Description: JPop and JRock reviews! Wai ~ !
Ni Hao! 'Nother review, this time it's YUI!
Where you might have heard of her before:
• "Feel my Soul”—used for J-drama “Fukigen na Gene”
• “Tomorrow’s Way” – J-movie “Hinokio”
• “Life” – the anime Bleach’s 5th ending theme
• “Rolling Star” – the anime Bleach’s 5th opening theme
• “Goodbye Days” – theme song for the J-movie “Taiyou no Uta” タイヨウのうた with YUI’s other songs “It’s Happy Line” and “Skyline” as insert songs.
• “Again”— an opening for the anime, Fullmetal Alchemist
• “Love & Truth” – J-movie “Closed Note”
~~ several other dramas, movies and commercials have showcased YUI’s songs.
YUI was born March 26th 1987 in Fukuoka. She grew up only with her mother, and having no memory of her father. Ever since she was little, YUI grew up with music and in elementary school, decided she wanted to be a musician.
She would write her feelings in journals and poetry, then by high school, starting writing her own songs. But, with all the pressures and hassle YUI felt in high school, including working to get tuition money and studying, she felt a life of music and school wasn’t possible. At this time, it is possible she might have given up on her dream of singing. Yet, she got sick and had to stay in a hospital for quite some time, there she was really able to think about her life and where it was going. With thinking about things, YUI decided she couldn’t leave her dream behind and focused now on creating a musical career for herself. Pretty much saying, “school can deal with it”, which is somewhat of a saying I have.
She dropped out of high school and entered a private music school. It was a cram school and she started to seriously study guitar and songwriting. Although it has a lot of work, at least it was now something she actually wanted to do. At this time, YUI would give street performances at Tenjin station in Fukuoka to get a feel of being professional. With this, YUI was also able to get over her shyness.
In February 2004, there was a Sony Music Group Audition and by recommendation of her teacher, she auditioned. Even though it was a rule that participants could only perform 2 songs, YUI did 3 and the judges all gave her the highest marks possible. The songs she performed were, “Why me”, “It’s Happy Line”, and “I know”. As said by Last.fm, “the judges and the others present claimed that “the performance created a tremendous aura from her heavenly voice, and captured the hearts of the whole audience”.” Afterwards, she was signed instantly. Impressive, ne?
And only at 17 years old, on Christmas of 2004, YUI’s first single, “A Happy Line” was released on an indie label.
Getting more popular and successful, she left Fukuoka for Tokyo and wrote “feel my soul”. YUI intended on it being released on the indie label, sort of a tribute to her hometown. However, when a Fuji t.v. producer heard the new song, he said that YUI’s vocals haunted him so much that he had to visit her in the recording studio by himself. Managing to get YUI on his label now, he used this newest song for his channel’s primetime drama, “Fukigen no Gene”. YUI’s 1st major debut single, “Feel my Soul” got 8th on the Oricon charts and she continued to gain fans and popularity. After a few more singles being released and then an album with moderate success, in 2006 YUI started her acting career and everything changed.
The movie “Taiyou no Uta” タイヨウのうた “A Song of the Sun” (but also called “Midnight Sun) came out in June of 2006, and really shot YUI into the spotlight. YUI had the main role and her character is partly based off of herself as her character is an amateur singer and guitarist. Not only that, but her character also performs 3 of YUI’s songs, “It’s Happy Line”, “Goodbye Days” and “Skyline”. I read the movie’s description on Wikipedia (full of spoilers though) and it seems really touching, I would really like to see it. -sniffs- But, anyways, I think this was such an amazingly intelligent thing for her to do and to me, it seems kinda like an infomercial showcasing off YUI and her abilities. Really, it’s simple marketing at its’ finest.
