A focus on the big J-pop developments in this week’s SBS PopAsia J-Pop roundup…
Former E-girls member Dream Ami has been trying to solidify her solo sonic identify for a while now. Last time around, she found success by embracing a Nishino-Kana-esque style, a mid-tempo love song overflowing with sweetness and references to being young. For new number “XOXO," well, she is once again pulling into the Kana playbook (itself inspired by about two decades of J-pop headliners).
It’s another mid-tempo cut, but with the bubbly stuff swapped out for something more wistful. The music draws from R&B and a little hip-hop (complete with record scratches), bringing to mind Kana’s early career singles, but adjusted for Ami’s lighter voice. Check out the song — and watch her wander the streets of Sweden looking kinda sad — below.
Earlier this week, Arashi topped a LINE poll focused on user’s favorite Japanese idol groups, and I pointed out they hadn’t announced a new album yet despite having a busy 2017. Well, they went and announced a new album a day after. Called untitled, the outfit’s 16th album promises to mix a bunch of musical genres together, celebrating both Japan’s traditional music and what they describe as “digital,” which is nice and vague. Whatever this sounds like, look out for it on October 18.
SEKAI NO OWARI and Kenji Ozawa
Far be it from me to judge product roll-out, but a nearly 35-minute-long video of SEKAI NO OWARI eating dinner and talking with beloved J-pop artist Kenji Ozawa isn’t what I would have expected ahead of their new collaborative song “I Hear An Owl,” but hey you do you.
The song itself is out now, and it is an interesting meeting between two heavyweights of J-pop from very different times. But on YouTube, the main promotional push comes via a video of these performers eating pasta, talking and eventually listening to the song and finishing it off with dessert. If you got half an hour, check it out below.
AKB48 surpasses Ayumi Hamasaki
Based on an Oricon report from earlier this week, mega-sized pop group AKB48 passed singer Ayumi Hamasaki as the highest selling female artist in Japanese music history. They also are now the third-highest-selling artist in Japan, behind only B’z and Mr.Children.
Chalk another win up for K-pop in Japan. Black Pink’s first Japanese album sold nearly 40,000 copies in its first week out, squeaking by Keisuke Kuwata to go to the top of the Oricon album charts. Pretty solid start for the girls!
On the singles side, AKB48’s latest sold over a million copies - pushing them past Hamasaki, see above - which let them easily take number-one, ahead of Perfume and BTOB. Ultimately though, the digital charts tell a very different story, as DAOKO and Yonezu Kenshi’s latest song continues to dominate.
Video of the Week
Laid-back outfit Lucky Tapes creates music apt for zoning out to, but their videos can often be quite vivid and attention grabbing. The clip for “Gravity” does just that, featuring a lot of beautifully shot footage of rain hitting plastic umbrellas and people dozing off on subway seats. Not to mention shots of the band performing in front of...an aquarium? Check it out below.
Hear us on SBS PopAsia Digital Radio
Listen in 24/7 on Digital Radio, by downloading our free mobile app or by streaming live here on our website.
Download the app here: