Tag Archives: iTunes

The Voice as an Instrument, Not a Messenger

Coming from the United States, a primarily English-speaking country, it is odd to people I meet when I first tell them that I enjoy Japanese music. I am always required to answer the inevitable question, “do you understand what they’re saying?”

To be concise, not really. But I’m a wordy person, so of course I have to add detail. Understand that I took AP English in high school; adding detail is in my blood now.

I don’t know very much Japanese. I can speak basic conversational phrases, and have assimilated a large and random vocabulary from watching subbed anime and reading translated song lyrics. I’m nowhere fluent, and I will be the first to admit that. But why do I love songs in a language I barely understand?

I have learned to appreciate the voice as just another instrument. If a voice is beautiful, powerful, or capable of evoking some kind of response in me, then the language the voice sings in is a trivial matter. The problem with the people who are baffled that I listen to music I don’t understand is that they rely on lyrics as a crutch. They think, “if I can’t understand or relate to this song, then its terrible and I reject it altogether.” Come on. There are plenty of English artists who make no sense and are still popular. (Pink Floyd, anyone?) The point is that you don’t have to rely on lyrical content to make a good song. What if a song has a good beat, a catchy melody, beautiful vocals? Is it any less of a song because you don’t understand it?

Take for example Meg, an Italian artist I happened upon while googling the Japanese artist MEG. When I heard her song Simbiosi, my first thought was “this song is absolutely captivating,” not “oh, this is Italian and I can’t speak that language to save my life.” By the way, I highly recommend for all my readers to click the link and listen to the song. Its pure magic.

If you went through my iTunes library, you would be surprised. I have songs in too many languages to count. Zulu, German, Portuguese, and Arabic are just a few. I don’t listen to these songs to pretentiously appear scholarly or worldly, I like them because each one of them made me feel something. The language isn’t important. Really, its not.


Reader Question: Do people ever ask you if you understand foreign music, or why you like foreign music? How do you answer these questions? How do you feel about the voice as an instrument and not a messenger?


Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

A Post No One Will Care About!

Thought I’d post my top 25 most played songs in iTunes as I am bored and like bragging about my music. Feel free to comment with your 25. Or something. Uhhh…. yeah.

By the way, a bit of news. My next review will be of a KOREAN artist! I’m so addicted to the rapper e.via that I thought she deserved a review of her own. Stay tuned for that.

Alisa’s Top 25 Most-Played Songs

1.) Rose of May – Nobuo Uematsu
2.) Must be Dreaming – Frou Frou
3.) Misery Business – Paramore (this song’s about me, I really think so)
4.) Ya Soshla S’Uma – T.A.T.U
5.) Nothing I Won’t Give – Vic Mignogna (Yeah, I know)
6.) Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame – XodiacK
7.) Journey – MEG
8.) Kingyo Hanabi – Ai Otsuka (favorite song EVER)
9.) Aisu x Time – Ai Otsuka with SU from Rip Slyme
10.) HEART – Ai Otsuka
11.) Alice – immi
12.) Fly Away – Maki Goto
13.) Ame no Hi Wa, No Thank You – Toru Okawa and Michiko Neya (Roy and Riza song!)
14.) The Boy is Mine – Brandy and Monica
15.) Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
16.) Fast Car – Namie Amuro
17.) Planetarium – Ai Otsuka
18.) Mirror Ball – Aquamarry
19.) Suddenly – Gackt
20.) Physical Thing – Koda Kumi
21.) Crushcrushcrush – Paramore
22.) Copy That – Namie Amuro
23.) Come Away – Nini Camps
24.) One Night Magic – Utada Hikaru
25.) Hey! – e.via


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“Like Yesterday” – the brilliant green

The years have been kind to Tomoko. 😉

I have reached this conclusion. Tomoko Kawase wants the world to live in suspense.  All of her roughly thirty million side projects/alter egos go on hiatus for an illogical amount of time. “Like Yesterday” is buriguri’s first release since 2008’s “Ash Like Snow,” which sounded a lot more like a Tommy Heavenly6 song if you ask me. I’m happy to say that “Like Yesterday” returns to buriguri’s classic laid-back, “beachy” music. Review time!

