J-pop

ZAQ: HOPENESS

By Paris365 on February 10, 2016

ZAQ: HOPENESS

ZAQ is back. Back for the attack.

ZAQ is back. Back for the attack. Or at least it would appear that way, her new single "Hopeness" being something of a furious beast with its hard and heavy beats, intense tempo and piercing piano. The beats at the beginning even remind me of Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up." They quickly shift into something that's a bit like old school techno, albeit with a fresh, modern punch, but, still, my point stands: this is not wimpy stuff.

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ASSORTED MINI-REVIEWS: Norika Ueda Trio, tofubeats, Kary Ng, Majiko

By Paris365 on February 05, 2016

ASSORTED MINI-REVIEWS: Norika Ueda Trio, tofubeats, Kary Ng, Majiko

Today we have mini-reviews of four very diverse artists, Norika Ueda Trio (jazz), tofubeats (electronic/J-Pop), Kary Ng (C-Pop), Majiko (J-Pop)

Noriko Ueda Trio: Debut

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Shiori Tomita feat. Ladybeard: バレンタイン・キッス [Valentine Kiss]

By Paris365 on January 20, 2016

Shiori Tomita feat. Ladybeard: バレンタイン・キッス [Valentine Kiss]

Shiori Tomita teams up with Ladybeard for the best J-Pop meets J-Metal song since BABYMETAL's last single.

Shiori Tomita was born in Takayama, Japan in 1994. Last year she released a fantastic album called Moshimo World, which was a blend of folk, J-Pop and Western pop with a splash of classical. It was very organic sounding and mellow. Well, she's done a complete 180 with her new single, "Valentine Kiss," which features Ladybeard. If you don't know who Ladybeard is, you might want to check out his interview with Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurenorsini/2015/07/08/a-qa-with-ladybeard-....

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MORNING MUSUME '15: Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only

By Paris365 on January 08, 2016

MORNING MUSUME '15: Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only

On December 29th, 2015, Morning Musume '15 dropped their third and final single of the year, which just so happens to be a magnificent triple A-side.

I think it would have made more sense to delay this single for a few days to have made it the first Morning Musume '16 release, but, nope, for whatever reason(s) it was released on December 29th of last year, making it the J-Pop girl group's third single of 2015. But all that really matters is that it's fantastic!

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MAY'N: 夜明けのロゴス [YOAKE NO LOGOS]

By Paris365 on January 05, 2016

MAY'N: 夜明けのロゴス [YOAKE NO LOGOS]

May'N finished celebrating the 10th anniversary of her career with this spectacular single. From subtle electro-pop to scorching guitars, this release has it all.

The 10th year anniversary of May'n's career just ended. But, she couldn't let it pass without treating her fans to another single (her second for 2015). It's called "夜明けのロゴス," which Google translates as "Dawn of Logos," and it's the theme song for the anime series Aquarion Logos, which May'n has made music for in the past, namely the song "Yamaidare Darlin':.

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REPOST: A.Y.A: 2 COOL 4 SCHOOL -- EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW COMING SOON!

By Paris365 on January 05, 2016

REPOST: A.Y.A: 2 COOL 4 SCHOOL -- EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW COMING SOON!

A.Y.A delivers edgy, alternative J-Pop. If you like pop that is truly artistic and not paint-by-numbers, this album is for you.

Here's something you don't come across every day: an J-Pop album cover with a girl bent over like she's ready for doggy style sex.  Maybe that's not what she's trying to imply, but she's certainly trying to draw attention to her rear in any case.  Anyway, it might be a hot album cover, but the music is even hotter.
 

NAMIE AMURO: RED CARPET

By Paris365 on December 29, 2015

NAMIE AMURO: RED CARPET

Namie Amuro returns with not one but two primo tunes perfect for your New Year's Eve playlist!

"I am the greatest / I make it through," sings Namie Amuro during the chorus of her spicy new single "Red Carpet." I suppose you could regard those lyrics as being very conceited. But I don't think she's trying to brag. (Even though the first lyric of the song is "I'm a VIP".) On the contrary, I feel like she's just trying to inspire her fans, to make everyone feel like they're the greatest. And this translation would seem to back up my opinion: http://shinitakashi.blogspot.com/2015/12/amuro-namie-red-carpet-english-...

