• Comments

    • Question of the week: I realized the other day that Ayu’s “Party Queen” is now five years old. Looking back, how do you feel about that album now?

      http://www.generasia.com/w/images/f/f8/PartyQueen3dvd.jpg

      • What

        It’s my 2nd favorite album after Secret. :)

      • Ayumi Hamasaki

        Well, “how beautiful you are” had its impact in Japan, but… that’s it. I don’t remember the title of the album she released before this one, but “Party Queen” shows how much the quality of her music really started declining. It had nothing to do with her gender nor her age, it was just a weird “wanting to a appeal to a younger audience with a sort of Westernized sound while also trying to sound both edgy and theatrical” mix. I loved “LOVE again”, but most of her albums since then are disappointing considering all the incredible songs she had already written at the time. At least her most recent album was pretty good, specially the strong, personal lyrics.

      • surfboardt

        Another good example of why the title of “Japanese Madonna” fits with Ayu.

        https://68.media.tumblr.com/2aaf06ee6a5ab581b57156dab2f753cf/tumblr_nvkg40HQ1Y1tfn6k7o1_500.gif

        • yamakita

          Is that a compliment?

        • Zungya

          But she doesn’t have kids at all!

          • circe154

            Madonna didn’t have kids until her 40s. Give her a few years.

      • Ash

        Album is either seen as worst or best Ayu album depending on who you’re asking.

        For me, hey, it’s better than RnRC

        • hasawa

          Definitively
          Hate it or Love it, at least Party Queen had more personality and ‘charisma’ than Rock’n’Roll Circus (and many other albums that followed up) which was ‘meh’ on many levels

      • hasawa

        Imo, nothing screams “Thirties Crisis” like Party Queen does lol
        Ayu went the fuck off wild and i thik this may be a cathartic experience for her lol
        I remember feeling extremely embarassed by Ayu’s antics at the time (“Super Manuel” anyone? *shudders*) and her über photoshopped photoshoots by Leslie Kee (though, her pink hair dye looked nice)
        That being said, despite her messy/trashy visual coating, Party Queen was a very solid album : “Nanana” is ridiculously slept on (there’s something reminiscent of “Ladies Night” in it) and “how beautiful you are” is one of her best balllads. It had its fair shair of cachy dancing songs (“Nanana”, “Party Queen”), usual rock-ish mid-tempo song (“reminds me”, “Return road”) and is not overflowed with lazy ballads, which made it one of her most well-balanced album. Ayu also tried a unsual jazzy style in “the NEXT love” which is pretty enjoyable as well.
        Too bad may ppl won’t look past the ‘trashy visuals’ of the album era and won’t give it a try considering its musical bias. Imo “Colours” was pretty cringey in its genre as well (“Lelio” MV trigerred me for life and “Feel the Love” and “XOXO” MVs’ are embarassing) and doesn’t get half the hate Party Queen gets.

        • I never really got all the hate for the album.

        • Dalooshe

          Absolutely agree with this. I remember replaying the album because I genuinely thought it was entertaining and overall good. Particularly “the NEXT love”, that song is gold imo.

        • Midna

          Very true.

          Colours could’ve been great if she stuck with the same sound as Merry Go Round or Terminal.

      • Ryusei

        I love everything on it except for party queen and NaNaNa I just find them cringey. The ballads however are amazing. I’m still bitter there is no footage of her in that black wedding dress at the hotel love songs tour doing return road

      • Midna

        It’s honestly not as bad now. Her last good album tbh. NaNaNa and Shake it are jaamsss

    • aaaa

      speaking of ayu can we talk about how she brought back TO BE and overselves after more than a decade only to brutally slaughter them on national television

      http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5gus7z_%E6%B5%9C%E5%B4%8E%E3%81%82%E3%82%86%E3%81%BF-to-be-ourselves_fun

      • What

        I didn’t even know she was on Music Station until bad screencaps took over my TL.

      • TruthSpeaker

        she sang so pathetically.. I thought i was listening to an amateur singer

      • Kuuchan

        Awful. I felt like I was watching a drunk snack mama perform.

