JPOP, JPOP, and JPOP: The Discussion Thread

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More music from 2020!

The World is Fancy - Unison Square Garden (2020)

The World is Fancy is an upbeat, punchy song from band Unison Square Garden. The verses are rapid-fire and smooth, punctuated nicely by the quick beat and bass riff. Everyone goes all out for the chorus, pushing the energy to 110% before sliding back into the slick verses again. All in all, this is a tight song with fantastic instrumentation.

Daybreakers - Nana Mizuki (2020)

If you’ve never heard a Nana Mizuki song before, Daybreakers is a good introduction to her style: a sort of power pop-rock that mixes intense production with ballady vocals. Most impressive is Mizuki’s voice, which has amazing range and can nearly blow you out of your chair with its power, but the instrumentation also brims with energy from beginning to end too. Sadly, the video is a bit lacking when compared to some of her other videos, but that’s understandable considering the circumstances.

24 Hours - Kei Takebuchi (2020)

Okay, I'm cheating a bit here, as 24 Hours is technically sung (mostly) in English, but this song is too great not to share (and Kei Takebuchi does perform some of her songs in Japanese, such as this one inspired by the Lo-Fi study girl!). This is a light, airy song that’s still packed with power and emotion thanks to Takebuchi’s incredible voice. It’s such a relaxing song for me, one that I like to put on and vibe out to when I’m in a bad mood.

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Time for more songs--another group of recent releases!

Trapped in the Past - TUYU (2020)

Trapped in the Past was my first exposure to TUYU, an artist with a style that feels a bit like a mashup between utaite/vocaloid sounds and something akin to Yorushika. The vocals are powerful with an impressive range, and the lyrics themselves are thought-provoking in that Japanese, self-reflective way. Production-wise, there’s a lot of variety via little samples, piano slides, and tight guitar riffs.

Utopia - Miida (2020)

Miida is a relatively unknown artist, with the video for Utopia only sitting at 1938 views as of my writing this post. I was immediately pulled in at the beginning of the song via the bassy backing track and catchy little synth line, and I stuck around because of how relaxing it was. The vocalist’s singing fits perfectly with this laid-back sound, creating a surprisingly engrossing track that I enjoy zoning out to.

Kimi no shigusa mo - Baby Kiy (2020)

I first discovered Baby Kiy last year via Stay Together, a wonderfully nostalgic pop track that felt right out of the late 90s/early 00s. Kimi no shigusa mo is her most recent release, and it reminds me of why I enjoyed Stay Together so much--gentle acoustic instrumentals, warmly inviting vocals, and an adorable music video. This is a song that is just...comfy in every way.

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#303  Edited By redwing42

@wemibelle: Surprised at the lack of views on the Miida videos. I wouldn't say I would go out of my way to find her stuff, but she had a good throwback type of sound that reminded me of some 80's citypop. Bonus points for the featured classic MA-101 keyboard.

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For this week, I’ve got three songs that are a little more pop-adjacent. These songs really stood out to me amongst the typical pop/rock fare I usually post here. Hope you like them!

Maboroshi - Tokiyo (2020)

NOTE: The song actually starts at around 1:03.

In a world of crazy, over-the-top Japanese pop songs, Maboroshi feels almost painfully slow. Every note and vocal from Tokiyo feels like it’s trying to eke out every last bit of emotion and power that it possibly can before moving on to the next. As a result, it’s a delightfully mellow song that is incredibly easy to vibe to, especially that amazingly twangy guitar. Every time I listen to it, I find myself getting entirely lost in the hypnotic vocals and instrumentation.

16yrs - Doul (2020)

I was immediately stricken by Doul’s vocals on 16yrs. She has this thick, syrupy voice that sounds entirely different from the typical voices I hear in Japanese music. It fits the lyrics so perfectly too, her mature voice meshing with the theme of age just being a number and having nothing to do with the maturity of a person. Her voice compelled me in a way I wasn’t expecting, bringing me back again and again to drown myself in her wonderfully viscous vocals.

Spice - Jabberloop (2020)

And now, for something completely different! Jabberloop’s Spice is a strange jazzy rock song that I really adore. It’s a great mix of instruments, putting trumpet and saxophone alongside guitar and keyboard to create something surprisingly upbeat while retaining a very jazzy groove. My favorite parts are the breakdowns, including some great horn solos and an absolutely incredible keyboard solo that has me moving my whole body every time I hear it.

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Hell yeah, Jabberloop!

ZUTOMAYO - FASTENING - 2020

In addition to having great vocals and a cool video, this video has some of the most unique subtitles effects I've ever seen. Make sure your subtitles are turned on when you watch this!

inabakumori - Lagtrain (2020)

I don't know much about inabakumori, but this video popped up in my recommended feed and I've found myself watching it every day since. It's really catchy, and the use of repeating animations in the video is really nice.

PEOPLE 1 - Flopnik (2020)

This one is rock, not pop, but I just gotta share it. It's another super catchy song with an adorable video that I find myself watching over and over.

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Gonna do something a little quicker this week, as I’m low on time.

Lost in Paradise - Ali (2020)

Lost in Paradise is a smooth, easygoing track with some slick production and fun vocals. Some of the verses give me a Persona 3 vibe, which I’m a huge fan of.

Panopticon - Tatsuya Kitani (2020)

Tatsuya Kitani’s Panopticon is a wild ride of a music video. The production has some neat glitchy effects, and the video is crazy and creative. I also like Kitani’s vocals, which remind me fondly of Kenshi Yonezu.

Bring Me To Life (cover) - Wagakkiband x Amy Lee (2020)

Here’s something I never thought I’d see--a crossover between Wagakkiband and Evanescence’s Amy Lee. This is a fantastic cover of Bring Me to Life that melds the traditional Japanese instrumentation of Wagakkiband with Amy Lee’s (and Wagakkiband’s vocalist’s) powerful vocals.

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For this week, I’ve got three great new songs from artists I’ve featured before.

Shiawase no shanana - Bradio (2020)

Bradio tracks always manage to make me smile. The goofy lead singer with his over-the-top afro and hilarious facial expressions paired with the funky instrumentation and vocals is always a balm for my bad mood. Shiawase no shanana isn’t my favorite song of theirs, but it’s still a hell of a lot of fun.

Time Warp - Perfume (2020)

Time Warp was another one of those Perfume tracks I wasn’t too into when I first heard it but quickly became more and more to my liking as I kept listening to it. The deliberate verses are my favorite part, paced nicely with the production on the track. As always, the video is absolutely fantastic, featuring a time theme as the choreography goes back and forth throughout the song.

What Do You Want? - Rei (2020)

I absolutely love Rei’s style. She has this easy confidence to her songs that pairs perfectly with the smooth, retro sound of her guitar playing. What Do You Want? is another amazing display of her blues-esque guitar prowess, as she makes her instrument sing with this twangy sound that is entirely her own.

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Here’s another three songs!

Haru wo tsugeru - Yama (2020)

Haru wo tsugeru is a song that’s been hovering around the bottom of my Top 10 list for a few months now. It doesn’t have quite the punch that some of my other favorites from 2020 have, but it’s a compelling song that I find myself coming back to again and again nonetheless due to its powerful vocals and fantastically upbeat production.

Peter Pan - Yuuri (2020)

Yuuri’s vocals on Peter Pan are incredibly fun. There’s this whimsical air to them despite being delivered with a powerful and almost raw voice. I think the video also does a great job of matching this feeling, as he dances about crazily but still manages to exude a lot of emotion and strength at the same time. This isn’t necessarily a catchy song, but it’s still remarkably entertaining.

Getting Into A Pose - Toreina (2020)

Toreina started out with a style much more inspired by chiptune music, but, over the last few years, her sound has gotten a bit more experimental, utilizing hip-hop sounds and a dirtier overall aesthetic to create something very striking. Getting Into A Pose is one of my favorites off her new album, a filthily distorted banger that I love to vibe to.

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Got a new batch of songs with a bonus extra!

Better - Twice (2020)

Twice may have lost its crown as the most popular KPOP group, but they’re still putting out quality songs on the regular, both in Korean and Japanese. Better is their latest Japanese release, and it’s pretty good! It has the punchier production that usually accompanies Japanese songs from Korean groups, and the vocals flow together nicely with it, especially the verses.

DeLorean - Toconoma (2020)

Toconoma is a long-running instrumental band with a typically jazzy, funky sound to their music. DeLorean is a track off their newest album and it’s definitely funky. There’s an excellent bass line and solid drum work throughout the song that drives it forward, punctuated by the tight guitar riffs and synth lines. It’s one of those songs that I have a hard time not tapping my foot or nodding my head along to.

Happy Blue Monday - Helsinki Lambda Club (2020)

Helsinki Lambda Club is a self-described “Japanese alternative rock band” whose music “...encompasses the attitude of garage punk, as well as the spirit of new wave and psychedelic.” Happy Blue Monday is one of their newest songs. While the vocals are pretty average and don’t do much for me, I absolutely love the instrumentation, particularly that fun little combination of riffs that repeats throughout the song.

