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#151 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@beatchef: I have in fact heard of KOTO! Actually, the video you posted was something that's been on my list of things to post since I discovered it a few months ago. I love her energy, particularly in the way she dances.

Not sure how into modern JPOP Jeff really is; I know he stumbled into Charisma.com through the same @aurahack post that I did a few years ago, but I'm not sure how far down the rabbit hole he went with that. Outside of Charisma.com and Tommy February, I have no clue what JPOP he might like. Suiyoubi no Campanella might be right up his alley though. Speaking of...

Medusa - Suiyoubi no Campanella

A new Suiyoubi release! This one is probably my favorite of the year so far. It has a sound that is never not perfectly on point, catchy and dripping with style. KOM_I's sharp vocals echo perfectly throughout the entire song. The video is typical Suiyoubi flair, beautifully shot and filled with amusing moments of KOM_I dancing her way through areas she shouldn't be. It all comes together in a way that's infinitely more catchy and mainstream than her previous releases, which is likely why I enjoy it so much more.

ShibuyaK - Daoko

Here's a new Daoko track, albeit one a bit different from the norm. Anyone who's heard her previous releases will likely notice that this track is far more pop than hip hop, with upbeat instrumentation and a more typical song structure. While this song does feel less unique than Daoko's prior tracks, I still think it's amazingly well done. It sounds like a song you'd likely find in a Dance Dance or Pop'n Music game at one moment and then transitions into a filthy synth line the next. I do think the vocals are a bit weaker overall, but the strength of the composition more than makes up for it.

Oh Boy! - AOA (non-Youtube link)

AOA was originally a Korean pop group, but they have begun to heavily transition into the Japanese market in the last year. While their previous releases were fine, Oh Boy! is their first legit Japanese banger. If you're familiar with both Japanese and Korean music, you'll immediately be able to tell that this song sounds more like a Korean-style pop song, just with Japanese lyrics. As such, you'll find pounding club beats and a powerful chorus that feels nearly impossible to hate. Throw in a slick rap verse and it wouldn't be ridiculous to think that some might mistake this for a Korean track. Nonetheless, it is a Japanese track--and quite a fantastic one as well.

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#152 Edited by beatchef (49 posts) -

It's funny you say that about the new Suiyoubi no Campanella song because the people I talk to on a certain J-pop forum all love Medusa much more than I do. I prefer Nishi Tamao, their track released only a week and a half before Medusa. The only regrettable thing about the video is the obvious Casio musical instrument plug in the middle.

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I also really like their song Twiggy which was released exclusively in Tower Records in Japan for 100 yen as a single track cd. The only video I can find of that is the clip from it that was used in a commercial. It reminds me of 90s drum and bass specifically Lightning Luge from the Rage Racer soundtrack and also the spontaneity of the Vib Ribbon soundtrack.

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I think to get Jeff into SnC you'd have to show him earlier more rap oriented tracks like Shakushain シャクシャイン , Jeanne D'Arc and Marie-Antoinette but much like myself there's no real predicting what would get him into the band if any tracks at all :) I've recently been translating SnC tracks and posting the translations on Youtube which ends up being a thankless task. On some of the videos I just post something in English so that English speaking fans know they're not alone :)

To finish off my gushing about SnC in one post so as to not annoy people, my favourite tracks are Jeanne D'Arc, Inca (featuring Kom_i as a dancing samurai android), Momotaro (which is their most famous track due to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu retweeting it gaining them an extra 2 million views..), Diablo and Mothra. Momotaro specifically references the PC-Engine and Megadrive and Diablo has a Akumajou Dracula X on-screen reference and a Resident Evil parody which was great to see.

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#153 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Welcome back to the thread everyone! This week's post was a bit tough, mostly due to the plethora of JPOP (and KPOP) videos on YT that are being flagged as unviewable in the US due to Youtube's new Youtube Red service and the licensing conflicts that came about as a result. A handful of picks I wanted to share this week were simply not available, so I was forced to pick another set. Don't worry, though; these three tracks are still fantastic additions to the thread!

Sayonara Identity - yonige

There isn't really anything about this track that stands out as being unique or special: the instrumentation is fairly simple and predictable, the lyrics speak to the same Japanese sensibilities, and the video is just the group performing the song. Nonetheless, I do really like this song. It has a lazy pace and resigned attitude that somehow manages to bring it from just another pop rock track to a song I've gladly listened to time and time again.

Girl's Talk - Sara Kurokawa

Here's something a bit different. The instrumentation is a funky mix of piano and horns that actually reminded me a bit of some Persona tracks when I first heard it. That kept me listening until the artist began to sing--and then I was hooked. Her voice is so different than your typical JPOP artist: throaty and deep while still remaining beautiful and energetic. It's a fantastically varied sound than many of my other favorite tracks, a fact that will likely keep me coming back for a long time.

Real Existence - Band-Maid

Yes, that's right--two all girl rock groups in one week! An unprecedented event! All kidding aside, and disregarding the fact that my choices were a bit slim this week, I have been meaning to post this track for a while now. Their shtick is obvious from both the name and the video: they dress up in maid outfits, each tailored to the particular girl, and perform that way. Despite this cheesy gimmick, the group is well-versed in its instrumentation. Pounding drums, thrumming bass, and a ripping guitar solo come together in a heavier rock sound than your typical group of this style. It's a great track, and I can't wait to hear more.

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#154 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

I'd like to say that the rash of blocked/removed Youtube JPOP videos is coming to a slow, but I keep running into more and more videos that no longer exist online (outside of third-party sites that don't care about this kind of thing like Jpopsuki.tv or Vimeo). Finding a good group of songs each week is hard enough; doing it while many of my choices are harder to access on Youtube--which I prefer to link to whenever possible--can be a nightmare. As such, I've chosen two older songs to go with one new song, instead of relying on spottier video services. I hope you enjoy my picks!

Apple - Towa Tei with Ringo Sheena

Towa Tei is one of those artists who doesn't always connect with me. While I can always appreciate the creativity and style he brings to his music, some of his tracks are just not to my tastes. Those tracks that do draw me in, however, are some of my favorites of the genre. Apple is no exception to this, a collaboration with Ringo Sheena (a prolific and famous pop singer) in 2013. It features his usual style--ethereal and synthy--with a beat and flow that is incredibly pleasant to listen to. Sheena's lyrics fit the tone perfectly, charmingly awkward English and all. It's not my favorite Towa Tei track, but it's still a fun listen anytime.

Syndrome - Blu-Swing

I recently posted a Blu-Swing song from this year, noting that it was enjoyable but not to the level of their other releases. As such, I thought I'd post my favorite song of theirs too: Syndrome. It starts with a superb, thrumming base line, easily my favorite part of the entire song. This bass line rarely stops, instead remaining the one constant as the other instruments rise and fall around it. The lyrics are gorgeous and striking as well, particularly during the upbeat chorus. This track drips with style and flair, bringing a lot more life to its instrumentation than other songs in the genre. An instant favorite of mine.

B Who I Want 2 B - Namie Amuro feat. Hatsune Miku

Namie Amuro, for those of you who don't know, is one of the longest-running popular female pop artists in Japan. She has been in the business since the early 90s and still regularly releases tracks, switching between a variety of genres such as electropop and R&B. I first learned of her through the track "Hide and Seek" featured in a well-known World of Warcraft machinima titled "The Craft of War: Blind," both of which I highly recommend. It's only natural that someone of this caliber would end up doing a track with wildly popular vocaloid Hatsune Miku, right? The song itself is intriguing, if not a little abrasive. It utilizes some harsh beats and vocalizing--two elements common to vocaloid music--that make this a hard song to recommend to anyone other than vocaloid music fans. The animation for the video sure is pretty, though.

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#155 Posted by HummingLight (15 posts) -
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I LOVE the way this sounds!

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#156 Posted by paulmako (1958 posts) -

I keep coming back to the Perfume song Spring of Life.

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#157 Edited by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@paulmako: One of my favorite songs of theirs!

2016 has begun! As was to be expected, however, the new music is trickling out pretty slowly thus far--only one of my songs this week is from this year. As such, I had to go back to a few songs from the end of 2015 that I didn't get around to posting. Still, each of them is unique and interesting: perfect for this thread! I hope you enjoy them.

Afterglow - FAKY

This song may start a bit slow, but it quickly launches into a dirty synth line that I loved immediately. After the first verse, the vocals take on a newly distorted/autotuned sound, giving them a haunting tone that fits greatly with the composition. Sadly, the chorus is a bit more plain and predictable, hurting what is otherwise a very memorable track. I also really enjoy the music video. It's set entirely in first-person from the perspective of a fan of the actual group performing the track, giving a rather uncomfortable look at intense fandom. Definitely worth a watch for the video alone.

