Tag Archives: Youtube

GACKT’s Too Sexy for Respect, Too Sexy For Respect…

“Why is he so sexy?????”

“Too hot.”

“Waaaaa, sexy!”

What do these useless statements have in common? They are all ACTUAL YouTube comments left on GACKT videos. (usernames withheld to protect the ignorant innocent)

Since being converted, in a sense, to the ways of GACKT a couple years ago, I’ve grown to become more and irked by his fanbase. It seems as though many people look to him as a sex symbol rather than a legitimate musician/artist. I challenge you to lurk around on YouTube for a while and surf through some of his videos. The number of comments reading along the lines of “I wanna be his waifu XD XD XD” far outweigh things like “GACKT is a phenomenal and brilliant artist. Golly, I sure do appreciate what he does!” This makes me sad.

Truth is, GACKT has more than one side. He’s human, after all. As a big fan of him, I can appreciate all of these sides because I appreciate him! In saying, I don’t only see this GACKT:

I see this GACKT too! The fun-loving GACKT!

And this GACKT as well. The artist GACKT, who works tirelessly just to make us smile:

To only like GACKT because he is “sexy” or because he sometimes performs music with sexual themes is narrow, and downright immature. He’s an artist, and people who are true fans (or rather, true Dears) will be able to love his music and his messages no matter what he looks like or sings about. We should love him because he’s GACKT, and he puts his entire heart and soul on display for us every time he opens his mouth. He loves us unconditionally, and we should return the favor.

I think my anger exploded when I read Liam’s write up of the YFCz gig in London, where some fangirls demanded for GACKT to play Vanilla, a song that wasn’t even in the set list, and the band obviously hadn’t rehearsed. Regardless of whether or not GACKT actually heard their cries, I was horribly embarrassed to read that this happened, and that these people had the gall to do such a thing.

I know what they were thinking. They thought “if GACKT sings Vanilla, it will be like he’s singing it to ME and then… *dirty thoughts*” I bet they don’t even know anything about the song other than the lyrics. I bet they have no respect for the fact that the song has one of the most spectacular bass lines ever. It’s sick.

The point is that GACKT didn’t have to come to Europe at all. It was his gift, and those fangirls abused it.

I am fully aware that celebrity crushes happen, but it’s important to think objectively in these situations. Learn to love the music too. That’s all I’m saying. Celebrity crushes usually happen to people who are otherwise untalented (A.K.A JUSTIN BIEBER) so normally I wouldn’t be so offended. But, GACKT has more talent in his pinky than I have in my entire body so it supremely irks me that people overlook this just because he’s “hot.”

Plus, do you think GACKT is going to be in the same physical condition twenty years from now? If you said yes, guess again. He is beginning to age, slowly but surely and at almost forty years old, this is natural. What happens when he’s old and gray? Will we abandon him then because he has lost his physique and his once-immaculate face is clouded with wrinkles?

I’m speaking from the perspective of a non-traditional female GACKT fan in that I am in no way attracted to him (rare, I know) but I love his music and find him to be possibly the most creative individual who ever lived. Maybe the fact that I love GACKT without “loving” GACKT influenced this long and senseless rant. I hope it was moderately coherent.

~Alisa~

30 Comments

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

“Lolitawork Libretto” – Kanon Wakeshima

NOTE: This is the European title for this release. The Japanese title is Shoujo Jikake no Libretto. (if these titles are incorrect, please let me know!)

Cover for the European (French) release

Japanese cover. The legs look awkward and she appears cross-eyed here.

Its been over a year since Kanon Wakeshima’s last physical release. Shinshoku Dolce, her last album, was released on February 18, 2009. Before you marvel at my “photographic memory,” I’ll inform you that the only way I remembered this was because February 18th is my fiance’s birthday. UVERworld’s Awakeve came out that day too, but I’d rather not immerse myself in such mediocrity right now. (LAST > Awakeve, yo.)

After thirsting for more Kanon for the last year and a half, my prayers have been answered and I have been quenched! I was beginning to grow afraid that Mana-sama had eaten Kanon, you know, like he ate Klaha. (its the only explanation!)