Well, because of her role in Taiyou no Uta, YUI received the “Best Newcomer” award at the Japan Academy Prize (which is similar to the Academy Awards). And because of the movie, her accompanying single “Goodbye Days” became her biggest selling single to date at 200,000 copies sold. Not only that, but because of the success of the movie and the single, many of YUI’s previous singles and the following singles got boosted sales. Some other awards YUI has received are the “MTV Student Voice Award 2008: Best Artist” and “Space Shower Music Video Awards 08: Best Pop Video”.
Afterwards, she has continued releasing more singles. YUI became a household name with her songs constantly appearing in commercial ads or t.v. dramas. “Taiyou no Uta” also was made into a television drama. Her 2nd full album “Can’t buy my Love” reached 1st on the Oricon charts and lasted for 2 weeks. And because of this album’s success, her 1st album also got shot into the Oricon rankings again. But this was not the only time YUI got the top spot in the charts; her singles “My Generation/Understand”, “Summer Song”, “Again”, “It’s all too much/ Never say Die” and 3rd album “I Loved Yesterday” also all charted 1st place.
On January 20th 2010, her latest single “Gloria” was released and reached #1 on the charts selling over 80,000 within the first week. With this, YUI had made history by becoming only the 2nd female Japanese singer to ever have 4 consecutive #1 hits besides Utada Hikaru!
Another really awesome bit of trivia, YUI’s latest compilation album of her B-sides called “My Short Stories” released in November 2008, reached the 1st place spot on the Oricon chart. Because of this, YUI is only the 2nd female Japanese artist whose B-side compilation album reached 1st and only second to Seiko Matsuda’s “Touch Me” in 1984.
More music stuffs~!!
Listening to her for the first time, I really love how soft, delicate and smooth her voice is. It’s so clear and sharp, but easily flows into a more powerful, strong sound, like a breath of fresh air. Her music to me isn’t the most distinctive or unique, but it’s still really pleasing and I’m happy to listen to more of it.
To me, it seems like her older stuff has a more “folksy” softer pop feel with all the lovely acoustic guitar action whereas her later stuff has more of an “aggressive”rock edge and feel. Regardless, they all carry a sort of upbeat melody categoristic usually of Jpop. Just personally, her older stuff seems to fit her voice more, but I like both. Also, with her newer stuff there is more experimentation with different melodies and sounds than older stuff. Oh, she also writes all of her own lyrics, which I really like of course, it’s pretty uncommon with most Jpop artists out there!! ^^
So, when I was first looking for some of YUI’s songs on Youtube, it took seemingly FOREVER! LOL First of all, when I typed “YUI” or even “YUI” and the exact song title, at least 97% are all people covering it >_>;;;. THEN, when I did find legitimate music by a “YUI”, there are bunches of different Yui’s. I knew there were several different Yui’s, but not as many as I found! There’s YUI, Yui Aragaki, Yui Makino, Yui Horie, Yui Ichikawa, Yui Sakakibara and a bunch of other Yui’s who are just idols.. LOL, well, there are other websites I found videos on and it was worth finding the real videos! XDD
Some songs (overall in order of age, oldest first) :
Her first major single release and an uplifting and sweet typical Jpop song. It showcases her real potential in her vocal ranges and composition abilities.
Another nice and simple song.
One of YUI's more rock-inspired songs. I really really like this. It obviously has a rock melody, but not the "tough" edge that takes away from YUI's voice.
Such a sweet soft simple song, her voice is so perfect. It oozes that warm and fuzzing feeling. Nostalgia!! One of my favorites of what I’ve heard so far.
Catchier, has a sort of “western” feeling to it... I like it loads~
So touching.. ;w; Like I mentioned, this was the main song in “Taiyou no Uta”.
The melody is really nice and her softer voice is so lovely. Then, it gets to the chorus where there is more power. I like this song; nice in between her oldest stuff and her current stuff.
Begins with this cute fairytale-esque feel. It’s a soft, charming ballade, but doesn’t get at all as painful sounding as “Goodbye Days”. It has a nice dream-like quality to it.
