Tag Archives: Japanese pop

“Makenai Kokoro” – AAA

Thank you, Ven, for your patience! Same for everyone else.

I’ll tell you right now, between school and work, I’m wiped. I could go into full detail and whine a lot to play up the drama but I won’t. It’s unfortunate but it seems as though I’ll be limiting my activity for a while. No, I’m not talking about a hiatus, and I’m especially not talking about closing down the blog. For now, though, it looks like the bulk of my activity is going to take place on the weekends. I guess we take what we get, right?


If this cover oddly reminds you of Perfume’s Triangle album, please comment so I won’t feel all alone in the world.

Usually AAA songs make me want to dance. What I liked about Makenai Kokoro is that it keeps the dance sound to minimum and instead showcases the vocals. It showed me that this isn’t purely a dance group, but that these people are actually talented singers and rappers. There was something about the way this song was performed that I liked. I think it was the way that the female singers held their notes in places. The rap was energetic and my only wish is that there had been a little more of it.

For everything I loved about Makenai Kokoro, I loved ten times more in Day by Day. It’s bouncy guitar pop, more centered around the male vocals. That was a cool aspect to this single; that the females were more prominent in the first track and the males were more prominent here. It’s like the flip-side of a very shiny yen coin.

WOW WAR TONIGHT ~Toki ni wa Okose yo Movement~ is a reggae-type song that I couldn’t get into. It’s a neat “end-of-summer” feeling set to music, but I couldn’t find myself yearning for a second listen.

In Conclusion: Success! AAA did a great job with this single. I liked it much better as a whole than the last one. A nice listen!

~Alisa~

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“Naked Arms / SWORD SUMMIT” – T.M. Revolution

Takanori can see inside your soul.

T.M.R hasn’t been around for a little while. Takanori himself has been active with abindgon boys school and the field of being awesome, but he hasn’t “made revolution” since 2008’s Resonance, which was a fantastic song. I am still a relatively new T.M.R fan so I’ve had his entire discography to tide me over during the wait for this single. Seasoned fans probably found the wait to be tougher since they had heard it all before. Man, I have good timing.

Naked Arms picks up right where Resonance left off. It’s got attitude! Takanori’s vocals are out of this world. This man can seriously sing. I really liked the unpredictable melody that the songs boasts as well as the fact that the energy never dies out during the song. There isn’t a dull moment. Naturally, the PV for this song is delightfully camp (Takanori seems to really enjoy being on camera, okay?) with an interesting usage of color, or lack thereof. This song wasn’t as good for me as Resonance but it’s still a fresh track and a great reminder that even after two years T.M.R is still going strong.

I still don’t know exactly how I feel about SWORD SUMMIT yet. I like it, but there’s something too perky about it. I’m just waiting for this to turn up on Dance Dance Revolution (alongside GACKT’s Koakuma Heaven, hehe). I definitely dig how the flute was integrated into the song at the instrumental break. This song is DDR-meets-Pokemon-battle. Yep.

In Conclusion: I was blown away by this single. T.M.R is just brilliant, simply put. Naked Arms is an epic win for sure and SWORD SUMMIT grows on me with each listen. Highly recommended!

~Alisa~

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This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

keyinjpop suggested I watch the new AKB48 PV and report my thoughts on it. So, I did. I present to you, myself ripping the guts out of Heavy Rotation, or as I’d like to call it “Hot & Heavy Rotation.”

Uhhh... 'scuse me. Just how old are you, anyway?

If that cover isn’t bad enough… I think it’s funny how I just posted a long nonsensical rant about how sexual imagery has gotten out of hand, then this PV gets shoved in my face.

At first, the video starts out nice and innocent. You think it’s going to be okay. They’re wearing black military jackets (I swear I have the same one in white!) and the music sounds all cute and happy. Just when you’re getting comfortable, thinking they’re going to sing (fully clothed) in those nice jackets for the duration of the video… BAM! There they are, in lingerie having a pillow fight, no less. I gulped in agony and fear that my experience with this video was about to go horribly, horribly wrong. We all know that cute girls having a pillow fight is a stereotypical male fantasy, for reasons I have yet to wrap my female brain around.

