J-pop

KODA KUMI: DREAMING NOW!

By Paris365 on December 18, 2013

KODA KUMI: DREAMING NOW!

Koda Kumi is BACK! That bothersome R&B sound of some of her recent albums has been replaced by dazzling pop on this mighty impressive new single, which features some of her best songs in ages!

Koda Kumi decided to celebrate her 31st birthday, November 13, 2013, with the release of her 56th single, Dreaming Now! Obviously, these numbers don't match or add up or otherwise seem significant, aside from the fact that she decided to release her latest single on her birthday. But, hey, birthday or no birthday, we cherish any excuse Koda wants to give us for putting out new music.

SAYAKA SHIONOYA: SNOW FLAKES LOVE (TYPE A)

By Paris365 on December 05, 2013

SAYAKA SHIONOYA: SNOW FLAKES LOVE (TYPE A)

'Tis the season... for wintery J-Pop!

Sayaka Shionoya of "Dear Heaven" and "Ocean Blue" fame is ready to ease you into the winter season with her uplifting new single "Snow Flakes Love." But if you're not in the mood for Christmas music yet, fear not. I'm pretty sure it's simply a winter-themed ditty. Granted, I don't know Japanese, so she could mention Christmas in the lyrics and I wouldn't know it. But from what little I've read about it online, I think it's just a snowy, winter-style song. It doesn't sound like Christmas music either. On the contrary, it sounds like a normal J-Pop/dance song.

CLARIS: COLORFUL

By Paris365 on December 02, 2013

CLARIS: COLORFUL

ClariS' new single "Colorful" starts off very lullaby-esque with gentle piano and soft synth then adds soothing strings. For a second or two, it seems like it might prove to be a down-tempo ballad, but then the rapid-fire drums join the mix, bringing it to life, and it proves to be quite the dazzling, up-tempo pop ditty.

It's been several months since ClariS released their last single, "Reunion," back in April of this year, although it was followed by the release of their wonderful sophomore album, Second Story, in June. Now the anonymous duo, who use the pseudonyms Clara and Alice, are back with their eighth single, a sunshiny new tune called "Colorful" ("カラフル"), which is the main theme for the "Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie Part III: Rebellion" anime.

KARA: FRENCH KISS

By Paris365 on November 26, 2013

KARA: FRENCH KISS

Kara's new tune, "French Kiss," is a love song, but it's also a super fantastic Christmas tune!

Kara's new Japanese-language single, "French Kiss," is being considered a thematic continuation of their hit single "Thank You Summer Love," telling the story of a girl who spends a romantic Christmas Eve with her lover. And, yes, it's a Christmas song -- and a glorious one at that!

LEO IEIRI: TAIYO NO MEGAMI

By Paris365 on November 20, 2013

LEO IEIRI: TAIYO NO MEGAMI

Leo Ieiri's 5th single finds her shifting slightly more in the pop direction. It also finds her using piano.

Leo Ieiri's inspired new single "太陽の女神" (or, phonetically: "Taiyo no Megami" - Google translation: "Goddess of the Sun") is the theme song to the highly anticipated new television drama Umi no Ue no Shinryojyo starring Shota Matsuda and Emi Takei. The song, which is her fifth single, begins with something you don't hear very much of in the acclaimed singer/songwriter's compositions: piano.

CHARA: MTV UNPLUGGED CHARA

By Paris365 on November 19, 2013

CHARA: MTV UNPLUGGED CHARA

Chara. Unplugged.

On any given week, there are probably 15 things released that I would like to review between the Asian music I review here on Otaku and the other music I review on Love is Pop. Alas, there just aren't enough hours in the day. So, sometimes things slip through your fingers. That's what happened here. This album was released in February but I kept putting off reviewing it because there were so many other things I felt a pressing need to review and I eventually forgot about it.

PASSPO☆: "GROWING UP"

By Paris365 on November 07, 2013

PASSPO☆: "GROWING UP"

PASSPO☆'s new single was actually recorded three years ago but certainly does not sound outdated. But I should warn you: they step away from their rock roots and go disco pop with this one.

