brand new wave upper ground
August 1, 2006 7:06 PM   Subscribe

Awesome J-Pop Videos. For a genre few in the U.S. are familiar with, it certainly garners some very heated opinions (likely because of Morning Musume and the like.) Still, there are some who go above and beyond the fold. (largely youtube filter.)
posted by Navelgazer (30 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yay! My first post! For those who don't know, Morning Musume is sort of like the Japanese Femme version of Menudo, and are primarily responsible for the bad image that Japanese music has in the west.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:07 PM on August 1, 2006

Wait, does this involve cat-maidens?
posted by orthogonality at 7:14 PM on August 1, 2006

I dunno. The supposedly good videos are pretty lame. The first one is kind of interesting, but the other stuff are about as interesting and inventive as their American pop-punk counterparts' videos.
posted by Anonymous at 7:17 PM on August 1, 2006

Morning Musume (versus the lizard) previously, FYI.
posted by SenshiNeko at 7:20 PM on August 1, 2006

SenshiNeko - That is amazing. I don't know how I missed it the first time.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:26 PM on August 1, 2006

Yeah, Yuki is pretty good. Actually, she's even better now that she was when she was singing for Judy Mary. However, she's hardly popular. But J-Pop is absolute crap. Otsuka Ai is really cute, but her music is complete drivel. Stance Punks are, as the name implies, poseurs. Why do so many people want to believe that music made for 12-year-old Japanese kids is any better than music made for 12-year-old Westerners?
posted by donkeymon at 8:00 PM on August 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty fond of Yuki as a solo artist. I suspect her providing the opening themes for the Honey & Clover anime series has done well for her CD sales, given the show's relative popularity. The same could probably be said for Spitz and Suga Shikao, who have also provided music for the show.

Honey & Clover is a weird duck, though. In many instances, when a big name act signs on to provide music for an anime series, it means they're on their last leg commercially. And since anime fandom and J-pop fandom are so closely related outside Japan, that's probably why non-Japanese listeners often latch on to lesser artists that don't receive much attention back home.

Personally, as much Japanese pop music as I listen to, finding new, worthwhile artists can be difficult. Outside Japan, I don't have much opportunity to hear new artists on the radio or on TV. There's no way to keep my finger on the pulse of what's popular. When I lived in Japan, it was an entirely different matter, but now that I'm back in the States, I have to depend on either recommendations from friends in the know or dumb luck. Or just stick with what I know.
posted by jal0021 at 8:25 PM on August 1, 2006

Hmmm.... JUDY AND MARY's stuff is still better than almost everything getting any play in the U.S. these days, so I'm on the fence as to whether YUKI's solo stuff is better or not. Otsuka Ai (or Ai Otsuka) produces a lot of drivel, to be sure, but when she hits it, it's great. If you can find it, check out the song GIRLY, off of Love Punch, which manages to blend cheesy pop, upstroke-ska-punk, and roadhouse blues without missing a beat.

I know the Stance Punks are posers, but part of me likes them anyway, and I didn't want to use Peelander Z for that slot because they're actually Brooklyn-based (even if they are far more interesting.) So, jal0021, who would better deserve to be posted (i ask non-confrontationally)? Expand our horizons, please!
posted by Navelgazer at 8:48 PM on August 1, 2006

How do you say "your favorite band sucks" in Japanese?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:02 PM on August 1, 2006

posted by donkeymon at 9:20 PM on August 1, 2006

I was never a big Judy & Mary fan, but I've always been fond of Yuki herself - which is probably why I keep up with her now that she's off doing her own thing. She's definitely an acquired taste, though.

Anyway, I find I care for male artists/groups more than female; Spitz, Mr. Children, Porno Graffiti, and B'z come to mind as favorites, for example. They're all well-known groups that have been around for ages, of course, but there's a reason for that. For female artists, there are few I follow all that closely. I just keep on the look out for competent vocalists (as of late, I find I've been listening to a lot of Hirahira Ayaka/whatever the hell her name is this week). They're constantly coming and going.

I don't have any particular problem with groups like Morning Musume or artists like Otsuka Ai, even if I don't listen to them regularly (if ever) - they're amusing diversions, at least. And I'll give them credit for being effective gateway artists for non-Japanese fans.

I have, however, developed a soft spot for some of the mass-produced "hip-hop" acts that have popping up lately. I'll admit to being a SOUL'd OUT fan. I know, I know...

There are a lot of obscure acts that have their overseas fans, of course, but I don't listen to them much since, once you get past their obscurity, they're really not all that interesting. I'm no music snob.
posted by jal0021 at 9:25 PM on August 1, 2006

donkeymon, you kick ass, though the best translation I could come up with is あなたの好みのバンドは無益である!

