J-pop

SHOKO NAKAGAWA: 9LIVES

By Paris365 on April 10, 2014

SHOKO NAKAGAWA: 9LIVES

You might expect an album with songs that were used for so many different things to sound rather unfocused, since many of the songs were created for various different projects, not specifically to go together. But you would be wrong in this case.

It's been three and a half years since Shoko's last full-length album, Cosmic Inflation, but she has finally released her fourth album in the form of 9Lives. It features the Shokotan singles "Once Upon a Time – Kibou no Uta," "Sakasama Sekai" and "Zoku Konton," in addition to several anime and game theme songs. It makes me wonder if she didn't call this album 9Lives because, well, there are probably 9 songs on here that were written to be theme songs. Then again, she's holding what I believe to be her pet cat on the cover, so perhaps it's just a feline thing.

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E-GIRLS: DIAMOND ONLY

By Paris365 on April 08, 2014

E-GIRLS: DIAMOND ONLY

E-girls is a Japanese collective girl group, meaning that they are comprised of members of different, smaller girl groups. The gigantic group, which is signed to avex's Rhythm Zone imprint, features every single member of Dream, Happiness, Flower, Bunny (a non-debuted group) and EGD.

E-girls is a Japanese collective girl group, meaning that they are comprised of members of different, smaller girl groups. The gigantic group, which is signed to avex's Rhythm Zone imprint, features every single member of Dream, Happiness, Flower, Bunny (a non-debuted group) and EGD. Their name stands for Exile Girls Unit. If Wiki is up to date, there are currently 29 members. Suffice to say there are a lot of talented singers in the group. And I do believe they are currently giving AKB48 a serious run for their money on the charts.

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BOYFRIEND: MY AVATAR

By Paris365 on March 31, 2014

BOYFRIEND: MY AVATAR

Boyfriend go Japanese with their new single, "My Avatar," which is quite the impressive little tune.

If you like electro-pop/dance pop then this sparkling diamond is for you. I was expecting some pretty run--of-the-J-Pop-mill stuff, nothing outstanding, having heard very little by this boy band before aside from "Pinky Santa" last Christmas. (FYI, Boyfriend is a K-Pop boy band, but, like most such boy bands, they're also releasing Japanese material like this, not content to be popular in just one country.) But I must say that I was highly impressed with this single.

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CLARIS: CLICK

By Paris365 on March 28, 2014

CLARIS: CLICK

The electro-pop elements have returned on their Claris' new single, "CLICK," which is the opening theme for the Nisekoi anime series.

When this duo started making music as Alice Clara in 2009 they were first year junior high students, so one would imagine that they're graduating high school soon. Although I'm not sure how many years Japanese students go to junior high or high school for. But you'd think 5 years would probably be enough. Then again, we have 2 years of junior high here and 4 years of high school, so maybe they won't graduate until spring of 2015?

TOMOMI ITANO: LITTLE

By Paris365 on March 17, 2014

TOMOMI ITANO: LITTLE

I don't think Tomomi Itano is going to become a washed up child star, or that her self-esteem will be hurting, because her solo singles released when she was still a member of AKB48 were fantastic and now her first single post graduation, "little," is insanely good.

It's been several months since Tomomi Itano graduated from the massive girl group AKB48. Why did she graduate? I honestly have no idea. I'm always hearing about these girls graduating from the group, as well as girls graduating from plenty of other girl groups as well, and it's never really clear to me why they're graduating. Sometimes it seems it's because they're ready for a successful solo career. But, sometimes, I fear that it's simply because the girls are deemed too old to continue being in their groups.

LEO IEIRI: A BOY

By Paris365 on March 13, 2014

LEO IEIRI: A BOY

When I first heard A Boy, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. While I'd thought the singles were good, they were mellower than the songs on LEO and not as immediately catchy. But they did grow on me after a few listens, so I decided to take some time to live with A Boy before reviewing it. And I'm glad I did because it really grew on me.

2013 was a huge year for Leo Ieiri, one of the youngest singer/songwriters to ever take Japan by storm. And she didn't slow down after she was done promoting the album. In no time, she was releasing singles again in the form of "Message," "Taiyo no Megumi" and "Chocolate." All three of these singles appear on her new sophomore album, A Boy, along with 10 additional new songs.

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AFTER SCHOOL: SHH

By Paris365 on March 12, 2014

AFTER SCHOOL: SHH

"Shh" is the girls' sixth Japanese single for which they've reunited with Mondo Grosso's producer extraordinaire Shinichi Osawa.

