The J-Pop Thread

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I mean J-Pop as a term was not even invented until the mid-nineties. Perhaps overseas people use it to mean something else.

Good Dog (Good Dog), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 12:06 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah, in Japan, "J-pop" means everything other than "J-indie" and "J-Punk" or other underground genre.

Regardless, saying "J-pop really fucking sucks" is really dismissive.

Patrick South (Patrick South), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 14:07 (fourteen years ago) link

And I'm assuming you were addressing me with "Patrick Smith." :]

Patrick South (Patrick South), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 14:08 (fourteen years ago) link

My understanding is that J-Pop refers to a specific style of major label, fast tempo, synth-driven, television supported pop music from about 1993 to the present typified by girl groups like Morning Musume (created by a TV show), Komuro Tetsuya's projects, Hamazaki Ayumi, SMAP, Hikaru Utada, etc etc. This stuff is inescapable in Japan. I spent years watching Japanese TV and I heard about five good songs and three of them were written by Okuda Tamio. Sorry to be so rockist about this but this country's mainstream pop music is really annoying and awful and I thought I'd just pipe up with that stunning observation.

I will bow out of the thread now as it's obviously not for me. Toodle pip.

Good Dog (Good Dog), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 14:35 (fourteen years ago) link

So, J-Pop is essentially the half of Japanese mainstream music that has a pulse? (Based on the Hit Parade show -- the one karaoke pop show where they all venerate THE FISH at the beginning -- I've seen syndicated on UHF here years ago, there's the more upbeat modern side of Japanese mainstream, and there's the more boring adult contemporary side.)

iDonut B4 x86 (donut), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 22:03 (fourteen years ago) link

I like Puffy OK, but I especially like the really hyper j-pop I've heard, like that one posted on Fluxblog a while back by Salt 5. Any YSIs or pointers toward overviews would be more than welcome.

Eppy (Eppy), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 22:14 (fourteen years ago) link

tomoe shinohara has a new single out which is o-k. for more stuff like that, search: hi-posi, chappie, hazel nuts chocolate, plus tech squeeze box, aprils, W (only the last being proper 'j-pop' in good dog's definition).

i 2nd snowballing's tommy february6 recommendation. see also; tommy heavenly6 & brilliant green.

not sure if shiina ringo belongs on this thread but everybody should search.

xcixxorx, Wednesday, 9 November 2005 22:32 (fourteen years ago) link

That Tommy February track is fantastic, thanks. I wish it was a little more amped-up but that's OK.

I didn't know Plus-Tech Squeeze Box qualified. Awesome.

It'll probably be hard to search for W, but I'll try the rest.

Eppy (Eppy), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 22:51 (fourteen years ago) link

Having lived in Japan a few years ago, I can honestly say that the pop music over there is, in general, embarrasing to a westerner's ears. The main flaw is the overzealous use of tacky 80's style synths and guitars (Hamasaki Ayumi is a glaring example). Although I never really found it, I'm confident that there IS good music in Japan, it's just really hard to find. Noteworthy artists would be Pizzicato Five (natch), The Pillows, Suga Shikao (but he's a bit iffy at times), and X Japan's first album "Jealousy", which is sort of like Metallica's "Master of Puppets" but even more over the top.

Jimmy James Inc, Thursday, 10 November 2005 06:42 (fourteen years ago) link

The main flaw is the overzealous use of tacky 80's style synths and guitars

Haha, which country HASN'T been doing stuff like this recently?

I guess what I like about this stuff is its resilience. It's this "Nothing is going to stop this motherfucking bubblegum brigade.. we're going to use every odd modern production technique out there to create this kaleidoscopic maximalist sugar rush of a song" attitude that I appreciate. It's a love or hate thing, I guess. But I'm noticing that I'm starting to like the more conservative stuff as well. ah, age.

iDonut B4 x86 (donut), Thursday, 10 November 2005 07:53 (fourteen years ago) link

"I'm confident that there IS good music in Japan, it's just really hard to find."

Wrong, wrong, wrong! One of the best things about living in Japan is the huge variety of record shops catering to any genre you can imagine, plus a few you've probably never heard of. Furthermore, if you live in nearly any of the major cities, you've got plenty of options with regards to club nights, live shows, not to mention the festivals which go on all summer. Judging the state of Japanese music based on Ayumi Hamasaki and her ilk is just plain ignorant.

I've said it before on a bunch of other threads but anyone interested in Japanese music needs to check out SUPERCAR. 'nuff said.

J-rock (Julien Sandiford), Thursday, 10 November 2005 08:07 (fourteen years ago) link

I quite like the new Orange Range record. Fake Rock is such a great genre.

Jacob (Jacob), Thursday, 10 November 2005 08:58 (fourteen years ago) link

Don't Orange Range do the terrible "Locomotion" cover thing?

Patrick South (Patrick South), Thursday, 10 November 2005 09:20 (fourteen years ago) link

Quite possibly. I'd hardly hold 'em up as paragons of taste but the record is quite fun in an Andrew WK-lite kinda way.

Jacob (Jacob), Thursday, 10 November 2005 09:52 (fourteen years ago) link

Speaking as someone who likes j-pop, o noes o shokku!!! etc, I'd recommend Ai Otsuka, esp her first album Love PUNCH!, which is cute girly guitar pop, and Namie Amuro's latest album is from what I've heard excellent. There's a boyband called w-inds. (spelt like that!) whose best-of came out last year or so and is ace - some very classic late-nineties/early-2000s-ish songs on there, although for a couple of their albums you needed to be immune to lame boyband-rap to survive. Porno Graffiti can be pretty ace too, not sure if they're strictly jpop though.

Did anyone get the last english-language Utada album?

spontine (cis), Thursday, 10 November 2005 14:16 (fourteen years ago) link

if you mean Exodus, yeah - strange but good, it was like normal dance-pop but just skewed enough to be really interesting.

i was thinking the other day that I needed to start a thread about j-pop in 2005 b/c i've really been out of the loop - anybody know of any great '05 releases in the genre?

Josh Love (screamapillar), Thursday, 10 November 2005 14:26 (fourteen years ago) link

"Nichiyo-bi" by Jitterin' Jinn (?) is utterly fantastic tweenie sugar rush pop that pretty much defines the word "bouncy".

"Long Way Home" by Speed is a lachrymose ballad in the "Careless Whisper" vein that kind of seeps under your skin after a few hearings. Dunno if they're anything to do with Speed, Glue and Shinki (I suspect not) but you can always hope.

Those are the only 2 j-pop songs I can remember actually. Are there any compilations / overviews marketed to the Western market? Or would that be a complete waste of any record companies time and money?

Matt #2 (Matt #2), Thursday, 10 November 2005 15:42 (fourteen years ago) link


The Hillary Duff sounding song "Endless Love" from We Love Katamari soundtrack. So good!

This morning on the train I jammed out The Fantastic Plastic Machine's "too" which is total disco mindfuck.

Jdubz (ex machina), Thursday, 10 November 2005 15:44 (fourteen years ago) link

today I made a "music cover fantasy" folder and one of those songs is j-pop: ayumi hamasaki "Real me" RAM RIDER REMIX, it's a sweet and powerful "get out of my way" kind of pop song.

Sébastien Chikara (Sébastien Chikara), Friday, 11 November 2005 00:45 (fourteen years ago) link

Yuko Ogura's 'Frui Chu Tarte' from last year is one of the best all-out, hyper, super-synthy J-pop albums of recent years. I don't know who these musicians are...but they know how to make a pop song. It's her first album! She sounds like a kid!

