A focus on the big J-pop developments in this week’s SBS PopAsia J-Pop roundup…
The biggest comeback of 2016 came courtesy of J-pop titan Utada Hikaru, whose album Fantome found the artist wrestling with adulthood via dramatic ballads and a handful of pop bangers. Yet it hasn’t been a one off, as she’s continued to released songs in 2017. The latest is “Forevermore,” serving as the theme for new drama program “Gomen, Aishiteru.”
Set over a string-heavy backdrop projecting refinement, it’s a song highlighting Utada’s singing, which focuses on a love that just can’t be shook; the sort that lingers (ahem) forevermore. The video is probably the highlight though, a spartan clip focused solely on Utada as she dances around. Check out the short version below.
DAOKO And Kenshi Yonezu
Two of Japan’s most buzzed about J-pop names teamed up for a sentimental summer-themed ballad. DAOKO and the Vocaloid-maker-turned-solo-act Kenshi Yonezu duet on “Uchiage Hanabi,” a number from a forthcoming anime film. That would explain the vivid cartoon video for the cut, which plays up the drama present in the song. Though visuals wouldn’t be needed to get that across when the pair get to the part late in the song where they trade vocal back-and-forth. Watch the clip below:
CD Shop Awards for the first half of 2017!
Every year, CD store employees select albums that stand out to them, as presumably having to work in a brick-and-mortar music store for long stretches of time exposes you to a lot of music. The end result is the CD Shop Awards, which choose a winner for 2017 in early 2018. The first half of the year nominees are out, though, featuring rock outfit Suchmos, idol outfit Nogizaka46 and Shibuya-kei forefather Cornelius. Check the full list here.
If there has ever been a better week to take in the pure nuttiness that is the Japanese charts in 2017, I don’t know it. Oricon sees both the singles and album charts topped by biggie-sized idol groups relying on multiple sales to boost themselves up (HKT48 and NMB48 respectively). Yet on streaming services, it was all about E-girls and YugiriShigure. But take a glance at digital sales and it’s all Utada Hikaru with the top-of-the-page “Forevermore.” What does it all mean? Well, nothing coherent, and that’s the point.
Music Video of the Week
I’m generally not sold on virtual reality videos, but rap duo Yurufuwa Gang make it work by just getting absurd as heck. The VR clip for “Hunny Hunt” drops viewers into a surreal landscape full of giant fish, moose and all sorts of other visual stimuli. Coherent? Nope, but the pure zaniness of seeing a bizarre world makes it work.
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