Music Topics

Namie Amuro 'Feel'

Aug 14, 2013

Namie Amuro "Feel"

by Patrick ST. Michel

The age of the J-pop diva has long passed, those halcyon days of Whitney Houston-inspired vocals and million-unit-moving singles. The female entertainers from this period have recently coped by embracing American trends. Kumi Koda struck Oricon Single Chart gold last year with “Go To ...

Smany 'komoriuta'

Aug 14, 2013

Smany "komoriuta"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Netlabel culture in Japan — referring to Web-only music labels that distribute tunes online, usually for free — has been around long enough to develop its own set of minor celebrities and “star” imprints. Bunkai-Kei has become one of the most popular of these ...

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 'Nanda Collection'

Jul 17, 2013

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu "Nanda Collection"

by Patrick ST. Michel

“Am I an adult? Or am I a kid?” sings Kyary Pamyu Pamyu on “Furisodation,” a song about the Harajuku blogger-turned-model-turned-pop-star turning 20 earlier this year. That’s the question that looms over all of her sophomore album, “Nanda Collection.” The album is obsessed with ...

Slow Beach 'Lover Lover'

| Jul 17, 2013

Slow Beach "Lover Lover"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Slow Beach is somewhat of a supergroup in Tokyo’s indie-rock scene. The group finds Dai Ogasawara, founder of twee-leaning netlabel Ano(t)raks, hooking up with producer Kai Takahashi, who is responsible for some of the most interesting electronic compositions of the year, including a chilled-out ...

miwa 'Delight'

Jun 20, 2013

miwa "Delight"

by Patrick ST. Michel

The title of miwa’s first two releases, “Guitarissimo” and “Guitarium,” seemingly announced her musical niche. Those top-selling albums (her debut made her the first Japanese performer born in the 1990s to take the Oricon album chart’s top spot) revolved around guitar, in the form ...

May.e 'Mattiola'

Jun 20, 2013

May.e "Mattiola"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Thousands of people have uploaded videos of themselves to YouTube playing acoustic covers of well-known songs. Armed with a guitar, a voice and dreams of viral stardom, the covers tackle everything from contemporary pop to hip-hop, and more often than not are done with ...

Noah × Sela 'Split EP'

May 16, 2013

Noah × Sela "Split EP"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Over the course of its six-year existence, Flau Records has carved out an identity as a record label offering intimate music. The actual sonic styles of the artists represented by the acts signed to the border-hopping imprint differ — some make proper songs, some ...

Momoiro Clover Z '5th Dimension'

May 16, 2013

Momoiro Clover Z "5th Dimension"

by Ian Martin

There were some curious rumors flying around prior to the release of “5th Dimension,” the second album by idol quintet Momoiro Clover Z, some of them intriguing (“It’s going to be a concept album”) and some worrying (longtime producer Kenichi “Hyadain” Maeyamada reportedly called ...

Apr 18, 2013

Kis-My-Ft2 "Good Ikuze!" (Avex Trax)

by Patrick ST. Michel

Odds are, Japan Times reader, that you do not like Kis-My-Ft2. Maybe you’ve been unable to escape the bleating “Wanna Beeee!!!” while out strolling in Shibuya, or maybe they lost you at, “From the people who brought you SMAP and Arashi!” So this review ...

i-fls 'Diary of Spectre' (self-release)

Apr 18, 2013

i-fls "Diary of Spectre" (self-release)

by Patrick ST. Michel

The first song I ever made — and I’m willing to wager many who graduated high school in the mid 2000s share this experience — was using Apple’s GarageBand, a software application that lets people make music on their computers. “I made a killer ...

NMB48 'Teppen Totande!' (Laugh Out Loud Records)

Mar 21, 2013

NMB48 "Teppen Totande!" (Laugh Out Loud Records)

by Patrick ST. Michel

Contrary to popular hemming and hawing, the big problem with Oricon chart-dominating act AKB48 isn’t their music. Their discography certainly contains misfires, but producer Yasushi Akimoto and company can pen great material for the dozens-strong group. Last year, they boasted two of the best ...