Yaida takes off on flight of 'flancy'

| Oct 30, 2002

Yaida takes off on flight of 'flancy'

Why monkey with a winning formula? That seems to be the logic behind singer/songwriter Hitomi Yaida’s third album, “i/flancy,” which reached No. 1 on the Oricon album chart for the week ending Oct. 28. Like her previous albums, “i/flancy” includes punchy rock numbers like ...

Getting keyed in on musical talent

| Oct 23, 2002

Getting keyed in on musical talent

I don’t like the phrase “child prodigy.” It sounds vaguely condescending, and it brings to mind images of pushy parents forcing reluctant children to follow in the footsteps of Beethoven, Mozart and Michael Jackson. But that term is entirely appropriate in describing one of ...

Japan image that resonates

| Oct 17, 2002

Japan image that resonates

Ichitaro Nakanoshima likes nothing better than to spend the late morning watching videos of old musicals like “Singin’ in the Rain.” Nakanoshima, though, is no slacker. Before settling down to watch Gene Kelly trip the light fantastic, he starts his day at 6 a.m. ...

The Captains chart retro course

| Oct 9, 2002

The Captains chart retro course

Nostalgia is a dangerous thing. In the wrong hands, it can be an outlet for excessive sentimentality and out-and-out kitsch. In the right hands, however, it can be a healthy look at the past, an appreciation of what has gone before that doesn’t dogmatically ...

Sep 29, 2002

Music of the J-people

Japanese pop music is crap. So say many of my friends, especially the non-Japanese ones. They reach that conclusion after noticing that the charts are full of chipmunk-voiced idols who are long on looks and short on talent — and whose shelf lives are ...

So you're a wannabe J-pop star?

| Sep 25, 2002

So you're a wannabe J-pop star?

Yellow Magic Orchestra burst upon the scene in the late ’70s with a refreshing and original blend of pop music and electronic sounds that established a new pop template and influenced musicians all over the world. The band broke up in 1983 and, apart ...

Talk about the passion . . .

| Sep 18, 2002

Talk about the passion . . .

Can Kiyoshi Hikawa save enka? Enka — usually, but imperfectly, translated as “Japanese ballads” — has fallen to an all-time low in terms of popularity, accounting for less than 10 percent of music sales in Japan. One of the problems with enka is its ...

Putting the J in J-punk

| Sep 11, 2002

Putting the J in J-punk

It’s taken a while, but punk rock seems to have finally broken into the J-pop mainstream. Punk bands that have recently made it into the Oricon album chart include Nicotine, the Stance Punks, Sobut (whose name, by the way, stands for “Sons of Bitches ...

X Japan pianist/drummer is now a global commodity

| Sep 4, 2002

X Japan pianist/drummer is now a global commodity

If you’ve walked by the Laforet building in Harajuku recently, you might have noticed a huge banner that draped the structure’s exterior featuring a masked character, looking something like a pro wrestler, poking his head out of what appears to be a body of ...