Archive for January, 2008

Starts at Biyuden drifts, then ends

January 28, 2008

Biyuden is disbanding?

I’ll admit right off I didn’t “discover” Biyuden until 2006. I knew they were around, had heard of them, but didn’t take the time to listen to them as my devotion to solely Morning Musume was pretty strong at the start. (My second H!P group was W, followed by Melon Kinenbi…. then I discovered Biyuden) The first song (and PV) I sampled was Issai Gassai Anata ni A-Ge-Ru which I thought was terribly, infectiously adorable. I had actually heard Kacchoii ze! JAPAN before this, but had no idea what I was listening to at the time other than the fact that I liked it. When Aisucreamu to My Purin came out (and what a great single it was) I thought this was a group to pay attention to. Koisuru Angel Heart was a solid follow up, though I abhored Jaja Uma Paradise. Despite that, I thought they were on pretty solid ground, so what happened?

Perhaps H!P thought it was time for a change. Perhaps they’re going to start pushing the hell out of Ongaku Gatas. On that note I’ll shamefully admit to just noticing Rika in OG a week or two ago. I mean, I knew she was in there, saw her in the PV, but it didn’t register as I was too busy looking out for Yossie, Konkon, Mai and Arisa. When it finally clicked and I saw her I was kind of shocked. My first thought was, What about Biyuden? Now apparently, I have my answer.

I’m kind of sad about this news, but not really all that surprised. Maybe it is time to shake things up over at H!P. There’s been some comments about the future of the “Elders Club” being in jeopardy, and I couldn’t agree more. Excluding Biyuden, let’s take a look at the members:

– Nakazawa Yuko – maybe releases a single a year
– Abe Natsumi – ditto
– Yasuda Kei – seems to have regulated herself to variety shows
– Yaguchi Mari – semi-retired (this is a damn tragedy)
– Ongaku Gatas – Yossie, Konkon & Mai
– GAM – Miki & Aya – questionable future following Miki’s “scandal”
– Inaba Atsuko – back up vocalist
– Ayaka – needs to join Ongaku Gatas
– Melon Kinenbi – been on the shelf too long, need some attention STAT
– Maeda Yuki – releases a new single once a decade

Of the groups and soloists, only 1 group is currently active, visible and releasing stuff. That group being Ongaku Gatas. Melon Kinenbi kind of count, but they haven’t had a real solid backing from H!P for a while now. It’s almost like they’re adrfit in their own raft, attatched to H!P by a tremulous life line. You know, I’m actually more surprised that Melon Kinenbi hasn’t been disbanded, or that the girls haven’t split the label and tried their luck elsewhere. They are a solid group of singers and they are constantly given the shaft.

Anyway, back to Biyuden…. Rika aside as she currently has a group, I’m more worried about the future of Erika and Yui whom I both really like. I think there’s some real talent there, that given a greater push, could really shine. I hope they get a fair chance. There’s some hints dropped about possible solo careers? Perhaps H!P are looking to fill that sexy gap left when Maki left?

Wait a minute…….

January 24, 2008

Let me set this up for you. I’m sitting at work, playing some Melon Kinenbi, which my Mom and I are both nodding along to. A familiar beat kicks in, at first I get a sense of deja vu…. doesn’t this sound familiar? A few bars in it hits me Morning Musume’s Onna ni sachi are sounds an awful lot like Melon Kinenbi’s Kawaii kare. They’re just a bit different but really, really damn similar. I can’t be the only one who noticed this am I? I mean, it’s blaringly obvious! Was H!P copying itself? Check the PVs. What say you?

Melon Kinenbi – Kawaii kare

Morning Musume – Onna ni sachi are

On the passing of Heath Ledger

January 23, 2008

I’m going to take a moment out here to comment on the passing of actor Heath Ledger. This is a tragedy. I’ve carried a torch for him since I was 17 and ROAR first aired on FOX. He is the first actor of my generation whom I deeply admired who has passed too young. He and myself are both 28 years old.

I am absolutely shocked and terribly saddened by his death. My heart goes out to his family, and I hope that the facts will bear out that it was an accidental death, and that he was not suffering so badly that he chose to end his own life. He was an extremely talented actor and he will be sorely missed by his fans, friends and family.

 Thanks for everything you gave us. I hope you are at peace now. I love you still.