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ANNA TSUCHIYA AND THE GROOBEEES: NAKE'd -Soul Issue-

By Paris365 on December 23, 2015

ANNA TSUCHIYA AND THE GROOBEEES: NAKE'd -Soul Issue-

Anna Tsuchiya returns with something very unexpected, an EP of covers -- in English, no less -- recorded live in the studio with a full band in the form of The Groobeees. And while the sound is very rock 'n' roll they're dubbing it soul.

After being absent from the music scene for roughly two years, Anna Tsuchiya returns with something very unexpected, an EP of covers -- in English, no less -- recorded live in the studio with a full band in the form of The Groobeees. Perhaps even more surprising is that this is billed as soul, soul being the last thing you'd expect Anna to ever do, but it's mostly just Anna's voice that sounds like soul. The actual music by the band is more like rock 'n' roll. Pretty heavy, to be sure.

J-POP CHRISTMAS SINGLE ROUND-UP:

By Paris365 on December 18, 2015

J-POP CHRISTMAS SINGLE ROUND-UP:

I reviewed some K-Pop Christmas singles the other day, so I thought it only fair that I review some J-Pop singles now...

I did a K-Pop Christmas songs round-up the other day, so I thought it only fair that I do a J-Pop one.

E-GIRLS: "Merry × Merry Xmas★"

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BOA: LOOKBOOK

By Paris365 on December 15, 2015

BOA: LOOKBOOK

BoA's back! And she delivers two brilliant new songs along with a self-cover of a Christmas song she did 15 years ago.

"I know you're checking me out," BoA sings on the title track of her new single, Lookbook. It's her first Japanese single of 2015 but it's downright MASSIVE. What a song. Huge, EDM style beats that pound away quickly, BoA's glorious vocals, a bass guitar solo -- it's a song that splits the difference between J-Pop, K-Pop and Euro dance and it does so in a way that feels completely natural; if she set out trying to appeal to those markets, you'd never know it because it feels like she just wrote a song and it just so happened to have all of those sounds to it by coincidence.

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PUFFY: PAFFIPIPOYAMA

By Paris365 on December 04, 2015

PUFFY: PAFFIPIPOYAMA

It opens with a gong being struck and then goes bonkers with a fairly typical J-Pop synth bit before it shifts into a plenty original, uppity J-Pop/J-Rock song.

Whenever I stumble across anything from PUFFY -- they always capitalize it -- I immediately think, "Puffy AmiYumi!" This is because they had to add their names, Ami and Yumi, so they wouldn't get sued by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, who sometimes is just called Puffy. Of course, now he prefers Diddy or P. Diddy. Or maybe he's moved onto something else entirely. I just think it's weird that he thought people would be confused about a female J-Pop duo calling themselves PUFFY.

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KAGEYAMA RISA: NIGHTINGALE & PINA COLADA

By Paris365 on December 01, 2015

KAGEYAMA RISA: NIGHTINGALE & PINA COLADA

Kageyama Risa recently released not one but two EPs. One is enka, one is futuristic electronica. Both are reviewed here.

On November 11th, one of J-Pop's most busy bees, Kageyama Risa, released an exceptional EP called Nightingale via Ace Music, exp. On November 25th she released an equally impressive EP called Pina Colada, also via Ace Music, exp. I have written about both releases here.

CHII (OF 4TE): "WHY DO I?"

By Paris365 on November 10, 2015

CHII (OF 4TE): "WHY DO I?"

4TE's Chii makes her solo debut with "WHY DO I?" and it's one of the hottest J-Pop songs in English that we've ever heard.

Chii is a member of the recently formed J-Pop girl group 4TE, which I've been very impressed by so far and I expect that I'll continue to be. To that end, I'm really, really hoping they'll release a full-length album soon. Their music is one of the best things to happen to J-Pop since Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (someone else we'd love a new album from soon).

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GEM: SINGLES: "Delightful Days," "No Girls No Fun," "You You You"

By Paris365 on November 09, 2015

GEM: SINGLES: "Delightful Days," "No Girls No Fun," "You You You"

You simply must check out this fantastic electro-pop supergroup featuring the members of Cheeky Parade and Super Girls. These three singles are all grade A stuff.

