Tag Archives: MEG

2009 < 2010

This morning, a little after 2 AM while listening to immi’s “Black or White” for the thousandth time something dawned on me. I thought to myself “Wow, the music this year is ten times better than the stuff released last year!”

I thought a little harder about it and realized that there was really only one artist I listened to last year: GACKT. I suppose it is rightfully so, as he bombarded us with singles last year, most of which were really quite good and unique. Still, only listening to one artist can put a huge damper on music appreciation as a whole. Nothing else really notable came out last year. Sure, D released “Genetic World” and MEG wowed me with “Journey” but there still wasn’t a big variety of quality material in 2009.

This year, even though its only halfway over, has given me a wide selection of great music from all kinds of genres. I’ve discovered a myriad of new artists while ones I’ve known and loved for years have put out some great stuff. 2010 is a great year for musical variety and my iPod is constantly on something different.

Though I totally loved the “year of GACKT,” (as I lovingly dubbed last year) I think music as a whole has improved this year. What do you think?



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“Spiral” – immi

Immi is just as talented as she is HAWT.

I’m going to be honest and say that as far as j-tek goes, it was going to take a whole lot to make me stray away from SAWA’s “Swimming Dancing” and Saori’s “Grotesque.” But!!!! Immi has released me from the clutches of those songs by creating a memorable album full of summer fun and spirit.

We’ve already heard and played the life out of Wonder, Alice, and Sign of Love, so I won’t touch on those. Just know that they are amazing.

I’ve seen on forums and whatnot that people are dubbing Summer 2010 as the Summer of J-tek. This album lives up to that title. For example, Jeezy Peezy, albeit having a weirdo title, is a energetic track, full of light. And bells. It sounds like the kind of song they’d be blaring at American Eagle while you shop. And I don’t know about you but something about American Eagle makes me think of summer.

My favorite song, shockingly, was Rainbow. Its an Utada-esque piece which isn’t long by any means, and that’s why I like it. In the summer, a rainbow can come and go extremely quickly, sometimes before you even notice it. I think the brevity of this beautiful song captured the fleeting amount of time that rainbows hang in the sky.

I am crazy about Black or White. Its stupidly thrilling with outstanding synth. I did not want that song to end. Love it.

There honestly aren’t any songs on this album that I dislike. Some of them (like No. 1 Girl) didn’t stand out to me as much, but I still could find something I liked about every song.

In Conclusion: Okay, so this album kicks Switch in the teeth and slams its face in the dirt. I don’t even want to convey how hard this album PWNS MEG’s Maverick. I’ll leave that up to the imagination. I highly recommend this album to anyone with ears, and I hereby crown immi QUEEN OFJ-TEK! I’m interested to see if SAWA can top this next month! Predictions, anyone?



Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection

“Maverick” – MEG

Oh boy...

This isn’t an official review, just so you know. This is me telling MEG to take a hike. Take another “Journey.” (haha) Then maybe we’ll talk. I was so disappointed with this album, you have no idea. Its like “BEAUTIFUL” all over again. But, I should have known that things called “Maverick” are usually destined to fail.

Exhibit A

(no offense to Mr. McCain. I don’t like you politically, but you are a dad-gum cool person.)


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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?


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“World Wild 2010” – Saori@Destiny

As Keanu Reeves would say: "Whoa."

This review was requested by Selryam from What is Disco, the premier location for all things techno! Thank you for the request, and my apologies for taking 2-ish weeks to fulfill it…..

After an all-out war with my computer and its audio, I was FINALLY able to listen to this album! My computer suffered a devastating crash a couple months ago and my audio has been a touch wonky ever since. Enough about my problems.

How about this cover, yo!? This has got to be the trippiest cover I’ve ever seen and I can’t say how much I love it in words. Its psychedelic and wild for sure! I’m reminded of this cutscene from Family Guy, which just HAPPENS to be my favorite Family Guy moment in the history of ever. Does this give me a good feeling about this album? You bet your bottom dollar that it does!

So, I’m not going to even mention any of the older tracks on this album i.e. Ethnic Planet Survival, because I know that we j-tek fans have already played them to death and hear them in our sleep. I’m just being the nice, attractive (yeah right) blogger you all know and love and sparing y’all the agony of having to hear about “yesterday’s news.” Because I am that great. (Those songs all rock though, trust me.)

The titular track World Wild 2010 immediately drew me in because it lives up to its name.

World = I can hear influences from many other cultures in the song
Wild= The song is a hot mess, in a good way though
2010= Its got a modern sound

Saori’s voice is great because she doesn’t have the vocoder jammed down her throat. She really does have a pretty voice when its stripped down like that. She and MEG are the same in that respect.

How about Grotesque? This tune is anything but Grotesque! Its driven by a piano for the most part and it goes nicely along with some uber futuristic blips and bleeps. This is a one of a kind song and for sure the standout track on this album. When I think Saori@Destiny, this is going to be the song that comes to mind. I encourage anyone with functioning ears to listen to this song. Then force your family, friends, pets, and local hobos to listen to it. I swear. This song is so ridiculously amazing that it could stop criminals and global warming if played loud enough. Possibly.
Now I know I’ve ranted for about the entire lifespan of a fruit fly about this track, but its just that awesome.