Then, after some jumping all over each other in said lingerie, I felt my moon pie from breakfast beginning to make a return trip to my mouth. Ugh. But, alas! They return to wearing those stupid jackets, which I have come to hate. I’m glad I decided to buy a white one because if mine were black, I’d be burning it right now instead of blogging. “Don’t give me that crap,” I thought. “Don’t be acting all sexy like that and then try to come back all innocent-like. I know what you’re up to, and I don’t like it!”

The song’s not even that good. “I want yooooou…. I need yoooooou….” Brilliant lyrics! Who wrote them, Barney the dinosaur?

Just when you think this can’t get any worse, they all suddenly become furries. Yeah. You also get bathtub shots and plenty of kisses exchanged. A man had to have created this video. There is no other possible explanation.

Personally, I was insulted by the degrading nature of the video. I understand that AKB48 is a hot item right now, especially among men and they are definitely trying to play into that demographic. I get that, and because of this reason the single’s sales are probably going to go through the roof.

What are you opinions on this PV?

~Alisa~

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“ONE” – Maki Goto

Stunning.

Maki Goto is a strong woman. After her mother’s unfortunate passing, Maki was able to turn her personal tragedy into triumph. Instead of giving up, she stood on her own two legs and returned to the studio. This way, she could honor her beloved mother who supported her musical career with passion. If this isn’t love, then I don’t know what is.

I fell in love with 宝石 from the first few notes. It starts like a sweet lullaby and gradually adds sounds and beats until it evolves into a dance tune. This is like the perfect Maki song! The song makes me think of the fireworks you seen when you kiss the right person. ^_^

EYES is another dance song. A lot of people have complained that it sounds a little too juvenile for the mature Maki, and is like an unpleasant flashback to her H!P days. I think the song is perfect for Gocchin’s age, honestly. It’s fun to listen to while driving, as long as I don’t start doing disco moves and swerve off of the road. That could be bad.

I haven’t heard Maki tackle many (if any at all) acoustic-style songs so it was nice to hear something like わがまま. The sound of the song was a little dated for my tastes, but I’m not holding any grudges.

言えないけど was probably my favorite song other than 宝石. It’s another great dance song that dabbles in some techno sounds. It isn’t synth overkill which is probably a major contributing factor to my love of the song.

Finally, Maki closes out the mini-album with 華詩 -hanauta- a heartfelt ballad written for her dear mother. If you didn’t know the circumstances surrounding the song, it would just sound like a draggy, ordinary ballad. But, because I know what the song is about and why it was written, I can appreciate this song much more. I was overtaken by the loving emotion in Maki’s voice and I was nearly compelled to weep. A touching tribute indeed.

In Conclusion: Maki Goto intended to make her comeback big, not just for her fans, but as a way to honor her mother. I am touched and inspired by the fact that she has overcome so many obstacles lately all the while managing to keep a good head on her shoulders. This mini-album is an absolute success.

~Alisa~

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“GOLD” – Jasmine

I definitely appreciate that the album's title calls attention to her now-famous cover color schemes.

Here’s a shout-out to my buddy Steph! Hello! 🙂

Tracklist:

01 – PRIDE
02 – SAD TO SAY clip paroles
03 – L.I.P.S.
04 – JEALOUS
05 – BAD GIRL
06 – DEAR MY FRIEND
07 – STAGE
08 – THIS IS NOT A GAME
09 – CLUBBIN
10 – KOI
11 – WHAT YOU WANT?
12 – NO MORE
13 – DREAMIN
14 – WHY

Notably absent are her Gospel tunes.

Jasmine is an up-and-coming Japanese pop artist who many are comparing to Utada Hikaru. She has celebrated moderately great success for a newcomer to the pop scene. GOLD is her debut album. Shall we see if it lives up to the title?

Pride is a confident opening track. It’s not very long and I wish it had been. I love the rhythm of this piece, and for some reason it gave me the same feeling that Get Up & Move!! did on Koda Kumi’s Black Cherry album.

Don’t even talk to me about Sad To Say. I’m sorry guys, but if this was my first Jasmine song I would have never listened to her again. I’m lucky I started with Jealous. This song is plaintive and whiny with completely unnecessary usage of the eff bomb. I am glad she had time to grow though. Listening to this mediocre song just serves to prove how much she has gotten better since.

