J-pop

MADEMOISELLE YULIA: MADEMOWORLD (A track-by-track review!)

By Paris365 on April 11, 2012

MADEMOISELLE YULIA: MADEMOWORLD (A track-by-track review!)

After having it pleasantly stuck in my head all day yesterday, I was so very impressed with Mademoisselle Yulia's new single "No More Dream ~夢はいらない" that I had to hunt down her debut album, Mademoworld, which was released last September. And I'm quite happy that I did. Here are my thoughts, my first impression, live blog style...

PERFUME: SPRING OF LIFE

By Paris365 on April 11, 2012

PERFUME: SPRING OF LIFE

Everybody's favorite J-Pop trio are back with a sensational new single, "Spring Of Life." Huge, rapid-fire beats abound and the girls sound fantastic. There might be a little auto-tune in there, but I guess we all have to accept that it's just an unfortunate sign of the times. The song is way too addictive to let a little vocal processing turn you away. This is one of those pop gems that you're happy to have stuck in your head.

MADEMOISELLE YULIA: NO MORE DREAM ~夢はいらない

By Paris365 on April 10, 2012

MADEMOISELLE YULIA: NO MORE DREAM ~夢はいらない

Mademoiselle Yulia is something of an electro-pop princess in Japan. And she's worked with such international artists as Towa Tei, Verbal and Uffie. So, I was a little surprised, then, when I first heard her new single, "No More Dream ~夢はいらない." I was surprised because it struck me more as a mainstream dance pop track than artsy electropop. But, it only took me a few listens to appreciate how expertly produced the track was. It has big beats but there are lots of intricate details there for you to hear upon repeated listenings.

2NE1: COLLECTION

By Paris365 on April 07, 2012

2NE1: COLLECTION

2NE1 -- pronounced "twenty one," not To Anyone-- are a hugely successful Korean girl group. And they aren't merely successful in Korea. On the contrary, they're said to be even more popular in Japan where they are currently dominating the charts. Collection is their first full-length Japanese-language album, following a series of hit singles there. It compiles all of the songs from their previous Japanese releases along with new Japanese versions of the songs "I Don't Care" and "Fire." It also includes an English-language track; a cute if cheesy cover of Madonna's "Like A Virgin."

AZU: LOVE LETTER

By Paris365 on April 03, 2012

AZU: LOVE LETTER

What kind of a name is Azu? No, it's not a traditional Japanese name. It's actually a made up stage name. Azu explains its meaning as "Putting memories to all the words from A to Z and conveying them to you (U)."

MiChi: TOKYO NIGHT

By Paris365 on March 28, 2012

MiChi: TOKYO NIGHT

Produced by Leo Imai, MiChi’s new J-pop single, “Tokyo Night,” is one of her strongest tracks yet. It starts off slowly with a synth-ish intro and a subtle beat but it’s only a matter of seconds before a genuine dance pop beat kicks in and the beats only get faster when it hits the gorgeous chorus, which also sports some rock guitar, dazzling synth and frantic percussion. But it’s MiChi’s strong voice that takes center stage from the outset; she sounds beautiful and powerful all at once.

TOMMY FEBRUARY6 AND TOMMY HEAVENLY6: FEBRUARY & HEAVENLY

By Paris365 on March 28, 2012

TOMMY FEBRUARY6 AND TOMMY HEAVENLY6: FEBRUARY & HEAVENLY

Tommy February6 and Tommy Heavenly6 are alter-egos of Japanese singer Tomoko Kawase. Tomoko is the lead singer of the hugely successful pop rock group The Brilliant Green, but at some point when the band was less active she came up with the idea for Tommy February6, named after her birthday. The Tommy February6 character was intended to be your naughty school girl. The sort who looks cute and innocent, complete with geeky glasses, but secretly drinks booze and does bad things when nobody is looking. February6 had a musical concept as well; her music would 80s inspired synth pop.

AYUMI HAMASAKI: PARTY QUEEN

By Paris365 on March 20, 2012

AYUMI HAMASAKI: PARTY QUEEN

Ayumi Hamasaki's 13th studio album kicks off with three songs that are quite a departure from her usual sound. The greatest departure is track one, the title track. "I am your party queen," Ayumi proclaims over and over again, though the hard, driving, club-ready beat is what will really capture your attention. It's quite the banger. Unfortunately, it sounds too much like Ayumi is just trying to sound like her American contemporaries. It's as though they deliberately set out to make something that would sound like it was produced by RedOne.

YUKI: POWERS OF TEN

By Paris365 on March 06, 2012

YUKI: POWERS OF TEN

It's hard to believe, but Yuki -- the remarkable vocalist for the late group Judy And Mary -- has been delivering solo material for a decade as of this year.  Powers Of Ten is a greatest hits package intended to celebrate her solo career and it truly is a fantastic compilation.  Along with her many hits, it features the never before released songs "Wonder Line" and "My Hand" along with the brand new song "Sekai wa Kagayaite."

 

AYUMI HAMASAKI: HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE

By Paris365 on February 21, 2012

AYUMI HAMASAKI: HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE

From what I’ve been able to gather, Ayumi’s new single, the touching ballad “How Beautiful You Are,” is presently only available in digital format from the Japanese iTunes store and Mu-Mo (http://music.mu-mo.net/). It is reported to be the theme song to Fuji T.V.'s new 10P.M.

AYAKA: THE BEGINNING

By Paris365 on February 07, 2012

AYAKA: THE BEGINNING

In 2009 Ayaka put her career on pause to deal with a health-related problem. Now she is back for what one might call the second period of her career, hence the album’s title, The Beginning. Not only did Ayaka write all of The Beginning’s songs herself, she produced the album and has released it on her own record label.

The album starts off with a soaring ballad, "はじまりのとき" (Google translation: beginning at). It begins softly with just Ayaka's voice and the piano but when the chorus kicks in it really kicks in with live drums and soaring orchestral strings.

NAMI TAMAKI: LADY MIND

By Paris365 on February 01, 2012

NAMI TAMAKI: LADY MIND

It’s only January and I can already tell you that Nami Tamaki’s new single “Lady Mind” is going to rank among the year’s catchiest J-pop songs. 

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