      • めぐみ☆
      • hasawa

        Holy sh*t she’s acting like the high key notes (she can’t even hold anymore) are physically harming her

      • Mayura

        Whoa, that was horrible. *facepalm*

      • Dalooshe

        I can’t help but think at this point, despite all the lives ayu holds each year, that she is still confused somewhere deep down in what style to sing a lot of her old songs in – and this is where I feel the butchering is coming from (like trying to ‘vocally rock’ songs out when it’s not always welcoming and forgiving by the songs themselves is painful to watch). Since her older songs were sung differently, her singing style today is not helping her revisit her older songs gracefully which is why she needs to revisit each song and really study them before her 20th anniv tour :/ That being said, I did enjoy the arrangement for ourselves though.

        • zuru

          I think its easier for her to ‘vocally rock’ the songs out. She’s too pitchy now to handle the songs as is I think. She’s a vocal burn out. Aging does that even to the best singers.

      • nika

        she needs to retire

    • J-Pop

      Which acts would you recommend for someone who is new to Japanese music and wants to explore its diversity? From Enka to J-Pop, older and new acts, … Who were the ones that really made an impact in your life in a positive way?

      • めぐみ☆

        amuro, globe, YUKI, sakanaction, SPEED (everything about their music perfectly captures 90s jpop), nakamori akina

      • Shiina Ringo, Sakanaction, Yamashita Tatsuro, Ryuichi Sakamoto / Yellow Magic Orchestra, Akiko Yano, YUKI, MISIA, Kato Miliyah, Utada Hikaru, Ayumi Hamasaki, Akina Nakamori, globe…

      • HyperMoot .

        Ryuichi Sakamoto, Joe Hisaishi, Kawai Kenji, Utada Hikaru, Shiina Ringo, Kato Miliyah, Salyu, Abe Mao, Leo Ieiri, Hajime Chitose, Cocco, Anoice/Films (Ricco label), Haruka to Miyuki, Amenoto…

      • Hani

        1980s/1990s: Nakamori Akina, TM Network, Unicorn, EAST ENDxYURI, V6, Amuro Namie, BONNIE PINK
        2000s: Utada Hikaru, Hamasaki Ayumi, m-flo, Morning Musume, Perfume
        2010s: Suiyoubi no Campanella, iri

      • Ash

        Jun Togawa, Shiina Ringo, Seiko Oomori.

      • Ryusenkai

        For a nice mix of old and new…

        Older: Yamashita Tatsuro, Takeuchi Mariya, Oda Kazumasa, Hamada Shogo, Spitz, Kuwata Keisuke/Southern All Stars

        Newer: FOLKS, Keishi Tanaka, Sakanaction, Kamikita Ken, Ame no Parade, Shin Rizumu

      • yacchaitai

        Misora Hibari, Billy BanBan, Mina Aoe, Yumi Matsutoya, Momoe Yamaguchi, Candies, Southern All Stars, Pink Lady, THE ALFEE, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Miyuki Nakajima, Akina Nakamori, Seiko Matsuda, Wink, Anzenchitai, Princess Princess, Hikaru Genji, Chisato Moritaka, B’z, X Japan, Dreams Come True, globe, Namie Amuro, SPEED, L’Arc~en~Ciel, Morning Musume, Chara, hitomi, DOUBLE, Ken Hirai, Ringo Shiina, aiko, Ayumi Hamasaki, Hitomi Shimatani, ZARD, Mr. Children, SMAP, Perfume, Chihiro Onitsuka, Ai Otsuka, Kana Nishino, Superfly JASMINE, YUI, HALCALI, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Aimer, Charismacom, Shishamo, Suiyoubi no Campanella. I tried to keep it short.

        • yacchaitai

          For Question 2: Kana Nishino, Chara, Ayumi Hamasaki, Kyary, Akina Nakamori

      • J-Pop

        Thank you all very much! I’m surprised most of you mentioned the same artists.
        A special thanks to @Ryusenkai, @Hypermoot ., guest @Hani and @yacchaitai, many of those names I hadn’t heard before.