Now, if we can get a good Japanese translation for snark...
posted by Navelgazer at 9:42 PM on August 1, 2006

My main exposure to J-Pop has been through anime, like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, both of which feature, IMHO great music. Stuff like "San Francisco" by Midicronica, "Shiki no Uta" by Minmi and Nujabes and "Battlecry" by Nujabes and Shing02 are really catchy, and I think they compare pretty favorably with western pop.
posted by anansi at 10:08 PM on August 1, 2006

That's too polite Navelgazer. It's like saying, "I say! The band you enjoy is in fact rather useless!"

Snark would be best translated as 皮肉 I suppose. It's not something Japanese people do very well.

Also, please don't confuse jal0021's well-though-out comments with my snark. I'm pure hater man! Actually, I do like one Otsuka Ai song, ラーメン3分クッキング. It's a babbling, sing-song listing of ramen noodle ingredients and cooking instructions. It's so stupid that I can't help but like it.
posted by donkeymon at 10:31 PM on August 1, 2006

I used to be a big fan of Judy and Mary, and I would always completely ruin any chances at social advancement by singing their songs at karaoke with coworkers. I've since learned my lesson. But yeah, Yuki's style is an acquired taste that never really seems to go away.
posted by nightchrome at 10:52 PM on August 1, 2006

I have, however, developed a soft spot for some of the mass-produced "hip-hop" acts that have popping up lately. I'll admit to being a SOUL'd OUT fan. I know, I know...

Know what you mean, I can't stop listening to HALCALI. Normally I don't listen to a lot of jpop but I have been listening to some Chieko Kawabe lately, I really like her voice. I can spend hours on youtube watching different videos.
posted by bobo123 at 11:05 PM on August 1, 2006

That's pretty cool. I'd heard this kind of music before, but never seen any videos.
posted by delmoi at 12:03 AM on August 2, 2006

Woah, this is pretty crazy.
posted by delmoi at 12:11 AM on August 2, 2006

Thanks delmoi, I knew the song, but I'd never seen the video for it. I just confirms my belief that YUKI is Japan's greatest national treasure, like some bizarre cross between Bjork, Madonna, and Wendy O. Williams. For more of here craziness, check this out.

I used to be a big fan of Judy and Mary, and I would always completely ruin any chances at social advancement by singing their songs at karaoke with coworkers.

I know what you mean. I've tried to sing "brand new wave upper ground," which you may recognize as the post title, at least twice in karaoke, and embarassed myself and the song both times.

Also, if I were playing my favorite band at an otherwise empty bar, and someone came in and said, "Your favorite band sucks," I might be a little offended, but I'd probably just write him off as a jackass. On the other hand, if he said, "I say! The band you enjoy is in fact rather useless," I'd likely stop to listen, unhappy as I might be. I'd feel I were in the presence of an expert, random sociopath though he may be.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:59 AM on August 2, 2006

Navelgazer: I didn't move on to better things though, as shortly after that I developed a thing for Shiina Ringo. If I was completely inept at singing "high-pitched and goofy" then I was abysmally horrid at singing "edgy and grrrrl-powery". Especially since I'm not a girl.
Nowadays I stick to singing songs by male singers I don't really like or know well, rather than music I actually listen to. Harder to learn the songs, but less damaging to my social life.
posted by nightchrome at 1:13 AM on August 2, 2006

Supercar, previously.

Also, this one of my current favorite J-Pop songs, as annoying?/inane?/repetitive? as it may be.
posted by Dr-Baa at 5:14 AM on August 2, 2006

Yeah, that's a cool song and it was a really big hit among the kids maybe 6 months ago. You should try singing THAT at karaoke! ちょっと早すぎるよ!
posted by donkeymon at 5:50 AM on August 2, 2006

I've been on the hunt this week for some good J-Pop but have mostly come up empty handed. Where's the euro-clubby, electro-poppy, 8-bit sounding good stuff?

I came across The Aprils who sound exactly like the kind of stuff I'm looking for but have had no luck besides that.
posted by Ekim Neems at 6:53 AM on August 2, 2006

Puffy Amiyumi FTW!!
posted by humboldt32 at 7:45 AM on August 2, 2006

I gotta give it up for my favorite Japanese singer, UA. Simply the best voice in Japanese music and she writes alot of her own stuff. Her live album is breathtaking.

Thankfully, I'm heading to Japan next week and get to scour the shops for more of her work. woo-hoo!
posted by Dantien at 8:19 AM on August 2, 2006

I'm far more partial to Shiina Ringo, ACO, Number Girl, Hajime Chitose, Cocco and Quruli.
posted by NemesisVex at 9:38 AM on August 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

I love the aspect of urban Japanase culture of street performing with your amp.

This is apparently "Sasebo and Harajuku".
posted by SSinVan at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2006

Dantien, thanks for introducing me to Ua. She is really incredible.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:34 PM on August 2, 2006

For some reason, though, everything after "Milk Tea" (including the ones NemesisVex posted) plays without sound.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:36 PM on August 2, 2006

NemesisVex, I knew when you started your list with Shiina that I'd like the others. I was right! Thanks.
posted by squidlarkin at 11:13 AM on August 3, 2006

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