Open Up My Heart - The Winking Owl

Everything from the style to the composition of this group/song seems imitative of early-to-mid 2000s pop rock in the US. Initially, the only things betraying the "true nature" of this group are the clearly Asian members and the slight electropop tinge to the opening bits. Once it settles into the meat of the song, however, it's almost indistinguishable in style and tone from a Paramore track. The vocalist even manages to sound quite similar to Hayley Williams (singer of Paramore) at times. It's a very different sound for a Japanese group--likely why it stood out to me in the first place.

PoW! - FEMM

I was very happy that the first notable song of 2016 was a new FEMM track! They were one of my absolute favorite breakout hits of 2014, and I had been eagerly awaiting their return. While this track is one of only two coming in a new rerelease album from the group in February, I'm sure it signals a flood of new videos for me to obsess over later this year. PoW! definitely isn't FEMM's best track--in fact, parts of it might even be among the worst. The usual punch and flow of the verses is gone: plain and paced in a way that I just can't enjoy, especially the incredibly offputting vocalization bits. The chorus (and later breakdown section) make up for this somewhat, enough so that I can enjoy listening to the song, but I can't help hoping that the next song is better. There's still some great style and composition on display.

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#158 Posted by llamaegg (247 posts) -

I'm always happy for this thread, helps direct me to the stuff I probably missed.

@paulmako: One of my favorite songs of theirs!

2016 has begun! As was to be expected, however, the new music is trickling out pretty slowly thus far--only one of my songs this week is from this year. As such, I had to go back to a few songs from the end of 2015 that I didn't get around to posting. Still, each of them is unique and interesting: perfect for this thread! I hope you enjoy them.

Afterglow - FAKY (NON YT LINK!)

This song may start a bit slow, but it quickly launches into a dirty synth line that I loved immediately. After the first verse, the vocals take on a newly distorted/autotuned sound, giving them a haunting tone that fits greatly with the composition. Sadly, the chorus is a bit more plain and predictable, hurting what is otherwise a very memorable track. I also really enjoy the music video. It's set entirely in first-person from the perspective of a fan of the actual group performing the track, giving a rather uncomfortable look at intense fandom. Definitely worth a watch for the video alone.

Open Up My Heart - The Winking Owl

Everything from the style to the composition of this group/song seems imitative of early-to-mid 2000s pop rock in the US. Initially, the only things betraying the "true nature" of this group are the clearly Asian members and the slight electropop tinge to the opening bits. Once it settles into the meat of the song, however, it's almost indistinguishable in style and tone from a Paramore track. The vocalist even manages to sound quite similar to Hayley Williams (singer of Paramore) at times. It's a very different sound for a Japanese group--likely why it stood out to me in the first place.

PoW! - FEMM

I was very happy that the first notable song of 2016 was a new FEMM track! They were one of my absolute favorite breakout hits of 2014, and I had been eagerly awaiting their return. While this track is one of only two coming in a new rerelease album from the group in February, I'm sure it signals a flood of new videos for me to obsess over later this year. PoW! definitely isn't FEMM's best track--in fact, parts of it might even be among the worst. The usual punch and flow of the verses is gone: plain and paced in a way that I just can't enjoy, especially the incredibly offputting vocalization bits. The chorus (and later breakdown section) make up for this somewhat, enough so that I can enjoy listening to the song, but I can't help hoping that the next song is better. There's still some great style and composition on display.

Afterglow was dope, like, holy crap how did I miss this dope. Definitely enjoying my romp through Faky's few songs,

PoW on the other hand, oof, not really sure how I feel about it. It feels, safe? Like, it's not bad, but it's definitely nothing special, that's to be sure. Saying that though, watching those latex dresses bounce was oddly mesmerizing, so that's something.

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#159 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@llamaegg: Safe is the perfect word for PoW!, sadly. FEMM has always been a bit inconsistent, at least in my opinion, so I'm not too surprised that they didn't hit it out of the park right away again. Maybe the next track?

Not much to say about this week's selections--another grouping of songs from the last two months or so, including one brand new release. It'll still be quite some time before 2016 hits its stride, but there's plenty of good stuff from last year I can post in the meantime!

Vertigo - Akai Tsuki

I know that everyone's probably getting tired of me posting so many Japanese rock groups, but I'm just enjoying how many of them are popping up. As someone who's never had much interest in the way Japanese rock generally sounded--visual-kei groups, anime song focused groups, etc--it's been fascinating to hear the more Western-tinged sounds that are taking over the genre. Vertigo isn't the greatest song to come from this movement, particularly the often-grating vocals, but there's still a lot to enjoy: smooth bass lines, guitars dripping with feedback, and superb drum work.

I Kill - Deep Girl

This song is a decent example of idol rock: long stretches of talky vocals followed by a more intense chorus, complete with rocking instrumentation--albeit with an almost malicious tone. If the song had stood on its own, I probably wouldn't have given it a second listen. What makes it stand out is the strength of its music video, a brutal representation of teenage issues, such as teasing, bullying, hiding troubles from worrying parents, and even selling one's body for money. Most shocking to me are the brief but powerful depictions of self-mutilation (cutting, shown quite vividly). It's a video that I find very hard to watch but keep coming back to over and over to appreciate just how effective it is; few videos manage to nail their tone so well.

Subliminal Diet - Charisma.com

A new Charisma.com track is out and it's pretty great! This release definitely skews more towards pop than hip-hop, with a ridiculously high-energy from start to finish. This is most evident in the "chorus" of the song, an irritatingly catchy refrain that repeats many times throughout the song. Between these parts, MC Itsuka throws down her usual rap verses but without quite the same vicious punch of the group's more hip-hop focused tracks. Despite the pop tinge, these verses are still masterfully executed, particularly a long section near the middle of the song that flows perfectly back into another chorus.

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#160 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

For this week, I just reached into my collection of songs and picked out a few random ones. These may not be to everyone's taste, but they are unique!

Usurai Shinjuu - Megumi Hayashibara

This song has a very jazzy sound to it, both in instrumentation and lyrics. I love the choice of sounds: slick drums, delicate piano work, and loads of horns. The vocalist is great as well, sultry and smooth in a style that you don't often find in Japanese music. Clearly, it was meant to be evoke the style of big band groups from the 30s and 40s--and I think it nails the sound perfectly. I could easily hear this song in a noir film or period piece, blending in perfectly to the sensibilities of the era..

Dareka no Niwa - Oyasumi Hologram

Fair warning: this song takes just over a minute to get going. Once it does, however, I find it very hard to tear myself away. There's an intense earnestness from each of the two vocalists that conveys a great deal of emotion. Despite being a bit rough around the edges, it's a beautifully memorable performance delivered in a direct style that I can't help but admire. My only annoyance with it is the incredibly plain, and sometimes overbearing, instrumentation.

Sarasara - Spitz

Sarasara is one of my favorites, even appearing on my first Top 10 JPOP list in 2013. It features a mellow tone throughout: even the slighly more upbeat chorus remains entirely pleasant and delicate. The instrumentation is simple but manages to be both catchy and evocative nonetheless. The vocalist's smooth lyrics are what make this track noteworthy, though; he has a remarkably lovely voice that sells me entirely on the message of his song.

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#161 Posted by shiro2809 (268 posts) -

This thread needs more love, JPOP is great!

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#162 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

What a great few weeks it's been in JPOP! There are loads of phenomenal releases to share, but I'm going to limit myself to three, as always. Still, these are the best of the best, returning artists that really brought something special to their comebacks.

L.C.S. - FEMM

After the disappointment of PoW!, I'm glad to say that FEMM's second release for 2016, L.C.S., is quite good. The plain, mellow beats and lackadaisical lyrics have been replaced with a fantastically catchy composition, complete with potent vocals more akin to earlier releases. The video also does a lot more than the plain one for PoW!, going with a unique computer-generated visual style and placing the women in (what appear to be?) motion-capture suits and having them perform increasingly...well, gay choreography.

Chupacabra - Suiyoubi no Campanella

I'm beginning to think that the creative minds behind Suiyoubi no Campanella are some of the best in the industry, cranking out stellar beats and visually stunning videos time and time again. Chupacabra features one of the sharpest compositions I've heard from the group yet; the breakdowns in particular are some top-notch future house-sounding beats that I love more every time I hear them. Of course, KOM_I spits fire throughout the track, just as she always does, and also puts in a fun performance for the video itself, a floaty drug-trip experience up there with the best.

Karate - Babymetal

Babymetal has returned with new material, which will be featured in an album just a few days away (April 1st)! It's crazy to think how fast this group blew up, now selling out stadiums for tours around the world. Karate is a fantastic new track to kick off their upcoming shows with, fitting comfortably into their already diverse catalog of tracks. The instrumentation is excellent, deeper and bassier than many of their earlier releases. The chorus is my favorite part, a sharp and catchy breather from the more measured verses. I also quite enjoy the karate-inspired choreography: well-executed and stylish, despite being a bit silly and predictable.

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#163 Posted by owack6 (346 posts) -
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Rejoice a new Perfume album is upon us in just about a week and a half!

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#164 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Another week, more songs to talk about!

