J-pop

TOMOMI ITANO: COME PARTY!

By Paris365 on March 02, 2015

TOMOMI ITANO: COME PARTY!

Tomomi Itano's latest single would likely please AKB48 haters, if they could overlook the fact that that's where she got her start. Seriously, this one is far superior to AKB48's music.

Sometimes I have a hard time believing that Tomomi Itano got her start in AKB48. In the interest of full disclosure, I consider myself a fan of AKB48. But I freely admit that every two out of three singles they release sound the same. You'd think their cheesy synthesizer and drum machine would have died by now, given how often they clearly use them. And so it's difficult to believe that Tomomi Itano hasn't released the same single twice, her songs all being unique pop gems, like different colored diamonds.

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SUMIRE UESAKA: 閻魔大王に訊いてごらん (Enma Daio ni Kiite Goran)

By Paris365 on February 27, 2015

SUMIRE UESAKA: 閻魔大王に訊いてごらん (Enma Daio ni Kiite Goran)

Sumire unleashes anime theme song and it's awesome.

Sumire Uesaka's recent single is the theme song for an anime but neither Yes Asia or CD Japan stated the name of the anime in English. So, I translated the product info with Google and it spit out "Cold of Cherry" and "Cherry of Cold," so my guess is that it's called Cold Cherry, or the Japanese equivalent of that. In any case, the single is called "閻魔大王に訊いてごらん " and Google translates that as "See to hear the King Yemma." I'm not sure what to make of that, but I'm thinking King Yemma must be a character in the anime.

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RIKA MAYAMA: LIAR MASK

By Paris365 on February 18, 2015

RIKA MAYAMA: LIAR MASK

Rika Mayama of Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku finally goes at it alone with her first solo single, "Liar Mask," which is the theme song for the anime Akame ga KILL! And, wow, it is mighty impressive.

Rika Mayama of Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku finally goes at it alone with her first solo single, "Liar Mask," which is the theme song for the anime Akame ga KILL! And, wow, it is mighty impressive.

HARUKA TOMATSU: COURAGE

By Paris365 on February 03, 2015

HARUKA TOMATSU: COURAGE

Haruka Tomatsu delivers one heck of an anthem with "Courage."

Haruka Tomatsu's latest single, "Courage," is the opening theme for the second season of the anime series Sword Art Online and it's certainly got an inspiring vibe to it. From the high octane beats that race through the song to the uppity piano and the roaring electric guitar, you can totally hear this playing during a violent fight scene or some other scene where the hero or heroine saves the day. Is it the best anime theme song I've ever heard? Definitely not. But I'd give it a solid B if I were the sort of critic to give out letter grades.

4TE: READY TO CONQUER THE WORLD OF J-POP

By Paris365 on January 18, 2015

4TE: READY TO CONQUER THE WORLD OF J-POP

4TE are a non-Japanese J-Pop group who are ready to take the world by storm with their fantastic new double A-side MORE / 一歩ずつ. Not only do we have a review of the single, we are also quite pleased to bring you an exclusive interview with the group!

review and interview by Michael McCarthy

Before we get to our interview with J-Pop's future stars 4TE, I wanted to present a review of their wonderful double A-side MORE / 一歩ずつ...

4TE — pronounced Forte/for-tay — is a red hot new Japanese pop group based out of the U.S. and if there’s any justice in this world they will obtain a major label deal for Japan and become the J-Pop megastars they deserve to be. Because, let me tell you, their debut double A-side single is fantastic, both songs plenty capable of rising to the top of the J-Pop charts.

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U-KISS: SWEETIE

By Paris365 on January 08, 2015

U-KISS: SWEETIE

"Sweetie" is U-KISS's 10th Japanese single, but Yes Asia indicates that they worked on it with their Korean creative team.

"Sweetie" is U-KISS's 10th Japanese single, but Yes Asia indicates that they worked on it with their Korean creative team. (So, I suppose there will inevitably be a Korean version in the not so distant future.) In any case, it's a lush, very well-produced and heartfelt ballad that finds the guys at the top of their game, delivering super smooth, emotive vocals. The sort of slow song you want to slow dance to with your own sweetie. To my ears, it's more of an R&B song than a J-Pop song, but suffice to say it's in Japanese regardless of whether or not you'd agree with me on that point.

CAPSULE: FEEL AGAIN

By Paris365 on January 05, 2015

CAPSULE: FEEL AGAIN

"Feel Again" is the first digital single to be released from capsule's highly anticipated new album Wave Runner, which will be released on February 15th, 2015.

