Women whose work is never done

| Jul 24, 2002

Women whose work is never done

“Senko (Flash),” singer/songwriter UA’s first single in three years, further cements her status as one of J-pop’s most enigmatic and original artists. Released July 24, “Senko” is a dark, moody piece that’s half tone poem and half pop song. UA and co-producer Rei Harakami ...

Really looking forward to old age

| Jul 17, 2002

Really looking forward to old age

Rock stars can do things us regular folks can’t. They can get good tables at crowded restaurants without a reservation. They can have promiscuous sex and take all sorts of exotic drugs and then be knighted by the Queen. And if they’re Eikichi Yazawa, ...

A card-carrying regular guy

| Jul 10, 2002

A card-carrying regular guy

One interesting aspect of Japanese meishi (name-card) etiquette is that entertainers never give them out. It took me a while to figure out that one. Several interviews with musicians I thought had begun inauspiciously when I handed the artist my meishi only to receive ...

Make way for the gloom

| Jul 3, 2002

Make way for the gloom

Mr. Hyde is waiting to be interviewed in the chicly decrepit confines of Casa del Japon, a Western-style house in Azabu that was the residence of China’s ambassador to Japan before World War II and is now a bar and restaurant. He is sitting ...

Starting off on the right foot (and ending on the left . . .)

| Jun 26, 2002

Starting off on the right foot (and ending on the left . . .)

The Japanese music biz produces boy-girl pop duos with clockwork regularity — think Love Psychedelico or EE Jump. The most recent example is Orange Pekoe (that’s pronounced “peh-koe,” by the way), which comprises Kobe natives Kazuma Fujimoto and Tomoko Nagashima. The two first met ...

What's the real problem behind music file sharing?

| Jun 19, 2002

What's the real problem behind music file sharing?

Share and share alike — that’s what we were taught when we were kids. It’s an admirable ethos to live by, but it’s anathema to the recording industry, which sees online music file-sharing as only slightly less reprehensible than baby-killing. The Recording Industry Association ...

Message in a pop song

| Jun 12, 2002

Message in a pop song

You’ve probably noticed a big mascara-lined eye staring out at you from billboards all over town lately. The eye in question belongs to Lisa, former vocalist with hip-hop/R&B trio m-flo, and the billboard is plugging her new single, “Babylon no Kiseki (Miracle of Babylon),” ...

And the 'nice try' award goes to . . .

| May 29, 2002

And the 'nice try' award goes to . . .

It is my sad duty to report that the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards Japan, held May 24 at the Tokyo International Forum, was a less than spectacularly successful affair. The event was plagued by some very lame presenters, technical glitches and missed cues. ...

For Utada, third time's, uh, same-ish

| May 22, 2002

For Utada, third time's, uh, same-ish

Set for a June 19 release, Hikaru Utada’s third album, “Deep River,” doesn’t contain any major surprises, staying true to the pop/R&B synthesis that has proven so successful for the singer since she burst onto the scene with her debut single, “Automatic/Time Will Tell,” ...