Patrick South (Patrick South), Friday, 11 November 2005 01:28 (fourteen years ago) link

Spontine :"I'd recommend Ai Otsuka, esp her first album Love PUNCH"

spontine i had just bought LOve Jam, which is good, is Love punch better ?
Also i bought Chara "a scenery like me but had yet to listen"

not strictly jpop but i highy recommend Takako Minekawa "Roomic cube" and "Chat chat".

any other suggestion, expecially greatest hits, since i can permit to go bankrut and i buy tons od diverse genre of music. Yeh a J-Pop compilation for the wester market would be a goodidea, but probably noone is interested....

francesco brunetti, Friday, 11 November 2005 17:34 (fourteen years ago) link

sorry, that should have been "i can't permit to go bankrupt"!!!! and "a scenery like me" but....

francesco brunetti, Friday, 11 November 2005 17:36 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeh a J-Pop compilation for the wester market would be a goodidea, but probably noone is interested....

Kinokuniya Books sells "The Best in J-Pop! Volume X" type comps for better (yet slightly inflated but nowhere near Japanese import) prices.. so SOME labels (in the U.S. at least) have seen a market for this.

They also sell domestic releases of Japanese bands like Polysics and, occasionally, Boredoms related stuff... Still, I wish the buyers at Kinokuniya would be more on the off-the-radar tip -- but the AOR Japanese pop, J-Pop, and Japanese underground customer bases tend to be mutually exclusive, I guess.

(plurplurplur) ^_- DJ 'O' Nut -_^ (rulprulprulp) (donut), Friday, 11 November 2005 17:56 (fourteen years ago) link

five years pass...

BABYMETAL! I have nothing else to say.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 28 October 2011 18:35 (eight years ago) link

That's...quite something.

I guess there's always been a crossover between j-pop and metal with people like Aikawa Nanase and the vis kei bands but i've never heard anything like that.

Mohombi Khush Hua (ShariVari), Friday, 28 October 2011 18:39 (eight years ago) link

Do not ignore their homepage:

Ned Raggett, Friday, 28 October 2011 18:55 (eight years ago) link


Mohombi Khush Hua (ShariVari), Friday, 28 October 2011 19:02 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

bob loblaw people (dayo), Thursday, 12 January 2012 13:24 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...

Have to post this here as well

(This being Momoiro Clover Z - the music video is great as well, but the official upload's sound is muffled )

Big, amazing song. Marty Friedman featuring seems like a normal sort of thing for these girls. There's also this article from Japan Times:

The not-so-odd coupling between noise acts and J-pop

However, a lot of it is thoroughly sincere, and in Japan, the burning heart of this love affair is Momoiro Clover Z, a pop group who provoke squealing, teenage admiration from punks, indie kids, noise musicians and heavy-psychedelic longhairs throughout the Japanese underground music scene.

One such progressive rocker is Taigen Kawabe of U.K.-based psychedelic band Bo Ningen. More often seen in Tokyo playing alongside noise legends such as Keiji Haino, Kawabe's page on the website SoundCloud leads off with a curious mashup of his own band and Momioro Clover Z in which the former band's shifts in rhythm match surprisingly well with the idol group's distinctive penchant for chopping aggressively (and sometimes illogically) between seemingly unconnected melodies.

Interestingly, Momioro Clover's recent single, "Roudou Sanka," written by Ian Parton of British band The Go! Team, met with criticism from some fans for being too commercial, and the Hyadain-produced (and Friedman-enhanced) followup, the elaborately titled "Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyoukyoku Dainana Gakushou", is defiantly back in the group's previous furious conceptual mashup territory

Roudou Sanka is actually great

abcfsk, Friday, 2 March 2012 18:40 (eight years ago) link

the music isn't killing me as much as the video concepts, but the Megadeth guitar + Volga Boatmen Russian choral coda is definitely some kind of... thing? they're 9000 times less disturbing than AKB48 in any case, if I could take back watching that one video of theirs a friend forwarded I would

that Japan Times article is great though; Merzbow had been influencing western pop artists from the beginning of his career, but when Shiina Ringo began integrating full on Otomo Yoshihide levels of noise-solos in her pop songs it really did come across as national heritage rather than some kind of collage. almost confused Japan Times didn't reference Shiina even though she basically moved away from noise in 2004

