Tag Archives: Vanilla Beans

Ohhhhhh, Spring!

My favorite season of all is here, bringing all manner of flora and fauna, as well as the Japanese music scene, back to life. Seems like all good things come in the spring; warmer temperatures, lifted spirits, and some of the year’s best music. Let’s take a moment to talk about this Spring’s releases that I’m most excited about!

First we have Ai Otsuka’s Zokkondition/Lucky Star. Ai has always been a favorite artist of mine but ever since her last “actual” album, Love Letter, her stuff has just been hit or miss for me. I predict this single is going to fare about as well as Ai’s other recent stuff, which is not too hot. The covers for the single are either loved or hated, no gray area here. Both PVs are wacky in their own right. Lucky Star is like a pseudo-GaGa acid trip, and Zokkondition has Ai adopting another hideous blonde wig reminiscent of AisuxTime’s PV. As for the songs, Lucky Star is great but Zokkondition makes me want to hurl a Piplup like a javelin. (OMG, Alisa, how could you hurt a Piplup!?) Her vocals are plain terrible and I hope I never hear that song again. Seriously. Lucky Star should have been the leading A-side, not this junk that makes me want to go jam out to Beckii Cruel’s Danjo instead.

Popular Visual-Kei band D is in full bloom with their newest album 7th Rose, which drops next week. If you read my earlier post about this, then you’ll know that I am skeptical of the album’s quality based on the tracks available at this point. Just let me say that this is the review I am most excited about doing, and part of me expects to be pleasantly surprised by the album. Let’s hope..

Another release everybody’s talking about is Perfume’s Natural Ni Koishite, their first release since the hit album Triangle. I’m loving this song because its sounds like Spring! Its poppy and fizzy and sugary! This song is like drinking a very fresh can of soda. Its not on the level of Night Flight, but its great in its own right and the PV is sweet and simplistic. I’m looking forward to the b-side because Perfume can usually crank out some good ones. (23:30!? Edge!?)

Last thing I want to talk about is the upcoming release from my favorite duo ever, Vanilla Beans! Witch Hunting, (title subject to change) won’t be here until May but I’m beyond excited. It seems as though Vanilla Beans are gaining popularity, as they have recently appeared in a CM for a Japanese deodorant. I haven’t heard any other news about the single other than the expected release date, so I have no idea what its going to be like, but I can only hope it is awesome!

These are the releases I’m most pumped about this Spring! What are yours?

Peace, Love, and Spinarak Webs,
~Alisa~

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Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

“Nicola” – Vanilla Beans

Halloooooo, Shibuya Kei!

First, a shameless plug for one of my favorite Youtube channels! Aleceil posts all kinds of easy listening music that is so incredibly hard to find. I very much appreciate this person’s contribution to making my ears happy. Please check out the channel. Its excellent.

Shibuya-Kei, Picopop, Bossa Nova, and the like are complicated genres because not many people listen to or enjoy them. These styles of music and the images of the people who perform in them remind me of the kind of pop that the 1960s had, only with a modern spin. Vanilla Beans is what is called a “post-Shibuya-Kei” duo. Much like I said with Xodiack’s claim of being a “galactic rock” band, I have no idea what this means, but its good listening. Review time!

Track 1: Nicola- Listen to the track here at Aleceil’s channel!

Like with traditional easy listening music, “Nicola” has soft instruments and equally soft voices. The girls have a great amount of harmony when their voices blend and its so pleasing on the ears. The thing I could best compare this song to is a spring breeze. Its beautiful and light and has a little bit of a pleasant chill to it. Please listen to this song and let me know what it reminds you of!

Track 2: Nostalgy- Well. This is one long ballad. The beginning sounds like a song a kid would sing in their Bible School class. It has some very nice strings in it which are slower and a nice compliment to the lighthearted strings in “Nicola”, but the girls sound awkward and forced. They really do sound like those kids at Bible School who are tone deaf and really don’t want to sing in the first place. I know I’m running wild with this Bible School analogy but that’s just how I felt.

In Conclusion: “Nicola” is the perfect song for this time of year when the flowers are starting to poke up out of the ground and the entire world is regaining life. “Nostalgy” makes me want to hide under the covers and sleep. Perhaps the groundhog listened to “Nostalgy” before he went outside and saw his shadow. Yes, that’s it. We can blame “Nostalgy” for causing six more weeks of Winter, as this makes perfect sense.

All sarcasm aside, you should give “Nicola” a listen, as well as some of the the songs by this group, particularly “U Love Me” and “Shopping Kirari.” Enjoy!

~Alisa~

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Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection