J-pop

D-LITE: I LOVE YOU FEAT. TARO HAKASE

By Paris365 on August 01, 2013

D-LITE: I LOVE YOU FEAT. TARO HAKASE

D-LITE's new Japanese single is yet another cover, following his recent album of Japanese cover songs. This one is a tender ballad with pretty piano and superb violin playing by Taro Hakase.

BIGBANG's Dae Sung -- otherwise known as D-LITE -- made his solo debut earlier this year in Japan with an impressive album of covers cleverly titled D'scover. Now he's back with yet another cover and this time it's a remake of legendary singer Ozaki Yutaka's classic "I Love You." Sung is joined on the track by the much beloved violinist Taro Hakase. The song will be used as the theme song for the UULA original drama also entitled I Love You.

YUKA: UTSUROI

By Paris365 on July 30, 2013

YUKA: UTSUROI

I'm not sure releasing 3 piano ballads on one single was a wise idea, but all three of them are actually beautiful and touching.

Yuka is *not* to be confused with Yuka from moumoon. Or Yuka Honda. Yuka is just Yuka. "うつろい" -- Google translation: "Transitory" -- is her third single and it's a gorgeous, mid-tempo ballad. Blending sweeping strings with tender piano and radiant synth -- along with guitar, bass and drums -- the song suits Yuka's sweet voice perfectly and she sings the love song quite passionately. She also hits some impressive high notes, yet exercises great restraint, never sounding like a show off at all.

VANILLA BEANS: MUSCAT SLOPE LOVE

By Paris365 on July 25, 2013

VANILLA BEANS: MUSCAT SLOPE LOVE

Vanilla Beans' "Muscat Scope Love" is an intriguing and irresistible cross between super fast J-Pop, carnival ride music and surf guitar.

Vanilla Beans' new single "マスカット・スロープ・ラブ" -- or "Muscat Slope Love" -- is their 9th single and was written by Kaji Hideki (music and lyrics) and Takashi Sekine (arrangement). It starts off with shimmering horns and quickly turns into something that sounds like carnival music. Super fast carnival music, but carnival music nevertheless. Like music written to be played on a merry-go-round. Which isn't such a bad thing, really. A lot of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's music sounds like carnival ride music and it's highly addictive. So, if it works for Kyary, why not Vanilla Beans, too?

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ANGELA AKI: 夢の終わり 愛の始まり

By Paris365 on July 18, 2013

ANGELA AKI: 夢の終わり 愛の始まり

Angela Aki's new single, "The Beginning of the End of Love," is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard all year and it's not even a ballad. (Well, OK, it's a love song, but it's also a mid-tempo pop song.)

Angela Aki's new single bares the long-winded title "夢の終わり 愛の始まり" or "YUME NO OWARI AI NO HAJIMARI," the translation of which is "The Beginning Of The End Of Love." So, it's actually a pretty cool title even if it is quite a mouthful. But what you should be more impressed with is the song itself, which is a mid-tempo pop number that is said to be about a fateful encounter that leads to romance. It's absolutely stunning. Lovely piano, funky bass guitar, soaring strings, gorgeous harmonies -- it's absolutely perfect.

BOA: TAIL OF HOPE

By Paris365 on July 17, 2013

BOA: TAIL OF HOPE

BoA's latest Japanese-language single, "Tail of Hope," is perfect for summer dancing.

BoA's latest Japanese-language single, the up-tempo dance pop number "Tail of Hope," is one of her brightest and catchiest tunes yet with its layers of upbeat keyboards and sunshiny synth. It's also one of her funkiest songs to date with lots of irresistible slap bass action going on. And its beat is downright contagious and perfect for summer dancing. The infectious tune is currently being used as the theme song to the Fuji Television soap opera Hakui no Namida.

RIHWA: LAST LOVE

By Paris365 on July 15, 2013

RIHWA: LAST LOVE

Rihwa follows up her duet with Michelle Branch, "Good Love," with another English-language song

Acclaimed Japanese singer/songwriter Rihwa was last heard dueting with Michelle Branch on the English-language song "Good Love." Now she's back with another English-language song, "Last Love," this time going at it solo. And what a song it is. A huge, moving, epic ballad. Beautiful piano, elaborate strings, Rihwa's trademark acoustic guitar and lots of other instruments make for a very colorful and truly touching ballad, though it's Rihwa's emotive vocals that really make it shine.