      • club_banger

        Divas (Ayumi Hamasaki, Koda Kumi, Namie Amuro, Utada Hikaru) and other great artists/groups/bands, which were mentioned before.

      • maguro part deux

        Supercar. Kaela Kimura. NUMBER GIRL.

      • Aru

        Domoto Tsuyoshi (especially his endlicheri, endli-x and shamanippon stuff), superfly, KinKi Kids, greeeen, xjapan, kokia, Tokyo Ska Paradise, Lecca…

      • The fresh ones i’m into:

        Oomori Seiko Iwasa Misaki. x)
        youtube. com/watch?v=V6pcn6YMr2g
        Enka with old people -> anybody else. xD
        youtube. com/watch?v=NhoaELZM75M

        I recommend listening to best albums only. There are way too many songs out there, easy to overwhelm yourself with boring average stuff.

    • HyperMoot .

      probably more known in the West and Russia than in Japan, I love the Japanese bands from Ricco Label, most of them based on the collaboration between pianist Yuki Murata and guitarist Takahiro Kido. Here’s a few vids from Anoice and Films (dark ambient/neo-classical/post rock)

    • chilling

      NEWS Neverland album has lots of bops! The Taku Takahashi/LISA song has a nice beat to it and they nailed the GreeeeN song as usual. Prob my faves are Silent Love, Un, Deux, Trois, Nagareboshi, U r not alone..
      https://youtu.be/0g3-LEQrhWA

    • zephyr

      Listening to Nanaka’s new ep makes me really miss BRIGHT. :( I like most of her released stuff so far (especially Honey Boy and Be My Baby), but none of them can compared to BRIGHT era tbh.

    • Ryusenkai

      Still waiting for certain releases from the past couple of weeks to materialize, but I have come across a few interesting things even so. Of particular note, Ketsumeishi’s “Jinsei Gekijou” and Tomuya’s “Eiga”.

      The former is a three song single that, when taken together, reminds me of a festival in microcosm. It has the jazzy and energetic opening track, the folksy anthem, and the super uplifting closing song that makes you glad you listened to the whole thing. Not perfect, but one of the more enjoyable singles I’ve come across this year, and I very much appreciate the variety of styles on display (even if they don’t really break the mold for the group).

      “Eiga”, on the other hand, is a really interesting album that I could have easily missed had the cover not caught my eye. It’s a set of 9 classic Japanese movie theme songs taken from the post-war era and rearranged by a French composer (expect some chanson influence at moments) and sung by Tomuya, a musician from Japan who’s lived in Paris since the 90s. Tomuya has a very deep, resonant tone to his voice that reminds me, somewhat, of classic crooners and gives the whole album a kind of timeless feel. It definitely doesn’t push the edge of any sonic boundaries, but I would call the release delightfully vintage (in that I think it could be enjoyed at any point in time) and it stands out among a lot of what’s come out lately. At least insofar as what I’ve been listening to.

      • Kana Nishino

        I really enjoy your music reviews. You seriously make everything sound so interesting!
        I’m “Kana Nishino” (and “J-Pop” here – quite creative), I read your response to the other comment on the other post, too! I’m really thankful!

        • HyperMoot .

          same feeling here, always a focus on music, new stuff, older stuff or less famous acts, many of them singer-songwriters, always something worth a try, never a flame, no scorn, no lecturing just invitations for a musical trip.

          • Kana Nishino

            Exactly, I couldn’t have it said better. Perhaps I should create an account just to save this kind of surprisingly rare, inteteresting, positive comments, they are always appreciated.

    • rshina

      just wondering, but do you know where I can get more info about Kagoshima’s life?
      I want to make a presentation about Kagoshima and I don’t have enough material

      • yamakita

        Google??