BONUS: Yasashii Akuma - Orange Caramel (2012)

Orange Caramel is one of my absolute favorite KPOP groups (which sadly is on permanent hiatus right now), and Yasashii Akuma is one of their few Japanese releases. This video has been up and down on Youtube for YEARS as people uploaded it and got it taken down by the label before FINALLY getting an official posting last year (which I just discovered). It’s a pretty nostalgic song for me, as I first heard it around the time I started getting into both KPOP and JPOP and I’m so happy it’s finally up somewhere I can always hear it.

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Got another three songs for everyone. Almost at the end of the year and hard at work on my Top 10s for 2020!

Dear My Friend feat. Pentatonix - Little Glee Monster (2020)

As a longtime Pentatonix fan, Little Glee Monster’s recent collab with them for Dear My Friend made me very happy. This is an incredibly chill song that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. The acapella singing is beautiful and the vocals, from both Little Glee Monster and Pentatonix, are beautiful. Kirstin from Pentatonix even displays some impressive Japanese pronunciation.

Ashita wa nai - Shishamo (2020)

Shishamo is one of the more consistent Japanese bands out there, in my opinion, releasing a solid album nearly every year since they started. Ashita wa nai is one of their newest songs, and I really like it. It has this middle-level energy--not too overwhelming and not too downbeat--that works for me. The distinctive style of Asako Miyazaki’s vocals fit this track perfectly too.

Different - Band-Maid (2020)

New Band-Maid! Different is a very different sounding track than most Band-Maid songs, almost immediately getting up in your face with a pounding beat and violent array of instrumentation. For me personally, this sound doesn’t really work. It all sounds too busy, drowning out the individual instruments instead of making each of them sound distinctive and important, which I normally find to be one of the band’s main strengths. I actually enjoy the B-side off this single, Don’t Be Long, a bit more--a fully instrumental track that lets each instrument breathe and be heard.

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#312  Edited By Wemibelle

Gonna do a bit of a quick one this week, since I put up my Top 10 for 2020 last week (which you can find HERE). Next post will be in 2021--let’s hope it’s a better year for everyone!

Ultra Power - Sarukani (2020)

This is a neat hip-hop track with some fast beatboxing sprinkled over the top to give it a very unique sound. Some really cool production here too.

666 - kakeru (2020)

I just found this electronic track a few days ago and it’s amazingly weird and fresh and exciting. Definitely check out kakeru’s 2020 album my first album on Spotify too for more.

Survive - Wagamamarakia (2020)

What a bizarre mishmash of sounds this one is. Elements of punk rock, metal, JPOP, and hip-hop collide into something entirely compelling.

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Time for the first post of 2021! As is typically the case, it will probably be a few posts before I can regularly include all 2021 songs, but there’s still plenty of great tracks from last year I can share in the meantime.

Goodbounce - Ebimayo (2016)

Goodbounce was my first exposure to Ebimayo, and it makes me want to explore more of the artist’s work. This song, like many of Ebimayo’s tracks, is full of frenetic energy and pounding beats. Goodbounce in particular is impossible for me not to bounce along to, especially when it hits its peak at around a minute in.

Koitsura aiteru - Nigami17 (2020)

I almost shared Koitsura aiteru a few months ago when it first released, but I passed it over for a few other songs and forgot about it. Now seems like the perfect time to get back to it! This is a track with atypical structure, oddly all-over-the-place production, and fantastic alternating verses from the two vocalists. It’s a bizarre song but still catchy nonetheless.

Jibungoto - Team Shachi (2020)

I was hooked on Jibungoto from its first few seconds. The slick synth beat and use of horns was immediately ear-catching and made me want to hear more. I equally love the verses, with a somewhat hypnotic rhythm synced to the beat and odd cadence. Sadly, the “chorus” is a bit much for me, bombastic and loud in a way that goes against the otherwise calm parts of the song.

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Is anyone here into 80s jpop? I'm very big into idols from the decade such as Okada Yukiko, Kikuchi Momoko, Yu Hayami, Akina Nakamori, etc...

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Momoko's my Favorite idol and probably one of my favorite artists ever.

I blame this obsession on me getting into 80s anime and then the whole future funk/city pop craze that helped open the gates for me and lead me into 80s jpop and idols from the decade.

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Back with some more songs, including my first 2021 release!