First of all, I have to point out that this is NOT the amazing Chinese solo artist G.E.M. This is a Japanese girl group called GEM, who are signed to iDOL Street. Got it?

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TOMMY'S HALLOWEEN FAIRYTALE

By Paris365 on October 23, 2015

TOMMY'S HALLOWEEN FAIRYTALE

As with her HALLOWEEN ADDICTION remix album, Tommy -- a.k.a. Tomoko Kawase, lead singer of the brilliant green -- has credited both of her alter-egos for most of the songs on this year's scorching new Halloween mini-album.

As with her HALLOWEEN ADDICTION remix album, Tommy -- a.k.a. Tomoko Kawase, lead singer of the brilliant green -- has credited both of her alter-egos for most of the songs on this year's scorching new Halloween mini-album; on iTunes, those tracks come up as Tommy february6/Tommy heavenly6. But there are a couple of songs just credited to one of the personas.

2PM: HIGHER - EP

By Paris365 on October 20, 2015

2PM: HIGHER - EP

2PM once again unleash a pop monster on Japan with their latest Japanese single, "HIGHER," and boy is it a powerhouse winner.

The strapping young lads of 2PM are ready to take Japan by storm once again with their killer new dance pop tour de force that is "HIGHER." Which, of course, I highly recommend. How could I not? It's got mean, punchy beats, a groovy melody, and a super catchy chorus, which the guys sing passionately enough to give young women a fever; it's aces all around, really. I doubt anyone's still missing Jay Park five years after he left, but if you are then you probably won't be after digesting this tasty morsel.

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MACO: KISS

By Paris365 on October 13, 2015

MACO: KISS

You probably still have her version of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" on your playlist of current favorites, so why not check out MACO's new original song, the digital single "KISS"?

Hailing from Hakodate, Hokkaido, singer/songwriter MACO has been making J-Pop waves ever since the indie release of her song "22" during April 2014. The song went to number 1 on the iTunes chart, the agency ONEPEACE noticed, and she wound up signed to Virgin Records.

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NMB48: MUST BE NOW (通常盤Type-A) - EP

By Paris365 on October 05, 2015

NMB48: MUST BE NOW (通常盤Type-A) - EP

NMB48 have now returned with Must Be Now, which finds their singer Yamamoto Ayaka serving as group leader for the first time in four releases.

Three months ago NMB48 released the single "Durian Shonen," which proved to be quite the hit, topping the Oricon chart. Now they have returned with Must Be Now, which finds their singer Yamamoto Ayaka serving as group leader for the first time in four releases. (I don't pay much attention to which girls sing on which singles, never mind who sings lead vocals on them, but I have found myself quite liking Yamamoto's, which has a more mature sound than the tweens that populate these groups.)

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HARUKA TOMATSU: STEP A GO! GO!

By Paris365 on October 02, 2015

HARUKA TOMATSU: STEP A GO! GO!

Haruka Tomatsu releases her first single in months and it's a super catchy pop rock gem!

As my longtime readers know, Haruka Tomatsu is a very popular voice actress who's done around 50 anime movies and tv shows. She's also done the Japanese dubbing for characters on popular tv shows and movies. For example, she's the voice of the character Bradley Martin on Bates Motel. She was the voice of Olivia Morris in Scream 4, and she did the voice of Jena Malone's character Rocket in Sucker Punch. With so many voice acting jobs under her belt, one wonders why she doesn't start working as a regular actress as well. She's more than pretty enough.

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ASAMI IMAI: BABYLON ~before the daybreak

By Paris365 on September 24, 2015

ASAMI IMAI: BABYLON ~before the daybreak

Asami Imai's "Babylon - Before the Daybreak" is one of her strangest and darkest songs to date.

Asami Imai's music often tends to veer toward the dark side of J-Pop, which is one of the things I love about her. She's edgy and so is her vibrant music. Her new single, "Babylon - Before the Daybreak" is one of her strangest and darkest. It's the main theme song from Corpse Party, so clearly it's intended to sound eerie, hence it beginning with the sound of a ticking clock and some dudes chanting in an ominous manner. Once that passes, things quiet down and Asami is mostly accompanied by pretty piano during the first verse.

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