose”) that are classic Sakamoto.

Andy Beta

Who also suggested

If you select your preferred streamer here, we will save your preference and link to that platform if possible. This can always be changed in the Settings menu.

Apple Music

If you’d like to prioritize Bandcamp if available, tap the Bandcamp logo.

Since some albums are only available on one service, you’ll still see logos for other services if the album is only available on that service.

Next