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.

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 >
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 >
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