After School might not be the most famous South Korean girl group, but I think it's safe to say that they're hugely successful at this point. I mean, they're on the gigantic Avex label and they're constantly releasing songs in both Japanese and Korean. They even go to Japan to perform and otherwise promote their Japanese releases. I would not be surprised at all if they do a song in Mandarin (Chinese) soon. (They really should. I could see them being insanely popular there.)

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HARUKA TOMATSU: HIKARI GIFT

By Paris365 on February 26, 2014

HARUKA TOMATSU: HIKARI GIFT

In addition to being a solo J-Pop artist, Haruka Tomatsu is a popular voice actress and a member of the girl group Sphere along with Minako Kotobuki, Ayahi Takagaki and Aki Toyosaki. "Hikari Gift" is her first solo single since last July's "Pachi Pachi Party."

In addition to being a solo J-Pop artist, Haruka Tomatsu is a popular voice actress and a member of the girl group Sphere along with Minako Kotobuki, Ayahi Takagaki and Aki Toyosaki. "Hikari Gift" is her first solo single since last July's "Pachi Pachi Party." This is likely because she's been quite busy with her voice actress career, having worked on roughly 20 movies and shows last year, four of which will be released in 2014: HappinessCharge PreCure!, Sakura Trick, Wake Up, Girls! and Yokai Watch.

KODA KUMI: "SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA"

By Paris365 on February 22, 2014

KODA KUMI: "SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA"

It begins with the sound of a bell ringing. Then Koda says something. And then it *really* begins with blessed, blaring horns and massive, thunderous beats that stomp all over you. From there, it proceeds to blow you away with other assorted, loud percussion, some catchy little guitar riffage and Koda's turbo-charged, extra strength vocals.

It begins with the sound of a bell ringing. Then Koda says something. And then it *really* begins with blessed, blaring horns and massive, thunderous beats that stomp all over you. From there, it proceeds to blow you away with other assorted, loud percussion, some catchy little guitar riffage and Koda's turbo-charged, extra strength vocals.

KYARY PAMYU PAMYU: ゆめのはじまりんりん [Yume no Hajimarinrin]

By Paris365 on February 20, 2014

KYARY PAMYU PAMYU: ゆめのはじまりんりん [Yume no Hajimarinrin]

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is back! Not that she's ever gone away. And not that any of her singles have ever flopped. I just find it very exciting whenever she releases new music!

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is back! Not that she's ever gone away. And not that any of her singles have ever flopped. I just find it very exciting whenever she releases new music!

FAKY: BETTER WITHOUT YOU & GIRL DIGGER

By Paris365 on February 13, 2014

FAKY: BETTER WITHOUT YOU & GIRL DIGGER

Faky -- pronounced fei:key -- is a new five member J-Pop girl group who are quickly becoming major players on the J-Pop scene, which surely has something to do with the fact that they're signed to Avex, but they're truly talented and deserving of the attention they're getting nevertheless.

Faky -- pronounced fei:key -- is a new five member J-Pop girl group who are quickly becoming major players on the J-Pop scene, which surely has something to do with the fact that they're signed to Avex, but they're truly talented and deserving of the attention they're getting nevertheless.

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RIHWA: 春風

By Paris365 on February 06, 2014

RIHWA: 春風

Rihwa does a huge, epic, piano-based ballad. And it's wonderful. But what happened to the Rihwa who was a singer/songwriter playing songs on her guitar?

I couldn't find a romanized version of the title of this song. But Google translate informs me that it means "Spring Breeze," so let's just call it "Spring Breeze" instead of putting the actual title here when most of my readers can't read it.

I also failed to find a translation of the lyrics to this song, so about the only thing I can tell you about the lyrical content is that the title is "Spring Breeze," so it's probably about springtime.

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HIROSHI KAMIYA: START AGAIN

By Paris365 on February 02, 2014

HIROSHI KAMIYA: START AGAIN

Being a talented voice actor does not necessarily mean you're a good singer.

I'd never heard of Hiroshi Kamiya before I encountered this single. When I did, I figured it was probably the debut of a twenty something artist. (He looks young.) Well, it turns out he's 39 and he's a ridiculously popular voice actor. When I searched for him on CD Japan, it found over 1000 results. Yes, 1000 -- that's not a typo. Some of those results were surely magazines and photo books and so forth, but if you take a look at his Wiki page you'll see that he's been voicing anime shows and movies since 1992 and during recent years he seems to average a dozen or more per year.

