Taking a cue from @mcghee's excellent KPOP thread (of which I am a frequent visitor/contributor) here on the Giant Bomb forums, I wanted to finally have a unified place to do the same for JPOP. I am a huge fan of both forms of music and would love to talk more about the songs I’m enjoying this year, especially considering how excellent it has been for JPOP thus far. Note that I am far from a JPOP expert, having just starting diving in last year, but I do listen to a lot of the new music that comes out. Feel free to bring things up I miss or get completely wrong!
I would like to do much the same as @mcghee chose to do in his thread and focus on new releases that members would like to key others in on. Of course, a bit of older material here and there is perfectly alright, but I’d like to keep the majority of the thread focused on the present.
Also, I highly suggest everyone use links instead of actual videos (after this initial post, I will do the same) because the KPOP thread proved just how bogged down one of these threads gets with twenty plus videos trying to load on one page.
I’ve been toying around with this idea for quite some time but was waiting for a really good song to kick it off. And here it is!!!
Some of you may be familiar with Charisma.com thanks to the excellent Top 10 Albums of 2013 list from @aurahack, which included Ai Ai Syndrome as the number 2 slot. After she brought this album to my attention (and several others’, including our own Jeff Gerstmann), I ordered it from Amazon Japan almost immediately. It was my first foreign CD order, costing me nearly $30--but holy shit was it worth it. Every track dripped with attitude and pulsed with fantastic, memorable beats. If I had discovered it earlier, it easily would have topped my list of favorite albums of 2013.
The video above is the first from Charisma.com’s new album (due out next Friday!), and I am already in love with it. It was one of those videos that I watched with a grin on my face and that tight sensation of joy gripping my chest. MC Itsuka (the vocal half of the duo) spits with just as much passion and attitude as her previous releases, hitting the beat with impeccable timing and flow. DJ Gonchi’s (the production half of the duo) beats are no slouch either, showing a skill that composers twice her age would kill to have.. The pair work so great together, and I highly recommend tracking down their past releases on Youtube. Their new album has just become my most anticipated one of the year, for sure.
Let’s post a couple more videos while we’re here, a few things I’m enjoying recently.
Here’s another of my favorites from earlier in the year. Ecosystem is a group I just discovered this year, and this video for Catharsis has sold me entirely on the group. Megumi (the singer) wraps her vocals around the rhythm of the instrumentation with precise perfection. Her every word drips with emotion and power, evoking a slightly darker tone than your typical JPOP song. She’s also quite adorable in that yellow sweatshirt. The beat is catchy as well, forcing me to tap my foot every time I listen to it. Sadly, this song still isn’t available for purchase (at least, as far as my meager Japanese skills tell me), so I’m stuck listening to this video time and time again.
Kurikamaki (a new group) may seem somewhat similar to Charisma.com at first (both female duos with a composer and an MC), but the two groups couldn’t be more unalike. While Charisma.com employs attitude and spitfire rapping, Kurikamaki is a much more light-hearted duo. They prefer a sound that feels more in place with the often-candied tones of JPOP--tinged with some pretty excellent beats (and even some record scratching, a personal favorite of mine). The pair has skillful rhythm in their singing too, fitting excellently with the composition. Also, as a fan of anything adorable, their bear outfits are heart-meltingly cute.
That should be plenty of videos for now; I don’t want to overburden the thread with everything I’ve liked this year right away. I just wanted to start off with a few songs to get things going. I may sprinkle in some other greats from earlier in the year, though, if this thread actually gets some play. Remember to please try to keep the number of embedded videos to a minimum if you decide to add something, to prevent the thread from exploding.
To quote @mcghee: “So what do you think? For better or worse, the [JPOP] discussion thread is born!”