Not quite as much big news to touch on compared to last Friday, but still noteworthy Japanese music news in this week’s SBS PopAsia J-Pop roundup...
Gesu no Kiwami Otome
Think far, far back to January 2016. Simpler times, right? At that point, the Japanese band Gesu no Kiwami Otome were preparing to release a new album, following a 12-month stretch where they went from a middle-tier outfit to the most buzzed about group in the country following one song going viral. But then, a tabloid discovered married lead singer Enon Kawatani was having an affair with TV personality Becky. That became the biggest entertainment story of 2016’s first half, and damaged the band’s reputation. Looking to close out the year on a positive note, Gesu prepped another album for December. Then Kawatani got caught up in another scandal, and that full-length was shelved.
Well, instead of being buried into the Earth’s crust, Gesu’s album Daruma Ringo will arrive in stores this May. It’s a tough spot to be in, as it will be near impossible to distance the art from the year’s worth of scandal. Welp, good luck! Watch a new video below.
Long-running J-Pop superstar Namie Amuro remains a force two decades into her career. The singer has been especially busy over the past two years, and her latest move finds her providing the theme song to forthcoming drama Haha ni Naru. That program debuts on April 12, so fans should keep an eye out for the newest number from Amuro.
Well, not quite new music from J-Pop singer Koda Kumi...but she did drop a new remix album this week, dubbed DRIVING HITS 7. These have become a common part of the Koda release strategy over the last few years, and this edition features reworks courtesy of rising Japanese electronic producers such as JAXX DA FISHWORKS and a handful of non-Japanese acts.
If you want to get technical about, Shibuya-kei cornerstone/all-round musical whizz-kid Cornelius has put out a handful of albums in recent years, running from remix projects to his collaboration with singer-songwriter Salyu in 2011. Yet let’s be real here, it's been over a decade since the world has had a new Cornelius’ album proper. Yet that’s set to change, as he’s set to release a new album on June 28. He’ll drop two singles ahead of that. Watch the announcement video below:
Japanese Music Charts
A good week for men on the Oricon charts. The best-selling single of the week went to boy band Sexy Zone’s “ROCK THA TOWN,” while the album top-spot was taken by a compilation album released by Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (yahh what a mouthful). Meanwhile, the digital charts have been monopolised by “Otona no Okite” by limited-run group Doughnuts Hole, which exists in relation to a TV show. The song itself was penned by Sheena Ringo, which helps.
Music Video Of The Week
Jun Togowa has been going strong since the late 1970s, and she recently made a collaborative album with Japanese heavy-metal group Vampillia. The video for “Watashi ga Nakou Hototogisu” dropped this week, and features some very lovely art working in tandem with the slowly building music.
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