Party People Alien - Up Up Girls (2016)

Sometimes, I enjoy JPOP music just for the energy and the crazy spectacle it often brings: Party People Alien is one of those times. It’s a stylish track with an entirely enjoyable video and some silly lyrics. After an impressive vocal opening from one of the members, it jumps right into its infectious beat and doesn’t let up, pounding the annoyingly catchy chorus into your ears again and again. Each time I hear it, it grows on me a little more.

Torisetsu - Kana Nishino (2015, non-Youtube link)

Torisetsu is a song that very nearly made it onto my top 10 for last year. It’s an incredibly charming song, both musically and visually (for the video at least). In a genre that often goes for as much noise and bombast as possible, it’s nice to hear a simple, mellow song every now and then. This track uses very little instrumentation, focusing instead on the beautiful lyrics from Kana Nishino. It’s a straightforward song, but I enjoy it very much.

Born to Walk - Nuxx (2011)

I love me some electropop. Nuxx is a recent discovery for me, with Born to Walk being my favorite track of theirs I’ve heard so far. It’s an aggressive assault on your ears, with a fantastic beat and superb composition, especially during the instrumental-only parts. The powerful vocals add a great punch to the sound, despite being sparse and repetitive. This is one of those songs that makes me breathe a sigh of relief whenever it’s over, simply because it’s so intense from beginning to end.

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#165 Edited by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

I'm back again with three more songs, each of them actually from 2016 this time! Let's have a listen, shall we?

Flash - Perfume (2016)

Here's the full video for Perfume's newest release, Flash. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it. At first, the slow pace and plain production didn't really appeal to me at all. Listening to it again for this week's post, however, is making me start to reconsider. There's some fun pacing to the lyrics, particularly in the verses, and the initially-annoying chorus is actually growing on me. I also can't say enough good things about the video itself, a great showing of cinematography and perfectly in-sync choreography that I've come to expect from the group.

Yoakemae - Passepied (2016)

Passepied also returned recently with their song Yoakemae (which seems to roughly translate to "Before the Dawn"). If you've enjoyed this group in the past, it's likely you'll enjoy this song as well. In fact, it might be a bit too similar to their other tracks. It's hard to find a reason to recommend it over their earlier releases, which I think were a bit sharper across the board. Despite these concerns, it's still a fun track: mellow yet bizarre. And, as always, I absolutely adore the harsh vocal style of the singer.

High Heels - CLC (2016)

CLC is another Korean pop group that is dipping their toes into Japanese music as well. The Korean version of High Heels was an instant favorite of mine and is a song I've been obsessing over for weeks. Imagine my surprise when it showed up in Japanese as well--now I can share it here! While I still prefer the Korean version, likely because it's the one I'm used to, this version still has everything I love about the song: an atypical structure, remarkably catchy chorus, and nearly-unbearable adorableness.

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#166 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Surprisingly, I have another group of 2016 songs this week, thanks to a surge of great tracks. Enjoy!

Sai & Co - Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (2016)

Here's the newest Kyary track, Sai & Co. If you've heard a Kyary song before, you know just what to expect: a superb electronic beat, usually locked at a particular tempo, combined with the uniquely measured vocals from Kyary herself. This song isn't any different, but it still manages to stand out enough in style to remain enjoyable throughout, particularly the very elaborate and ridiculous video. My one complaint might be that its sound is maybe a bit too repetitive for its own good, quickly wearing out its welcome.

Styx Helix - Myth & Roid (2016)

Styx Helix is the most "anime theme" song I've heard in quite some time. By this, I mean its intense guitar riff and ethereal vocals make it sound perfectly suited to begin or end an anime program--which, unsurprisingly, it's actually being used for. What really caught my ear, though, was the fantastic rolling guitar line that punctuates the highest energy moments of the song: it's fairly simple in composition, yet adds an instantly memorable sound to the track.

La Nina Yoru - NAOMiRUSTY (2016)

The string of 80s throwback tracks in both JPOP and KPOP continues with La Nina Yoru. Everything about this track--the vocal style, the punchy synth, even the look of the video--screams retro synthpop. Despite being a fairly simple track, it manages to nail its style so perfectly that I couldn't help but be impressed. Also, it's pretty damn catchy! While I'm not versed enough in Japanese pop music of the 80s, I can't imagine that this track would have been out of place in that era.

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#167 Edited by Rafaelfc (2243 posts) -

This thread is a goldmine!

Lately I discovered Yumikurikamaki and been really addicted to their debut album, it just has an infectious energy.

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yes, they dress like bears :)

Also, the new BAND-MAID album "Brand New MAID" is really good!

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and so is new LiSA album "LUCKY Hi FiVE!"

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#168 Posted by Mirado (2557 posts) -

Hey there, glorious JPop thread. You don't get enough love for concentrating something so unique into one spot, and that's a shame. JPop is a good time, even if (or because?) it can be weird as all hell.

I've got a question for you; I just finished up Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans (a kind of "Japanese anime" if you will), and while the show itself couldn't stick the landing, the ending track is fucking dope as hell:

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This kind of soulful, bluesy voice is outstanding, and I've since devoured most of what MISIA has to offer. I'm not exactly sure this falls under the umbrella of JPop, but as this thread is probably the best place to ask on GB, I was wondering if anyone knows of other artists that fit this mold. We're talking people who can really belt out the tunes and avoid going for an overly sugary or "cute" tone. Think "laying on a grand piano" or "on stage at a smokey speakeasy." It doesn't have to be all orchestral ballads or constant swelling crescendos, but it's gotta be smooooth.

So, JPop thread: can you help me out?

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#169 Edited by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@rafaelfc:Thanks for adding some tracks of your own! Sadly, two of your videos have already been removed from Youtube; one of the sad facts of the last year or so of Japanese music on that service. Still, it's the thought that counts!

@mirado: Hey, I have a few artists that might work for you. I would have more, but it's getting increasingly hard to find artists from certain Japanese labels on Youtube and I'm having trouble running videos for them down. If I manage to do so, or think of anyone else, I'll be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, let's see how you do with these. Chara is probably my favorite example of this type of artist, a very old hat in the JPOP industry at this point and one who isn't afraid to use her deeper voice. Noppal is a group I had on my top 10 list last year, with a pretty great mellow sound. Sheena Ringo is a fairly prolific JPOP artist who often uses a smoother, jazzier sound in her songs (although the track I REALLY wanted to share is one of those I still need to track down—sorry!). Just be aware that she does some "cute" songs here and there too; you may have to sample various tracks from her. The Gospellers is a group that mostly utilizes acapella vocals, to pretty fantastic effect in my opinion. And finally, as a bit of a maybe, you could try Sara Kurokawa; her tracks are a bit more “poppy” but her voice is fantastically atypical for the genre. Hope this helps!

Okay, now for this week's tracks!. It's been a bit slow again, so I went back and picked a few older songs I've been sitting on. Hope you enjoy them!

Mr. Heartache – Sekai no Owari (2015)

Mr. Heartache is a song I've been listening to regularly for a few months now. I discovered it when it came out around the end of last year but didn't come to appreciate it until more recently. My favorite part is the fantastic lead-in to the song's main hook: rhythmic claps and a slow build of the energetic instrumentation that culminate in a potent aural punch. The lyrics are actually completely in English, yet fit perfectly in the song thanks to strong autotune and a great performance from the vocalist. I really like the video as well; the group clearly had a great time dressing up in various costumes and jamming out!

Comic Jug – Scars Borough (2014)

Comic Jug by Scars Borough (a fantastic name, by the way!) has a strong opening. It begins with its dirty guitar riff, grabbing your attention from the first second. Then, after two bars, the drums and bass kick in for a blast to your senses. When the vocalist begins to sing, it gets even better. She alternates between a matter-of-fact tone for the verses and an in-your-face shriek for the chorus, blending the two styles together perfectly. This is a track that doesn't mess around: the video is simple, the playtime is short, and it leaves you ready to hit play again.

Yuragu Sakana – Nabowa (2014)

Every so often, I like to remind everyone (and myself) that JPOP isn't always about intensity and flair; some groups opt instead to focus on softer sounds and mellower aesthetics. Nabowa is one of the best examples of these kinds of groups, a “jam-band” that focuses almost entirely on instrumental tracks. Yuragu Sakana is one of my favorites of theirs, a gorgeously composed piece of music that was clearly performed by artists who love music. As the song progresses, it just keeps building on itself, adding new sounds and playing with the old ones in fun ways. The video even reflects on the name of the track, utilizing an underwater “wavy” style that really stands out from other JPOP videos.

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#170 Edited by Mirado (2557 posts) -

@wemibelec90: Thanks for the quick reply. I'll be sure to check those out, and anything else you can come up with is also welcome. Your difficulty in tracking down what you'd like to show me is the exact reason I came here in the first place; even if I can come up with an artist that fits the criteria (not an easy task to begin with for someone who only reads and speaks English), it's hard as hell to actually find examples of what they sound like. I know licensing can be a pain, but you'd think the labels would be a bit more receptive to broadcasting their artists to markets that they normally wouldn't reach. Taking down unofficial videos is one thing, but I not sure why they wouldn't put up legitimate videos on Youtube.