Jealous of course is fierce as all heck.

I had hoped that Bad Girl would sound a little more, well, bad than what it was. This song was bad in the wrong sense of the word. I felt like the song went nowhere and that Jasmine sounded bored. You can’t be a bad girl and be bored with it. You can be a bored girl. I vote we change this song title to that.

I loved that ~stage~ Interlude came directly before This is Not a Game because Jasmine says “this is my stage” quite a bit in it. It definitely is her stage and she makes the song hers perfectly. I love the harmony in this song. It’s so catchy!

Koi is an adorable song reminiscent of late 80s/early 90s pop music. It has a really great beat but Jasmine’s voice falls flat.

I didn’t like the title What You Want? because it just looked weird. This follows Koi’s old-style pop sound. It’s not as good as Koi but it’s a solid pop tune.

In Conclusion: Mehhhh. I think I am falling out of love with j-pop because this album failed to impress me. The best tracks on it had already been released as singles. I’m not hating on the album because it was pretty good. I think I’m just starting to become a full-time Visual Kei fan. Don’t blame it on me. Blame XodiacK. Take it easy, guys.

~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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“Holidays In The Sun” – YUI

She looks so pretty! We've got a serious font-strosity going on, but its beyond forgivable.

Track Listing:
1. to Mother
2. again
3. Parade
4. es.car
5. Shake My Heart
6. GLORIA
7. I do it
8. Please Stay With Me
9. SUMMER SONG
10. Cinnamon
11. Driving Happy Life
12. It’s all too much
13. Kiss me

I loved the placement of To Mother. Such a gentle song.

Again is still just as good as always.

Despite being short, Parade is a bright and happy song. Perfect for this time of year. I’ve never heard her do anything as light as this cute little song.

I don’t understand es.car at all. It makes me think of MegaMan for no reason. I liked the melody but I just wasn’t feeling anything in YUI’s voice. I will give this one a few listens because its not bad at all. I just don’t feel any energy in her delivery.

Shake My Heart is an interesting, gospel-sounding piece. I haven’t heard YUI tackle something this soulful before. (I like that this album has so much experimentation, by the way) Her voice is so full of air and… well, soul! The people singing along with her on the chorus all sound happy so I feel good listening to this! The horns are also a nice touch.

GLORIA sounds so good coming right after Shake My Heart.

I was excited from the start when I heard YUI would be doing her own version of I Do It, originally written by her for Stereopony. Its like she rips Stereopony’s rendition apart saying “this is how it was meant to be done!” The arrangement of this song rocks, to say the least. The guitar and drums sound epic and YUI sings it with such power that you begin to feel a little afraid of her greatness. Wonderful.

Please Stay With Me is terribly sad, yet relaxing. I would play this long late on a summer night. You can feel the plaintive sadness in this song from the first few notes on. YUI has created an excellent song here because it literally breaks my heart. *sniffle*

Forgive me if this sounds bad or mean, but the fact that Summer Song is on this album reminds me of how long its been since YUI released an album! The fact that Summer Song is on an album that, in fact, came out in the summer and has a very strong summer theme is great though. It fits here perfectly.

Cinnamon, like Parade is very short. This song doesn’t cut corners, partly because it doesn’t have enough time to! I like that the song maintains a steady pace throughout. I feel energized!

From reading the title alone, I had pegged Driving Happy Life to be a total throwaway song. Sadly, it is. Its happy-go-lucky but it doesn’t have much else going for it. Its still nice on this album.

Its All Too Much is back! YUCK! Why didn’t she put Never Say Die instead? Seriously? I never liked Its All Too Much, and that’s something I’ve always felt sort of bad for.

Kiss Me is a wonderful way to round out the album. Its considerably more sultry than any other song on the album and makes you feel like you just listened to the greatest album in the history of the world.

In Conclusion: Without a doubt, this is YUI’s magnum opus, her best album to date. Every track, save for a couple, is pure gold. Dare I even say that ALL of these tracks can be considered a-side material? YUI has done things right by waiting so long to release a new album. She’s proven she’s still fresh. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. I have a feeling this album will be making up a major part of my summer soundtrack. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

~Alisa~

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