Archive for February, 2008

My first Jpop CD

February 22, 2008

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.

Momusu Member Poll!

February 19, 2008

Paul at Hello!Blog is running another poll to gage the standing of H!P members with the fans. This time around he’s included C-ute and Berryz, but I optioned to skip this portion as I don’t know the members and feel it would be unfair to throw in a vote.

I can’t judge member standings now versus the first poll, as despite the fact that I participated, I didn’t save my results and don’t remember them 8 months on.

Please forgive the short write ups on why I feel each girl deserves what place. My idol fandom really goes by my heart and what I feel, and I’ve never been able to coherently put that into words.

1. Mitsui Aika – I don’t really know what to say save that I think she’s adorable. I’ve loved her from the moment she auditioned and was ecstatic when she won. One of the natural girls in the group. She always seems to be smiling and genuinely having a good time. Her smile is infectious. I just want to hug her.

2. Kusumi Koharu – Koharu and Aika should really be tied for first place. I love Koharu because she’s nuts. She’s bombastically cute. She gives everything her all and is never afraid to show off how insanely genki she is. She’s just so enthusiastic about everything. This part of her personality grates on some people’s nerves, but I love her for it.

3. Niigaki Risa – Gaki-san! She always seems to be smiling. She’s really grown on me lately. She’s another one of the natural girls. She’s got that girl next door sweetness going for her. She’s not trying too hard, she’s just being herself and having a good time.

4. Takahashi Ai – Ai-chan! I feel like she’s really beginning to blossom into her own now that she’s been given the leadership role. I’m envious of her ballerina skills. I wish I could move that gracefully. It’s an example of femininity that escapes me. Being one of the more quiet girls in the group I feel like I can identify with her a little bit more. Ai-chan, I’ll always support you!

5. Kamei Eri – Eri really caught my attention after her latest photo book was released. It was such a beautiful book. She has a natural and effortless beauty to her. Another girl next door. I should pay more attention to her, she’d probably rank a lot higher on my list.

6. Michishige Sayumi – Ah Sayumi. She’s really moved up my list. I’m almost positive that when I took this poll the first time that she ranked dead last. I can’t really say what she’s been doing that has suddenly jumped her up the rankings. Maybe I’m starting to see the real girl under the persona. Despite the cute act for cameras she seems really shy, which I can identify with. I read a quote attributed to her somewhere where she said something along the lines of “The computer used to be my friend, but now I go out properly.” My goodness, what a human thing to say. That was something very personal she admitted and I was really struck by it. I hope she continues to rise in my personal ranks.

7. Tanaka Reina – Reina! There really isn’t a reason she should be this far down on my list as I really like her! I’m kind of surprised she’s 3 from the last. She’s so confident and brazen. Maybe I should have put her farther up?

8 & 9. Junjun & Linlin – These two poor girls are only at the bottom of the list because I know next to nothing about them. I’m going to hit YouTube today and rectify that. We’ll see how they rank next time!

Across the Board

February 8, 2008

Several nights ago I had another H!P dream. It took place in feudal Japan and starred Takahashi Ai and Sean Bean ♥♥♥♥ Anyway all I remember is that Ai-chan lived in a house at the top of a really tall hill and there was a flight of wooden steps inlaid into the hillside. Sean Bean lived at the bottom of the hill and was like her bodyguard or something. Everyone was wearing traditional Japanese clothing too. Not really kimono, but the everyday man’s dress of the period. Pretty cool dream, kind of Blade of the Immortal-ish. But that’s not the reason for this post.

First bit of news! Morning Musume’s upcoming single title has been released, Resonant Blue. It doesn’t really strike me as a title for an energetic song. Blue is known to be a calming color, and for it to resonate calmness, my thoughts tend to stray towads the ballad category. Though really, title sometimes has nothing to do with the song itself, and Nanase Aikawa’s Midnight Blue is anything but calm.

The PV for C-ute’s Lalala Shiawase no Uta has been released. The song is really cute and energetic, the beat is great, a very happy song and something I’ll definitely listen to when I need cheering up. I like it! (Hey Mikey!) The costumes are cute, though I think they could do without the second layer of feathers. The lining at the top is enough, and what is with the putting on make up theme in the videos? I’m having flashbacks to Pretty Guardian Sailormoon and Luna always applying make-up when she wasn’t eating.

Buono’s latest PV, Renai Rider, is out, has been for a while. I’ve just been out of the loop for a bit. The song is really awesome, as has been commented on before by many others. The girls are all in top form, especially Momoko, who I have problems with in Berryz when they make her do that cute nasally thing with her voice. Here she just nails it and it’s awesome. (Does her jacket really say Suicide of Love?) Could the awesomeness be attributed to the fact that Tsunku had nothing to do with this track? Perish the thought.

Congratulations to Kaorin on the birth of her son!

Lastly for those of you currently going through the jaded phase of your H!P fandom, stick with it. This happens to everyone, especially after their favorite idols split their favorite group, are rocked by scandal, or idol fandom just suddenly seems ridiculous in the first place. You liked these girls at the first for something, for me it was the music, and after my own jaded period, (I would say late 2005 – late 2006) it was the music that drew me back in. Something will spark again and you’ll be pulled right back. Be patient. I won’t lie and say your fervor will be back to what it was in the beginning, but you’ll reach another level of fandom all together. One where the sun may not rise and set with your favorite idol, but the day will be brighter because of them.