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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.

KEN HIRAI FEAT. NAMIE AMURO: GROTESQUE

Well, well, well... This "Grotesque" song is an interesting one. A bit weird, even. It starts off with Ken singing over hip-hop-ish/electro beats, the last line of his verse being "someone said, I hate you," which is how Namie concludes her verse as well. About a minute into the track, it gets a hard, throbbing electro-beat. "It's me, why don't you kill me," Namie sings at one point after a verse there.


April 17, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
NS YOON-G: THE WAY 2..

One of my longtime readers suggested that I check out this mini-album and I'm quite glad because I hadn't heard about it. Well, OK, I *am* subscribed to 1theK's channel on Youtube, but I'm subscribed to over 200 Youtube channels, trying to keep tabs on everything for both Love is Pop and Otaku (this site), so, unfortunately, I don't have time to watch every single video that they post. But, following my reader's suggestion, I checked out the video for "Yasisi" ("야시시") and immediately fell in love with it.


April 16, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
HIGH4 & IU: 봄 사랑 벚꽃 말고 [Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms]

Well, this one caught me by surprise. For a few reasons. One, I'd never heard of HIGH4 before. Ever. So, maybe this is their first single and they're using IU to get themselves some airplay or something to that effect? I could be wrong. The other thing is, I didn't hear anything about IU doing a duet with anyone, much less a whole boy band, and I'm just surprised I didn't read anything about this. I get posts from a bunch of K-Pop news sites in my feed on Facebook. And, obviously, since I didn't even know this single existed, I did not know when it was being released.


April 11, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
SHOKO NAKAGAWA: 9LIVES

It's been three and a half years since Shoko's last full-length album, Cosmic Inflation, but she has finally released her fourth album in the form of 9Lives. It features the Shokotan singles "Once Upon a Time – Kibou no Uta," "Sakasama Sekai" and "Zoku Konton," in addition to several anime and game theme songs. It makes me wonder if she didn't call this album 9Lives because, well, there are probably 9 songs on here that were written to be theme songs. Then again, she's holding what I believe to be her pet cat on the cover, so perhaps it's just a feline thing.


April 10, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
E-GIRLS: DIAMOND ONLY

E-girls is a Japanese collective girl group, meaning that they are comprised of members of different, smaller girl groups. The gigantic group, which is signed to avex's Rhythm Zone imprint, features every single member of Dream, Happiness, Flower, Bunny (a non-debuted group) and EGD. Their name stands for Exile Girls Unit. If Wiki is up to date, there are currently 29 members. Suffice to say there are a lot of talented singers in the group. And I do believe they are currently giving AKB48 a serious run for their money on the charts.


April 08, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
JULIE LIU: BLACK MAGIC

The only previous release by Julie Liu that I'm aware of is her 2011 album Taiwan. It's an album I quite like, full of gorgeous songs -- including many ballads -- that are just perfect for chilling out. But Julie's new EP is rather different, taking on more of a modern sound.


April 04, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
CRAYON POP: UH-EE

The video for Crayon Pop's "UH-EE" starts off with the girls entering a jazz club. After a bit of jazz music, suddenly the girls appear in the weird outfits they're wearing on the cover for this single and start dancing and singing the song. They just remain in one relatively small area of the club as they dance and they never change outfits, which is too bad because they look a bit ridiculous dressed in those outfits, the significance of which is completely unknown to me. But perhaps they're supposed to look like workers from a fast food chicken restaurant? Why do I say this?


April 03, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
BOYFRIEND: MY AVATAR

If you like electro-pop/dance pop then this sparkling diamond is for you. I was expecting some pretty run--of-the-J-Pop-mill stuff, nothing outstanding, having heard very little by this boy band before aside from "Pinky Santa" last Christmas. (FYI, Boyfriend is a K-Pop boy band, but, like most such boy bands, they're also releasing Japanese material like this, not content to be popular in just one country.) But I must say that I was highly impressed with this single.


March 31, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
CLARIS: CLICK

When this duo started making music as Alice Clara in 2009 they were first year junior high students, so one would imagine that they're graduating high school soon. Although I'm not sure how many years Japanese students go to junior high or high school for. But you'd think 5 years would probably be enough. Then again, we have 2 years of junior high here and 4 years of high school, so maybe they won't graduate until spring of 2015?


March 28, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
PASSPO☆: PERFECT SKY

Normally, the girls of Passpo☆ simply play the part of a singing girl group in their videos, which is exactly what they are. But for "Perfect Sky" they're playing the part of a rock band. From what I've seen of the video excerpt on Youtube, it looks like they're really performing the song, but to the best of my knowledge they don't actually play any instruments. So, if you ask me, it's a bit silly to have them pretending to play the instruments in the video. But it could be worse, like when artists only pretend to sing when they perform live (I'm talking to you, Britney Spears).