    • hasawa

      My friends who’s been modelling in Japan for 4 years is back in France for quite some time and told me some juicy things about the j-entertainment industry
      His very friends with old japanese producers (he told me his best there were all above 60 years old lol)

      I’m carving to ask him for an interview but i’m not sure if any of yall would be interested
      He’s mostly into j-fashion but he’s also a musician and knows a hell lot of people (yeah his socializing skills are ridiculous).

      • Perhaps…

        • hasawa

          Okay!
          What sounds the most interesting? His work as a model/fashion insider? (he’s very good friend with JULIUS designer). The state of Japan’s current indie music industry from an insider’s point of view? The overall hypocrisy of Japan (moral) severity in case of cheating or drug scandals when actually “everyone is doing it” behing the curtains? lol …Maybe all of it?
          I’m not comfortable with interviews yet so i need to prepare myself…He’s currently in a world trip so he may not be available atm anyway
          Imma keep you informed in the group chat ;-)

          • yamakita

            As long as it’s labeled as “gossip” I guess.

          • Midna

            All of that sounds good! Looking forward to it if you write it :D

          • Do what you feel is best.

          • zuru

            “The overall hypocrisy of Japan (moral) severity in case of cheating or drug scandals when actually “everyone is doing it” behing the curtains?”
            I know you don’t actually mean -everybody’s doing it, so its fine- but it still don’t make cheating or drug use right & Japan being severe about it is a good thing. Its not a “norm” that they should be proud of.

            • hasawa

              I totally agree with you about how Japan is right about being very severe about drug use and cheating.
              This sentence is actually what my friend told me thus i put it between quotation mark. He told me how some ppl used these scandals as an opportunity to be done with some celebs they had a personal beef with and be particularly hard on them even though they are not necessarly the worst since pretty much a bunch of other celebs are into it as well.

          • atralail

            don’t worry, take your time. i’ll be waiting for the tea to be spilled lol

            but honestly i rly want to know which j-celebs are snakes (probably all of them lmao), which ones that are really cool and nice, which ones are wild etc etc

          • circe154

            Do a series maybe? Those all sound interesting.

      • surfboardt

        Oh who cares if less people are interested in J-fashion, if he has good tea to spill, then by all means, slap us with those drenched teabags.

        • hasawa

          lol yeah he was in the same (shitty) modelling agency as Sen Mitsuji and Keisuke Asano : the first one is apparently pretty dull and full of himself and the second one rude lol
          It was also pretty interesting to hear his insight on the Becki/Enon scandal as he’s got a lot of acquaintance in this industry

          But more than gossip, it’s more the ‘how is it to be a gaijin working in the japanese industry’ prospect that i would like to put forward

          • Jo

            My friend who used to work as a makeup artist there also told me a lot of gossips. But it was back in 2013-2014… and I only remember he said something about how wild Kiko was.

      • rshina

        It’ll be nice to know more about j-fashion today, and beside arama rarely has an article about it.
        So I’m quite interested

      • yamakita

        What kind of “friends” are we talking about? :)

    • PigeonPop

      Not covered on Arama this week, but worth mentioning: our good friend Bunshun dug up a cheating scandal featuring Ken Watanabe @ http://bunshun.jp/articles/-/1918

      Long story short, Bunshun sent over its crew to NYC, discovered Ken-san “holding hands” with another woman, and also reported that he and Kaho Minami live separately (the latter in San Francisco, supposedly).

      • PigeonPop

        Needless to say, the usual places (2ch, Girls Channel, Twitter, various matome blogs) have been buzzing with activity regarding this scoop and the comparisons to Becky/Enon and Maggy/Ken Yokoyama have started. We’ll see in due time as to whether sponsors will drop him for the time being–for years he has been the go-to person for major companies like DoCoMo, Suntory, Daiwa Securities Group, and American Express.

        Celebrity reactions have also been quite atrocious, and IMO worse than those during the Beckygate. Koji Kato (geinin and co-host of morning show Sukkiri) have stated something that roughly translates to “Well, since he also works in Hollywood, it’s kind of the norm over there right?” Hideo Higashikokubaru (aka geinin Sonomanma Higashi and former Miyazaki Pref. governor) also expressed his thoughts on Viking, which is another live morning/afternoon news show, commenting that “I’m actually a bit relieved that he’s a ‘guy’ [a cheater] like the rest of us.”

