Endless Summer: J-Pop Summer Hits Music Playlist

Endless Summer: J-Pop Summer Hits Music Playlist

Lately I've been listening to a lot of J-Pop music so I compiled a dozen songs that I thought would make the perfect summer playlist. I also made a custom cover art for this mix and I'm sharing my process down below. 

This mix consists of chill R&B, pop, and alternative rock songs that are great to listen to while driving along the California coast. These are songs that I discovered throughout the summer on Spotify and have been listening to on repeat. These songs deserve to be heard by more people outside of Japan, and a lot of them actually have English verses too so I hope you like it!



  1. BREAKDOWN - Michael Kaneko, Daichi Yamamoto
  2. クロノスタシス - Kinokoteikoku
  3. HERE TO STAY - Soulflex
  4. 東京CRUISIN’ - tonun
  6. TILL THE END - Furui Riho, Jazadocument, Michael Kaneko
  7. SANDIE - Michael Kaneko, Yu Sakai
  8. MOONLIGHT - Yo-Sea
  9. MOONSHINE - sangdei
  10. GARDEN - Fujii Kaze
  11. 美しい鰭 - SPITZ


I listened to this playlist at least 30 times to make sure I was happy with the song selection. While listening to it, I couldn't help but picture myself driving along the California coast around Santa Monica or Malibu, with my top down and surfboard hanging in the backseat. I spent so many days at the beach this summer, exploring new surf breaks and enjoying the peaceful views of the ocean. 

One of my surfer friends has a white mini cooper so I picked that as the main focal point of my illustration. I pulled up reference images of mini coopers and drew it as if it had driven up right at the beach break. 

I felt like a lot of the songs in this playlist gave me an 80s city pop vibe. Or maybe it's because I a lot of 80s album covers of Anri and Hiroshi Sato have summer views of the beach. I pulled some reference images of city pop art and created my album cover inspired by these designs. 

I sketched out my design in my notebook and digitized it on my ipad using Adobe Fresco. This was also my first time ever lettering in Japanese katakana. I had a lot of fun with it and it's actually inspiring me to start incorporating more Japanese characters to my artwork. 

Finally I mocked up my illustration with a vinyl record to give it some extra flair. I'm pretty happy with the final results!

Summer may be over but luckily in my world (and mostly in California), it's always an endless summer.

Hope you like this playlist and if you'd like to save it or share it, use this link!

And if you have other song recommendations, please send them my way!


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