And now for something completely different... A danceable tune from the girls of Passpo☆! After X amount of rock, metal and even punk songs, the girls are trying something new on their latest single, "Growing Up": disco. That said, the song still features the girls' staples: electric guitars, bass and drums. But the bass guitar part is totally '70's disco-style and the beats are wholly dance-ready. And there are glorious, sweeping strings and keyboards during the massive chorus, which is quite stellar if I do say so myself.

GIRLS' GENERATION: "MY OH MY"

By Paris365 on November 06, 2013

GIRLS' GENERATION: "MY OH MY"

The gals of Girls' Generation are back with an uppity new Japanese single to pave the way for their soon to be released new Japanese album.

Girls' Generation have returned to the land of J-Pop for their latest single, "My Oh My," and it's quite the delightful tune. Interestingly, this one is more of a traditional pop song than a dance song, whereas most of their recent work has been more in the dance vein. Of course, that doesn't stop them from doing lots of cute dancing in the video, and it is kind of impossible to sit still while listening to it, but I still say it's more of a normal pop song than a dance song. Just my two cents though!

YouTube Video: 
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2PM: WINTER GAMES

By Paris365 on November 04, 2013

2PM: WINTER GAMES

Although it's a Japanese song, 2PM's new winter-themed single, appropriately entitled "Winter Games," features music written by Korean hit-maker Super Changddai with lyrics penned by Watanabe Natsumi.

Although it's a Japanese song, 2PM's new winter-themed single, appropriately entitled "Winter Games," features music written by Korean hit-maker Super Changddai with lyrics penned by Watanabe Natsumi.

CAOS CAOS CAOS: papapa

By Paris365 on November 01, 2013

CAOS CAOS CAOS: papapa

If Santana joined forces with a female Japanese artist for a J-Pop track, it would probably sound a little something like this nugget.

Well, here's something you don't hear very often -- a J-Pop song that starts off with a guitar solo. And, actually, it has quite a lot of guitar throughout the track. The song it most makes me think of is the Santana and Michelle Branch collaboration "The Game Of Love," the guitarist here doing all sorts of fancy, impressive noodling while Caos Caos Caos' vocalist sings a perfectly ripe pop melody over a rapid-fire dance beat and, at times, another string instrument, which sounds like it's playing a traditional Japanese song from yesteryears.

YouTube Video: 
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AFTERSCHOOL: HEAVEN

By Paris365 on October 30, 2013

AFTERSCHOOL: HEAVEN

K-Pop girl group Afterschool have returned to Japan with a hot new single and an even hotter B-side.

The highly successful girl idol group Afterschool spent most of 2013 focusing on their career in their homeland of South Korea, but they have now officially returned to Japan with the release of their new Japanese-language single, "Heaven." It's their first single since the graduation of their now former group leader Kahi. (I'm not sure who is their leader now. Maybe they're not going to have one?) It was produced by Mondo Grosso leader Osawa Shinichi.

MICHI: EYES WIDE OPEN

By Paris365 on October 29, 2013

MICHI: EYES WIDE OPEN

MiChi is back with a brand new album featuring all of her recent singles and lots of new songs. Good stuff!

Michi's new album, her fourth full-length, has arrived, just about a year and a half after her last album, Therapy. It begins with "MadNesS vol.4," continuing her tradition of opening her albums with a quirky intro track. During this one, an electronically processed voice -- it sounds male to my ears -- repeatedly says "Eyes Wide Open" over a thumping dance beat then MiChi sings a harmony in the background and occasionally yells something that I believe is in Italian and then she declares, "the madness is back." There's also a part where she sings "Who am I? / Where am I?

AKB48: ハート・エレキ

By Paris365 on October 15, 2013

AKB48: ハート・エレキ

AKB48's new digital single is another winner for the insanely popular, super-sized girl group.

"Loving you," sings one of the many AKB48 girls at the very beginning of their new digital single, "ハート・エレキ," which Google translates as "Heart Electric." To that end, the song is populated by delightful electric guitars and very retro organ, along with vibrant drums and bass guitar. Musically, it's almost like The Doors doing J-Pop. Of course, the girls' voices sound nothing like Jim Morrison, but the guitars sound super '70's and the organ does, too. But I supposed it sounds more like an uppity '70's TV show theme song than The Doors, the more I think about it.

NAMIE AMURO: NEONLIGHT LIPSTICK

By Paris365 on October 10, 2013

NAMIE AMURO: NEONLIGHT LIPSTICK

Musically-speaking, Namie Amuro's new single is a synthy delight. But she sure butchers the English language.