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FTISLAND: BEAUTIFUL

By Paris365 on January 30, 2014

FTISLAND: BEAUTIFUL

A truly awesome single and two killer B-sides. Read all about it...

I've come to expect good things from K-Pop/Rock band FTIsland and they've never failed to deliver memorable and moving tunes. So, it should come as no surprise that their new Japanese single, "Beautiful," is such a smash. Essentially, it's a mighty power ballad that would seem to be influenced by many an over-the-top hair metal band. Which is fine with me because that's the music I grew up with. In any case, the song rocks and it's quite vigorous. In fact, at times it's borders on hostile, although it maintains an uplifting vibe throughout.

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YUN*CHI: PERFECT DAYS*

By Paris365 on January 22, 2014

YUN*CHI: PERFECT DAYS*

Yun*chi's "Perfect days*" is the most perfect electro-pop song I've heard so far this year.

Rising J-Pop star Yun*chi's "Perfect days*" is the pre-order single -- from her forthcoming album Asterisk* -- now available via iTunes Japan, though you don't have to purchase the whole album in order to buy it. You can simply buy the track as a single as desired.

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RIO: I'M SEXY -DA YA THINK I'M SEXY-

By Paris365 on January 18, 2014

RIO: I'M SEXY -DA YA THINK I'M SEXY-

A J-Pop cover of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy." Seriously. But is it any good? Read the review and find out!

First of all, no, that's not a typo above: RIO has spelled the title of this song "Da Ya" instead of "Do Ya." Why, I have no idea. But then everything about this single is just plain weird.

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HITOMI: TEPPEN STAR

By Paris365 on January 07, 2014

HITOMI: TEPPEN STAR

hitomi's new single, "Teppen Star," pairs throbbing, slightly industrial beats with blazing metal guitars, resulting in a sound very reminiscent of what Ayumi Hamasaki.

You probably don't remember the review -- I know I certainly didn't -- but one of my favorite releases of 2012 was hitomi's ∞, otherwise known as Mobius (or the symbol known as infinity). It was a shiny and glorious electro-pop masterpiece and a very forward-thinking if not downright futuristic one at that. Chock full of detail-oriented electro flourishes, dashes of dubstep, etc. So, when I first listened to "Teppen Star" I was a bit disappointed.

T-ARA: NUMBER NINE (JAPANESE VERSION) (NORMAL EDITION)

By Paris365 on January 02, 2014

T-ARA: NUMBER NINE (JAPANESE VERSION) (NORMAL EDITION)

Even if you already have the Korean version of "No. 9," you'll want to hear T-ARA's latest Japanese single because the B-sides are wonderful.

T-ARA recently released a new Korean mini-album entitled Again, which I reviewed in November of 2013 here: http://otaku.collectiondx.com/musicreview/t-ara-again. The first song on Again is the original Korean version of their highly addictive song "No. 9," which has now been recorded in Japanese and released in Japan accordingly, hence this review. Personally, I think that "No.

PASSPO: JEJEJEJET!!

By Paris365 on December 28, 2013

PASSPO: JEJEJEJET!!

The girls of Passpo continue to rock 'n' rule on their third full-length offering, which totally kicks ass. High energy and killer hooks galore.

According to Yes Asia, this new album by the travel-minded girls of Passpo features 5 previously released songs -- their latest singles -- and 10 new songs (along with a brief intro track that opens the disc). But CD Japan states that there are "five new songs." So, that has me a big perplexed. Listening to the album, my gut tells me that Yes Asia is correct because I don't seem to recognize more than five of these songs. That said, I have serious memory problems and can often listen to something one day and forget what it sounded like three days later.

KODA KUMI: DREAMING NOW!

By Paris365 on December 18, 2013

KODA KUMI: DREAMING NOW!

Koda Kumi is BACK! That bothersome R&B sound of some of her recent albums has been replaced by dazzling pop on this mighty impressive new single, which features some of her best songs in ages!

Koda Kumi decided to celebrate her 31st birthday, November 13, 2013, with the release of her 56th single, Dreaming Now! Obviously, these numbers don't match or add up or otherwise seem significant, aside from the fact that she decided to release her latest single on her birthday. But, hey, birthday or no birthday, we cherish any excuse Koda wants to give us for putting out new music.

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