        • PigeonPop

          In usual Japanese media fashion, reporters have tried to force a comment out of Ann when she appeared in public for an electronics event held in Ginza. She probably wanted to talk about more happy matters like being pregnant with her 3rd child, but…you get the drift. Instead of allowing for the usual Q&A session we see in these type of events, she swiftly left the venue and the event staff raised the volume of the BGM-playing speakers to drown out the reporters. Quite sad to read about.

          http://www.oricon.co.jp/news/2088360/full/
          http://www.oricon.co.jp/news/2088439/full/

          • PigeonPop
          • zuru

            So unfair Anne has to deal with her father’s shit.

            Tq for the gossips updates. I wish you’re an arama contributor tbh. Arama is especially in need of these type of columns like the good-ole-didnt days.Don’t mind if its just straight up informative, or simple with non of click-baiting trolling arama is infamous of. The gossips are juicy enough for comments fodder.

        • zuru

          Ugh. Disgusting af

      • PigeonPop

        On a different note–apparently Masaki Suda and Tsubasa Honda are dating now.
        https://www.daily.co.jp/gossip/2017/04/01/0010054620.shtml

        • Jo

          Is this April’s Fool again? Cus I can’t imagine they click…

      • yamakita

        The real news is when a high profile man in Asia doesn’t cheat.

      • nika

        this is the 56379th cheating scandal…wtf

    • Pepe

      This is random but the open post is here for that right lol
      I recently tried to get into Alexandros and damn their music is so …cringe, i wish they wouldn’t speak in english cause that just ruin the music, from “i met this girl, she’s nice and i like her” to “i woke up in the morning, brush my teeth” and whatnot, what makes it bad is the fact that their music is totally random, random lyrics without meaning, random titles etc…. like…really?
      I went throw their whole discography and it was torture, i felt the same pain Ronald feel reviewing idol music.
      I have the feeling they got popular because of their looks LOL, their music is pretty generic, seems like the typical mainstream “rock” music.
      And what makes me laugh is how they want to be the n1(?) band in the world? They’re not even the n1 band in Japan let alone the world, their music is not good lol.
      Ok end rant.

      • yamakita

        I like Alexandros. That said, their shtick is to impress average Japanese people, not anyone who is actually fluent in English.

        • No, their English lyrics are actually there for the international audience. I did an interview with them a couple of years ago and their main goal from the start was worldwide success and to be invited to Glastonbury:
          http://japanvibe.net/alexandros-ex-champagne-interview-2013-05/

          But yeah, with lyrics and music like that, they won’t really get there anytime soon.

          • Pepe

            Exactly, i read the interview a couple of weeks ago and for their answers i was like ?…, especially this part:
            Yoohei: Ahh, the lyrics! Well, my lyrics doesn’t really have any meaning, because if they would, the listeners could not put their own feeling into the song. So, I make them kind of empty. If it sounds nice, that’s fine for me.
            Hiroyuki: He lets the listeners imagine things.
            Yoohei: For me, that’s the difference between poems and lyrics. If you are writing a poem, you put meaning to it, but when you write lyrics it is different, it is all about the sound.

            Lyrics can be poetical, ex.Bob Dylan, and this kind of superficial approach Alexandros have with the lyrics makes me feel meh, if i didn’t care about the lyrics and wanted to listen to a song simply for the sound i would listen to Pop/EDM music, when i listen to Rock and especially Indie music in general i expect much more effort.
            Like what do you want me to imagine when you say “touch my Adam’s apple (i’ll bake you an Apple Pie” or “I don’t hang out with those lame celebrities destroy them i feel the urge” they seem like a bunch of teenagers that tries to act though, even teenagers indie Rock artists have deeper and better lyrics…

            So yeah if they keep this kind of attitude of doing generic random music without any meaning i don’t see them going anywhere…