"Feel Again" is the first digital single to be released from capsule's highly anticipated new album Wave Runner, which will be released on February 15th, 2015.

As always, the versatile duo consists of singer Toshiko Koshijima and multi-instrumentalist producer Yasutaka Nakata (Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Perfume) and they've certainly hit the proverbial jackpot here, delivering a killer new single that hits you in the gut with some of their most monstrous beats ever. And it's just as likely to be a hit in the clubs as it is on J-Pop radio.

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LEO IEIRI: SILLY

By Paris365 on December 16, 2014

LEO IEIRI: SILLY

You have to admire Leo Ieiri. If for nothing else then for the fact that she writes all of her own songs. Also, she manages to put out new music as regularly as the bulk of J-Pop artists who have other people writing songs for them. That takes real creativity and effort.

You have to admire Leo Ieiri. If for nothing else then for the fact that she writes all of her own songs. Also, she manages to put out new music as regularly as the bulk of J-Pop artists who have other people writing songs for them. That takes real creativity and effort.

MEG: THANK YOU, MAMA

By Paris365 on December 09, 2014

MEG: THANK YOU, MAMA

It's a pretty ballad and ballad junkies are sure to love it. But I just didn't find it very catchy, unlike almost everything else Meg has ever done.

[I meant to post this review a month ago but forgot about it. My bad. Sorry.]

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Meg brings the world "Thank you Mama" (that's how she writes it). Which might just be the very first Thanksgiving song.

BOA: FLY

By Paris365 on December 05, 2014

BOA: FLY

BoA releases yet another magnificent J-Pop gem...

"Fly" is Korean megastar BoA's latest Japanese single. As you undoubtedly know, BoA is a huge star in Japan as well as in her native Korea. In fact, if Wiki is up to date, BoA has released eight albums in Japan, whereas she's only released seven in Korea. That said, she's also released three EPs in Korea, which came early in her career. Suffice to say she's just as popular in Japan as she is in Korea. I don't know how she manages to juggle both countries and languages, but she does it, so I'd say she deserves the millions and millions of dollars she's made.

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MEG: THANK YOU, MAMA

By Paris365 on November 26, 2014

MEG: THANK YOU, MAMA

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Meg brings the world "Thank you Mama." (OK, so it was actually released a month ago, but you get the idea.)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Meg brings the world "Thank you Mama" (that's how she writes it). Which might just be the very first Thanksgiving song.

MIKI KOZONO: MY LOVE SONG / SNOW WITH YOU

By Paris365 on November 26, 2014

MIKI KOZONO: MY LOVE SONG / SNOW WITH YOU

Miki Kozono delivers a wonderful double A-side, "My Love Song" and "Snow With You," the later obviously being a Christmas song.

I couldn't find a Wiki page or a GenAsia page or anything about Miki Kozono, but I'm really digging her Christmas single, "Snow With You," so I thought I'd give it a shout out. Not understanding the lyrics, it only really sounds like a Christmas song during the chorus because it has Christmas bells in the background at that point. During the rest of that song it just sounds like a J-Pop song in the J-Rock vein. A very, very infectious J-Pop song, mind you.

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CHARA: せつなくてごめんね/ Rainbow / ラッキーガール

By Paris365 on November 21, 2014

CHARA: せつなくてごめんね/ Rainbow / ラッキーガール

Three delightful new songs by Chara. Each was released as a digital single. I'm honestly not sure if they've been compiled as an EP now, which is what I thought when I wrote the review, or if they were just released separately. Regardless, they're great songs!

Chara is back! Yes, that deserves an exclamation point. Why? Because I always find myself smiling whenever new music from her pops up. She's been one of my favorite J-Pop stars for around 15 years, too. How many J-Pop stars have that longevity? Not many. So, even if you don't like her very unique voice, you still have to admire her for continuing to make music and not just retire and live off of royalties like other artists her age might do. Also, Chara writes her own music and does whatever she wants. Nobody can tell her what to do.

KAELA KIMURA: TODAY IS A NEW DAY

By Paris365 on November 19, 2014

KAELA KIMURA: TODAY IS A NEW DAY

Today is a New Day is Kaela Kimura's second single since signing with Victor Entertainment and this year is the 15th anniversary of her career... So, you'd have to expect something special here, right? I know my expectations were high. And I can honestly say that I was not disappointed.

Today is a New Day is Kaela Kimura's second single since signing with Victor Entertainment and this year is the 15th anniversary of her career... So, you'd have to expect something special here, right? I know my expectations were high. And I can honestly say that I was not disappointed. Kaela's always been like a chameleon, except that she changes colors *before* her environment, creating the bandwagons that everybody else later tries to jump on. At least that's how I see it, but, yes, I'm a big fan.