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#171 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@mirado: Up until fairly recently, it actually wasn't too bad. Aside from a few particular labels and your smaller indie groups, you could find most things on Youtube. However, with the Youtube Red service, something seemed to happen with licensing agreements between Youtube and content providers. I've heard that these providers had to accept new terms or their old content would get pulled, but I don't know how truthful this is. Either way, this new service is why so many Japanese songs/labels now show up on Youtube as "not viewable in your country" at least in the US.

I have no idea why Japanese music labels haven't attempted to solve this problem yet. Most likely, they are just being their typical overprotective, untrusting-of-the-Internet selves. But maybe it's possible they just don't realize it's a thing? Or they didn't like the new terms and refused to accept? Either way, it's crippled my list of songs I keep on Youtube, with more songs disappearing from the list every time I check it.

If you want to find JPOP online, you can try using sites like VEVO (fairly limited selection but great for certain artists), Dailymotion (again, spotty selection), or jpopsuki.tv. The latter of those is the best, with many tracks unavailable anywhere else. Unfortunately, it's also a fairly laggy site that is often entirely down. When it works, however, it's quite useful for finding those rarer tracks.

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#172 Edited by Rafaelfc (2243 posts) -

@wemibelec90: Weird, all the links work for me still, but i'm not in the US. which are the ones offline? I can replace the links and see if something works.

If not, i'd strongly encourage for people who like a little jrock in their jpop to check those bands out. LiSA especially, she quickly became my favorite artist, having an incredible singing voice and very varied material.

For my jpop needs I ended up setting up a japanese itunes account and am constantly checking for related artists and what's new, etc. I also keep some yens on that account for purchases, I bought more stuff out of the japanese itunes than my regular account at this point, lol.

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#173 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@rafaelfc: The Ayumi song and the Lisa song are both missing. Only the Ayumi song says not available in your country (a now-common thing, at least here in the US). The Lisa song just says it's missing, which usually means it's been pulled entirely.

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#174 Posted by gorkamorkaorka (584 posts) -
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This is my contribution. This is Team Syachihoko. They are an idol group from Nagoya. I have been to Nagoya and I know a lot of people there and I plan on moving there so I figured I should be into what Nagoya has to offer. The pink member got vertigo real bad and had to quit the group. I heard their newest song in a game center while I won a stuffed pig out of a crane machine so that was a cool moment.

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#175 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

JPOP for the last several weeks has hit a bit of a slump, with very few new releases, let alone notable ones. As such, I decided to look through some of the artists I've featured here before and bring them back for a second time, pointing out other tracks of theirs that I really enjoy.

Horizon - Miyavi (2013)

Miyavi is an incredibly talented guitar player. I absolutely love the way he plays guitar: frantic strums and slaps packed with feeling. All of his tracks have their own sound while all reflecting his tastes as a musician. Horizon is just one example of his unique talents, an almost Latino-inspired riff paired with powerful vocal work. I highly recommend listening to more of his work; it's impossible to go wrong!

Kanden 18gou - D=Out (2013)

Kanden 18gou (or Electric Shock #18, if you want the rough translation) is the song that first turned me onto D=Out, appearing on my first Top 10 list here on Giant Bomb in 2013. While I generally don't care much for the visual kei style of music, this group always bring an intensity to their tracks that I can't help but enjoy. The lyrics have a fantastic rhythm to them, especially when sung alongside the skillful instrumentation.

Bloom - The Winking Owl (2016)

Bloom again highlights all the things I really enjoy about The Winking Owl: a great vocalist who mixes Japanese and English lyrics, memorable Paramore-esque pop-punk instrumentation, and a unique visual style both in their look and videos. While this group may be a bit too similar to 2000s-era alt rock for some, I really appreciate them for trying something different in a genre (J-rock) that I found a bit stagnant.

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#176 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Things are still a bit slow in the world of JPOP, sadly. Despite the shortage of new tracks, I wanted to post a few songs from this year. As such, I had to dig around a bit outside my usual channels to find something interesting enough to post. Thankfully, I managed to stumble into a great selection of new songs, all from Japanese label Space Shower Music. Hope you enjoy them!

Renaissance Beat / Pushin' - STUTS (2016)

It's rare for music videos for electronic songs to show the artist actually PLAYING the song. This is part of the reason I like this video for both Renaissance Beat and Pushin' so much: it's great to see him slap away at his controller (no idea if that's the right term?) and pound out the beats in real time, instead of just using a backing track. The rest of my enjoyment obviously comes from the songs themselves. Both have a fantastic retro sound, mixing in samples and synth patches expertly.

Let's Rock On - Scha Dara Parr (2016)

Let's Rock On is a delightfully catchy hip-hop track. Scha Dara Parr has apparently been in the business for quite some time, dating all the way back to their debut in 1988. This song has a smooth-as-hell retro sound, evoking greats from the 80s and 90s like the Beastie Boys. The video's a lot of fun too, with the members mugging appropriately at the camera and "dancing" their hearts out. This may be my first song from this group, but it certainly has me eager to go back and sample the rest of their work.

Road Show - Age Factory (2016)

Road Show is a powerful song. The vocalist is incredibly talented, belting out the lyrics with such feeling that it seems almost cathartic for him. It's a remarkable performance that absolutely sells this song for me, making it an instant favorite. In my mind, I don't even need to mention the instrumentation; it's quite good but not really the point of the song. There's not a lot I can say about this song: in my mind, the vocal performance is all you need to hear to understand why I like it so much.

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#177 Edited by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Here are this week's songs--some great recent tracks from favorite artists of mine!

Colorholic - Suiyoubi no Campanella (2016)

Despite this new Suiyoubi video/song seemingly being sponsored by a cosmetic company, that doesn't make it any less amazing. It's got a smooth sound with a fun beat that I can't manage to get out of my head ever since first hearing it. My only real complaints with it are that it's a bit simple, missing some of the depth of their typical tracks, and far too short.

Neon Twilight - FEMM (2016)

I'm super glad that FEMM is coming back in full force after a year off; they were without a doubt one of my favorite discoveries of 2014. Neon Twilight is a fantastic new track, especially after the somewhat average sound of their previous 2016 releases. I love the production, particularly during the chorus. The only problem is the video: it just isn't flashy enough for FEMM!

Chiruchiru - Reol (2016)

While Reol is mainly known as an "utaite" (someone who posts covers of vocaloid music online), she also makes her own songs here and there, often with artist Giga. This style of music surely isn't for everyone--the harsh tones and auto-tune can be a turn-off for some--but I absolutely adore Reol's voice. Chiruchiru is another great original track, intense and catchy.

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#178 Posted by Optix12 (695 posts) -

While trawling through youtube I found a few fun Jpop bands that I figured I would highlight in here which I don't think have been mentioned before.

JuJu - Playback

I found this song on a compilation album recently and thought it had a superb summery feel which is really appropriate currently. This is the only Juju song that I have listened to so far but I really like it.

OreskaBand - Carry On!, Hands Up Girls and Nexspot

I really love my ska music and figured one day to youtube search "ska jpop" which led me to this girl group. I am really glad I found them as they they aren't 100% what you would think with ska punk but have a more relaxed vibe to their music which appeals to the pop enthusiast inside me with songs like "Hands Up Girls" while their latest Nexspot shows them with a very similar sound to The Transplants.

Frederic - Oddloop & Only Wonder

I stumbled onto Frederic thanks to youtube related searches and I really enjoy their slightly faster pace to their songs with really high pitched/clean guitar playing in the chords. Only Wonder is their latest song and seems to keep the bands theme and sound intact. Their music always seems like a bunch of fun to me.

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#179 Edited by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Time for new songs!

Moya Moyashite - Charisma.com (2016)

Another new Charisma.com song, this time sponsored by Kirin of all things. Despite this, it's still a pretty good track. The verses are smooth and skillful, just as I've come to expect from MC Itsuka. They don't have quite the same fire as some of their other tracks, but I can't deny her skill in flowing from line to line. The chorus is fun as well, loud and powerful in a way that their other "poppier" tracks didn't manage to do. Of course, the production is great as always, particularly during the more mellow verses. I also really enjoy the absurd video.

Bang! - Daoko (2016)

This new Daoko track is rather interesting. Instead of continuing further down the pop style of things, this song tries to split the difference a bit between Daoko's early hip-hop roots and her newer pop work. The result is a mellower track that keeps things very restrained, even during the slightly more upbeat chorus. While I don't think you could ever mistake this for one of Daoko's early tracks simply because of the more intense production, there are definitely parallels to be drawn to them. It's an intriguing mish-mash of her styles that I want to hear more of. Also, another great video filled with bright colors and strange visuals.