Prism is also a noteworthy track because it is a techno ballad. You don’t hear those two terms blended together often. Saori makes it work.

In Conclusion: World Wild 2010 is the album that changed my opinion on Saori@Destiny forever. She went from “just another of the 6,000,988,762,496,291,003 artists who covered Denki Groove’s ‘Shangri-La’” to a unique techno goddess who should be recognized. Shame on you, Alisa, for not realizing this sooner! Thanks again, Selryam, for your request!

(the woman destined to mis-use tags for all of forevertown)


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MEG can flirt with artists like Dave Liang and Hadouken, but in the end her heart always belongs to Nakata.

Well. Major Room Girl vibes from the cover? I felt so. The content is nothing like Room Girl but still.

After releasing her magnum opus, in my opinion, last August, MEG had returned faithfully to the side of the almighty Yasutaka Nakata, God and Supreme Overlord of J-Tek.

When I listen to Secret Adventure, I feel like I’ve heard it before. Its like a combination of all of MEG’s songs tossed together. Maybe “tossed” is a bad choice of words. The track is still polished but I was looking for a bit of something more unique and less like a track that could have easily fit in on her BEAUTIFUL album. The b-side, Gray is a cute song. Nice b-side material, but I can’t say much else.

In Conclusion: You’ll notice how concise this review was simply because I really didn’t know what else to say about it. I liked the song but I don’t really like it. I’m almost indifferent, and that’s what made a single like this tough to write about. I did enjoy seeing MEG break the tradition of one-word song titles, though!

Next time I’ll be discussing the five best songs of 2010 (so far)! Be thinking of your top five too!


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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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“Journey” – MEG

A refreshing cover, and a refreshing concept

As she emerges from the post-apocalyptic ruins of her previous album “Beautiful,” (AKA “Butt-Ugly Mess”) electropop sensation MEG bids farewell to her dear friend Yasutaka Nakata as she heads out on a new, well, journey with a new buddy. This guy is Mr. Dave Liang of the Shanghai Restoration Project.  Nakata wipes a tear from his eye and gently mutters, “sayonara.”

What you have just read is a dramatization of what occurred in the aftermath of MEG’s last full-length album “Beautiful.” I have to say that I was expecting so much more out of it than what was given to me, but I suppose that’s life. MEG took a break from working with capsule/Perfume/a bazillion other projects mastermind Yasutaka Nakata to work with Dave Liang. I’m not dissing Nakata because I am a very big fan of his work, but MEG’s music improves drastically when she works with other people. The mini-album “Journey” is like the perfect mix of her Nakata stuff and her more jazzy pieces like the uber dark schizophenic anthem “Scanty Blues.” Now for a track-by-track review. I have a feeling that I’m going to have fun with this one…

Track 1: Droplets- First off, let me point out how cute and well-done the PV for this song is. This is a light-hearted and poppy song with very heavy Asian influences. The instrumentals are almost nonexistent during the voices, allowing MEG’s voice to resonate and convey the image of individual raindrops falling with each beat. The lyrics are simple but poetic. Excellent song.

Track 2: Questions- I get all kinds of vibes from this song. It feels like a mix between secret agent music, 60s psychadelic pop, and reggae rhythms. It’s a unique and odd combination, but it works really nicely. The way I’ve described this song probably makes it sound like a mess, but its actually not bad at all.

Track 3: Rush- Here’s the oddball track on here. The lyrics speak of a girl who apparently has a ton of nonsensical crap to do, she has nobody to help her, and she’s frantic.She sounds like a high school senior if you ask me. The simple melody is also frantic and the beat accentuates this. Continuous back up vocals spew up a steady “doot doot doot” and there are several chanted lyrics as well. You’ll either love this song or it will bug you to death. No gray area here whatsover.

Track 4: Dreamscape- This song returns to the Asian influences of “Droplets,” and sounds like a continuation of this song. I didn’t like this song that much. Nothing about it stood out for me.

Track 5: Just Like That- I have to say that this is the second best track on the mini-album. This is the jazziest song found on “Journey” and is comprised of some scatting as well as a call and response between MEG and a muffled version of her voice. The muffled vocals are a nice, dare I say beautiful addition to the song. I would break out my old tap shoes and dance to this song but they’re three sizes too small. 😥

Track 6: Journey- Here we have the the titular track of the mini-album. I may be quite bold in saying this, but this song is MEG’s magnum opus. The beat is addicting from the get-go, and there are some exotic wailing-esque noises playing in the background several times in the song. MEG’s voice is beautiful and flows throughout the piece like the waves on the ocean. The instrumentals are incredibly simple and totally driven by the voice. Its a relaxing and breathtaking piece of art that you become a part of while you listen to it.

Track 7: Dawn (remix)- Please don’t stone me to death, but I like this better than the original.

In Conclusion: “Journey” is a masterpiece. A couple of songs grow a touch stale after repeated plays, but the overall theme and mood of the mini-album is spectacular. I look forward to more collaborations with Dave Liang. I loved being able to hear MEG’s voice with some (if not all) of that vocoder stripped away. Her natural voice really shines. Highly recommended!


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