Category Archives: Special Articles

Reflection pieces, video game soundtrack reviews, and other works otherwise not belonging to any other category will go here

Four Styles of J-Music NO ONE Takes Seriously

So, here’s a rather mean-spirited post. I’m just bitter because I jinxed another good Visual Kei band so I figured I would take my wrath towards myself out on everyone who reads my blog. Not really. This post is only made jokingly. I really don’t mean (most of) it so please don’t take it personally!

Here are four styles of Japanese music that are so laughably terrible to nearly everyone who has the misfortune of hearing it.

Oshare Kei

Paradeis, The Worst "Band" Since Nickelback/Theory of a Deadman

Something about oshare kei makes me feel like some kind of magical bulimic princess in a land of bull crap, like I’m vomiting rainbows and bleeding caramel from my eye sockets and prancing in fields of stupid with an imbecile unicorn named Sherman. I don’t get the appeal of this stuff and I never will. It’s not cute, guys. It’s gross and I see it in my sleep. Oshare Kei is probably the thing I hate second-most in the world. (This is what I hate most. Ughhhhh.)

When Every Artist EVER Dabbles in Techno

One of these things is not like the others... One of these things just doesn't belong..

J-tek music has become wildly popular ever since Yasutaka Nakata took over the world came to prominence. I think a lot of artists took advantage of the techno wave, including GACKT. It’s tough to look at the guy who kicked massive amounts of buttocks as the vampire-clad vocalist of Malice Mizer years ago cranking out DDR tunes ten years later. Don’t get me wrong, I love Koakuma Heaven, but I’ve heard so many people bash the song just because it’s so out of GACKT’s normal realm of music. News flash, kiddos. GACKT has no normal realm of music. He tries a little of everything; that’s why we love him. Duh.

Girls Who Shouldn’t Act Gangster Deciding to Act Gangster

McRoll'd?

Kuu. Stop. Now.

Whatever Crap misono Puts Out

Please stop looking at me.

The reject Koda sister gets slammed constantly. So let me slam her some more! Misono has absolutely zero talent as far as voice, charisma, and all-around decency as a human being goes. I cannot stand her music.

Hope you enjoyed this sarcasm-laden post! Remember that none of it is meant to offend anyone, it’s all joking, even if I do hate misono and Oshare Kei. Ehehe. Just gotta toss the disclaimers out there anyway, just to be nice.

~Alisa~

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A Guest Post, A Change of Pace!

Enjoy my guest post on Saranghae… Kpop I’ll admit, I felt out of place contributing to a k-pop blog as I avoid the genre at all costs don’t listen to a lot of music in that genre, but I had a blast writing a post about the fact that k-rock actually exists. Thanks to Arie for inviting me to post!

~Alisa~

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Weekly Babble, Volume Two

(published a day early because I have to work tomorrow!)

Songs I’ve Had on Repeat This Week
“赤毛のケリー” by Thee Michelle Gun Elephant
“Gothic Circus” by SADS
“Kiss Me” by YUI
“Please Stay With Me” by YUI
“Throw Him Away!” by SAWA

Musical Rants

1.) Still no sign of the Luzmelt single that released this week. I’m developing a tic from wanting it so much.

2.) It is gacktpause’s fault that my iPod is inching closer and closer towards maximum capacity every single day. XD

3.) A Visual Kei Talk Show has proven to be the greatest idea known to man. Also, vuvuzelas. That is all.

4.) Less than a month now until we get that new T.M. Revolution release!

5.) When I saw that Kuu’s “Gossip Candy” didn’t top the OriCon, I was secretly pleased. It isn’t a secret now, so please don’t harm me with those pitchforks that have somehow materialized in your hands.

6.) It feels like the amount of excitement as far as releases go has cooled down this week. It’s about to heat up again soon!

Take it easy, all. Don’t forget to vote in the poll; it ends Saturday!

~Alisa~

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Fifteen Power-Packed Japanese Songs

I know that last night on Twitter, I said this would be the top ten most powerful Japanese songs. I changed it to the top fifteen! This is to keep my list from looking like a big mass of anime/GACKT songs. Just kidding. (Or am I?)
I define a powerful song not by how strong it makes me feel, but rather how weak it makes me feel on the very first listen. The first time I hear a powerful song, I want it to leave me in a cold sweat, breathless, thinking “what has just happened to me?” Then, I want to grow to make the song a sort of personal empowering anthem.
I assembled my list after much careful consideration. This was harder to do than anticipated, and may have been another contributor as to why the list turned out a little longer than expected. Enjoy!