Fun, obviously summery song. I find a lot of YUI’s songs make me think of summertime. Mybe it’s just Jpop in general usually does? Hmm..~
Another rockish inspired tune. I don’t know, but I’m not too crazy about it. Like some of the other newer/ rock-inspired songs, like “It’s all too much", it’s a “tougher” melody, but YUI is all cute and sweet and it doesn’t sound as natural or enjoyable as some of her softer songs.
Her voice is so smooth and just flows soo amazingly in this song. It gets pretty aggressive in comparing with some of the other stuff. It like gets you in the “zone” or whatever. Crazy catchy song~ her voice is actually really good in this song that fits with the aggressiveness of the melody.
Here is her OHP, check it out! — http://www.yui-net.com/index.html
Have questions/ comments about YUI?! Check the forums!: http://otakuanime.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5933#5933
Yo~! Long time no see ^^;;
BUWEAH! Well, school is done for now (mostly.. still got a couple finals).
Aaa~nd... Here's a review for SHOWTA.!! woot! I know, you all have secret crushes on him too!! XDD
Where you might have heard of him before:
...that's about it, but that doesn't at all mean to not check him out!
SHOWTA. was born in August of 1987 and was first discovered in 2004 from the Yamaha teens music festival. Since then, he has been regularly featured on certain television programs and music programs. Last thing I knew he was doing, he was in a stage production of "Fruits Basket". I'm not sure what part, but I can see that happening LOL. He is also usually featured in the teenage girl's magazine, KERA, which is precisely how I found out about him! Seeing him in the magazine, I was kinda intrigued (hello, have you seen him?! ...god, he is ADORABLE! *__*) and spontaneously decided to buy his first album "EVE". OMG i'm not at all a spontaneous person and not the type to just spend $30 on an album I haven't even heard, but I'm SO happy I did!! He is really wonderful, and although all (most) of you are guys, I would hope you may check him out..
Major Genres: Pop, Folk..? stuff like that..
Musically, SHOWTA. has amazingly beautiful and charming vocals that pair wonderfully with his song's melodies. He is sort of described as having a "Tenshi no Utagoe", or Angel's singing voice. It just sort of came to be as people couldn't really decide if his voice sounded like a woman's or more like a man's. So, it was just decided he sounds like an angel, and he really does. It's so gentle and soft, and can be so moving and powerful, but without losing the gentle beauty of it. One person on Youtube mentioned that Showta. sounds like "an uke blossoming in love".. and I find that quite amusing. XDD I personally can tell his voice masculine, but yes, it’s pretty borderline.
His music is bubblegum pop. I think of him, like a mix between Rythem and Negishi from DMC, except being cooler with it. It is pop, some of it pretty typical, but I also really think there is a nice addition of Folk and whimsy. His lyrics are pretty simple and mostly deal with sweet love and innocent stuff like that, which I really like from time to time. And the melodies are fitting with warm sincerity. Most of his songs contain little more than the keyboard which really lets SHOWTA.'s vocals shine through. Usually, I need a range of instruments to let there feel like a song is "complete" or "full" to let me fully enjoy it, but really SHOWTA. is the star and you don't need much else.
A majority of his singles feature more catchy, typical but still delightful pop tracks. While, his b-sides showcase the more touching and delicate aspects of Showta.
Here are explanations of some of his songs:
Consistently through 2006, 2007 and 2008, SHOWTA. (..and yes, it's all caps with the period lol) has been releasing single after single, then his debut album in March 2008, but since then, nothing has really been released.. He did have a single titled "Ekubo" released in February of this year, but it was just a digital release, with no way for myself and other non-Japanese to buy.. waahh ;__; I seriously have no idea what is going on, but it stinks.. He isn't very-well known or popular, but it's a shame. He really has a lot going for him and I wish for him to become bigger and better well known!!
So, I hope you check his stuff out, he is great and I think enjoyable for guys and girls!