Confession - callme (2016)

I was pretty blindsided by this song. The plain start almost made me move on to the next track, but once the synth really kicked in, I was hooked. The composition is great, a energetic pop beat that fantastically adds in sharp piano sounds and a fun synth line during the chorus. I really love the sound of this song--it's just one of those songs that perfectly wires into my brain's pleasure centers. There's some good vocal work as well, although it's a bit washed out due to the overly loud mix. NOTE: This is not the full version of the music video, sadly.

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#180 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@optix12: I finally got around to checking out OreskaBand (as I'd heard the other songs you posted already) and was pleasantly surprised by how great they are! Ska isn't something I've ever gone deep on, but I've enjoyed some here and there--namely those tracks often found in skateboarding games. A great addition to the thread and a group I plan to listen to more!

It's been a while since I've posted, mostly due to a lengthy Internet outage. But I'm back and ready to post some new tracks. I'll even throw in an extra song this week!

White Light - Superfly (2015)

I actually discovered White Light in Tales of Zestiria, as it is used for the main theme of the game. While I much prefer the vocal-less version that the game uses, the actual track is pretty great as well. There's a fun contrast between the measured beat of the verses and the powerful, heart-pumping guitar riffs of the chorus. I admit that the vocals do add even more intensity to the track, particularly in the chorus where it sounds like she's practically yelling them. I also enjoy the vocalizing that follows the chorus, the only thing I think could have made the Tales version a bit better.

Hero - Namie Amuro (2016)

Long running "Queen of J-Pop" Namie Amuro is back with another solid track, Hero. She's one of those artists who can switch genres without breaking a sweat, having released pop, R&B, and electronic tracks to great success in Japan. Hero is a slower-paced yet upbeat song, demonstrating the fantastic voice that has made her career so successful. The production is minimal but excellent, a dreamy sound that supports the vocals instead of supplanting them.

Give Me a Break, Stop Now - Reol (2016)

Up until this point, Reol has been solely a voice. After being picked up by label Toy's Factory, she decided to step in front of the camera for the first time (?) with Give Me a Break, Stop Now. The result is a pretty over-the-top track with an absurdly stylish video. In fact, if you're going to click the link for this song for any reason, it should be to see the incredible video production (done by longtime Reol video producer Okiku): ridiculous costuming, superb effects work, and an array of bizarrely fascinating visuals. It's a video you could take a still from at nearly any moment and have something interesting to look at. The song, produced by Giga as usual, is excellent as well, particularly the verses.

Tsuchinko - Suiyoubi no Campanella (2016)

At this point, I feel like a bit of a broken record by posting yet another Suiyoubi song. It's hard not to though, as the group steadily releases great tracks throughout the year. Tsuchinko is no exception, another fine addition to Suiyoubi's 2016 catalog. After so many songs, it's hard to find anything else to say about these tracks: the vocals are superb as always, the production drips with style, and the video is an enjoyably breathtaking ride following KOM_I as she dances her way through the city. I can't say enough good things about one of the most consistent and original groups in Japanese music today.

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#181 Edited by Wandrecanada (1010 posts) -

Seek out the Orange Caramel for best songs and videos! Catalena, Abing Abing, Lipstick and My Copycat are available on YouTube.

They were a sub group for After School but became so popular they became disconnected in case After School disbanded.

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#182 Posted by Dixavd (2895 posts) -

I have ventured into the JPOP thread just to say that I am looking forward to Hikaru Utada's new album.

Also, even though I know the ship has sailed for her actual return to the Kingdom Hearts franchise (still possible but I'm not holding out for it)... I'm getting very tired of the KH trailers using increasingly extreme remixes of Simple and Clean and Sanctuary: They don't even sound like her any more.

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#183 Edited by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@dixavd: Her new album actually managed to top US iTunes charts, albeit briefly. Still, pretty cool!

Another week, another group of songs! I also have a bonus track I'll tack on to the end of the post this week, a song I really enjoy despite not being entirely new or JPOP-focused. Hope you enjoy!

Selfish Youth Drama - Gesu no Kiwami Otome (2016)

Gesu no Kiwami Otome is without a doubt one of the most creative and unique groups in Japanese music today. Their deep lyrics, jam band-esque instrumentation, and memorable videos make them stand out in a place full of same-y sounding songs and repetitive trends. Selfish Youth Drama is one of their two new tracks (the other, Happy Apple, is also quite fantastic) and may be one of their best yet. The video is obviously the most immediately impressive thing: a gonzo, voyeruristic trip through a collection of vignettes. However, I feel that the production of the song is what makes it remarkable. Every last note feels perfect, full of emotion and on-cue with what is being said or shown. The vocals are excellent as well, particularly the brief little section with the female vocalists. It is a video worth watching more than once, just to see what you missed.

Girl - Flip (2014)

I actually discovered Girl through my Spotify Weekly playlist (a set of songs the service suggests weekly based on your listening during the past week). I knew Spotify had some Japanese music, but I didn't expect it to pop up in my weekly playlist; even more so, I didn't expect it to be such a great pop-rock track. This is a song full of peppy energy, which is evident in everything from the instrumentation to the vocal delivery. It's a fairly simple song, sure, but there's a skillful catchiness that is undeniable. I enjoy the chorus in particular, especially when the vocallizing track kicks in during the second set of lyrics. This track isn't anything particularly special, I'll admit, but it does what it set out to do quite well.

Pillow - Izumi Makura (2016)

This artist also came from my Spotify Weekly recommendations, actually. I found this one much more impressive a suggestion, however, as Izumi Makura is much more atypically JPOP. Pillow is quite indicative of her typical style: simple yet slightly atonal production, quietly powerful lyrics, and an ethereal tone. She has a flow that is almost hypnotic, grabbing me and not letting go until the song is over. Her quiet voice is also incredibly soothing. The mellow beat, despite not being very complex, is mesmerizing as well. Even though the individual pieces don't seem that impressive on their own, everything just fits together perfectly, especially for someone like me who is such a huge fan of tracks with airy sounds such as these.

BONUS TRACK

Lovefool - Dream Ami (2016)

This is actually a cover of The Cardigans' hit release Lovefool, which famously appeared on the modernized Romeo + Juliet. As a HUGE fan of that original song, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this Japanese cover. While this version takes a few liberties with the original instrumentation, I think the overall translation into Japanese actually worked out quite well. The timing feels right, and the vocals manage to capture the feel of the original while also incorporating the cheeriness inherent to upbeat Japanese pop songs. An unnecessary cover but one I like quite a bit.

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#184 Edited by BrunoTheThird (825 posts) -

Not that poppy, but I really like some of Miyavi's stuff. Was listening to HA NA BI again just now. Awesome instrumental work. Not even slightly pop, but "Obscure" by Dir en Grey is a bonkers metal track. The vocals are sporadically booming in the verses and soaringly catchy in the chorus. Guy sounds like a dimension-jumping space warrior at times. Or something...

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#185 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@brunothethird: Miyavi's pretty great! He has a way of playing guitar that is entirely unique and his own; I love it!

For this week, I'm going to go with a selection of songs that are related to Korean pop in some way or another. Don't worry--they're all in Japanese and they're all great!

White Shirt - Cherrsee (2016)

Cherrsee is a relatively new Japanese group (debuting earlier this year) with a unique premise: Japanese girls performing songs produced by a hit Korean producer. White Shirt is their second single, and it's a fantastic realization of that premise. It certainly has a sound more akin to Korean pop music: that melding of hip-hop beats, electronic synth, and a poppy throughline for catchiness are practically standard in the genre. There's this great thrum throughout the song that gives it an enjoyable ethereal sound. The lyrical style, choreography, and look of the video are all straight out of KPOP as well. While this is a song I don't think would quite hold up in the Korean market, it stands out as a unique and satisfying entry for JPOP.

My Zone - Block B (2016)

Block B is a long-running and very successful KPOP group with a number of great tracks ranging from pure pop to harder hip-hop sounds. They started building a Japanese audience last year, doing Japanese versions of popular tracks complete with new videos. My Zone, a track created exclusively for the group's new Japanese album, is their newest single, and it's fantastic. The production is pleasantly funky, with an awesome beat and an addictive synth line. I really love the flow of the lyrics as well, fitting perfectly with the beat and making it impossible for me not to nod my head in time with the verses. An excellent addition to their diverse catalog.

Whole Lotta Lovin'- Beast (2016)

Beast, another KPOP group trying to find success in the lucrative Japanese music market, has also put out new Japanese tracks this year. Whole Lotta Lovin, their newest attempt (along with Freaking Cute), is a pretty great dance track. The beat's easily the best part: a repetitive but memorable thrum and thump that gives the song its killer energy. The breakdown near the middle is terrific as well, if a bit too short for my liking. Vocally, the song is fine; it's just a bit too generic for its own good. There isn't a great deal of variety, which admittedly does make sense for a dance track. The few bits of distinct vocalization are sharp, if too infrequent. Still, the production makes this a pleasant little dance track.

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#186 Edited by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

No real theme this week: just three songs I recently discovered that I think are pretty awesome!