March 27, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
KAMEN RIDER GIRLS: exploded

As you may recall from my review of their single "SSS 〜Shock Shocker Shockest〜," Kamen Rider Girls is a J-Rock/J-Pop outfit that was created to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Kamen Rider Series. Each member is supposed to represent one of the heroes from the show. To that end, the girls often wear the "transformation belt" of the character they represent.


March 25, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
ORANGE CARAMEL: SINGLE ALBUM VOL. 3 - CATALLENA

There are an awful lot of sub-units of various K-Pop girl groups floating around these days and most of them seem to float aimlessly, without any real reason for being, their songs mediocre and unnecessary, tarnishing the image of the primary group, if anything. Orange Caramel is an exception. The After School sub-unit continues to release incredible tunes with their third single, "Catallena," which is easily one of the most insanely catchy songs ever to be released by a sub-unit. Honestly, it's so damn infectious that it actually rivals After School's best singles. No kidding.


March 19, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
TOMOMI ITANO: LITTLE

It's been several months since Tomomi Itano graduated from the massive girl group AKB48. Why did she graduate? I honestly have no idea. I'm always hearing about these girls graduating from the group, as well as girls graduating from plenty of other girl groups as well, and it's never really clear to me why they're graduating. Sometimes it seems it's because they're ready for a successful solo career. But, sometimes, I fear that it's simply because the girls are deemed too old to continue being in their groups.


March 17, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
LEO IEIRI: A BOY

2013 was a huge year for Leo Ieiri, one of the youngest singer/songwriters to ever take Japan by storm. And she didn't slow down after she was done promoting the album. In no time, she was releasing singles again in the form of "Message," "Taiyo no Megumi" and "Chocolate." All three of these singles appear on her new sophomore album, A Boy, along with 10 additional new songs.


March 13, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
AFTER SCHOOL: SHH

After School might not be the most famous South Korean girl group, but I think it's safe to say that they're hugely successful at this point. I mean, they're on the gigantic Avex label and they're constantly releasing songs in both Japanese and Korean. They even go to Japan to perform and otherwise promote their Japanese releases. I would not be surprised at all if they do a song in Mandarin (Chinese) soon. (They really should. I could see them being insanely popular there.)


March 12, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
SCARLET: DO BETTER

Scarlet is one of the new K-Pop girl groups that's starting to get a lot of attention. Apparently, they're named Scarlet because it signifies passion and sophistication. Or at least that's what allkpop have to say about it. Sounds about right to me though. But what it mostly makes me think of is The Scarlet Letter. Which doesn't make me think of anything positive, to say the least. So, in my mind, scarlet represents scandal and a really boring book. That said, Scarlet are definitely not boring.


March 07, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
2NE1: CRUSH

Well, well, well, it's finally arrived, 2NE1's second full-length Korean album, Crush. And since it's arrived at the same time as Girls' Generation's MR.MR., it seems a war has been started. Or so they say. Honestly, I've got so much music to review between Otaku and Love is Pop that I just don't have time to go on forums and Reddit and such to see if 2NE1 and Girls' Generation fans are arguing about whose new release is the best. If you're asking me that question, I'm going to walk that fine line in the middle and say that I like both releases equally.


March 04, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
HARUKA TOMATSU: HIKARI GIFT

In addition to being a solo J-Pop artist, Haruka Tomatsu is a popular voice actress and a member of the girl group Sphere along with Minako Kotobuki, Ayahi Takagaki and Aki Toyosaki. "Hikari Gift" is her first solo single since last July's "Pachi Pachi Party." This is likely because she's been quite busy with her voice actress career, having worked on roughly 20 movies and shows last year, four of which will be released in 2014: HappinessCharge PreCure!, Sakura Trick, Wake Up, Girls! and Yokai Watch.


February 26, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
GIRLS' GENERATION (SNSD): MR.MR.

It's finally here, Girls' Generation's fourth Korean mini-album, a six track masterpiece titled MR.MR. Seems like just yesterday they were releasing their latest Japanese language album, Love & Peace, but I'll take all the Girls' Generation music that I can get and if you're reading this then chances are you will, too.


February 24, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
KODA KUMI: "SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA"

It begins with the sound of a bell ringing. Then Koda says something. And then it *really* begins with blessed, blaring horns and massive, thunderous beats that stomp all over you. From there, it proceeds to blow you away with other assorted, loud percussion, some catchy little guitar riffage and Koda's turbo-charged, extra strength vocals.


February 22, 2014 / by Paris365 / Read More >
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