Check out his OHP for more info.!!: http://www.showta.jp/
And.. here's his blog to see more cute pictures and more random info.!: http://showta.eplus2.jp/
...Have questions, comments, needs to spam about the cutie known as SHOWTA.? Clickie here and spam the forums! :D http://otakuanime.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2787
..and Melly Chlistmas!!
Hiiya! ~ Another review!
From left: Izumi (dr), Nao (bs), Isshi (v), Shin(gt & koto), then Akiya (gt)
Kagrra, A truly splendid blend of rock and traditional Japanese vibes…
Where you might of heard of Kagrra, before..
•The anime “Kinniku man II sei” ending theme song, “Chikai no tsuki” (誓ノ月)
•“Jusou” (咒葬) from the album “Shu” (珠) is being used for the upcoming Japanese movie “Hitori kakurenbo” (一人かくれんぼ)
Kagrra, originally began in 1998 as “CROW” under Key Party records. They toured with their brother band “Lar~mia”. After becoming widely popular, “CROW” changed their name to “Kagrra,” joined onto the PS company label (also home for the Gazette, Miyavi, Kra, and others..), and left their brother band behind.
“Kagrra,” is intentionally misspelled and how their name is written on their music etc.. but it’s pronounced as “Kagura”. Around 2003, after joining Columbia records, they added the little “comma”, which is symbolized as a magadama. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magatama (So yeah, it’s not just a typo, lol)
They became major in 2004 with their release of the single “Urei” (愁). And finally, joined to King records in 2007. Many of Kagrra,’s cover arts include the work of Fukaya Yoichiro and has become a sort of trademark, like their most recent album “Shu” (珠).
Kagrra, consists of members….
Likes: reading and good people
Dislikes: people who smoke (he’d not get along with most Visual kei artists XDD)
Isshi is the major brains of the group, he’s the most into the traditional Japanese culture and writes the lyrics. He is the “kanji wizard” and likes using very intricate kanji no one really uses lol. I can’t understand how to pronounce ½ of the song titles, with 5 characters and that are not commonly used
Likes: his own room, kind people
Dislikes: liars, ignorance
Akiya idolizes Sugizo, the guitarist of the disbanded “Luna Sea” (Many other bands idolize Luna Sea, including Nightmare). He used to be a major composer, but I guess now just focuses on being a guitarist. He plays the 7-stringed guitar, but has also played a 12-stringed guitar for their “San” album. He has also played piano since preschool.
Likes: shopping at H. Naoto and cute, kind people and naps! (who doesn’t!?)
Dislikes: cucumbers (huh!?!? Sabokappa SOO doesn’t agree lol! ) and proud people
Shin is the shyest member, and perhaps the most serious member, in a music sense.
Likes: walking and girls with cute eyes
Nao is the typically the most popular member, especially among rabid fangirls, for his boyish charm. He is pretty goofy and likes to fool around. He really doesn’t like being confused for as a girl,and complains about it. aww.. how cute lol .. he’s really a cutie..
Likes:Billiards, Jazz, kind people, cooking, manga
Dislikes: unkind people
Izumi is the band leader, although he is rather quiet. He is more one of those “behind the scenes” guys. And during PV shootings or interviews, it’s not uncommon to see piles of Izumi’s manga lying around, or him reading.
--I got most of this info. from http://kagrra.aseriana.net/info/kagrra.php I have NO IDEA where all this other information I had about them went, I lost it all/ forgot.. ;__; Thankfully I found this site!
As a Visual Kei band, Kagrra, used to be very dressed up, wearing the traditional kimonos and yukatas (notice not hakamas, or.. actual men’s clothes lol..) They were soo amazingly feminine looking back then, it’s amazing just how.. not they are today.
During “Shizuku” (雫)time period (2007), they really weren’t visual at all.
...but these days, they’re gradually becoming more visual. The first picture I posted of them is most current. So, yays!
Okay.. back tsu music stuffs!!!!!!