Paradise - Garnedelia (2016)

I believe I first heard Paradise after seeing it linked on Twitter by @aurahack. While it was the plain yet entertaining video that first caught my eye, it was the song itself that kept me coming back again and again. This type of song--traditional Japanese instrumentation and lyrics mixed with pop sounds and beats--is far from uncommon in the genre, but it's rarely done as well as this track is. I particularly enjoy the industrial pounding beat that comes in during the non-vocal sections. I think the lyrics do a good job melding the traditional and the modern as well. As for the video, it's performed in collaboration with Miume and Kamen Liar 217 from group Cojirase the Trip--a group of odorite (dancers who rerecord songs on Japanese websites) who formed the group in 2015. It's a simple video, but the choreography is fun to watch.

Night Step - frederic (2016)

Boy, do I love a great funk beat, and Night Step's bassy sounds might just be the best I've heard all year. There's a hypnotic quality to it, drawing me inexorably into its fantastic flow. What makes it even more impressive is just how simple it is when you listen closely; despite its basic nature, it packs in more funk than many other tracks that try this style. The lyrics, on the other hand, are just okay. While I think they work beautifully during the slower verses, adding to the ethereal tone, they don't fit quite as well with the chorus. Still, this is a song dripping with charisma.

Mental Health Circus - sylph emew (2016)

I feel like bands are making a huge comeback in Japanese music. While it may just be that I was missing them all these years, I've almost seen more new band-focused groups coming out of Japan than traditional groups this year. Oddly-named sylph emew is one of those bands and while they may appear fairly typical at first, their sound is fantastic, especially in this track titled Mental Health Circus. This song's biggest strength is its intense instrumentation, with excellent work from each individual member. It even seems like they knew this was something to highlight, as there are several instrumental sections--each featuring pounding drums, ripping guitar solos, and superb bass line--throughout the song. This rocking sound completely, and deservedly, overshadows the (admittedly average) lyrics.

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#187 Edited by One-Eye (9 posts) -

I'm not a big fan of Asian pop but I became quite fond of Scandal after a friend (who is obsessed with Perfume) introduced me to them.

They're a real band that writes their own songs, not just more idol rubbish.

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#188 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Here are three more recent songs for you to enjoy!

Aladdin - Suiyoubi no Campanella (2016)

Aladdin may just be the best Suiyoubi no Campanella song this year. The composition is just as solid as ever: a diverse electronic track that perfectly pounds and hums throughout its length. It maybe lacks some of the style and power of tracks like Chupacabra and Tsuchinko (both from this year as well), but its whimsical sound is just as fun to listen to. Where this track really shines, however, is in KOM_I's performance, particularly on video. I enjoy the lyrics--in fact, they are some of my favorite of hers--but her complete confidence and happiness when dancing and acting goofy on camera has never been better displayed than it is here. This video perfectly highlights what makes her such a fun artist to watch: an unabashed commitment to being herself, no matter what other people think.

Unpatriotic Hero - Oomori Seiko (2016)

Oomori Seiko is an oddity in a genre filled with strange acts and ideas. Most of her songs feature an energy that is so overwhelming that it can be hard to make it through without feeling like you need a breather. Her lyrics often sound like they are pouring out of her mouth faster than she can manage them. This makes for an artist that is very hard to recommend, as it's difficult to know if someone will actually enjoy her manic, and sometimes cacophonous, melodies. While Unpatriotic Hero is still undeniably one of these songs, it's at least a little more approachable for the unintiated, mostly due to an extremely catchy and fun chorus with guest Noko from Shinsei Kamattechan. I don't doubt that this track will still be unappealing to some, but I certainly think it's worth a shot; you'll at least see and hear something very unique.

Crying Sunday - Billie Idle (2016)

As simple and lazy as they can seem, I really enjoy groups who utilize retro styles and meld them with modern pop sensibilities. There are many examples in both JPOP (Naomirusty) and KPOP (The Barberettes), but one of my recent favorites is Billie Idle, a group that expertly borrows its sound from British punk. Crying Sunday is their newest release, and I've been listening to it constantly since it released. The intense drums and thrumming guitar riffs clearly pay homage to greats such as Siouxsie & The Banshees and (most directly) The Dead Kennedys. At the same time, the vocal style and overall aesthetic feel very JPOP. Somehow, it all works incredibly well, a modern version of an old favorite with a quirky Japanese twist.

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#189 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Sorry for the long delay between posts! I’ve been hard at work on my Top 10 list for the year, which kept me a bit too busy to keep up with this thread. If you’re interested, you can now view that list here on Giant Bomb! If not, that’s okay--I’ve got another set of songs to share with you here too. Hope they are to your liking!

5150 - The Oral Cigarettes (2016)

I like this track for pretty much one reason: an intense and amazing use of instrumentation. The main “riff” of 5150 is overwhelmingly energetic and has a very unique whining synth line that instantly got my attention the first time I heard it. It’s a great piece of production, one that keeps me coming back to this song. Sadly, I care quite a bit less about the rest of it. It’s not terrible, but it just doesn’t stand out to me in any way. I also find the singer’s voice a bit grating in spots. Despite that, I see myself keeping this video in my rotation for some time, both for that riff and the visually striking video.

(Re) Play - Daichi Miura (2016)

I’ve been meaning to post a Daichi Miura track for a while now. His smooth voice and fantastic performance skills make him a true joy to watch in every one of his videos. (Re) Play isn’t my favorite track of his, but it still has a lot to enjoy: sleek verses, a catchy chorus, and remarkable choreography. His dancing is of particular note, as he is one of the best in the business--his moves always flow effortlessly and show off his charm and enjoyment doing what he does best. The production is pretty solid as well, a delightfully thrumming synth line with some 00s-era voice samples. I highly recommend checking out any of Daichi’s videos; while they do follow the same basic formula, he’s always a lot of fun to watch.

Delicious - Monkey Majik (2016)

Monkey Majik is a group I had never heard of until recently, despite being around for over 15 years. This group is made up of two Japanese-speaking Canadian brothers and two Japanese members on drums and bass. Most of their songs are in Japanese, with some usage of English here and there, which makes them the most successful non-Japanese artists in Japan I’ve encountered by far. Delicious is one of their newest tracks and was the one that first got me interested to learn more about them. It’s a fantastic throwback track, complete with an absurdly great retro video. Everything is on point here, with catchy lyrics and stellar instrumentation. It would have been a strong contender for my Top 10 if I had discovered it earlier in the year. If you like this track, there are YEARS of past albums from them to check out--although some of them can be hard to find in the West.

BONUS TRACK

Yabatan Densetsu - Oomori Seiko (2016)

I’m really only including this song because it has one of the most “what the fuck did I just watch?” openings I’ve ever seen to a music video. There’s clearly some comedy skit going on, but as someone who doesn’t understand enough Japanese to interpret it, I find it mind-boggling yet hard to take my eyes off once I start it. It’s just one of those things that stunned me so thoroughly that I had to share it with others. Enjoy?

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#190 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

2017 has officially begun, but I still have plenty of songs from 2016 to post! Expect most tracks for the next few posts to be from 2016 or earlier, as it typically takes a bit for new stuff to really start ramping up. Of course, if something blows me away, I'll be sure to post it. The descriptions for these tracks are going to be a little short because I'm still getting over a bit of a cold. Hopefully they'll be good enough to entice you to click the link, at least!

Betty Girl - Reichi (2016)

Rap is far less common in Japanese music, especially from female artists--Betty Girl is one of the better examples I've heard. This is a pretty good rap track with some generic-yet-decent production behind it. There's an appropriate amount of attitude in the vocals too, which flow to the beat quite well.

Confront With Bare Nakedness - Morning Musume (2016)

Here's yet another Morning Musume track with killer, creative production; if there's one nice thing I can say about Hello Project (the label behind Morning Musume and countless other JPOP groups), it's that they generally do some pretty unique and interesting things with production. I'm still not the biggest fan of the vocal style, but I do think the lyrics in this track are interesting and deliver a good message.

Colorful World - Kariya Seira (2016)

One of Kariya Seira's previous tracks, Nobi Nobi No Style, was one of my favorite tracks of 2015. This song isn't quite as appealing to me as that one was (mostly due to the lack of a sick bass line), but it features the same energetic production and fantastic voice that I originally loved. It's also interesting to note the usage of stop-motion for the video, a technique that was also used in the video for 2015's track.

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#191 Posted by Optix12 (695 posts) -

Figured I could update this with some new Jpop I have been listening to lately and it is entirely because of anime. I only really have one band to highlight called Radwimps.

Yes being a big anime fan I had to go watch Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) at the cinema because I am lucky and in the UK and it was showing and felt that the music in the actual anime was really really well done and fit quite well

Yume Tourou - RadWimps = The opening song, this song has a nice uptempo rocky style of song which I like a lot and opens up the film well. Also has a very minor but fun clap section and I love clap sections.

Nandemonaiya - RadWimps (video might contain spoilers) = Can't quite remember where this was played but a really nice piano based song

Sparkle - RadWimps = End song or near enough the end/credits section this song hits at a really nice emotional point in the film, it really fits the film well and has a really beatiful sound to it.