Flyers - Girls’ Generation (2013)

Girls’ Generation was/is primarily a Korean pop group--one of the biggest of the last couple decades, actually--but they did release a fair number of Japanese songs too. This song, Flyers, was actually something I found via a Beat Saber pack and I really enjoy it. There’s nothing overly unique or stand-out about it, but it’s a solid, fun pop song with a catchy chorus.

Nadir feat. IA - Orangestar (2020)

Orangestar is one of many producers out of Japan who primarily make music using vocaloids. Nadir, as well as many of Orangestar’s releases, uses vocaloid IA for the vocals. I’m not as familiar with IA as other popular vocaloids, such as Hatsune Miku, but I really enjoy the sound of her voice here. The production is quite simple here, and maybe a tad too repetitive, but that doesn’t stop it from getting stuck in my head again and again.

Redheart - Akai Haato (2021)

Akai Haato, otherwise known as Haachama, is one of the VTubers associated with the Japanese team through Hololive, easily the biggest production company of VTubers both in Japan and the West currently. Many of the Hololive girls have released songs at this point, and this is Haachama’s first release, named Redheart because her name in Japanese literally means ‘red heart.’ This is actually an English track, despite the VTuber being predominantly Japanese focused on her streams, and you can definitely tell. Still, it’s a cute track with a fun, unique flow despite some predictable production.

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I've fallen in love with ZUTOMAYO recently, after they released this stunning indie anime MV for Hunch Gray:

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The sequence that starts at 1:05 is so beautifully choreographed I just can't over how good it is.

Just today they dropped a new MV for DARKEN that I'm gunna also have to drop the video for - it's a completely different style but tells a fantastic short story:

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Sorry for the double video spam!

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@bollard: Thanks for sharing! Sadly, those videos are blocked in the US, so I can’t actually see them! It appears the group had region locked their videos in the past but opened them up at some point. These newer videos are still blocked, however, for whatever reason. Hopefully, they become available at some point.

Here’s another batch of 2021 songs, each of which is pretty great!

Dingga - Mamamoo (2021)

Mamamoo is a fantastic KPOP group that always does a wonderful job with the Japanese versions of their Korean hits. Dingga is one of their songs that didn’t do as much for me when I first heard it in Korean, but I’m really digging how it sounds in Japanese. They have a very distinct sound that comes through as perfectly in Japanese as it does in Korean, and it’s catchy as hell to boot.

Nainainai - Atarashii Gakko! (2021)

I’ve been moderately obsessed with Nainainai ever since I first heard it. It’s got this subtle catchiness to it despite its simplicity. The vocals have a flatness to them that make them almost sound like plain speech, but it still flows surprisingly well, especially during the punchy chorus. The main hook is also AMAZING, and I wish it was a bit more prevalent throughout the song.

Gum Gum Girl - Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (2021)

Time for a new Kyary track! Gum Gum Girl doesn’t really do anything I wasn’t expecting, but it’s one of the more solid releases she’s had in a while, at least for me personally. Its sound fits a bit more with her earlier releases such as Ninja Re Bang Bang and Invader Invader, which is when I first got into her. I’m not sure it’ll stick as one my favorites of hers or anything, but I’m happy to listen to it every few days for now.

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Bollard

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@wemibelle: Ah that's a real shame, the videos are excellent but hopefully you can at least enjoy the songs on their Spotify here and here?

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@bollard: Yeah, I can listen to the songs on Spotify here in the US. There's some alternative sites with those videos, if anyone's interested in them--they're neat!

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Three more releases from 2021. Hope you like them!

Goshi Goshi - Candy Foxx (2021)

I love bizarre Japanese music videos like Goshi Goshi--it makes absolutely no sense but boy, is it memorable! Great use of color and light, over-the-top acting, and absurdly bizarre imagery make for a video you won't soon forget. The song is pretty damn good too, with a stupidly catchy main hook. And you’ve gotta love those nonsensical English “lyrics.”

Starry Night - Queen Bee (2021)

Queen Bee is a group I first heard last year, via their video for P R I D E. However, even though I liked that song, I never got around to checking out more of their stuff. Boy, how I wish I had. Starry Night made me realize just how amazing they are and I can’t wait to dig into more of their (extensive) back catalogue. The production on this track is amazing, but the highlight is certainly vocalist Avu-chan’s performance. Their range is absurd, sounding like two entirely different singers, and the song is just an amazing showcase of their talent. It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in some time and already sits atop my top songs of the year list.