Anyways.. their overwhelming genre is “Neo Japanesque”. They are very influenced by Japanese culture and history, and their music portrays that. Not only that, but many lyrics are centered around Japanese folklore. Kagrra,’s older music has been heavier, and darker with songs like “kotodama” (恋綴魂)(their demo tape song), but has evolved into a generally lighter feel.
As they’ve progressed, the band has also been adding much more synth and keyboard. Regardless, one big aspect about their music, is the lyrics. Even though many fans (myself included) don’t understand much Japanese, Isshi’s lyrics are truly a big part of Kagrra, and are something to look into. Most of Isshi’s lyrics are melancholic, but never overbearing or too obvious/ in your face, some have religious stories or feelings, like “Irodori no Sanka” (彩の讃歌). Isshi's voice is more "traditional" for a Japanese voice, i think, it's quite nasally (sp.?) i think people may either love it or hate it.. i love it, adn it's very fitting to the traditional Japanese aspect of the music! And something Kelly really appreciates is the very strong bass line that’s throughout their stuff; new and old.
Okay simply… OLDEST (2000-2003?): This was their heaviest stuff. Well, it wasn’t very “traditional” sounding, more of rock, with more subtle Japanese flair. Included the mini-album “Nue”(鵺) and up to Ouka Ranman (桜花爛漫).They boys also weren’t visual at the very beginning, but then became their most visual time around 2002.
MIDDLE(2004-2005): During this time, the guys released a lot of stuff, and rereleased all their older stuff as noted before. This was their most quintessential “Neo-Japanesque” time period. The music primarily on cds, “Miyako” (京) and “San” (燦), most easily showed the Japanese spirit in the music. There are many songs I like of this period, but I feel too many of them are too similar, and kinda get lost and mixed amongst each other. Not many songs jump out at you, or strike you as different.
“SHIZUKU”(雫) time period (2006-2007): With the release of the single “Utakata” (うたかた) in November 2006, I think really marked a turning point for the band. The song really grabbed people, and remains one of their most popular (I think). The guys are given a hard time by a lot for fans for feeling they lost their Japanese feel, both musically and visually, but I’m just like “whatever”. Yes, they weren’t visual at all in this time, which made me sad, but I think musically, they just married the rock and Japanese aspects to their music truly beautifully. Their songs are much more distinct and different, each one bringing a different sense and feel to the album.
CURRENT (2008- ): Okay, currently.. The guys released “CORE” in 2008, their 1st English titled anything and with no previous singles to lead up to it. Many people were surprised with this release, some even hating it at first, with such drastic feels to the music. Core really showed how Kagrra, was opening as a band. There are pop influences, rock influences, even synthesizer and keyboard, something totally different! Just truly a fresh direction they were taking. Now, after just releasing “Shu” (珠) in April, the guys are continuing in this direction. Sadly, I haven’t even listened to “Shu” as of yet, I still have to buy it (;_;) waah.. But yeah, I know it’ll be great! n_n Also, they are going back to being visual again, so yays! I love Isshi's hair currently.
I’ll post a list of my favorites, but also that try to show the range of Kagrra,’s stuff, because you guys my all have different tastes etc..
List of notable songs (in order of oldest in age 1st)
• Kotodama (恋綴魂) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4OY6qxJrJM&feature=related Lol, old school Kagrra,!! XD as you can tell, this is all "scary" etc.. that's like lotsa bands, they start out trying to seem like they're tough, when they obviously aren't, See "Nightmare" XD XD. Also, you can see, this song is referencing Japanese folklore.
