Judy And Mary, Won’t You Please Come Home?

Isn’t it time that Judy And Mary had a reunion?

I mean, really, it’s long over-due isn’t it? I get the desire to break free from the constraints of being in a decade-old band, of wanting to tackle new challenges and explore new musical ground. Every artist needs fresh experiences with new people and new adventures to hone their creative edge. And you have! You guys have had over 16 years to do your own things, to work with other people and explore other musical ideas. Some of your post-JAM output has been very good: Yuki had a nice run of commercial success doing Chara better than even Chara herself, and Takuya created some really creative, if commercially unsuccessful, music with Robots and The Cloud Collectors. But this is getting ridiculous.

Your side projects were good, but Judy And Mary was special. Nothing any of you has done apart from JAM approaches the creativity or emotional impact of your work together. No joke, I can’t listen to any music for at least an hour after hearing the Warp album, it takes that much out of me. Honestly, just hearing “Hitotsu Dake” — 16 years later — has the same effect. Each of you is an accomplished musician, but the four of you together are a force of nature. I don’t know why you guys chose to call it quits, although I’ve heard several rumors. If it really was just some of you wanting to do other things, well, you’ve done them. If it was personal issues, I guess it couldn’t be helped, but there’s one thing I do know: a JAM reunion would be the biggest musical event Japan has seen since you broke up. You could do an arena tour of Japan and sell out every venue. If you recorded a new album, the pre-release buzz would be insane, and sales would dwarf those of every other album released that year.

Just look at the charts today. They’re a sad mix of young idol girl-groups, Johnny’s boy groups and a few aging singers from the 70s-90s. J-music needs a Judy And Mary reunion. It needs to be reminded of how great Japanese pop was in the 1990s and early 2000s, and that it can be that great again. Young Japanese rockers need to see with their own eyes that they don’t have to limit themselves to just melodic rock, indie rock, punk rock or experimental rock: they can be all of those things and more, all at the same time! The creative flame of JPop has been doused by the same sort of lazy paint-by-numbers industry management that made the American music industry boring ten years earlier. It needs to be re-ignited by a group that cannot be ignored or written off as “not commercial enough” by lazy industry hacks. They would have to take you seriously, and they would.

Ten years ago, I’d have said that a Smiths reunion would be the biggest event that could happen in the global pop music world, but like The Jam ten years before that, they missed their window, and the impact of either reuniting now would be minimal outside of their hard-core fan bases. Judy And Mary’s window to shake the foundations of the Japanese music scene is still open, but not for much longer. Maybe another five years at best. Your primary songwriters, Takuya and Yuki, are both still close enough to their primes to create compelling music that fits the JAM catalog. It’s nearing Now-Or-Never time. Japan needs you more than ever. Judy And Mary, please come home.

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