Milton Parker, Friday, 2 March 2012 20:15 (eight years ago) link

Here's the song performed live with a full choir and marty on the guitar!

abcfsk, Saturday, 3 March 2012 10:57 (eight years ago) link

I fell asleep listening to Perfume's JPN last night and had weird acidy candy store french electro dreams.

owenf, Tuesday, 13 March 2012 22:37 (eight years ago) link

Whoa, I completely missed out on Momoiro Clover Z's nutsoid Christmas song:

Doch! (seandalai), Wednesday, 14 March 2012 00:30 (eight years ago) link

^ the best bit is when it goes SANTA

owenf, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 01:32 (eight years ago) link

Dude who writes most of their stuff:

abcfsk, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 06:33 (eight years ago) link

bet he's tired

owenf, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 09:48 (eight years ago) link

Sufficiently so to forget his many chords in the new Momoiro tune-

abcfsk, Wednesday, 14 March 2012 10:49 (eight years ago) link

TAKE FIVE! puts me in this really nostalgic mood

flagp∞st (dayo), Saturday, 17 March 2012 23:04 (eight years ago) link

live track by Salyu, from her new Cornelius produced album

zappi, Sunday, 18 March 2012 12:37 (eight years ago) link

I realize that i should have typed GIVE ME FIVE!. TAKE FIVE! is a dave brubeck song.

flagp∞st (dayo), Sunday, 18 March 2012 12:48 (eight years ago) link

not often that i really dig auto-tune/vocoders. she has a couple great songs but i can't find youtube hosts of them.

kelpolaris, Monday, 19 March 2012 00:11 (eight years ago) link

here's a real treat

frogbs, Monday, 19 March 2012 00:42 (eight years ago) link

Grabbed the new Ayumi Hamasaki album yesterday. The first few songs are pretty good in a blatantly Rihanna/pop-trance kind of way, but the album's latter two-thirds are all ballads with gloopy strings. Don't love it.

誤訳侮辱, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 13:43 (eight years ago) link

Saw L'Arc-en-Ciel at Madison Square Garden last night; reviewed it for the Voice. I took many more pictures than they used; I'll put some up on my blog, and link it later.

誤訳侮辱, Monday, 26 March 2012 14:14 (eight years ago) link

I really like the Ayumi Hamasaki album! I'm not big on ballads and gloopy strings either but they are much more restrained and creative than that description usually suggests. With the exception of the last one (the single) which, yes, is a bit much.

if, Monday, 26 March 2012 15:07 (eight years ago) link

I don't know - my favorite of her recent albums is Rock 'n' Roll Circus, so with the title Party Queen I was kinda hoping for something more in that vein.

Here's the link to my L'Arc-en-Ciel photos.

誤訳侮辱, Monday, 26 March 2012 15:57 (eight years ago) link

Meta new Perfume

abcfsk, Sunday, 1 April 2012 09:49 (eight years ago) link

amazing. As usual.

owenf, Sunday, 1 April 2012 11:45 (eight years ago) link

yep, that's good

James Bond Jor (seandalai), Sunday, 1 April 2012 14:59 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

the clapping at the beginning of this is straight up steve reich's "clapping music"

wario in the streets, waluigi in the sheets (m bison), Tuesday, 17 September 2019 02:10 (one year ago) link

ok it's v v v close

wario in the streets, waluigi in the sheets (m bison), Tuesday, 17 September 2019 02:12 (one year ago) link

(many xps)

+1 for the Dempagumi.Inc track Jeff W posted the other week.

breastcrawl, Wednesday, 18 September 2019 17:55 (one year ago) link

yeh I've been following 3776 for a few years now. they started as a "local idol" group to promote Fujinomiya, a city at the base of Mt Fuji, but the group has since become more of an arty postpunk group with the duo of Chiyono & Akira.
they use a lot of Fuji imagery in the lyrics and the number 3776 in their songs e.g. in the below song during the breakdown about 90 seconds in Chiyono counts out measures of 3,7,7 and 6 before 1234ing back into the song

track 12 does that too, right from the beginning. have not heard the new one but I remember thinking the first one reminded me a bit of modern Cornelius, not his new album but rather the NHK/salyu x salyu stuff. it's a bit more energetic than that though.

frogbs, Thursday, 19 September 2019 13:53 (one year ago) link

Gonna be in Tokyo for a couple weeks next weekend. Any clubs around town good guarantees of seeing a pop act?