I know these songs aren't the latest but given that anime film is making massive waves in Asia and the West these songs by default are getting tons of interest.

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#192 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@optix12: Feel free to post anything you like, regardless of when it was released! While I generally post newer songs, I don't mind adding in an older track or two here and there, especially when I discover things I missed. Thanks for contributing!

A new selection of songs, including my first inclusion of a track from 2017. Check them out!

Supercell - Co Shu Nie (2016)

Co Shu Nie is a relatively small, unknown pop-rock group that I only know of thanks to the JPOP subreddit I follow. Prior to their 2016 albums, they hadn't released a new track in 3 years, which is likely why they slipped under my radar before now. Supercell, the first song of theirs I heard, immediately stood out to me, mainly due to the frantic yet superb bass lines that run throughout the entire song. The bassist is quite skilled and I love how predominant his playing is, especially during the verses. The rest of the track is striking as well, namely the strong female vocals.

Purine Drinking (?) - Bazz ft. Wata Megumi (2016)

When I first heard Wata Megumi back in 2015, I was enthralled with her style. Her album was absolutely incredible, and the title track Sainanda Wa was second in my top 10 list for that year. After that, I made sure to seek out her releases whenever they popped up. Purine Drinking (not entirely sure on that translation) isn't a track from Megumi herself, but she lends her singular voice to the track, making it truly memorable. That isn't to say that Bazz' production isn't killer as well: a sublimely thrumming synth line backed up with a solid beat. Best of all, it can be had absolutely FREE from the label's website!

Crazy Crazy - Yasutaka Nakata feat. Charli XCX and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (2017)

I was oddly excited by the idea of Crazy Crazy when I first heard it: a new track from favorite Yasutaka Nakata featuring both longtime collaborator Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Western pop artist Charli XCX. As a big fan of both Nakata's and Charli XCX's music, I imagined the end result could be something quite spectacular. While I don't think Crazy Crazy lives up to that (somewhat unfairly) high hype from me, it's certainly a singular track and a wonder to behold. It still has many flaws, though. The production evokes his older hits but without the same punch to make it memorable. Most disappointing is probably the vocals: Charli XCX is relegated to bland, typical EDM singing and Kyary's sections are so faint and scant that she might as well not even be there at all. Oddest of all is the video, which decided to go with horrifying face swaps of the trio onto other actors; despite most likely being intentionally off-putting, it's still not good. Despite all these negatives, I still think I like it overall, although I need to hear it a few more times to render a final verdict.

BONUS TRACK

Wanna Be Famous - Wasuta (2016)

I'm throwing this one in just because I wanted to talk about it a bit. It's a creative song that transitions between styles multiple times, while still having a core "denpa" sound akin to something like Dempagumi.inc (especially during the chorus). I find the dynamic production fascinating: one moment it adopts a reggae beat and the next it sounds like a vocaloid track. The video is fun to watch as well, filled with color and bizarre imagery and tied together with some kind of time-traveling premise? It's a supremely odd song that reminds me why I often find Japanese music--particularly music videos--so engaging.

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#193 Posted by BrunoTheThird (825 posts) -

I've been on a ridiculous Hatsune Miku binge recently. Those games have taken me hostage!

Love this track:

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It reminds me of Alice in Chains, the melody 'round the 1:18 mark -- not in timbre, just the choice of melody and the timing. Super Lane Staley-esque.

This one I love also:

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#194 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

@brunothethird: I've spent a stupid amount of time with the Hatsune Miku games; not only are they fun rhythm games, they have a lot of great vocaloid tracks! I still have a bit of disinterest with most of them outside of the context of the games, but they suit the rhythm genre exceedingly well due to some solid beats and crazy videos. Tons of variety too, which is fun!

Hey, everyone--have some more songs!

Season - Dialuck (2016)

This song has a constant riff + beat that gives it this fantastically smooth, mellow sound. It's almost hypnotic in its effectiveness, making it nearly impossible for me to stop nodding my head or tapping my foot along to the beat. The vocals suit this sound quite well, managing to match the charming instrumentation nicely. I also love that the video matches the tone perfectly, with the members of the group lethargically lounging around as they perform. A pleasant song, despite its lazy qualities.

Rewind - Happiness (2017)

I'm surprised I haven't gotten around to talking about Happiness yet (unless I'm forgetting I did!). Their sound is much more akin to modern KPOP, with a focus on attitude and swagger over cuteness and charm in both performance and sound. Rewind is no exception to this rule, with a pounding beat and "urban" video backdrop. I don't think the vocals are anything special (in most of their tracks, actually), but I find hearing Japanese lyrics sang in a more Korean style to be endlessly fascinating. Also, this track does have a pretty fun, intense chorus which I do like quite a bit.

See You Tomorrow - Nattyan and Tanto (2017)

My immediate thought when first hearing this song was, "Boy, this sounds a lot like Wata Megumi" (whom I mentioned last week). On repeated listens, I realized that See You Tomorrow doesn't quite match the caliber of Megumi's work; despite this, I still find plenty to enjoy about it. The ethereal sound and popping drum beats are enthralling, especially when paired with the soft, saccharine vocals. Sadly, the production gets a little overbearing in spots, covering up the superb vocal work and making the whole song a bit too harsh for my tastes.

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#195 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Since I'm just getting over another illness, I opted for an easier set of songs this week: a collection of 2017 songs from artists I've covered multiple times before.

Don't You Tell Me - Band-Maid (2017)

It's getting increasingly hard for me to talk about Band-Maid songs, simply because I always have the exact same praise for them: energetic vocals, killer instrumentation work, and great videos. Each of their songs is clearly distinct it its own way, but Band-Maid's core sound is already incredibly well-established and consistent--a shocking thing to say about a group that is so new. Don't You Tell Me is definitely a more playful song, especially in the vocal delivery and video, but it still has that iconic spirit key to any Band-Maid song.

Ikkyu-san - Suiyoubi no Campanella (2017)

Suiyoubi no Campanella is actually similar to Band-Maid in the ways I mentioned above: they have a distinctive style that is always present in their songs, likely due to the magnetic personality and performances of KOM_I. However, whereas Band-Maid songs typically follow a very predictable format, you never know what you're going to get with Suiyoubi. This time, we get Ikkyu-san, a mellow groove of a track with a catchy chorus that has not left my head in months.

#hashdark - Charisma.com (2017)

After a chain of merely decent releases, Charisma.com has returned with a legit banger: #hashdark. The production is among the group's best, with a incredible funky guitar riff and dirty synth beats that work surprisingly well together. Itsuka delivers some beautifully smooth rap verses as well, dancing her way around the guitar/beat with aplomb. Gonchi also adds her voice to the track quite a bit, a change from the usual. Sadly, the chorus is just not appealing to me whatsoever: the overly aggressive production and bland, repetitive vocals during this section hurt the song's overall potential. Not counting the chorus, it's their best release since Iinaduke Blue, the very first video I featured in this thread.

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#196 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Here's another smattering of new JPOP releases, all from the month of March. Hope you enjoy them!

Madness -Vermilion Glitch- - Rimcat (2017)

I was initially put off by this track's intense instrumentation and frenetic vocals, finding them a bit too abrasive for my tastes. While I still don't fully enjoy the overproduced instrumental sections (in my opinion), the vocals quickly grew on me. There's this striking ferocity to them, especially during the "chorus" sections of the song where the male and female singers quickly swap back and forth or mesh their voices together into an overwhelming, yet intriguing, blast of sound. It's a fun dynamic that I wish I heard more often.

Believe - Lecca (2017)

One could say that JPOP is a genre mostly known for its high-pitched female vocals and upbeat productions. As such, whenever I run into a deeper voice or a mellower sound on a JPOP track, it immediately stands out to me. Believe features an artist with a deep, sultry voice and a soothing R&B inspired sound that pair together extremely well. Lecca's vocals are particularly impressive to me--I love the husky way that she sings this track, especially during the vocal-only section near the end.

Only Dreams - Charan Po Rantan (2017)

It's pretty damn hard to stand out in an industry as crazy as Japanese pop music. With decades of groups featuring over-the-top styles and eccentric performances, a distinguishing factor is almost mandatory to keep from fading into the background. Charan Po Rantan's distinguishing factor? An accordion. Despite sounding like a dumb gimmick, the sister duo has been around since 2009 and is still going strong. They have plenty of "real" music videos, but I wanted to link to this more personal video for Only Dreams. The sound mix makes the (excellent) vocals a bit hard to hear, but it's still an undeniably charming song/video.

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#197 Posted by Belegorm (1848 posts) -

I hadn't listened to many Jpop songs for a while, mostly because I don't tend to "search out" music often, and it's rare for me to hear Jpop by chance. However, recently I've heard several songs I've liked quite a bit. Some of them are pretty new but others not so much.