Just when you've finally stopped listening to Namie Amuro's last album, Feel, she unleashes a new digital single...

MIKA NAKASHIMA: 僕が死のうと思ったのは

By Paris365 on October 09, 2013

MIKA NAKASHIMA: 僕が死のうと思ったのは

Mika Nakashima's new single is ANOTHER ballad. But, hey, one of the B-sides is a regular pop rock song and a nice one at that.

Japanese singer/actress Mika Nakashima sure has a thing for ballads. Her last two singles, "明日世界が終わるなら" and "初恋," were both ballads and so were two of the "初恋" B-sides. And, surprise, surprise, so is her new single "僕が死のうと思ったのは" (or "Boku ga Shinou to Omottanowa" -- Google translation: "I Thought You And I Would Have Died"). But, hey, her warm voice makes for endearing love songs, so you really can't blame her.

wacci: Natsuyasumi / Darenimo Makezu

By Paris365 on October 04, 2013

wacci: Natsuyasumi / Darenimo Makezu

wacci's new double A-side single packs a perfectly mellow song ripe for your end of summer chill out mix and a soft J-rock song that's entirely infectious.

"Natsuyasumi" / "Darenimo Makezuwacci" is the new double A-side single by the relatively new J-pop artist wacci (he never capitalizes it). It follows the mini-albums Weakly Weekday and Nakiralife.

MADEMOISELLE YULIA: WHATEVER HARAJUKU

By Paris365 on October 02, 2013

MADEMOISELLE YULIA: WHATEVER HARAJUKU

Mademoiselle Yulia jumps from genre to genre effortlessly throughout this impressive collection of new tunes that probably has more bangers than Miley Cyrus' Bangerz.

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Mademoiselle Yulia's magnificent new digital single "Harajuku Wander," which I suspected was a diss of the whole Harajuku scene and I have to suspect that even more with her new full-length album being called Whatever Harajuku. But, hey, perhaps I'm just transferring my own indifference toward the whole Harajuku scene onto la Mademoiselle. Actually, no, I wouldn't care if she was singing about Harajuku being the greatest thing in the world here.

KAMEN RIDER GIRLS REMODELED FOR SHOCKER GIRLS: SSS 〜Shock Shocker Shockest〜

By Paris365 on October 01, 2013

KAMEN RIDER GIRLS REMODELED FOR SHOCKER GIRLS: SSS 〜Shock Shocker Shockest〜

The Kamen Riders Girls have been remodeled as Shocker Girls by the evil organization Shocker, resulting in considerably darker music.

Kamen Rider Girls is a J-Pop/J-Rock group that was created to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Kamen Rider Series. Each of the members is meant to represent one of the heroes from the series. Usually, the girls wear the "transformation belt" of the character they represent, but they aren't doing so at the moment because they've been remodeled as Shocker Girls by the evil organization Shocker. I'm assuming that this is tied to a storyline on the series.

LEAD: STILL

By Paris365 on September 30, 2013

LEAD: STILL

Last December Lead released this single, which was cleverly titled "Still," as it was intended to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their boy band. It's a super infectious earworm, so much so that I had to write about it now because I've only just heard the song for the first time during September of 2013, nearly a year after it was released.

Last December Lead released this single, which was cleverly titled "Still," as it was intended to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their boy band. Celebrating the fact that they were *still* around after all these years. I don't know if the song was actually about that beyond the title, but it's a super infectious earworm, so much so that I had to write about it now because I've only just heard the song for the first time during September of 2013, nearly a year after it was released.

BAND JYANAIMON!: CHOCOLA LOVE

By Paris365 on September 25, 2013

BAND JYANAIMON!: CHOCOLA LOVE

"Chocola Love" is such a bouncy, fun tune that you just might find yourself addicted to it whether chocolate is your poison literally or figuratively. I should also mention that it's sure to please fans of Puffy Amiyumi as it has a very similar sound.

Sometimes I like some of these Asian releases that I come across so much that I feel compelled to review them even if I can't find very much information about the artists online. That is definitely the case here. About all I really know for sure about Band jyanaimon! -- also known as Banmon! -- is that they released a self-titled mini-album last year and that their new single Chocola Love is their first release since then.

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