Momusu cards Update!

January 15, 2008

Just a heads up to let everyone who won a set know that I put everything together tonight and they should be in the mail tomorrow. Everyone got a little something extra, be it a foil card, a sticker, a group picture, or even an official photo card from H!P!

I was surprised at how far Momusu fandom stretches! Truly all over the world! Letters are going out tomorrow across the US, to Canada and the U.K. …. but also to Finland and New Zealand! Wow! But I’m glad to be spreading the Momusu love.

For those who missed out this time around never fear. I’m working on getting some more boxes (want to have the complete set you know!) and there will very well likely be a chance you can get some of your own in the future!

In other news I got a package from CDJapan this afternoon. Momusu’s complete PV DVD set, W’s one and only PV compilation DVD, Koharu’s latest solo album, Ongaku Gatas latest single w/DVD, and AKB48’s new best of album included! Oh, and the Mikan regular edition single. I got Sayumi’s card. Sorry for the shitty scan, I think my scanner is dying on me.

Yuki – Wonderline

January 12, 2008

Yuki is for me, the undisputed Queen of weird Jpop. And I totally love her for it. It wasn’t until I heard Nagai Yume back in 2005 that I discovered her. I absolutely fell in love with that song, and started to notice her in various advertisements in Jpop magazines I ran across. At the time, I have no idea why, I didn’t really do a lot of research into her, but somewhere in the back of my head made a mental note to keep an eye out for more of her material. It wasn’t until February of 2007 that I ran across her last original studio album, Wave, at a Japanese store. I snatched it up immediately, and it’s been in heavy rotation since. I love that album to death! (Hadaka no Taiyo and Birthday being favorite tracks.)

This is a woman with some serious talent! She’s got a strange fashion sense that I completely envy, and her songs are just amazing. I seriously have yet to hear a song by Yuki that I do not immediately adore. I could gush for hours about how much I love her. I will admit right off the bat that she definitely is not for everyone. I know people who have been completely turned off by the nasality of her voice. But the same could be said of Bjork whom I also love, but people find a might strange. But it’s that same uniqueness of sound that completely blows me away!

The point of this post, as I get to it, was to review Yuki’s latest single and PV, Wonderline.

First the song. What can I say about it? If had me from the moment the chorus kicked in. Yuki has this ability to convey, in her voice, complete confidence. It’s like she’s making a declaration. I can’t quite find the words to describe it. She has such a powerful voice, emotionally. She’s telling you this is how it is and that’s that. But it’s not to say she comes across as a badass or anything like it. Yuki’s songs are songs I definitely want to learn the lyrics to so I can sing along and feel that same feeling of upbeat confidence and surety every time I hear the song. With their (mostly) upbeat electronic feel, they’re right up my alley.

Well hell, give her a shot and let me know what you think yourself.

http://d.yimg.com/static.video.yahoo.com/yep/YV_YEP.swf?ver=2.2.46
[PV] YUKI – Wonder Line @ Yahoo! Video

One thing that is also awesome about Yuki is her ability to move her body. She can dance in some amazingly flowing movements. Everything about her is surreal. The whole PV could have been her floating about that chair in the desert and dancing and I would have thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Along for the package though is a strange self-animated pirate guy (who just might be Yuki herself in costume) and some sailor-suited kids who run around with red balloons and play chess in the ocean. Like I said, weird it is, but also, completely, completely awesome.

Best of H!P 2007

January 8, 2008

So, we’ve reached the end of 2007 and are now barrelling  headlong into 2008. It’s was  quite a year wasn’t it? Last time I focused on the scandals and bad times that rocked H!P during the twelve months prior. This time around I decided to focus on something upbeat and present what are, in my opinion, the best single releases of H!P this year.

First off let’s start with the flagship group!

 Morning Musume.
They had several really awesome singles this year, and I can honestly say there wasn’t one among them that I didn’t like! They were all really, really good, and all really, really different! It’s hard to pick one as a favorite. On terms of personal playback Egao Yes Nude still gets the most airplay from me. It’s such a really fun song! Easy to dance to, easy to sing along to, I still love it! It was the first single for Aika and I think it really showed everyone she had a lot to bring to the table.

