Excuse me while I go “I walked uphill to school both ways!” on you for a moment.
I got on the internet back in ’96. At the time, if you wanted to hear music, pretty much the only thing available to you was midis. I didn’t live anywhere near a shop that had heard of, much less stocked any japanese music. My friends and I used to hold tape recorders up to the TV to tape the ending and opening theme songs of anime to get our japanese pop fix. The first japanese PV I saw was Wink’s Kitto Atsui Kuchibiru which some kind soul had tacked on at the end of a 3rd generation fansub tape.
Eventually, Napster came along, and it was like a godsend. A whole new world of japanese music was opened up to me. However, not knowing the names of any bands, and information being so god damned scarce, your best bet was to type in “jpop” and see what you got in response. TWO-MIX was big at the time, and I had recorded off the computer tapes of their songs. A lot of what I found at the time was in some way or other related to anime, as that was all a majority of kids stateside had access to at the time. (Incidentally all my mp3s are still kept in my original Napster folder. FUCK YOU METALLICA!)
Somehow or other I got a hold of two mp3s of Nanase Aikawa. One was Cosmic Love, the other I think was Heat of the Night. I was blown away. Who was this chick with the hard rock sound and the amazing vocals? I had to find more but where?
It was around March of 2000 that my sister and I gathered up a bunch of friends, piled into the car, and drove to Boston and Cambridge Mass. to check out the anime shopping there. Across the street from the Harvard Square station was an amazingly
expensive little bookstore, Sasuga Books. I had a habit of dropping in excess of $300 every time I went there. Blowing whole paychecks on that store alone. I didn’t buy much music there (mostly manga) as at the time I thought $30 per CD was outrageously expensive (little did I know).
But I digress, it was during this first trip that I just happened across the newly released album by Nanase Aikawa, FOXTROT. Holy crap. HERE SHE WAS! I was beyond ecstatic. The whole rest of the shopping trip I couldn’t wait to get back to the car so I could listen to that CD. I played it the whole ride home, I played it when I got home, I played it driving to and from work every day, I played it to death. It is not an exaggeration to say that I LOVED and still LOVE that album.
Nanase is very awesome as she was and still is very much Rock n’ Roll. She is the standard to which I hold up all other JRock female artists. I read that in the summer of 07 she went back into the studio to start work on her new album. I can’t wait to see what she has in store!
I’m going to leave you with an invitation to blog about your own first Jpop CD purchases, a promise for an almost decade on track by track review, and the PV for one of my favorite tracks off FOXTROT, Jealousy. Amazingly I couldn’t find the video on Youtube, so I’m providing the Veoh link.
The video is a RIOT to watch. Nanase and her caucasian boyfriend take in a gay homeless man. Said gay homeless man then proceeds to seduce Nanase’s boyfriend into bed. Nanase catches them together, then walks the streets in gloom/despair and runs into a bunch of tranvestites under a bridge. Later gay homeless man attempts to stab Nanase in jealousy, but her boyfriend takes it to the gut instead and instantly dies. In a rage, gay homeless man decides to smash a very nice white car with a sledgehammer for no reason whatsoever. Also, there are random shots of Jell-o/jelly falling to the floor throughout. But the song…. the song is awesome.