Heikousen - Eve x suis (2021)

Eve and suis (from Yorushika) are two amazing Japanese artists, and they have come together to create something truly special, Heikousen. Heikousen is a fantastic pairing of these two vocalists, with some great production too, but the best thing here is the music video. It’s a gorgeous, stunningly animated mini-story about a boy and a girl who are best friends and grow up across from each other their whole lives. It’s a heartwarming but bittersweet story that ends with the girl moving away with her family, putting their future relationship into question. I have seen animated, story-based music videos before, but this is easily one of the best and deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.

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Quick post this week!

Bluma to Lunch - BLOOM VASE (2021)

I don’t post hip-hop/rap very often, but I do enjoy it on occasion. Bloom Vase’s Bluma to Lunch is a fun hip-hop track with a slick electronic production underneath that I really dig. The flow is pretty slick and I like the random Dragon Ball clips in the background.

Chu Chu Chu (feat. GUMI) - Louis Vision (2021)

Chu Chu Chu from Louis Vision (and GUMI) is one of the catchiest songs yet from this year. The chorus is complete nonsense, but I can’t deny how easily it gets stuck in my head. The rest of the verses are memorable too, particularly their interesting autotuned cadence, and the beat is equally solid.

Accomplice - Tatsuya Kitani (2021)

Tatsuya Kitani’s Accomplice reminds me fondly of artists like Kenshi Yonezu. The half-pop, half-ballad style is pretty popular among solo male artists in Japan, and it works well here. It’s a fun little song with a decently enjoyable music video too.

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Got another post for everyone--all three of you! ^_^

Biriyani - Paraiso (2021)

Paraiso is a newly-formed group bringing together moderately famous artists, such as the duo from Pop Shinanaide, into one new project. The track, Biriyani, has a post-pop, very experimental sound akin to groups like Pop Shinanaide (no surprise) and Gesu no Kiwami Otome. It’s a wild trip of a song that you never really lets you know where it’s going next.

Blink [Revenge] - Coaltar of the Deepers (2021)

Coaltar of the Deepers (one of the best band names I’ve heard in a while) released Blink [Revenge] early this year, and I really like its loose, almost playful sound. It feels more like a jam song at times than a song with any real goal or direction, and the light, airy vocals give it a very dreamy quality I enjoy.

Gift - Monkey Majik (2021)

Gift is Monkey Majik’s newest song, and I really wanted to share it because of its video. The song is perfectly fine, if a bit plain, but the video is incredibly endearing. It shows the story of a father and daughter picking out a gift for the mother’s birthday and is full of cute moments. It may be a bit saccharine, but it still makes me smile every time.

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Got three pretty great new tracks, including two coming in very hot, to share this week!

Freaks - Atarashii Gakko & Warren Hue (2021)

Atarashii Gakko is back with a new release, Freaks, along with a guest vocalist, Indonesian artist Warren Hue. It’s WILDLY different from their last song, adopting an electropop sound akin to artists like The Chemical Brothers; if not for the Japanese vocals, I think you could easily mistake it for a Western Top 40 release. It definitely relies more on those “Western-style” sounds than the vocals from Atarashii Gakko, which means I don’t like it nearly as much as Nainainai, but it’s still a neat track.

Nobody Knows We Are Fun - CHAI (2021)

I never really know what to expect from CHAI. They have such a unique style that shifts from song to song, trying on new genres like pieces of clothing yet still always managing to retain that core unmistakable CHAI sound. Nobody Knows We Are Fun is a mellow, downbeat song that feels much more hip-hop than their past releases. It’s funky and groovy and delightfully hypnotic, a sound that fits CHAI’s vocal style so perfectly I’m surprised they haven’t done it before.

Peace & Love - Cluppo (2021)

Fans of Band-Maid may know they do a “joke song” every year for April Fools’ Day. Typically, this has been an alternative style release by ‘Band-Maiko’ with more traditional Japanese-sounding instrumentation, but this year, we get a fun solo track from rhythm guitar player/backup vocalist Miko. It’s a pretty catchy track, with a bit more of a pop-rock sound, but it’s also very silly. The lyrics are cheesy yet endearing, the video is hilariously typical of the genre, and it’s full of dumb little details, like how Miko’s guitar changes in pretty much every shot. Not a bad track for a joke release.

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Got another group of 2021 releases for your listening pleasure!

Bijin - Chanmina (2021)

Another new Chanmina release! Bijin is one of her hip-hop styled tracks instead of the poppier style she’s used for her last few songs. It’s dark and sultry and slightly unhinged, especially when you look at the meaning of lyrics and the very creepy music video. I love how well the artist pulls it all off, since she has the poise and presence to spit vocals in a way that perfectly suits the themes of the song, but I wouldn’t call it a “good” song personally. It’s a bit discordant and the video has a huge section in the middle that interrupts the song, both of which hurt it for me. Still, it’s an impressive creation that should be experienced at least once.