15.) Alumina – Nightmare: This song isn’t just powerful, it’s very disturbing. The mournful tone in which Yomi sings the song is downright eerie. The first time I heard this song was on Death Note, naturally. It frightened me terribly, which is a big reason why I respect this song as much as I do.

14.) Border – Girugamesh: From the first notes of this song, I just knew it was going to be intense. I feel like the boys from Girugamesh are grabbing me by the hair and dragging me relentlessly through this song. It’s intense and brutal. The vocals and guitar are positively barbaric.

13.) Colors of the Heart – UVERworld: The most powerful part of this song is that it builds and builds and builds but all the while Takuya retains a beautiful, clear singing voice. His delivery is strong and melodic. (A big reason why this song left me breathless the first time I heard it was because my fiancé introduced it to me before he was even my boyfriend! I think a big part of my love for this song is that memory.)

12.) Bel Air – Malice Mizer: Hard to believe this song is as old as it is, yet its strength continues to rattle my skull (and the skulls of many other VK fans I’m sure) to this day. The music box playing at the beginning and middle of the song contrasts wonderfully with the hard guitars and drums found in the song. GACKT’s performance is outstanding and fierce.

11.) Rainbow – Ayumi Hamasaki: Made exclusively for her A Ballads album, Ayumi’s breathy ballad has been breaking hearts for years. This song has so much power in its simplicity, rather than any actual muscle. “No rain can get the rainbow.” Remember that.

10.) Passion – Utada Hikaru: Don’t you miss this Hikki? Utada, this is the one. Not your washed-up American crap that flopped horribly time after time. This. Passion is a song full of light and darkness at once. The beat of this song is indescribable.

9.) Hallelujah – Rurutia: Okay, so if hard guitars coupled with elegant violins weren’t powerful enough, you get the contrast of Rurutia and her famous whisper-singing. The opening of this song is like getting hit in the face with a shovel made of solid gold.

8.) Renon – M: This song is still relatively new to me, so I won’t pretend to be a seasoned listener. Still, its MUCC-esque guitar style and raw, untamed vocals floored me from the first listen. The vocalist has some serious charisma even though his vocals aren’t up to par with other VK singers by any means.

7.) Rain – GACKT: Do you ever hear a song that makes you hurt all over? This song fits the bill for me. I feel like I’m drowning in some kind of torrential, yet gentle wave during the verses. In the chorus, it all comes crashing down. I never hear much mention of this song, which is sad.

6.) Kingyo Hanabi – Ai Otsuka: I had to find a place for my favorite song on here somewhere! It’s not as powerful as other songs, per se, but it still packs a heartbreaking punch. The tortured desperation in this song is incredibly moving. This song can make me happy and sad at the same time, which is rare for a song to do.

5.) Rain – SID: As I mentioned on my “weekly babble” post, I have decided that songs titled Rain are predestined to be good. The chorus of this song is tragic with strong feelings of loss. I think the majority of this song’s power for me is how well it ties in with the Fullmetal Alchemist story.

4.) Lust for Blood – GACKT: This song is probably the most hateful song I have ever heard. The melancholy opening makes way for a heavy rock sound and GACKT’s intense, angry vocals. It’s a heart-stopping piece just because it is SO raw.

3.) Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame – XodiacK: I’m sorry to all of you who tire of hearing about XodiacK, but I just love this song so much. The first time I heard this song, I felt like it was repeatedly punching me in the stomach. Another way this song left me breathless was due to the fact that I laughed so hard at the terrible PV. (But you didn’t hear that from me, okay?)

2.) Mirrorcle World – Ayumi Hamasaki: Is it bad that I don’t think Ayu has released a single good thing since this dropped over two years ago? (Sparkle was okay, but not anything I couldn’t live without) Ayu is a powerhouse in this song, singing along with a military-style beat and angrily questioning the problems in the world today. The lyrics are expertly crafted and I love the energy.

1.) Jesus – GACKT: GACKT’s big comeback single after Returner was incredibly anticipated, and this single did not let me down at all. In fact, I think it is one of the greatest GACKT songs to date. The heavy rock sound, GACKT screaming, the lyrics, GACKT behaving in such a taunting manner in the PV… It’s incredible, and so unreal. This song sent me into a completely different dimension, where I felt as though I was standing face to face with something so much greater than myself, and I was trembling long after the song had finished. I’ll probably never have another song grip me as tightly as this has. I am proud to call this the most powerful song I’ve ever heard.

~Alisa~

Which songs do you consider to be the most powerful? Do you think ballads or rock songs are more powerful? How do you feel when a powerful song overtakes you?

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Sakurayume’s Weekly Babble

New feature, OMG! Thank you Sakura Pierce for letting me steal, uhh ahem ahem, borrow and pay appropriate tribute to your idea.