Like Yesterday- In the spirit of songs like “I’m Jus’ Lovin’ You,” and my personal favorite “Brownie the Cat,” “Like Yesterday” is, as stated earlier, a very laid back song. Its a song that you would listen to at the beach whilst roasting your skin cells in the sun. Another thing it reminds me of is the kind of song that you would play at a graduation. I sure wish this played at my graduation; our senior song sucked. Then again, my entire high school sucked. End rant here.

In Conclusion- “Like Yesterday” is a very plain, ordinary song but something seriously drew me to it. Same goes for those Japanese folks buying the song on iTunes; its the fourth most popular download on the Japanese store today. Perhaps this was out of sheer anticipation for a new release. Who cares? Check this song out!


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“Fairyshift” – Aquamarry

I really like this cover!

That’s right, kids! I am ditching my Sociology homework for the time being to bring you this review. Plus, I’ve got a Hot Pocket that I’m chowing down on. Hooray! Before I start, I’d like to say that I have found copies of “Infinity” for sale online! As soon as my financial aid return check comes in, I will be purchasing it. I am dying to hear the other five tracks.

“Fairyshift” is the second release by superindie band Aquamarry, and their first mini-album. This is another difficult to find release in physical format, but unlike the album “Infinity,” “Fairyshift” is available for digital download in the Japanese iTunes store. I’m terribly bummed about this because compared to “Infinity,” “Fairyshift” is just mediocre.

Track 1: Shari-la-lira – This is probably the best track on the mini-album. It’s a feel-good-its-a-new-day-everything-is-gonna-be-just-fine kind of song. It’s uplifting and makes you feel good about being alive. Plus, you get to hear that trademark “underwater guitar!”

Track 2: S.M.W- Yeah, so I have no idea what S.M.W stands for…  It’s a really short song at only three minutes. I could best describe this song as “punk.” It’s okay, but not memorable.

Track 3: 妄想テレパシー – This song reminds me of a sped-up version of “Mirror Ball” with some guitar similar to that in Nightmare’s “The Last Show.” I like the melody and harmony but again, its not very memorable.

Track 4: ホシカゲソウ – This song starts out with some heavy blues elements.  Its the longest track on the mini-album, and the entire time I listened to it, I kept waiting for it to go somewhere. It never did. Skip this one.

Track 5: LiFE – This is basically a continuation of Shari-la-lira. The guitar is the best part. Not much else to be said.

In Conclusion: To be blunt, “Fairyshift” doesn’t hold a candle to “Infinity.” I commend Aquamarry for exploring different genres on their second release, but it truly did not work too well for them. Also, it seemed as though the quality of Cinnamon’s vocals declined from one track to the next. If this was someone’s first experience with the band, I can see why they would not want to listen any further. This is why I recommend listening to “Infinity” before you even touch “Fairyshift.”


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“Morning Glory” – Bonnie Pink

Now this is a song I could wake up to! Seriously, I wish I had an alarm clock that played this song. Its the perfect tune to get you up and about in the morning, and the PV makes it even more uplifting. I want to do exactly what Bonnie is doing; throwing open the curtains and belting out this song. Unfortunately, if I tried to do that today, I’d be slapped in the face by an ungodly wind chill.

This style of song is reminiscent of Bonnie’s older stuff that we love so much. I’m glad she decided to go back to that sound for a little while.

I think the biggest part of why I like this song so much is because the empowering and happy atmosphere helped me out a lot. A couple weeks ago, my kitty died and I was really devastated. Bonnie’s line “something tells me just keep going,  keep going and you will smile again,” was something I could seriously relate to.

Rest in peace, Socks. I love you!

Anyway, this single has only been released as a digital download, so unless you’re insanely lucky and have a Japanese iTunes gift card or something along the lines of that, then odds are you don’t have this song. I believe that this is going to be released physically at some point (I swear I think I saw news about it coming out in March) so hopefully more people can get their hands on it. It is a surefire way to have a brighter day! (woot, that rhymed.)



Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection