As I am typing this, I have just woken up from a brief nap post-25-hour session of driving to and from Los Angeles for the sake of J-Pop supergroup Perfume.
I was not always that into J-Pop, whereas I have had a library of anime theme songs on my iTunes for most of my life and that is where it seemingly ended. However, that all changed when I discovered the Yasutaka Nakata produced Perfume, and realized how varied and new J-Pop could be, and from that moment on I was hooked.
Japanese pop music differs greatly from American pop music, but can be just as diverse and varied as our westward artists. I hope this mix of Beats N’ Stuff, “noticed by senpai, at last,” will provide you with a good introductory sense of what J-Pop is and what makes it so special. Enjoy~
1.) “胸にアイタ穴 (Mune Aki)” by Serani Poji
Serani Poji, a pop group named after a fictional pop singer in the SEGA game ROOMMANIA #203, in which the group was created to compose songs for. Members Tomoko Sasaki and Yukichi create cheerful, sweet sounding tunes as a duo. I personally discovered Serani Poji a few years ago on a miscellaneous forum that I had stumbled across, and I am so glad that I did. While not stereotypical, electronic-laden J-Pop like the past few years, Serani Poji are in a light twee-pop-shibuya-kei-esque genre all of their own.
Recommended if you like: Sipping café au laits at coffee shops
2.) “そらとぶひかり (Soratobu Hikari)” by Coltemonikha
Music producer/J-Pop God Yasutaka Nakata’s little-known musical project Coltemonikha is a gem. Collaborating with model and fashion designer Kate Sakai for vocals, Coltemonikha is a fun, brief J-Pop duo of the two, as it was merely formed to complement a fashion line of Sakai’s. While not quite as electronic heavy as Perfume or even Capsule in the mid-2000s, and not quite as idol-y as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Coltemonikha falls somewhere in the middle in regards to Nakata’s other producing credits.
Recommended if you like: Playing music at work that makes co-workers say “what is this?” in either disgust or curiosity
3.) “FAKE IT” by Perfume
Perfume, an electropop group from Hiroshima, took Japan by storm in 2008 when their second album Game became their first number one album. Perfume’s heavy electronic melodies and reliance on autotune has brought them widespread success, as they are one of the most recognizable Japanese acts in Asian music. Also, Perfume literally changed my taste in music entirely and arguably changed my life for the better. Try to listen to this track and not want to immediately dance around.
Recommended if you like: Staying up for 25 hours to go to LA and back for a J-Pop concert and jumping until your strawberry-shaped purse breaks
4.) “BEATBOP” by [email protected]
[email protected] is techno-laden J-Pop artist, with most classifying her as being full-on electronica due to the heavy emphasis in her music thanks to production by Terukado Onishi. Her music is fun and catchy, the perfect tunes for a house party or something of that sort. While [email protected] is apparently no more, Saori recently announced that she will be returning to music after her recent two-year hiatus under the alias Saoriiiii instead, and I am looking forward to what she does next!
Recommended if you like: Being at an electronic show and thinking, “Man, why do I have to pay $4 for a bottle of water?”
5.) “ちゅるりちゅるりら (Chururi Chururira)” by でんぱ組.inc (Dempagumi.inc)
I have steered away from major idol-y groups for as long as possible, until a good friend of mine roped me into the world of Dempagumi.inc against my will: and how enamored I became by them. Dempagumi.inc is composed of six girls (of course), all of whom are former otaku, being complete nerds about anything from anime to video games and denpa music. In a world saturated by personality-less, manufactured idols, Dempagumi.inc are a breath of fresh air. Their music is so catchy that it is impossible not to have the desire to watch all their YouTube videos thousands of times and wish you could see them.
Recommended if you like: Cute girls yelling