The Vampire feat. Hatsune Miku - DECO*27 (2021)

DECO*27 is one of countless producers that work mainly as a vocaloid producer and occasional utaite (someone who covers songs and posts them online). For this track, The Vampire, as well as most of his releases, he uses Hatsune Miku as his vocalist. The production on this track is great across the board, both in DECO’s utilization of Miku and the underlying music. Many people probably think vocaloid software does most of the work, but if you listen to enough vocaloid music, you definitely hear certain producers get more out of a vocaloid than others, such as here with Miku’s tight, punchy vocals.

Line of Fire - Nano (2021)

I’ve been a fan of Nano for about as long as I’ve been regularly listening to Japanese music. Her video for Rock On was one of the earliest tracks I heard and I loved her energetic style. I check in on her from time to time to listen to her new releases, such as with her newest track Line of Fire. This song is a bit different than Rock On, going for a darker, alt-rock style instead of a more traditionally “anime-rock” style from some of her other songs. Her voice is excellent here too, reminiscent of artists like Evanescence’s Amy Lee and Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia.

SLIGHTLY NSFW BONUS SONG

Ride on Time (cover) - Mariri Okutsu (2021)

This is something extra I just wanted to throw in because I love it SO MUCH. The group Dance for Philosophy has done a handful of “Tiny Bath Concert” videos this year where they cover songs while in a bathroom. While the concept seems very shameless, with the artists sitting naked in a bathtub while they sing, it actually gives the covers an amazing, unique sound due to being filmed in an echoey bathroom. This one is my favorite, a cover of an old city pop song by Tatsuro Yamashita called Ride on Time, just because the acoustics of Okutsu’s performance are so beautiful. It sounds SO GOOD, and I’ve been mildly obsessed with it for weeks now.

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redwing42

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#325  Edited By redwing42

@wemibelle: I will sometimes throw on a random city pop video from YouTube while I am working, and I think I've heard Ride on Time before. That is a very good version. Do you have any particular city pop recommendations, or am I good just hitting random compilations? City pop makes me strangely nostalgic for a past I never experienced, and I don't understand it but it fascinates me.

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Yoake

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I didn't realise this thread was a thing but I'm glad it is.

Back in my university days, I got way into following the producers/utaite on niconico and have followed a handful of the notable producers/artists as they partially transitioned to YouTube such as Halyosy Moly, That, Gero, Dasoku, Koma'n, Majiko etc.

I always was into the tracks produced by Hachi for their unique and inventive beats and lyrical content. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realise was Yonezu Kenshi - I think it was when I picked up Bootleg and Suna no Wakusei was featured.

I'm not much of a music buff, but Bootleg and Stray Sheep are very intriguing bodies of work with a diversity of musical and vocal styles.

The Lemon mini album should also be mentioned because for me Lemon is an unassailable song of loss - Lemon was again featured on Stray Sheep and remained good there, weirdly.

I don't really have much to say about the music technically, but when I think about Yonezu Kenshi's music, I would summarise it by his wonderfully raw voice and a range of musical production. Besides his tent-poles, I like weird tracks like Moonlight, Spirits of the Sea, Paper Flower, etc. And also straight bops like Placebo featuring Noda Yojiro from Radwimps. There are only a few tracks he's produced that I don't really like, mostly because they're kind of more standard than the majority of his offerings.

What I'm saying is I'm here to talk Yonezu Kenshi and will take recommendations of artists that are on a similar kick.

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Wemibelle

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@redwing42: My city pop knowledge is pretty slim, at least off the top of my head. The only city-pop esque group I can think of is Blu-Swing, but they have some pretty fantastic songs. Otherwise, I don't think you can go wrong with plugging Japanese city pop into Youtube and seeing what comes back.

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Wemibelle

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Gonna do a quick one this week!

Take a Picture - NiziU (2021)

NiziU is a relatively new girl group managed by JYP Entertainment, a predominantly Korean label. Despite having Korean next to its name on their videos, as well as a Korean pop-esque sound to its productions, NiziU is a Japanese focused group. Take a Picture is a fun, high-energy release that I really enjoy, particularly the silly camera shutter sounds whenever they say “take a picture” in the song.

COZY - Chelmico (2021)

COZY is a much mellower, ‘cozier” release from Chelmico. The production is smooth and relaxing and pairs nicely with the pair’s slick vocal stylings. Sadly, this track marks a hiatus for the group, as one of the members is taking a break for her pregnancy, but it’s a fitting temporary sendoff.