Honestly, this was a re-confidence builder in me for Momusu. I had been a little disappointed with the singles released in 2006 (time has since endeared me). I had been pretty disappointed with My Asia…. especially after 2005 brought about some of my favorite Momusu singles to date. So when Egao was released it was like the second coming. Here was the pop fun I was looking for, and the song had it in spades. So for those reasons, I will vote Egao Yes Nude as my personal favorite Momusu single release of 2007.

Kusumi Koharu (as Tsukishima Kirari)
I really don’t understand all the Koharu-chan hate. Personally I love with girl. She’s been an explosion of energy since the get go and has never slowed down. She released 2 singles last year, Happy! and Chance. (Not including KiraPika of course). Both songs are infectiously cute. And I mean virally so. I hate to choose between them, but Happy gets my vote as it’s the more rocking of the two.

Ongaku Gatas
Oh no! I refuse to choose between the 2 singles released by current favorite group in H!P. Ongaku Gatas are AWESOME. They are a powerhouse of AWESOME. Nari Hajimeta Koi no Bell and Yattaroze! are almost too good to be true. Love, love, love from me. I refuse to choose….. though I will admit that Narihajimeta is the one I find myself singing absent-mindedly more often than not.

C-ute
I will admit, right here and now, that I am a way bigger fan of C-ute than I am of Berryz. Stone me if you wish, but I just prefer them. C-ute had 3 stellar releases in 2007; Sakura Chirari, Meguru Koi no Kisetsu and Tokaikko Junjou. While I really loved each of these songs, the winner, hands down, is Tokaikko Junjou. Maybe the best release H!P put out this year. This is just one AWESOME song. From the beat, to the awesome moves in the PV, C-ute is on fire.

Berryz Koubou
Man. I hesitate to even write this. I don’t want to judge all Berryz singles on the awesomeness that is Munasawagi Scarlet, but they really had a bland year as far as singles go. Two of their singles were ballads, which are pretty and all, but I’m not much of a ballad person. And honestly, I had completely forgotten about one of them until I looked it up. If you ignore the PV I would have to say that Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi was one of their more fun releases. It really is a good song, again, if you absolutely totally ignore the PV. So that would get my vote.

Biyuden
Poor Biyuden. I hope they’re not going the way of Melon Kinenbi. They only had 2 singles released in 2007. Koisuru Angel Heart, which gets my vote, and Jaja Uma Paradise, which I abhore. (The cute thing with Rika’s voice makes me want to punch a wall). Anyway, Koisuru, is a really fun poppy-rocky song. Along with Melon, I’m just not sure Biyuden is marketing right. They’re both carrying some really amazing talent, but not performing the way they could be saleswise.

Melon Kinenbi
Man, Melon are so fantastic! I have no idea why they are the lowest group on the H!P radar! These girls have some serious talent, and they’re always overlooked. They only had one real single release in 2007, the awesome Unforgettable. (Onegai I don’t think really counts as it was a rerelease of an indie single. Melon needs more love. They rock!

Athena & Robikerottsu
Special mention has to go to Shouri no BIG WAVE!!! for being one of the cutest and most infectious releases by H!P this year. Just adorable!

Well there you have it! My personal favorite single releases by H!P this year. I realize other artists put out stuff, but these were the ones that registered on my radar. Hope you enjoyed reading it!

Perfume – Baby Cruising Love

January 2, 2008

Oh my God Perfume, how I love you. So, so very much. How I love your new single Baby Cruising Love so very, very much.

I can tell you right now, without a doubt, that this will be the song that will carry me through the winter and into spring. It is so very relaxing to listen to. Despite the heavy bass I am filled with a warm, uplifted but peaceful feeling when I hear it. Baby Crusing Love is one of those songs I will most definitely close my eyes and sing along to, except when I am driving at which point I will roll down the windows, blast it, and drive around. Ah, how I long to be back home in Maine with it’s long, long, very long roads with nary a stop light or stop sign and the summer sun shining. (Seriously, I can turn left or right out of my driveway in Maine and drive 30 miles in either direction before I hit a stop sign or stop light). Somehow this song makes me nostalgic for those peaceful summers at home.

The PV itself is very cool. The animation of the light ball by GONZO is very, very cool. This is their first not heavily digitized PV in a long time and mostly features the girls damncing in front of a light board. Simplistic, but very classy.

This single is a definite must buy.

Link to higher quality Veoh file