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.

PERFUME: PICK ME UP

"Pick Me Up" is Perfume's new video, which hit Youtube yesterday and already has over 100,000 views, which I'd say is a lot because chances are that most of their fans aren't even aware that it's out yet.

For those who aren't away, Perfume is a J-Pop trio consisting of Ayano Omoto, Yuka Kashino, and Ayaka Nishiwaki. They are produced exclusively by Capsule's Yasutaka Nakata. And they are fabulous. Nakata is a genius and anyone who says otherwise is insane. (In addition to Capsule and Perfume, he's the producer of the magnificent Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.)


April 01, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
SHANNON WILLIAMS: 18

Shannon Williams, who's often simply referred to as Shannon, is a Korean-British singer who got her start on the variety show Star King in 2010. Ever since she's been collaborating with various artists and performing on television. Last December she finally released her debut single in the form of "Daybreak Rain." Eighteen is her first mini-album, 18 being her "Korean age," though she's actually 16 years old.


April 01, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
STYLIPS: THE SUPERNOVA STRIKES

StylipS is a four member J-Pop girl group who specialize in doing songs for anime. Or at least that was the case when they were started. Now they're more like a normal J-Pop unit. The current members are : Arisa Noto, Matsunaga Maho, Ito Miku and Toyota Moe. The group's name stands for "Brand a new Style for LipS." And, no, that doesn't make much sense to me either.


March 30, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
AN INTERVIEW WITH MEGA-HIT SONGWRITER ALBI ALBERTSSON

Whether you're a fan of K-Pop, J-Pop or C-Pop, chances are you've heard songs written by Albi Albertsson. As you'll see below, he's written for plenty of A-listers, including massive artists like Girls' Generation, Shinee, Arashi, Show Luo and Koda Kumi. K-Pop doesn't get any bigger than Girls' Generation, does it? Likewise, Koda Kumi is one of Japan's biggest megastars. Clearly, Albi knows what he's doing and he does it very well. Recently, I discovered that he was on Facebook and sent him a friend request. I was very happy when he approved it.


March 23, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
BERRY GOOD: 2ND SINGLE BECAUSE OF YOU

As you might guess with "Because of You" being their second single, Berry Good are a relatively new K-Pop girl group, having debuted in 2014 via Asia Bridge Entertainment. They've already undergone quite a few changes though, losing two rappers, Sun Bin and Ie Ra, in addition to a lead vocalist Na Yeon. I'm not sure if they quit or were fired. Genasia just says that the group was revamped keeping two original members, Tae Ha and Go Woon, and adding three new members, Seo Yul, Da Ye and Se Hyung.


March 19, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
NINE MUSES: DRAMA

Last year three members left Nine Muses, Sem, Eun Ji and Sera. So, you'd have every reason to suspect that their new mini-album would be rubbish. But it's not. With the addition of new members So Jin and Keum Jo the group is as strong as ever. Or pretty close to it. What I find amusing is the fact that there are no longer nine muses but *eight* muses. You'd think they would have brought in one more new member in the interest to continuing to live up to their namesake but for whatever reason(s) they didn't.


March 18, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
AZIN: Développé

Well, I have to admit something: I don't know anything about this artist other than the fact that she is female and she makes great K-Pop music. I tried to find info about her on Wiki, Genasia and Google but I could find nothing. I did find her Facebook page but it doesn't list any info. about her except that her EP was released on February 10th on Pastel Music. Anyway, knowing her background isn't necessary to appreciate her very fine K-Pop.


March 11, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
FIESTAR: BLACK LABEL (THE 1ST MINI ALBUM)

Fiestar is a girl group formed by LOEN Entertainment in 2012, though they're currently under the Collabodadi label due to LOEN's "multi-label system," according to Wiki. Initially, Fiestar had six members, but one of the girls, Cheska, left the group last year. Rather than replacing her, it was decided that the group would just feature the five remaining members from now on. They are Jei, Cao Lu, Linzy, Kim Hyemi and Lee Yezi. Cao Lu is from China, the other four girls being from South Korea. Black Label is the group's first mini-album, as they've only released singles previously.


March 09, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
M-ZERO: RUN AWAY

M-zero's red hot single opens with "난 돼," which Google translates as "I Have." The only background I have on her is that she released a mixtape called Rapping Flower last year, which I found posted on Youtube. I also Googled her plenty and all I could find was downloading sites that had posted this single. But I can tell you this -- "난 돼" is one of the best Korean rap songs I've come across in quite a while. I absolutely love her voice, which is perfectly cool and confident without sounding like she's trying to paint herself as a cocky gangster rapper.


March 06, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
G.E.M. - CONCERT REVIEW AND LIVE ALBUM REVIEW

GEM: X.X.X. LIVE (3/1/15 CONCERT REVIEW + X.X.X. LIVE ALBUM COVERAGE)
 


March 02, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
TOMOMI ITANO: COME PARTY!

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.


March 02, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
SUMIRE UESAKA: 閻魔大王に訊いてごらん (Enma Daio ni Kiite Goran)

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.


February 27, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
MYNAME: 2ND MINI ALBUM

MYNAME have finally released new Korean music after spending a year in Japan. It comes in the form of their 2ND MINI ALBUM, as they've simply called it, and it's proof pudding (as the saying goes) that they're here to stay. Not only that, they're one of today's hottest K-Pop boy bands.


February 25, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
G.E.M.: 多遠都要在一起 [Long Distance]

G.E.M.'s new single, "多遠都要在一起," is officially translated on its Youtube page as "Long Distance." (See player below.) It's a very emotive and heartfelt ballad that finds G.E.M. singing as beautifully as ever, her voice as sweet as I'd expect the voice of an angel to be. And you can stream it on Spotify U.S. here: http://open.spotify.com/album/1pX0KEJdCTAGQ1NzSKRkNt. Seriously, this is one of the most powerful ballads I've heard in a long time.


February 24, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
G.E.M. - XPOSED

As you may or may not be aware, G.E.M.'s Xposed album was released in 2012. So, you may be wondering why I'm reviewing it now. The answer is simple: I am seeing her in concert at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut this Sunday and I've been listening to this superb album, which is still her most recent studio release, several times a day, to the point that I can't pry myself away from it. And it still sounds as modern today as it did when it was released, so it's still the perfect candidate if you're looking for a new Asian music album to sink your teeth into.


February 24, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
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.


February 18, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
HARUKA TOMATSU: 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.


February 03, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
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 >
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