            • hasawa

              They must be either naive or stupid if they think writing (dumb) lyrics in english is gonna make them big in the West. We already have a bunch of pretentious half assed rock bands who think writing lazy meaningless songs is the shit…

              • Pepe

                LOL exactly

      • Welp

        Really really late but I literally just listened to Alexandros and I feel the same way lol The main problem for me was the vocals. I just can’t get into that kind of high-pitched one-noted voice, makes the songs all sound the same. I agree with you, the lyrics are meh and music is pretty generic.
        Are they popular for their looks? They’re not good looking imo but I guess it’s personal pereference.
        I read about the greatest rock band in the world before and man, it’s not going to happen tbh

        • Pepe

          Yes! I feel the same way about yoohei voice as well

    • PigeonPop

      Yuzuru and Shoma just delivered a 1-2 punch at Worlds by the way. Congrats!

      • zuru

        Can’t wait to read Ronald post on it here :)
        Hope he won’t forget about Yuzu praising Boyang Jin

    • club_banger

      Ayu’s performance at Music Sation was cringeworthy.

      • Zungya

        No it wasn’t, I believe in our Queen. Those bitches at Girls Channel don’t know what they are talking about!

    • Matcha

      Still can’t believe “Kera” magazine is going under. Wtf is going on with Japanese street fashion?!
      Previous years I felt like they were starting to get rid of Gyaru magazines, clothing brands, etc. and now this.

    • Miyanmu

      Can’t these snot-noses leave Becky alone?! I want to see her concur the tv and show these woman hating sexist pigs that it isn’t her fault alone. The guy was married, but he decided to chase after a celebrity woman, he’s the real bastard here!

    • a suggestion

      How many people care about the variety/music show posts on here? I feel they clutter the place up needlessly. Can’t there be a single summary post instead of what seems like 10+ a week

      • ju

        A lot care. Most of it got featured on the trending post sidebar.
        You know what’s cluttering the place up? Boring indie posts no one cares about. Not a blimp on the trending list.

        • guest

          +1000

          I like the music show posts; they’re usually the only way I get to catch the performances of some of my less popular faves that don’t usually get rips. Could happily live without the dull indie posts that no one ever seems to care about except the contributor, though.

          • ju

            “Could happily live without the dull indie posts that no one ever seems to care about except the contributor, though.”
            Ikr. Sometimes I see lone comment on the post by the writer just so his/her article get included in disqus suggestions down below. Sad.

            • Yawn

              Sounds like you guys are the boring ones. Expand your horizons lads.

              • ju

                The articles are dull. I do listen to some indie acts luv.

        • hasawa

          I think quantity matters.
          You are annoyed by the amont of ‘dull articles about indie acts no one seems to care about’ pretty much like i’m annoyed to see a bunch of post about music show that i’m personally absolutely not interested into. Yet i’m not gonna start bitching about it cause this is what makes Arama diverse and satisfies some of its readers (like you).
          The most important is how all of these articles can coexist on Arama without one type overtaking the other. Dissing one kind of content for the benefit of another is not the solution..

          • ju

            I only bitch about it here because I’m an honest anon. I also has interest in indie artists but dull articles are dull. At least with the simplistic music show posts, there are links your readers can click to watch the content. If it trended, it means a majority of arama’s audience were clicking on it, not just “some” or just lil ol me.

            Arama is a mix bag and it should be like it. I didn’t mean you guys should rid off all the indie posts, I’m just honestly saying most of it is sad.

            • hasawa

              A bunch of ‘dull articles’ about niche indie acts trended as well
              You probably didn’t notice because you’re not interested in them

              • ju

                Those bunch of articles were probably the ones that weren’t dully written. I’ve noticed them, tq.

                Added value, original editorial content are great and you can put them as reference in your CV next. It don’t change the fact most of it were boring with very little views by arama’s audience.

          • hmm

            OP has a point though, just look at that fucking front page lol

      • lolol

        Do people even watch TV in general

    • experimental idol stuff!
      3776

      *. *