Japanese alt-pop star Mirei questions her cultural confusion on the playful “1998”

Osaka-born, Tokyo-based pop purveyore Mirei released her English-language debut album Take Me Away last year, but has continued to release singles since then, including her latest, “1998”. Named for her birth year, it finds Mirei stuck between two generations, as she explains:

“While looking back at the culture I grew up with, I reflected on who I am and where I belong… Britney Spears with Justin Timberlake in the all denim outfit still brings me back to my sweet childhood memories, and makes me feel like I’m a ’90s Baby. But on the other hand, I love Olivia Rodrigo, and I am so hooked on TikTok, so I feel like I’m much younger. I feel like my birth year, 1998, is a limbo year in between it all.” 

Fused to a low-key groove, “1998” feels like casually floating among Mirei’s memories as she scans through all the things she’s loved in her lifetime. Not only does she vocally reference everything from Tamagotchis to Tik Tok to binge watching to Justin & Britney, but the production bristles with the sounds of these things, bringing them to life. Amidst the sultry, jazzy beat, you’ll hear an iPhone ping, a Tamagotchi chirp, a Super Smash Bros twist – but this is all mere background to Mirei’s singing and presence. She oozes through the track with ease, but simultaneously conveys her confusion about being stuck between Millennials and Zoomers with affable personality.

Watch the video for “1998” below or listen to it on streaming platforms.

“1998” is out on Cool Japan Music. You can find Mirei on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.