Ashita no Uta - aiko (2014)

A friend from Japan actually, who normally doesn't like much Japanese music recommended aiko to me. I've really been digging this particular song, it's relaxing and her voice is shrill in a way that works. I rarely hear songs like that, that I end up liking.

Zenzenzense - RADWIMPS (2016)

I don't think I have to explain this song and why it's great, but if you haven't heard your name.'s theme song then I recommend it. I want to check out more of RADWIMPS' stuff for sure.

Aozora no Rhapsody - fhana (2017)

Uh I can barely explain this one, it was used as the intro for a recent anime that I never watched much of, but the song's gotten stuck in my head and it brings a smile to my face

Seirios - Rides in ReVellion (2016)

Thanks to @feive_vz for recommending this song and getting me back into more visual-kei, I hadn't listened to any in a while. I'm going to show my music noobishness here and say I can't really explain why this particular song has been one that I've really enjoyed listening to many times, but it was the one that made me go "Man, I really need to listen to more visual-kei."

Musical Chairs - METAFIVE (2016)

Unfortunately I can't remember who recommended this to me but it has a really groovy sound and I've been really digging it.

Road of Resistance - Babymetal (2015)

I think people in this thread knows who Babymetal is, I think their music is fun, it has more a more creative sound than you'd expect, and I really hope they put out more music in the future, and don't become just a fad. I had mostly forgotten about them but I talked to a really excited fan of theirs from Japan who got me more interested in them again. Still the same songs as I'd listened to before, but hey they're fun.

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#198 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

After a MUCH too long hiatus, I am finally back to post some new JPOP! Sorry for the lack of posting in the last few months, but some real life stuff--including me foolishly breaking one of my knuckles, making it hard to type these posts--made it difficult to put together new songs for this thread. I plan to return to my typical bimonthly schedule after this, barring any future issues that get in the way.

To make up for the delay, I'm going to throw up a few extra songs here, all of them from this year and all of them excellent! This post, and the next one or two, may be a bit lighter on the descriptions for each song, due to typing still being a bit of a pain with my finger still healing. The links to the songs themselves will still be there of course, so I encourage you to at least give each of them a listen--it only takes a few minutes and you might find something you love! Let's get to the JPOP!

Brand Nu Emo - Towa Tei (2017)

Towa Tei is an amazing and unique electronic music composer. He does a lot of solo work nowadays, pairing with artists for vocals/videos sometimes but was actually also one of the members of Dee-lite back in the 90s. Brand Nu Emo is another stylish and catchy track from Tei, featuring an addictive beat and playful synth lines. The video, despite its black and white coloration, is filled with bizarre imagery and performances from the Mizuhara sisters. While neither the song nor video live up to the breatakingly great Luv Pandemic from a few years ago, Tei has made yet another memorable track, one that easily stands out among his countless tracks from over the years.

Dividual Heart - Satellite Young (2017)

There have been a rush of 80s throwback tracks over the last couple years, to varying levels of success. Having listened to a lot of them, I feel comfortable saying that Dividual Heart is one of the best ones I've encountered. This song has the driving synth and pounding beat that dominated that decade of music, complete with a ripping electronic guitar solo (played on a sleek headless guitar too!) halfway through the song. The singer is also perfect, hitting the style and intonation of that era perfectly. Where this song really shines, however, is in the video. Despite using the somewhat played out retro video filter, it more than makes up for it with its trippy visual distortion, superb usage of older-looking Japanese locales, and flashy costuming. This is a fantastic throwback track that makes me eager to see what this group does next.

Like It - Charisma.com (2017)

Charisma.com blew me away when I first heard them in 2013. Their gruff 'tude and skillful mix of catchy electronic beats and smooth flowing rap made for an enticing combo. Ever since then, however, they've been one of those up-and-down groups for me: I always have to hope that the new track from them will be one of the "good" ones. With #hashdark being pretty solid, I was ready for Like It to disappoint me; in reality, it might be one of their best tracks yet. This is a song very clearly inspired by 80s-90s hip-hop, namely groups like the Beastie Boys. It's a perfect homage to that era of hip-hop, mixing in the style of Charisma.com too. Everything is on point here: the beat, the vocals, and the video (including another appearance from Tempura Kidz!). This track may not be an entirely original sound, but Charisma.com executes on it perfectly.

Sin Morning - Maison Book Girl (2017)

Maison Book Girl is one of those groups I don't really know how to describe. Their music jumps between styles, mixing things together in their own original way while always sounding fresh and intriguing. As such, they fit into different genres depending on the release. Sin Morning is an oddly-paced track, fitting somewhere in between the pop and electronic styles. There is a staccato delivery to the verses, each of them punctuated by the minimalist production. As the chorus approaches, everything picks up in pace and more closely resembles a traditional pop song, albeit with an electronic sound. It makes for an interesting rising and falling measure that I find quite unique. The lyrics, which are displayed in English during the song, are also satisfyingly bizarre. There aren't many groups like Maison Book Girl, so I urge you to check them out!

I Want To Convey Love - Aimyon (2017)

I discovered Aimyon very late last year, but her track She Lived, Didn't She was so immediately impactful for me that it nabbed a spot on my Top 10 list. I loved her voice and look and was eager to hear more from her going forward. This song, I Want To Convey Love, lacks that utterly mesmerizing feel of last year's release, but I still find it quite endearing. It's a much happier track overall, with an enjoyable beat and peppy guitar. I still find Aimyon's voice entirely pleasant as well, with a sound and cadence that really appeals to my ears. This song clearly isn't as emotional or challenging for her, but she has a lot of fun with it nonetheless. Her performance in the video reflects this--I really enjoy her frantically silly actions in the cramped space. I'm eager to hear more of her music, especially if it keeps changing styles.

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#199 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

Another depressingly long hiatus. This time, I have no one to blame but myself--and my crippling addiction to FFXIV's newest expansion! I have tons of stuff to post from recent weeks, but I'll try to eke them out over a period of a few weeks, to keep this thread from being entirely dead for such long periods of time. As always, I encourage anyone to post videos, discuss JPOP, or ask me questions. This thread could certainly use some love!

Shake - CNBLUE (2017)

CNBLUE is a very talented pop/rock group, with huge success in both the Korean and Japanese markets. They manage to meld the fun and easygoing sounds of pop music with the instrumentation of a rock band better than most groups, with countless hits to speak of. Shake is their newest Japanese single, and it's the perfect example of their enjoyable style. It has a great flow, mostly due to that excellent little guitar riff that repeats throughout the song. The vocals are energetic and catchy. The video is silly and fun, melding a Japanese office setting with the group's laid-back playing. Another delightful release from CNBLUE.

Love is Short - Otoboke Beaver (2017)

Otoboke Beaver is a fascinating recent discovery of mine. Their high-energy, punk-inspired sound is unlike anything I've heard from Japanese pop, and Love is Short is a perfect introduction into their style of music. The instrumentation never lets up, with the pounding beat and driving guitar keeping a breakneck pace from beginning to end. Vocally, the group treads just on the line between entertaining and abrasive (and may easily go over that line for some). The video is also a wild ride, nonsensical and visually chaotic. This is one of those songs that demands your attention for its entire length, leaving you dumbfounded in its wake.

Labyrinth - Mondo Grosso (2017)

Another recent discovery of mine, Mondo Grosso's style appealed to me immediately. Labyrinth is a beautifully hypnotic song that draws me in with its catchy beats and echoey vocals. Those vocals are the most striking part of the song for me--the artist's voice is remarkably pleasant, dancing effortlessly amongst the production. That isn't to say that the production isn't also fantastic, particularly when the vocals drop out and it ramps up in skill and beauty. I can't say enough good things about the video either, with gorgeous composition and locations throughout. This is easily one of my favorite songs of the year so far.

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#200 Posted by Wemibelle (2630 posts) -

More songs! This week, I decided to post a group of songs that haven't gotten much attention.

Hakanaki Kun Ni - Maki Adachi (2016)

This is just a really pleasant song for me. The vocals have a soothing cadence to them, particularly during the verses. There's an interesting pace to some of the lines, such as the English lines which are delivered with more punch and style. The vocalizing "chorus" is also satisfying every time I hear it. It's all tied together with a simple, yet enjoyable production. This song doesn't stand out in any way, but it's just nice to listen to.

Journey - Asu ft. Fumika Sato (2014)

Another nice easy-listening track. The production on this track is delightful, with an Eastern/tropical vibe composed with a variety of great-sounding instruments. The vocal duet is also quite special: the male and female vocalists pair together beautifully, particularly during the "chorus" sections. When the instrumentation picks up along with the incredible vocals, I can't help but smile at how gorgeous it sounds. Simply satisfying.

Tumblin' - Rei (2017)

I really wasn't expecting this song's style when I first heard it. Almost immediately, it slides into a slinky swing beat. The instrumentation is an excellent throwback to that big-band sound, with the artist's expert guitar playing (which is featured in the video multiple times) tying it all together. The vocals are on-point as well as she deftly weaves her breezy voice around the jaunty tune. This is easily one of the most unique songs I've heard this year.