57mg/20floz, Saturday, 21 September 2019 05:05 (one year ago) link

there will be tons of events every day, so probably best to check listings like these:

and if there are specific acts you're interested in, twitter and so on

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Friday, 27 September 2019 18:59 (one year ago) link

and it's cool that 3776 is getting some hype outside the idol bubble. new album rules. but I went to an in-store recently and the crowd was still v much the idol otaku you might expect haha.

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Friday, 27 September 2019 19:03 (one year ago) link

Ano has left You'll Melt More with immediate effect. She was their most popular member by miles, can't see them lasting much longer without her.

( X '____' )/ (zappi), Monday, 30 September 2019 10:27 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

Air ni ni by Hakushi Hasegawa is a pretty wild album - hyperactive synth-heavy jazz-pop/breakcore fusion

here's a spotify link since the only track from it on youtube is the first which is a little unrepresentative of just how wild it gets

ufo, Saturday, 23 November 2019 11:46 (ten months ago) link

the polyrhythmic breakdown in "evil things" is astounding

ufo, Saturday, 23 November 2019 11:58 (ten months ago) link

Oh this sounds interesting! Thanks for the recommendation, ufo.

fragglerock, Monday, 25 November 2019 03:15 (ten months ago) link

two weeks pass...

All prior discussion of 3776's Saijiki is underselling it - this is the album of the fucking year

I love little thought experiments and justapositions of western canon with classically Japanese themes, such as:

I wonder to myself how much this album is *aware* of it's presence in the west, and why it feels an obligation to create something so distinctly Japanese with aid of western classical canon. A YouTube comment puts it perfectly:

" The production is such a mesh of genres that it sounds like a logical conclusion to music "

I'd argue that it is the logical conclusion to western influence on Japanese ideology and self perception - that the next step will be become something beyond.

57mg/20floz, Wednesday, 11 December 2019 02:25 (nine months ago) link

i still haven't really been able to wrap my head around it really, it's so dense with ideas

ufo, Wednesday, 11 December 2019 02:41 (nine months ago) link

I wonder to myself how much this album is *aware* of it's presence in the west, and why it feels an obligation to create something so distinctly Japanese with aid of western classical canon.

well, there's a lot of japanese music that quotes & incorporates canonical classical music, just as there is a lot of music that does the same everywhere. I very much doubt the artists were aware of the presence of this music in the west where, even now, it is still in the margins. as is still the case in japan. prior to the new one, 3776 was basically invisible if you weren't already following this stuff.

I'm guessing akira simply thinks these things sound cool. if you've heard the earlier versions of the tracks on the unmixed eps, they are certainly less dense even if they are essentially the same songs. the extra stuff got layered in to help create the transitions from track-to-track, giving it its dense, disorienting character. which I love.

it's also my album of the year.

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Wednesday, 11 December 2019 23:29 (nine months ago) link

" The production is such a mesh of genres that it sounds like a logical conclusion to music "

― 57mg/20floz

wow what a backhanded compliment, i don't want music to be "logical" or to conclude!

fortunately i don't really get either of those things from the record

Agnes Motörhead (rushomancy), Wednesday, 11 December 2019 23:57 (nine months ago) link

yeah, it is more like... a collage of things that sound cool together! not to downplay the work involved because it is significant but the album is kinda messy too. this is one of the things I like about it! imo it's like a fun dj mix, I don't really hear it as a grand lab experiment fusing east and west at all.

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Thursday, 12 December 2019 00:15 (nine months ago) link

wow what a backhanded compliment, i don't want music to be "logical" or to conclude!

I'm fine with music concluding, gives me a chance to catch up!

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 12 December 2019 11:07 (nine months ago) link

oh man this is wonderful. thanks for the heads up.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Thursday, 12 December 2019 12:48 (nine months ago) link

four weeks pass...

( X '____' )/ (zappi), Saturday, 11 January 2020 10:48 (eight months ago) link

two weeks pass...

recently got around to last year's final Koutei Camera Girl Drei releases (Dawn By Flow and the Be There EP) and they're very very good, wish i'd heard them in time for eoy stuff. Dawn By Flow adds in a dancehall influence to their pop-techno on a few tracks. it's not on youtube but i really recommend checking out "it's no go" which is a weird-but-great dancehall/drum & bass fusion

ufo, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 19:42 (seven months ago) link

two weeks pass...

nice creepycute MV for a song from the recent Maison Book Girl album

( X '____' )/ (zappi), Saturday, 15 February 2020 21:39 (seven months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Lol wow that's amazing!

The new You'll Melt More! album is out and sounding excellent so far.

tangenttangent, Wednesday, 4 March 2020 09:37 (six months ago) link

this record rules

nxd, Wednesday, 4 March 2020 10:05 (six months ago) link

The first half is their lovely brand of pop-punk and then the last few tracks are free reign for whatever weirdness you want to put at the end of a 70-minute album.

tangenttangent, Wednesday, 4 March 2020 10:46 (six months ago) link

Title track, WOW WOW WAR and Go Out are all brilliant. I guess focus isn't really their watchword and I can respect that

strangely hookworm but they manage ream shoegaze poetry (imago), Wednesday, 4 March 2020 13:31 (six months ago) link

yehhh really loved freestyle zenbu too

nxd, Wednesday, 4 March 2020 14:21 (six months ago) link

on constant repeat :D

nxd, Thursday, 5 March 2020 13:04 (six months ago) link

really enjoying these

ufo, Friday, 6 March 2020 09:03 (six months ago) link's "moshi moshi internet" (the second video there) is so intriguing, it feels quite retro but in a way i can't really place and it's kinda proggy too

ufo, Friday, 6 March 2020 09:12 (six months ago) link

some kind of new peak for mashup pop?

ufo, Wednesday, 11 March 2020 14:34 (six months ago) link

i like these singles from kalen anzai a lot

ufo, Sunday, 15 March 2020 14:28 (six months ago) link

one month passes...

Nice of Dempagumi to drop their album internationally on my birthday. Moshi Moshi Internet and Nemadempa (which has been reworked) are the most radical things on it, and I’m slightly disappointed there isn’t more in that vein. Still an amazing collection though.

Jeff W, Friday, 24 April 2020 00:59 (five months ago) link

three weeks pass...

finally got around to the album and i agree about those being highlights. still adore "inochi no yorokobi" too

ufo, Tuesday, 19 May 2020 11:33 (four months ago) link

An EP appeared on Spotify last Friday too. Not sure what that’s about. Haven’t had a chance to listen yet.

Jeff W, Tuesday, 19 May 2020 12:07 (four months ago) link

one month passes...

4s4ki’s stuff has been doing it for me lately, and this track in particular, which sounds a bit like if OPN went jpop

her full length is solid too. it’s all in spotify.

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Tuesday, 7 July 2020 15:58 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

hey look Ano is releasing solo stuff, I thought she might go full hikki after leaving YMM so pleasantly surprised

( X '____' )/ (zappi), Thursday, 3 September 2020 18:19 (three weeks ago) link

prominent p-model sighting @ 0:37! wish this sounded more like p-model tho.

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Thursday, 3 September 2020 23:28 (three weeks ago) link

three weeks pass...

toriena goes digital hardcore/breakcore/prob some other things with 'core' at the end:

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Sunday, 27 September 2020 00:37 (seven hours ago) link

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