Rusalka - Hizaki (2021)

Hizaki is a visual kei guitarist who is part of groups Versailles and Jupiter but also does his own solo stuff, such as Rusalka. This is a symphonic metal instrumental track that takes you on a fun journey and shows off Hizaki’s skills nicely.

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Wemibelle

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Another fortnight has passed, so it’s time for more music!

Autobiography - Nano (2021)

I just posted a Nano track a month or so ago, but I heard Autobiography again recently and realized how much better it is than Line of Fire. In fact, it’s probably my favorite Nano track now. The instrumentation is catchy and energetic and pairs perfectly with Nano’s slick vocals, particularly during the memorable chorus.

かっぽじれーしょん - Sakanamon ft. Mossa (2021)

The beginning of this track immediately hooked me, with the back-and-forth singing between Sakanomon’s vocalist and guest vocalist Mossa (from Necry Talkie). I just adore the repetition of “nee nee nee,” especially as it gets more intense in the second verse. The chorus doesn’t quite keep the same adorable catchiness, sadly, but I enjoy listening to the verses again and again.

Just A Boy - Longman (2020)

Got one from last year this week too. I posted a track from Longman, a Japanese punk band, years ago, and even heard this one last year but never got around to posting it. After a gentle, pretty opening with some nice harmonizing between the male and female vocalists, the group gets right into an intense, chord-heavy pop-punk track that sounds fantastic. It maybe wears out its welcome a bit by the end, but it’s still a lot of fun.

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Wemibelle

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Gonna do a quicker one this week. Got my second shot yesterday and am feeling really sore!

Yes No Yes No - Akai Kurage (2020)

The use of intense effects and an almost garbled/screamo style likely makes Yes No Yes a hard recommendation for most people, but I love the entirely bizarre sound it gives the song.

Purpose - Furui Riho (2021)

Furui Riho’s voice in Purpose is lovely and relaxing, pairing nicely with the laid-back beat and pastel-y music video. It’s just so COMFY that I love it to death.

Aitakatta - Louis Vision feat. Miyoko, BBY NABE (2021)

I already shared Chu Chu Chu from Louis Vision, which I loved for its high energy and poppy vocals. Aitakatta is very different--softer, a lot simpler production, amazing vocals--but it’s just as fantastic as the artist’s previous track.

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Wemibelle

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Got another batch of songs this week, with a nicely diverse style of sounds!

Metamorphosis - Amefurasshi (2020)

Amefurasshi is a fairly small (in terms of following), newish JPOP group without a huge library of releases just yet. Metamorphosis, a song of theirs from last year, was the first I heard from them. While the vocals are perfectly fine, they have that plainness to them that quite a few Japanese girl groups have, without much to really latch onto. The production, however, makes up for it. It’s fun and punchy and delves into some electronic-y sounds during the breakdowns.

Passion - Fami (2021)

Fami is a bass player who’s been covering songs for years on her Youtube channel, but 2021 marks the release of her first album, Graduation Album. Passion is the second track, and it’s a good demonstration of her skills. Most of her covers have been bass only, with no vocals, but she does sing on tracks like Passion. Her light, airy voice suits her music quite well, bouncing along nicely with the slick bass lines. My only real issue is that the bass is actually a bit quieter than I like, for an artist focused on bass.

Hikari no Disco - Capsule (2021)

Hikari no Disco is Capsule’s first release since the unimaginative, disappointing Wave Runner--and they’ve taken it in a more retro, 80s-ish style. I want to say I really like it, as a huge fan of both Yasutaka Nakata (producer on Capsule, among countless other things) and 80s JPOP, but this song just isn’t doing it for me. I find it very...dull. There’s a bit too much repetition, and the pace isn’t as upbeat as I’d like. It does at least feel like Capsule, which was my main problem with Wave Runner, so it’s entirely possible it’s one of those songs that will grow on me with time.

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Bollard

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#332  Edited By Bollard

ないない - ReoNa (2021)

Spotify helped me find ReoNa and she's become my latest J-Pop obsession. Started with Nai Nai which I highly recommend.

ANIMA - ReoNa (2020)

Also, I love THE FIRST TAKE and it turns out she was on there last year performing ANIMA, another banger.

@wemibelle: Quite like something about both the Fami and Capsule songs - I'll have to check out some of their other work. Do you have any recommendations for older Capsule songs you liked?

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Dixavd

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Giant Bomb may change but the JPOP JPOP JPOP thread is forever! <3

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Wemibelle

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#335  Edited By Wemibelle

@bollard: Sorry for the delayed response! Didn't see it until today, as I never received a notification!

