A focus on the big J-Pop developments in this week’s SBS PopAsia J-Pop roundup…
Shibuya-kei pioneer and all-around great music maker Cornelius will release his first full-length album in 11 years this summer, and he’s shared the first taste of it in “If You’re Here.” Clocking in at just over six minutes, it finds Cornelius getting reflective over clipped drums and soft synthesizer notes, singing about the rush of memories one sometimes experiences at random moments. It comes complete with a visually impressive clip (below), where his interest in synchronicity remains strong, but this time is represented through various messy objects such as spilled cups of coffee. Listen below.
Japanese music industry sees growth!
Anyone closely following Japanese music industry news over the last few years has seen a steady stream of bad news...overall sales are going down, younger people are opting for YouTube videos of people playing video games over listening to songs, and streaming isn’t quite there yet. Well finally, a little good news! As Arama Japan points out, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s annual report notes that the music industry grew for the second consecutive year in Japan, primarily thanks to digital platforms.
One of 2016’s bigger breakout stars in J-Pop was Taiiku Okazaki, a performer poking fun at the state of music in Japan. His clip for the song “Music Video” mocked the common tropes most J-Pop vids take, and now he’s prepping a new album. The first song from it has become an internet success over the past week; it’s a hard-rock-style song goofing on the overly dramatic themes that genre wallows in.
Band Ja Naimon!
Looking into the world of idols, hyperactive outfit Band Ja Naimon! shared a new song and video full of sudden tempo changes and tag-team vocals. For those unfamiliar, the group revels in swift paces and quick pivots, and “Metamoriser” is a solid gateway into the group’s style. Watch it below.
Not what one would call a week of surprises over on the Japanese music charts. BTS dominated the Oricon singles chart with their latest, while long-running folk-rock duo Yuzu’s best-of compilation towered over the album side. The only notable stat comes at the number three spot on the latter, where Gesu No Kiwame Otome’s recently unshelved album Daruma Ringo moved a paltry 14,762 copies in its first week. For context, the band’s last album did over 90,000 in its first week... Keep your eyes locked in for a review of the album soon, though.
Video of the Week
Sometimes, you want to avoid the flashy in favour of the calm. Rising rock outfit cero’s clip for “Ropeway” is simple; black-and-white footage of various scenes, including of a ropeway, but matches up just right with a number in no rush to get anywhere.
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