A few familiar names — and a couple new ones — appear in this week’s SBS PopAsia J-Pop roundup…
Music Video Of The Week
This one gained a lot of traction with Japanese and international viewers online — MeseMoa’s “Shadow Kiss” finds the nine-member group kissing each other 36 times over the course of a just-shy-of-four-minute-long clip. They used to be known as Morning Musumen, as they simply did dance covers of idol heavyweights Morning Musume, and gained quite a bit of recognition on Japanese video sharing site Niconico for this concept. But they’ve flipped it up a bit now, even if the song itself is a bit generic, it’s the video that’s getting shared.
FEMM featuring LIZ
Ahead of their first London show ever, mannequin electro-pop duo FEMM shared the new video for their latest song “Do It Again,” featuring American artist LIZ. It’s always a bit jarring to hear FEMM move away from the aggressive, confidence-boiling-over style they’ve achieved international attention with, but it’s also a nice change of pace to hear the duo introduce some sadness into their music, and leave some space for everything to breathe. Which isn’t to say this is an introspective slow burner; halfway through, “Do It Again” goes double speed (and switches to Japanese), adding energy to the number. LIZ slides in nicely next to FEMM vocally, and the song comes with a clever “fake 3D” video. Watch it below:
Since 2000, Japanese fashion magazine ViVi has given space for J-Pop superstar Ayumi Hamasaki to share photos, or to offer insight into the clothes she wears. Her “Deji Deji Diary” has been a staple of the popular publication. But it comes to an end this May, when the last edition runs in an issue featuring Hamasaki on the cover. There are several ways to read this move; maybe it’s a result of Hamasaki settling into the middle portion of her career, or maybe it’s due to a shrinking magazine industry in Japan. Either way, the end of an era for the singer.
Speaking of long-runs coming to an end, Haruna Koijima of AKB48 officially graduated from the group this week. That, in itself, might not seem too noteworthy - members leave the biggie-sized outfit all the time, its whole operation revolves around replacing people - except Koijima has been with the group since the very beginning, making her a staple of the unit for over a decade.
Have A Nice Day! Featuring Oomori Seiko
Singer/songwriter Oomori Seiko has become one of the more buzzed about acts managing to break into the J-Pop mainstream, releasing zig-zagging numbers on her own and writing for various other groups. What made her rise all the more unpredictable is that she came up from the underground, playing stripped-down folk songs wherein she frequently slid between whispering and screaming. “Fantastic Drag” finds her teaming up with on-the-come-up band Have A Nice Day!, and for those new to her, highlights her vocal capabilities really well come her verse. Few vocalists in J-Pop can make unpredictable delivery sound so captivating.
Japanese Music Charts
AKB48 just keeps on creating sister groups, and the latest, NGT48 based out of the city of Niigata, topped the Oricon singles chart this week with their debut single. The album chart, meanwhile, saw D-LITE from BigBang take the number one spot with his D-Day, a nice reminder how (uh) big anything involving that K-Pop group can get in Japan. Digitally, it’s all about Keyakizaka46, whose latest keeps on shining, even beyond the usual idol-centric charts of Oricon.
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