With a focus on the big J-Pop developments in this week’s SBS PopAsia J-Pop roundup…
Takahiro Nishijima and Misako Uno of AAA sing "Beauty and the Beast"
Japan is, often quite literally, the last country to get big blockbuster movies in their cinemas. Case-in-point, this year’s Beauty and the Beast. The live action rework of the Disney animated classic, came out more than a month after hitting most other countries. Despite the lag, fans get the joy of a well-put-together advertising campaign. To get folks out to screenings, Takhiro Nishijima and Misako Uno of pop outfit AAA covered the film's title track. And it worked, as this became the most buzzed-about clip of the week in Japan on YouTube. Take a listen to the pair ace the romantic classic:
J-Pop superstar Nishino Kana is set to return with new single “Pa” on May 3. Like much of her folksy-pop work of the last few years, the song seems to focus on the ups and downs of daily life. The preview of the number features references to waking up to go to work and the general malaise one feels come Wednesday. See a bit here.
At some point, artists who were once seen as “indie” have to make a choice; stay on a smaller level or shoot for the top. DAOKO opted for the second, and the artist who caught attention by merging sweet pop with ahead-of-her-time rap continues leaning towards something bigger on her latest single. It’s a number aiming for anthemic, with a build and big, bouncy hook. Enough to elevate her up? You decide:
One of the big breakthroughs of 2017 in the J-Pop sphere is Suchmos, a band creating Jamiroquai-indebted rock apt for just chilling out on a sunny day in the city. They’ve seen sales of latest album The Kids surge, and all sorts of newfound attention fall on them. This week, they announced they are starting their own label, F.C.L.S, and will celebrate with solo shows in Tokyo and Osaka this summer. Catch up on them by watching the clip for “Pinky Vibes” below:
Other Big Releases
Sekai No Owari have a new single, titled “Rain,” out on July 5. A bit sooner, pop-rock-leaning act Kaela Kimura will drop new single “HOLIDAYS” on May 10. For those fans of older — but resilient! — Japanese rock, long-running outfit THE YELLOW MONKEY announced a best-of album for May 21.
Boy band Arashi returned to the top of the Oricon singles chart this week with “I’ll Be There,” while fellow Johnny’s idol Koichi Domoto went to one on the album side with the soundtrack to Endless Shock. Digital charts saw strong showings by GENERATIONS and Austin Mahone, the latter getting a huge push in recent weeks.
Video of the week
Video games collide with Tokyo smash, into traditional Japanese culture in the hyperspeed clip for Mahousyoujo Ni Naritai’s latest song “Himesama Spirits.” As vivid as it gets, make sure to also appreciate those throat-splicing screams.
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