Songs I’ve Had On Repeat This Week:
“Renon” – M
“Driving Time” – Girugamesh
“Lolitawork Libretto ~Storytelling by Solita~” – Kanon Wakeshima
“Dears” – GACKT
“Dress” – abingdon boys school
“Rain” – Mika
“Ice” – Lights
“Resonance” – T.M. Revolution

Musical Rants
(feel free to respond to any of these in the comments section, just leave the number of the statement you’re referring to!)

1.) If you don’t like the song “Resonance” by T.M. Revolution, GET OUT NOW. Just kidding. But that song is too cool fo’ school.

2.) I’ve been listening to quite a few cover versions of songs lately. I think this will be the focus of the new poll coming up tomorrow. (by the way, there is still time to vote for your favorite GACKT album!!)

3.) How in the world did we survive the GACKT hiatus in between “Returner” and “Jesus?”

4.) Is anyone else sad about the end of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga/Brotherhood anime? The anime seriously helped to boost SID’s popularity.

5.) I had a epiphany via Twitter that I am some kind of chosen Visual Kei ambassador, sworn to spread the word of XodiacK to the masses. (allegedly to make amends for my breaking them up in the first place?)

6.) Speaking of XodiacK, I know this is impatient of me but I WANT A RELEASE!

7.) You know you have too much music when you scroll through your iPod and have a song called “I Love You” followed by a song called “I Still Love You.” Once your iPod gains the ability to reiterate, you’re in trouble.

8.) I’ve found that if you give a song the title “Rain” it is, like, predestined to be good.

9.) I feel like this year has me in a constant state of anticipation. One release drops and then I’m like “oh, wait but _________________ comes out next week! How am I going to stand the wait!?” Its actually a pretty good feeling.

Okay, all finished with my mental vomit there. Be sure to leave comments! Also, let me know if a weekly babble thingy is even worth the time and effort.

~Alisa~

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Happy Birthday, GACKT!

July 4th. What do you think of on this day?
Stuffing your face with barbequed porkchops, fried fish, corn on the cob, watermelon?
Fireworks blossoming across the night sky?

While you’re listening to that particularly creative playlist you just made on your iPod containing practically every song with the word “hanabi” in the title, don’t forget to think about one of the most influential artists in the world.

GACKT is 37 years old today! He definitely appears to be in great shape despite being hospitalized twice and counting over the past month. GACKT isn’t just a musician, he’s a lifestyle. An artist. A symbol within himself. An icon. A genuine person.

Thank you, GACKT, for inspiring with your music and making me feel a little better about being alive. Happy birthday, and many more!

Happy birthday! Please don't eat that guitar. We'll get you some cake and yellow fried chickenz.

~Alisa~

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Shed Some Tears: The Most Touching Japanese Songs

Every once in a while, a song comes along that besides being a really good song, makes us feel something. Sometimes, we can be so touched by a song that it makes us cry, laugh, reminisce. Here are my picks for the top five most touching Japanese songs:

# 5 “Forgiveness” – Ayumi Hamasaki

(used the Memorial Address cover because the single cover is creepy as all heck)

Where did this Ayu go? This Ayu was creative and had awesome vocals. Its like the Ayu we have now is a completely different person! This song is perfectly calming because of the soft singing. It swells at the chorus into something bigger, more powerful than itself. I miss the old Ayu.

#4 “Tabidachi no Uta” – Mr. Children

Maybe I chose this song because I love Koizora and watched it three times in a row once. Its a bittersweet song and much like the movie it was in, is about moving forward.

#3 “Hoshi no Suna” – GACKT

A widely overlooked song, this b-side from G’s Tsuki no Uta single really makes you feel like he is singing the entire thing with tears in his eyes. The simple piano and GACKT’s soft voice couple well together and work wonders at giving the listener goosebumps.

#2 “Snow White” – D

When this song came out, it received a lot of criticism from die-hard visualists for being, well, a ballad. Others praised its beauty and emotion. I love this song because its simple and tragic. Plus, you get to hear Asagi’s voice shine in an area outside of snarling. His vibratto is excellent and this borderline opera song definitely made me cry. Truly touching.

#1 “Kingyo Hanabi” – Ai Otsuka

I really could have said “virtually every Ai Otsuka ballad” here, but this song is special. Its my favorite song ever. Ai’s lyrics are clever, almost childish, poignant. The melody is smooth and the instrumentation along with the sound effects create this almost ethereal mood. This song still gets me when I listen to it, and I’ll be happy to play this song at my wedding in a couple years.

There you have it! These five songs always make me well up, and sometimes even burst into tears. Which songs make you feel that way?

~Alisa~

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