I'd love to recommend some Capsule! There's a TON of great songs in their history, and I could easily list 20+ that I really enjoy. From their early "Shibuya-kei" days, you have songs like Weekend in My Room and Fashion Fashion that are uniquely adorable. Their late 00s-early 10s stuff is some of their best, with amazing tracks such as E.D.I.T. and Love or Lies, as well as my personal favorite Capsule track, Reality. Finally, they did a neat experimental album called Caps Lock in 2013 which sounds almost discordant at times but it's really neat. Control is a nice safe song off that one, but 12345678 is a better example of how quirky an album it can be.

Capsule has a really great catalog, and you're pretty safe with most of it, although I think Sugarless Girl, More! More! More!, and Player are their best albums overall. Hope that helps!

@dixavd said:

Giant Bomb may change but the JPOP JPOP JPOP thread is forever! <3

I plan to keep it going as long as I possibly can! ^_^

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Bollard

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@wemibelle: That's probably my fault - I edited my response to reply to you after the fact so it must have broken the notification!

Thank you for the recommendations! Looking forward to checking them out :)

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Wemibelle

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Got another batch of songs, including a few very fresh ones. Enjoy!

Sukuinote - Hakushi Hasegawa + Yukichikasaku/men (2021)

Sukuinote is not going to be a song for everyone. It’s chaotic and bizarre and kinda undefinable. It has a sound that dances the line between almost cacophonic and fascinating without a care in the world. Personally, I find it remarkably creative and absolutely worth experiencing, if a bit abrasive on the ears.

Soliloquy - DUSTCELL (2021)

Here’s a very, very fresh release--only 15 hours old as of the time I’m writing this! Soliloquy is a neat song that dances between a hip-hop style for its “verses” and upbeat pop for the “choruses.” The production suits each section well--subdued during the verses and punchy during the choruses--and the vocals are gorgeously done.

Categorizing Me - Rei (2021)

I absolutely love Rei’s work--having featured her both here and on my yearly Top 10s multiple times--and her newer stuff is just as fantastic. Categorizing Me is technically a song from an album late last year, although it also has an “international version” (basically, entirely in English) for an album released this year. This is a fun little video, where you get to see Rei perform the song up close and personal with cute little flourishes, and I LOVE the song’s laidback energy and lyrics pushing back against snap judgements made towards her without getting to know her.

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Wemibelle

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Got some more songs to share!

Bling Bling - Saki Misaka (2021)

Bling Bling is such a comforting, pleasant song for me. The rhythm is laid-back yet tight and fun. I love the chorus’ vocal timing and the repetition of “bling bling bling.”

Red Spirit - Miccatenka (2021)

Miccatenka, a new project from Mika Kobayashi, recently released Red Spirit and it’s really neat! It has a cool mix of modern instrumentation along with the traditional shamisen sound added in.

Racing Into the Night - Yoasobi (2019)

Racing Into the Night isn’t a new release, but Yoasobi just released an official English version so I figured now was a good time to share it. I fell in love with the original version via Beat Saber, as there’s a great map from mapper SlimyBlob that I have played too many times. The English version doesn’t quite hit as hard for me, mostly due to how I’m too used to hearing the song in Japanese, but it’s still amazing how well Yoasobi matches the timing and sound with English vocals.

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Wemibelle

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Another hot three songs from 2021 for ya!

Saru Inu Kawazu Uma - Domico (2021)

Domico, a punk duo formed in 2011, has a new album coming in a few months, and Saru Inu Kawazu Uma is their latest video release. This song has a great alt rock sound that feels very early-00s to me, both in the tone of the guitars and the drone of the vocals.

Moonlight At Midday - Tsukuyomi (2021)

Tsukuyomi is a relatively new group formed around producer YurryCanon, a fairly well-known artist who creates a lot of vocaloid tracks. Moonlight at Midday sounds very much like a typical vocaloid song, but the vocals are actually done by member Mikoto, whose clear and powerful voice resounds a bit more strongly than your typical vocaloid. This is a gorgeous track that reminds me favorably of groups such as Yoasobi and Yorushika.

Poseable - Rhyme So (2021)

The pairing of Australian artist Rhyme and DJ Shinichi Osawa, best known for his work as Mondo Grosso, lead to the group Rhyme So (Rhyme + Osawa’s initials = Rhyme S.O.--clever). Poseable meshes the killer beats and production of Osawa and Rhyme’s smooth flow and memorable attitude to make a powerful, fun song. The video is pretty fantastic too.