Music Reviews

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Labels and artists interested in being featured here may contact Michael McCarthy at cinema365@gmail.com. Follow Michael on Twitter https://twitter.com/paris365.

NICOLE: FIRST ROMANCE

Nicole, formerly of KARA, now signed with B2M Entertainment, makes her solo debut with this EP, First Romance. And what an EP it is! She worked with producers Sweetune, who did an exquisite job here. Seriously, this EP is about as flawless as they come.


January 26, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
4TE: READY TO CONQUER THE WORLD OF J-POP

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.


January 18, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
SUNNY HILL: 지우다 [Here I Am]

Wow... "Here I Am" will sweep you off your feet. Or make you swoon. Or maybe you'll have an allergic reaction. But it will definitely have an effect on you. It's only 3m38s, but it still feels entirely epic. It's easily Sunny Hill's best single to date. Easily.


January 16, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
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. (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.


January 08, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
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.

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.


January 05, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
T-ARA FEAT. CHOPSTICK BROTHERS: LITTLE APPLE

According to allkpop.com, T-ARA's collaboration with Chopstick Brothers has almost reached 8 million views on the Chinese video site Youku. (It's received nearly 3 million views since it landed on Youtube in the U.S..) They also report that it initially received 2 million views in 12 hours. With that many listeners, it's got to be good, right? Well, not necessarily, but it turns out it's fabulous. 3 minutes and 33 seconds of pure pop bliss!


December 31, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
TEEN TOP: Teen Top 눈사탕 [Snow Kiss]

You know your K-Pop holiday season would be lacking without a Christmas-themed release from the guys of TEEN TOP... And we're in for a treat because they're all brand new songs, not lame Christmas covers. Not that all Christmas covers are lame. But does the world really need 7000 versions of "Silent Night" or "O Holy Night"? (The guy who wrote "O Holy Night" wasn't even Christian. On the contrary, he was an atheist.


December 23, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
CLARA: HAPPY HAPPY SONG (CHRISTMAS VERSION)

After coming across this version and buying it on iTunes, I looked to see if iTunes had an original version of "Happy Happy Song," since this one is designated as a "Christmas version," which would seem to imply that there's another version out there somewhere. But, it turns out, they do not have another version. Maybe the original version is forthcoming and she's just releasing the Christmas version first to give people some exposure to it. In any case, this version is, in fact, a happy, happy song.


December 22, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
1SAGAIN & JU BORA: ENDLESS WINTER

Well, I couldn't find a link for this on iTunes. And I couldn't find a translation either. But the song is out there, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find. Maybe it's even on Spotify. In any case, 1sagain & Ju Bora have concocted a lovely song here. The relatively down-tempo beats split the difference between R&B and K-Pop; suffice to say it's in Korean. And this one is *totally* in Korean. I didn't notice a single word in English. They don't even sing/say/rap the title of the song.


December 19, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
PIUS: GIVE LOVE ON CHRISTMAS DAY

K-Pop soul singer Pius has given us a Christmas song this year -- and it's in English. It's gorgeous, too. If you like harmonizing, you have to give this one a listen. It's right up there with The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows." Layers and layers of vocals. I think he had a whole chorus of guys backing him because there are parts when you can hear the different voices. But mostly their voices blend together in perfect harmony.


December 19, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
Crayon Pop, K-Much, Bob Girls, & Zan Zan: 2014 Chrome Family - A Very Special Christmas

The name of this single isn't A Very Special Christmas, apparently that's the title of an album or EP that Chrome Family label artists are releasing songs for. I don't know why they'd release the tracks one song at a time, but then Korean labels often release movie soundtracks in parts, so I suppose it's not surprising.


December 18, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
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.


December 16, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
THE BARBERETTES: Carol: Hun Hun Christmas

To be totally honest, I'd never heard of The Barberettes before randomly coming across this EP, which caught my eye because it's called Christmas and I'm quite the sucker for Christmas music. Well, it did not disappoint, all four tunes being charmers.

Here's a little info about the trio from their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheBarberettesKorea)...


December 10, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
MEG: THANK YOU, MAMA

[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.


December 09, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
BOA: FLY

"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.


December 05, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
SUNNY: FIRST KISS

There seems to be an unwritten law that the girls of Girls' Generation (SNSD) must do a solo song for some movie soundtrack at some point. Actually, it seems like members from all girl groups usually do songs for soundtracks when they first test the waters alone. And usually these songs are ballads. Why, I don't know. To that end, Sunny already did a solo song recently with "The 2nd Drawer" for "여왕의 교실 OST `두 번째 서랍`." It was a sweet, warm ballad that I've listened to 77 times so far according to my iTunes player; it's on one of the playlists I listen to while falling asleep at night.


December 04, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
LEE JUN KI: EXHALE

Lee Jun Ki is a hugely popular Korean actor who has starred in 10 television series since 2003. Exhale is his sixth mini-album. Oddly enough, he's been releasing music since 2006 but he's yet to release a full-length album, always going the mini-album route, save for a one song single ("One & Only) that he released in 2006.


December 02, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
MEG: THANK YOU, MAMA

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.


November 26, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
MIKI KOZONO: MY LOVE SONG / SNOW WITH YOU

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.


November 26, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
AMBER AN: WITH YOU

My favorite foreign language to listen to music in might surprise you because it's not an Asian language but French. I'm actually obsessed with France and have been ever since I first went to Paris back in 1999. But, getting to my point, if you asked me what my second favorite foreign language to listen to music in was I would probably say Mandarin (Chinese). I just love the way it sounds; it always sounds so poetic in songs. And actress/singer Amber An's With You is a shining example of why I love Mandarin. Every word that she sings just sounds so lovely.


November 25, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
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