I’ll go ahead and warn you that this isn’t nearly as great as Shinshoku Dolce, but Kanon proved to me that she can hold her own and remain fresh and exciting after this long. Her vocals have not improved a bit, which is a slight bummer, but its okay. (so long as you steer clear of Princess Charleston)

Track List:
01 – Shakespeare no Wasuremono -Prologue-
02 – Kajitsu no Keikoku
03 – Heroine Syndrome
04 – Twinkle star!
05 – Toumei no Kagi
06 – Marmalade Sky
07 – Kuroneko to Pianist no Tango
08 – Princess Charleston
09 – Tree of Sorrow
10 – Celmisia
11 – Otome no March
12 – Shakespeare no Wasuremono -Epilogue-
13 – Lolitawork Libretto -Storytelling by solita-

Shakespeare no Wasuremono (both the prologue and epilogue versions) are heartwarming and powerful pieces that invite you in and gracefully escort you out of the album. Kanon’s cello playing is top-notch, and you can almost hear her saying “welcome” and “thank you for visiting. Come back soon.” in each respective song. Impressive! Both are a little longer than what you would expect, but I found that to be a nice touch.

I’d say most of us have heard bits and pieces of Toumei no Kagi somewhere. It was released sometime late last year and was featured in some video game. Finally, someone uploaded the track to YouTube but at 64 kbps quality, (at best) the song wasn’t even worth listening to. This song is fast, the cello sounds proud (if you could use that as an adjective) and the organ is a nice touch.

I have yet to understand what Kanon and Mana intended to do with Princess Charleston. Its like a song you’d hear in a Wild West Saloon. Either that, or some terrible throwaway ending. The vocals are, to be honest, terrible. Kanon’s rapid singing is cute, but not endearing. The song gets better, sort of, near the chorus. Still, the squealing vocals and horse-galloping beat confused me. Maybe this will grow on me.

Kanon’s back in her element with Tree of Sorrow. Sadly, this song sounds like several of her others. The chorus is pretty catchy, so its worth trying.

Otome no March starts out like it is going to be good, but winds up the total opposite. Much more squealing, oh joy. Kanon, you are better than this.

Finally, we come to the titular track Lolitawork Libretto ~Storytelling by Solita. The song is very well done, Kanon and Solita sound beautiful and calm together, and the tune is positively hypnotic. The PV is a little trippy, but at the same time one of the most fascinating PVs I’ve seen yet. Kanon is delightfully malicious while Solita… well, we can’t all look like Miss America. A standout track!

In Conclusion: Lolitawork Libretto is a solid album. The main problem I had was that it seems like Kanon is trying to shred the “creepy evil girl” image that I loved her for from the start in favor of something sugarcoated and adorable. Please don’t go that route, Kanon! I want to lie awake in fear that you will kill me in my sleep with a cello!

~Alisa~

33 Comments

Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection

Selected Viewing: “Renon” – M

Here’s another example of giving some uber strange music a chance. If you can get past the Latin-style guitar and raw, sometimes snarling vocals, then you’ll love this song.

I have been listening to this song for about a week now and I get more into it with every listen. The video is also great because there is definite passion in the vocalist’s movements. Yeah, at first I thought he looked possessed as he thrashed around but then I came to appreciate that this way his way of feeling the music. Good stuff.

~Alisa~

4 Comments

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

Luzmelt-ing Away the Stress

While the weather outside is starting to heat up, Japanese rock has entered a deep freeze, an ice age if you will. All of us J-rock/V-kei junkies are feeling the chill, as noted by this post on my favorite blog, Secret Garden. I think this has turned us all into brats. I know I’ve found myself surfing videos of bands I’ve never heard of, only to stop listening when I don’t like what I hear after a mere thirty seconds. I’ve lost my patience, and that is no way to operate. I think the constant fear of all visual music turning into this has taken me over. By the way, I am not responsible for what happens to you if you click that last link.

A couple days ago, I happened upon Luzmelt’s newest single “Sacrifice” and began to feel the deep freeze thaw a little. The review for “Sacrifice” can be found here in the event that you haven’t read it yet. I felt a glimmer of hope about this band, something I had not experienced single my lucky encounter with the ill-fated XodiacK back in January. Inspired, I picked up Luzmelt’s two mini-albums, Swallowed Scenery and Luz-Destination.

Swallowed Scenery's Cover

Swallowed Scenery is the first release by Luzmelt, which came out on February 24, 2010. It is obvious that the band was just getting its feet in the water at this point, because the songs all have that tired VK sound that you hear everywhere and no track really stands out. I am glad that I started with a newer release because my snobby self probably would not have given this band a second look after only listening to this. The one song I liked from the mini-album was Isotope because it has just a hint of what their later sound would become.

Luz-Destination's Cover. Very similar to that of Swallowed Scenery, but the content is radically different.

