I take it back, gladly

| Mar 13, 2002

I take it back, gladly

When writing recently about Seiji Ozawa’s very successful “New Year’s Concert 2002″ album, I made a passing reference to his “nasally voiced” nephew, Kenji Ozawa. Well, I take it all back. Kenji has just released one of the most interesting J-pop albums of the ...

Be true to your old school

| Mar 6, 2002

Be true to your old school

Suddenly, it’s hip to be trad. Japanese traditional music is now in vogue, as artists such as Chitose Hajime, Hiromitsu Agatsuma, the Yoshida brothers and Shinichi Kinoshita strike a chord with music fans looking for something more rootsy and down-home to listen to than ...

Signs of the times

| Feb 27, 2002

Signs of the times

Is the world ready for Hikki? The folks at the Island Def Jam label apparently think so, which is why they’ve signed Hikaru Utada to a worldwide recording deal. Under the contract, Utada will record at least one English-language album for the label. So ...

And that really burns me up

| Feb 20, 2002

And that really burns me up

If, like me, you do a lot of your work at home, I imagine you may like to listen to music as you labor through a translation, write a story or put together a PowerPoint presentation. And you probably find it convenient to listen ...

| Feb 13, 2002

Nimaime wa so-so, baby

I hate to say it, but Love Psychedelico has succumbed to the dreaded “second-album syndrome” with “Love Psychedelico Orchestra,” which was released Jan. 9. It’s not a bad album — in fact it has some great songs, like the opening track, “Standing Bird,” which ...

We've got high expectations

| Feb 6, 2002

We've got high expectations

A while back, I was whingeing about how Japan needs a music awards show that has more popular input. Well, the good folks at MTV Japan have done something to help remedy that problem. On May 24, it will host the first-ever MTV Video ...

Going Ga Ga Ga for Ozawa

| Jan 30, 2002

Going Ga Ga Ga for Ozawa

Ozawa is doing well on the charts these days. Not Kenji Ozawa, the nasally singer whose popularity I cannot fathom, but his uncle, classical conductor Seiji Ozawa. The elder Ozawa’s “New Year’s Concert 2002″ album entered the music-industry trade paper Oricon’s Jan. 28 album ...

Forgiven but not forgotten

| Jan 23, 2002

Forgiven but not forgotten

A standard and horribly cliched J-pop ritual is the public confession of guilt by performers who have done various naughty things — much like politicians who temporarily drop out of sight after being found on the take or caught rigging elections. The most recent ...

If at first you don't succeed

| Jan 16, 2002

If at first you don't succeed

Teen idol Ami Suzuki is apparently on the verge of making a comeback after disappearing from the J-pop radar more than a year ago. Various “sports” newspapers and TV shows recently reported that Suzuki has signed a management deal with the powerful Osaka-based production ...

Two looks back and three worth looking forward to

| Jan 9, 2002

Two looks back and three worth looking forward to

Akemashite, etc. . . . Before I do anything else, I’d like to thank NHK for providing me with my yearly dose of enka on the 2001 edition of “Kohaku Utagassen (Red and White Song Contest).” In fact, there was waaaaaaaay too much enka, ...