T-ARA: TARGET

By Paris365 on July 12, 2013

T-ARA: TARGET

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a contender for J-Pop single of the year.

Following their various sub-unit releases, T-ARA are now back together as the whole seven member girl group: Boram, Qri (the fearless leader), Soyeon, Eunjung, Hyomin, Jiyeon and Dani (in training). That said, the K-Pop group's new single, "Target," is actually their second ever JAPANESE single, following the highly successful "Bunny Style," so their K-Pop fans will have to continue holding their breath for the time being. (Alas, one can only assume a new Korean single will follow soon.)

NAMIE AMURO: FEEL

By Paris365 on July 12, 2013

NAMIE AMURO: FEEL

Last year Namie Amuro released Uncontrolled and I was horrified by how bad it was. Fortunately, this year's FEEL more than makes up for it and it just might be Namie's best album to date.

Last year Namie released her 10th studio album, Uncontrolled, and I wasn't impressed. Although I liked the ballad "Tempest," I thought the rest of the album was horrible. I'm still shocked by how bad it was, thinking about it today. I love all of her other albums, but I can never listen to more than a couple of tracks on Uncontrolled before I find myself so disgusted that I have to shut it off. Production-wise, the beats were entirely lackluster and sounded terribly out-dated, whereas Namie's previous music had always been timely if not futuristic or cutting-edge.

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KYARY PAMYU PAMYU: NANDA COLLECTION

By Paris365 on July 11, 2013

KYARY PAMYU PAMYU: NANDA COLLECTION

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's second album has finally arrived, saving the world from the flames of hell and the zombie apocalypse.

Just what the world needs -- another Asian music album with the word collection in the title! Which I'm only complaining about because that's the only thing even slightly disappointing about this, the second album by model turned singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

TOMMY FEBRUARY6: TOMMY CANDY SHOP ♥ SUGAR ♥ ME

By Paris365 on July 09, 2013

TOMMY FEBRUARY6: TOMMY CANDY SHOP ♥ SUGAR ♥ ME

On her first full-length album in four years, Tommy february6 mostly ditches the old school bubblegum pop sounds in favor of uber-modern synth/electropop. WARNING: Contains lots of dance floor smashers.

It's hard to believe, but this year is Tomoko Kawase's 15th anniversary in the world of Japanese music, as it was 15 years ago that her band The Brilliant Green released their self-titled debut album in 1998. As I'm sure you know, several years ago Tomoko created two alter-egos to release solo material as, Tommy february6 and Tommy heavenly6. Tommy heavenly6 has been her outlet for heavier and darker material than she's done with The Brilliant Green while Tommy february6 has been her outlet for bright and shiny bubblegum pop.

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KANA NISHINO: BELIEVE

By Paris365 on July 03, 2013

KANA NISHINO: BELIEVE

Kana Nishino once again has a cheer squad backing her for her new single "Believe," which mixes turbo-charged guitars with punchy beats.

Kana Nishino is celebrating the 5th anniversary of her career this year and Believe is her 20th single.

JASMINE: HIGH FLYING

By Paris365 on July 02, 2013

JASMINE: HIGH FLYING

Jasmine's first single of 2013, "High Flying," is one of the best songs I've heard thus far to blend dubstep with pop.

Singer/songwriter/producer Jasmine's inspired new single "High Flying" is her first release of 2013 and her ninth single overall. The up-tempo track begins with a bit of electric guitar and fluttery synth and quickly adds snappy, old school drum machine percussion along with low end dubstep beats and glimmering piano. "Fly so high," begins the sunny, synth-heavy chorus, Jasmine belting it out with lots of energy and over-flowing with passion. She's often been called the next Utada Hikaru and it's not hard to understand why when you listen to her sing the gigantic chorus of this song.

MICHI: HEARTBEAT

By Paris365 on June 28, 2013

MICHI: HEARTBEAT

MiChi's new single, "Heartbeat," is fluffy cotton candy and it tastes so sweet, you won't be able to get enough of it.

"Heartbeat" is MiChi's new single, which has only been released digitally so far, but it's sure to be released as a physical CD single soon enough because they always release her singles physically. That said, I couldn't find any listing for it on Yes Asia or CD Japan just yet. In any case, it is a truly AWESOME song. One of those mind-blowingly good pop songs that become the new theme song for you life as soon as you hear them. "Now I know that dreams can come true," she sings enthusiastically during the dazzling, synth-heavy chorus and it's sure to make you smile.

KANA NISHINO: BELIEVE

By Paris365 on June 27, 2013

KANA NISHINO: BELIEVE

Kana Nishino's "Believe" is every bit as positive as last year's "GO FOR IT!!" -- and the cheer squad is back!

Kana Nishino is celebrating the 5th anniversary of her career this year and Believe is her 20th single.

PASSPO☆: STEP&GO / CANDY ROOM

By Paris365 on June 26, 2013

PASSPO☆: STEP&GO / CANDY ROOM

PASSPO☆'s "STEP&GO" has the big, flailing guitar riffs of L.A. hair metal, the up-tempo, kick ass speed of German metal and a dash of Japanese punk rock attitude.

Nine member J-pop/J-rock girl group Passpo☆ is back in flight and soaring through the sky like a big jet plane with their new double A-side single "Step&Go" / "Candy Room."

YANG YO SEOP: THE FIRST COLLAGE

By Paris365 on June 21, 2013

YANG YO SEOP: THE FIRST COLLAGE

BEAST's main vocalist Yang Yo Seop makes his solo debut with this new mini-album, The First Collage, which features songs in Korean and Japanese.

BEAST's main vocalist Yang Yo Seop makes his solo debut with this new mini-album, The First Collage, though BEAST's Jun Hyung produced the album with composer Kim Tae Joo. This is the Japanese release of the album, which features the new lead song "Caffeine" in both Korean and Japanese versions. I believe all of the songs except the Japanese version of "Caffeine" are in Korean.

PRISM☆BOX: RAINBOWxRAINBOW

By Paris365 on June 20, 2013

PRISM☆BOX: RAINBOWxRAINBOW

Prism☆Box's debut single "RainBow×RainBow" tries to do too many things at once, but the b-side "Boyfriend" is irresistible.

Prism☆Box is an 11 member girl group affiliated with the four member girl group Prizmmy☆. While I was able to find references to Prism☆Box on the official Prizmmy☆ site, I was not able to determine what the relationship between the two groups is. The girls of Prism☆Box look younger than the girls of Prizmmy☆, so I wouldn't be surprised if Prism☆Box isn't a training group for future Prizmmy☆ members. But it's also possible that they're simply a Prizmmy☆ sister group. (AKB48 has something like a dozen sister groups, so why shouldn't Prizmmy☆ have one, right?)

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HARUNA LUNA: 君がくれた世界 (KIMI GA KURETA SEKAI)

By Paris365 on June 18, 2013

HARUNA LUNA: 君がくれた世界 (KIMI GA KURETA SEKAI)

Haruna Luna's new single "君がくれた世界" packs a super-fast and highly contagious chorus.

Haruna Luna's new single "君がくれた世界" (Google translation: "World That You Gave Me") starts off with Haruna simply singing along to pretty piano but soon erupts with thunderous drums and soaring strings that radiate every color of the rainbow. Things are a bit more subtle during the verses, which have a mild electro-beat, along with the piano, and feel like a ballad, but the fulminating percussion and unyielding strings return for the super-fast and highly contagious chorus.

GIRLS' GENERATION (SNSD): LOVE&GIRLS

By Paris365 on June 17, 2013

GIRLS' GENERATION (SNSD): LOVE&GIRLS

Girls' Generation's latest is yet another infectious jam from the girl group royalty.

Well, well, well -- another day, another smash of a single courtesy of Girls' Generation. This time it's a new Japanese single called "LOVE&GIRLS" and it's one of their very best songs to date, which is saying a lot. Although it doesn't change tempo or styles as often as "I Got A Boy," I would have to say that it's somewhat in that vein in terms of the catchy beats, infectious synth and the spunk the girls sing it with. ( "Get up, get up," the girls sing and you'll find it hard to sit still.

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MEG / MEG ZOMBIES: SAVE / KISS OR BITE

By Paris365 on June 14, 2013

MEG / MEG ZOMBIES: SAVE / KISS OR BITE

Meg has released two new singles, one as herself and one as an alter-ego called Meg Zombies. Both singles are among her best work today. Totally thrilling J-Pop!

I wish I could tell you what the story behind this is. All I know is that J-pop goddess Meg has released two new singles, but she's calling herself Meg Zombies on one of them. Perhaps she's doing what The Brilliant Green's Tomoko Kawase does when she releases music as Tommy heavenly6 and Tommy february6, creating an alter-ego for herself so that she can do something different? But if she intends for Meg Zombies to be separate from the music released as Meg then why are they selling both CDs together?

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