The second mini-album, Luz-Destination is insanely different from Swallowed Scenery. It adopts that (mildly) electro-rock sound that drew me in to Luzmelt’s work to begin with. I love the energy of Grief Color Destination and Dazzle Closet (which sounds like Visual Kei set to Pokemon Battle music, and I LOVE that!) I was also impressed by La Salida because its a calmer style of song and is a wonderful ending to an album that was pulse-pounding from the get-go. La Salida, to me, tied up all the loose ends and made the mini-album all the more refreshing.

IN CONCLUSION: Check this band out! DO IT!!! Not much else to say.

~Alisa~

ARTIST RECOMMENDATION: Light Bringer
Watch the PV for Diamond. Its not too bad. The vocalist (female, I might add) is a tad on the shrill side, but its another song that’s got me energized and feeling good about J-rock again.

3 Comments

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

This Is Just Plain “Cruel”

THREE IS ENOUGH KTHX!!!

I think I may be eating my words from this post. Yeah, yeah, I still think its cool that Beckii is enjoying herself with her career and entertaining her fortysomething year old perv fanbase, but enough is enough. If you’ve been keeping up with the Cruel Angels, as in reading the Beckii thread at Jpopmusic you’ll know that since Beckii’s popularity soared, a whole crop of girls calling themselves Cruel Girls have started posting their pathetic, talentless videos on YouTube in hopes of being just like Beckii.

New flash, girlies. Beckii, Sarah, and Gemma GOT LUCKY. We can’t all be Cruel Angels, mmmkay? Stop copying! I’m not about to sit here and watch an all-gaijin AKB48/MoMusu style unit get formed. Noooo sankyuu. That would be a “cruel” thing to do to the Japanese music industry. I’ll be excited when this cute-thin-gaijin-girls-jumping-around-on-Youtube fad goes down the toilet and we can all go back to reality.

Do I still love Beckii? As a person, yes. She’s still sweet and adorable as ever. But from a professional point of view, I want to smack her for creating this terrible monster.

Pointless/offensive rant is over.

~Alisa~

13 Comments

Filed under Japanese Pop, 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~

4 Comments

Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection

“Tsubasa wo Kudasai” – Beckii Cruel feat. Cruel Angels

Leave Beckii Alone!!! SHE'S A HUMAN!!! (lol)

Long story short, Beckii Cruel is a fourteen year old British girl who somehow gained Youtube stardom and a record deal in Japan by dancing badly to J-pop tunes. She released a steaming pile of dog crap called “Danjo” and then two other random girls, Sarah and Gemma, got plopped in with her to release this single called “Tsubasa wo Kudasai.”

Track 1- Tsubasa wo Kudasai: In typical idol fashion, a somewhat decent song gets trashed by zero talent and zero charisma. The vocals are okay for the most part, but it gets annoying after just one listen.

Track 2- Tsuki no Kakera: I think it takes a really really good song to show someone’s limitations. Haters back off, this song is great. I mean, the melody is great, at least. The vocals are horrible and the dancing is plain awkward but the song is outstanding. I think that this song should be re-recorded and released by a group with actual talent. (AHEM AHEM PERFUME COUGH HACK)

In Conclusion: I know this is going to sound insensitive but you know its true. The secret to Beckii Cruel’s enormous popularity in Japan comes from this simple formula.

Underage girl + Dancing in costumes = Happy Japanese Pervs

Just you wait. I predict a whole crop of hentai popping up showing girls wearing Beckii’s trademark fuzzy earmuffs.

There’s really no other way to explain it. Beckii (and the other girls) can’t sing, can’t dance, and probably can’t retain any Japanese more complex than “arigatou.” Japanese spoken with a heavy British accent is just awful. I’m not going to judge though. I’m from the boondocks of Kentucky. I’m pretty sure my Japanese doesn’t sound too hot either. Just sayin’.

After this biting review, you would get the impression that I want to rip Beckii and the other Cruel Angels to shreds. This is simply untrue. I think that they are having a lot of fun and what they do makes them happy. I would never want to discourage someone from following their dream, even if they suck terribly at it. (which they do, to be frank) Plus, if you’ve ever seen Beckii’s Youtube videos, then you understand how her spirit and personality wins you over immediately. She seems like the sweetest girl.

So, I’ll be keeping up with Beckii and the Angels. At least until they become “legal” and Japan suddenly doesn’t want them anymore.

~Alisa~

28 Comments

Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection