It’s somewhat fitting that, for the first installment of SBS PopAsia’s new weekly round-up of J-Pop news, that the past seven days have mostly seen announcements of new singles and albums coming out later this Autumn.
The stage is being set for the next three months of J-Pop, so think of this not just as a catch-up of recent happenings, but also as a preview of what’s to come out of the Japanese pop scene.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is getting into the new season's mood with new single "Easta," which she teased today in 45-second form. The video features the pop star parading around a slightly unnerving town populated by eggs and rabbits. The full clip will be out soon, but enjoy the preview below.
Rock band RADWIMPS have had a massive year, releasing a successful album and sound-tracking the highest grossing anime movie ever. Pretty good for 12 months! Now the group plans to keep moving forward, by releasing a new double-A-side single called “Saihate Ai Ni / Sennou” on May 10. That one comes a month before they embark on a tour of Asia in June.
Fashion-model-turned-performer Natsume Mito broke through with J-Pop fans a couple years back with “Maegami Kirisugita,” a breezy bit of pop about her hair. Since then, she’s become a staple on Japanese television and released several other singlse not focused on her locks. On April 26, she will release her first full-length album, with every song produced by Yasutaka Nakata (Perfume, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu).
When it comes to debut releases that took some time to come out, four-piece outfit FAKY top the list. The group technically debuted in 2011, but have undergone numerous lineup changes and stylistic shifts. Finally, they will release their first major label EP in June. There’s no set release date yet though.
Hit release announcements:
A few quick hit release announcements made this week: jittery rock outfit Tricot have a new album slated for release on May 19. Dance-pop producer tofubeats drops his third album Fantasy Club on May 24, and shared the string-laden “Baby” today. Lastly, long-running J-Pop performer Ai Otsuka has a new album out on April 12. Get a preview of it by watching the video for “Starting Pistol” below, featuring both a dog and a cat.
Japanese music charts
The Japanese music charts in 2017 are in a bit of disarray. It used to be that you’d look at the Oricon Music Charts, and be able to get a solid view of what’s popular in Japan. Yet, like in the rest of the world, the rise of streaming platforms like YouTube and digital sales have disrupted traditional models. So this week, the Oricon Singles and Album Charts were topped by biggie-sized pop outfit Nogizaka46 and boy band NEWS respectively, but that ranking mostly accounts for physical sales. Yet on digital site Recochoku, singer-songwriter Anly and folk-pop duo Sukima Switch’s collaboration “Kono Yami Wo Terasu Hikari No Mukou Ni” was number one. While on iTunes, pop-punk trio WANIMA took the top spot. And we aren’t even diving into streaming sites.
As announced earlier on SBS PopAsia, electro-pop trio REOL plays at London’s HYPER JAPAN Festival in July.
Lastly, the Music Video of the Week comes courtesy of long-running dance producer Towa Tei. He teamed up with Ano from the frantic idol outfit You’ll Melt More! for “REM,” a jittery bit of electro-pop featuring a visually loopy clip. Watch it below.
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