FERRI: ∞ [Mugen]

By Paris365 on November 14, 2014

FERRI: ∞ [Mugen]

Not long after I began writing reviews for OtakuDx, a label from Japan called Kilk Records sent me a box of CDs. One of those CDs was Ferri's debut album, A Broken Carousel, which was and remains one of the most beautiful and unique albums I've ever heard. Now she's back with a stunning sophomore record.

Not long after I began writing reviews for OtakuDx, a label from Japan called Kilk Records sent me a box of CDs. One of those CDs was Ferri's debut album, A Broken Carousel, which was and remains one of the most beautiful and unique albums I've ever heard. Using lush electronic sounds and children's instruments, it meshed moments of quiet innocence with sounds that struck you like premonitions, enough to make one tremble. If you listened to it with an opened mind and let your wildly imaginative songstress take you on her one-of-a-kind journey, you were richly rewarded.

BOA: WHO'S BACK?

By Paris365 on November 06, 2014

BOA: WHO'S BACK?

BoA's eighth full-length Japanese album, Who's Back?, is appropriately entitled because it's been four and a half years since she last released one in Japan. Suffice to say she has millions of fans there who've been itching for her to release a new Japanese album there.

I've been meaning to review this one since it was released in early September but I'm just so swamped between writing for Otaku and Love is Pop that things fall through the cracks sometimes. There just aren't enough hours in a day for me to review everything I want to right when it comes out. So, if anyone was waiting for me to review this, I apologize for the delay. It's just necessary sometimes. But this is about BoA, not me, so I digress.

MINMI: BAD

By Paris365 on October 30, 2014

MINMI: BAD

Many of you probably already know who Minmi is, but I'm sure there are just as many of you who don't, so let's talk about her career and many talents before we discuss her new album.

Minmi is an artist who I should have reviewed a long time ago but I just never got around to it. There are only so many hours in a day and I'm writing for both Otaku and my site, Love is Pop, so I can only write so many reviews. Now that I've been doing this for a few years, I'm always faced with a dilemma: do I keep reviewing every new release by artists whom I've already reviewed before or do I review artists I've never covered instead? So, I try my best to introduce you to new artists while trying to staying loyal to most of the artists I've already covered.

moumoon: BF

By Paris365 on October 21, 2014

moumoon: BF

"Dear my best friend, with lots of love," moumoon's Yuka sings during their new single "BF," which does *not* stand for boy friend. Instead, it stands for "Best Friend."

"Dear my best friend, with lots of love," moumoon's Yuka sings during their new single "BF," which does *not* stand for boy friend. Instead, it stands for "Best Friend." And, apparently, it's from the perspective of a girl who's so happy to have her best friend that she's compelled to sing about it. "Everytime, I'll be here, right beside you, because you'll always be there for me, too," goes part of the punchy and addictive chorus. And those lyrics are not translations. Most of the song is actually in English.

FLiP: GIRL

By Paris365 on October 17, 2014

FLiP: GIRL

As you may recall, FLiP is an all-female band formed in Okinawa in 2005 by singer/guitarist Sachiko, guitarist Yuko, bassist Sayaka and drummer Yuumi. "Girl" is their new single and it's a slick, expertly-produced song that blurs the line between J-Rock and J-Pop.

As you may recall, FLiP is an all-female band formed in Okinawa in 2005 by singer/guitarist Sachiko, guitarist Yuko, bassist Sayaka and drummer Yuumi. "Girl" is their new single and it's a slick, expertly-produced song that blurs the line between J-Rock and J-Pop. Everything about this song is perfect, quite frankly. The beats immediately grab you, sucking you right in, while Sachiko sings "la, la, la / la, la, la, la" or something pretty similar to that, making your brain immediately start singing along.

YUKI: FLY

By Paris365 on October 09, 2014

YUKI: FLY

Finally, following a three year wait, Yuki has released her seventh full-length album in the form of FLY. The 16 track opus includes the singles Play Ball, Sakamichi no Melody, Watashi no Onegai Koto, Starmann and Dare Demo Lonely along with 11 brand new, never before released tracks.

Finally, following a three year wait, Yuki has released her seventh full-length album in the form of FLY. The 16 track opus includes the singles Play Ball, Sakamichi no Melody, Watashi no Onegai Koto, Starmann and Dare Demo Lonely along with 11 brand new, never before released tracks.

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