• Shi, mi ,me, yu, ki, sa, a (し、み、め、ゆ、き、さ、あ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKwSY4kZTcY One of my favorites. This is the farthest from their "Neo Japaneseque" label, but that's also because this is from 2000, right when Kagrra, was starting. I love it! and the video just really makes it! XD XD
• Oumagatoki (逢魔ヶ刻) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3tm4d8WZyc&feature=related
• Sakura mai chiru ano oka de kaeri saku 2002 ver. 桜舞い散るあの丘で kaeri咲 弐零零弐ver..WMA (5.57 Mb) Adorably, delicate beginning. Impressive openings to songs are real important to me, if a song doesn't grab me almost instantly, i'll skip it. The chorus is so nice too "..haa te na-i itami kara tooku tooku totemo sabishikute..." and all the children, i presume, joining in, is really moving, sou de~su? Oh yeah!! The first time i heard, this was from this random youtube video some one made about all these Jrockers, being in like, love pentagons, all conversing through chat rooms! I gotta find it again! lol..
Middle (Miyako) (京)
• Togenkyo 冬幻境.WMA (5.32 Mb) Winter! yup yup! Like, it really feels like the captured the essense of a Japanese winter. All serene, but you can sense the solitude. The flute throughout is very lovely.
• Genpei Tosentan 源平闘戰譚.WMA (3.38 Mb) One of their more "vicious" songs, more agressive and such. I not too crazy about it, but good show of their range. It's dumb because it's not like i don't like this song, it's just I wanna get to utakata and such and I haven't given it much attention.. Anyways.. I still don't know how to pronounce unless i look it up..
• Tsurezure uta 徒然謌.WMA (4.06 Mb) Kinda a faster song.. what I love most about this song, is the background koto and stuff that kinda permeates through the song, but at the near end (around 3 minutes) it really becomes noticable. It's like this wonderful Japanese royalty vibe that i adore to no end.
• Urei (miyako mix) (愁(京 MIX)) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcNWoEnUn-4 Agian, I LOVE this song's opening. At first, it feels as though this song would be "slower", but then, it just breaks, I suppose, then is quite fast. Yes, this was their 1st single as they turned major.
• Satsuki (皐月) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmQv-O27pwU&feature=related Really nice song. This is typically the most commercial/ well-known song of theirs. When people first start listening to Kagrra, this is what they start on.. lol, it sounds like i'm describing drugs.. XD XD
• Sarasouju no komori uta (沙羅双樹の子護唄～燦remix～) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQwWc6-5Uk8 Buweah.. nice, really beautiful traditional Japanese feel. Also, the bass line is just so impossibly cute!
• Utakata (うたかた) My ALL-TIME FAVORITE!
• Unmei no ito (運命の糸) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo7wi5XIYwI&feature=related Really wonderful beginning, then like a waterfall? effect song.. then goes into the rest of the song..
• Kasunda fuyu no mukou ni… (霞んだ冬の向こうに…) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7vQZgnYMio&feature=related
• Shizuku (雫)
Core • Irodori no sanka (彩の讃歌)
• Ujou 雨情.WMA (3.26 Mb) Really cool funky jazzy song
• Shigatsu tsuitachi 四月一日.WMA (5.26 Mb) Adorable cute perfectly "spring" song. The added synth is a really nice fresh touch you never really get from Kagrra,.
• Kamikaze (風神) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ7NKdnz9KE
• Shin Hyakki yako (新・百鬼夜行)
BUT, my ALL-TIME FAVS.!! are............. drum roll PU-RI-ZU!!
Utakata (うたかた) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6uNvhXzJtA So incredibly beautiful. Simply. This song just sends chills up my spine. It's so soo beautiful, and I LOVE the contrast between the traditional Japanese aspects, and the non-Japanese aspects of the video. You can tell it's sad, but never too much. This is the #1 song i think i can recommend, out of any band, out of any song, "Utakata" is it! (Kelly played this for our Cultural Anthropology class too!)
Shizuku (雫) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCo1FBFkpyc Shizuku is mesmerizing. Really, really a song you just blur out when you're listening to it. Everytime I hear this song, I really go into a trance or something. So pleasing to the ears.
Irodori no sanka (彩の讃歌) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDyvcjLvXwY This song is just SO AMAZING!! The beginning is lovely, like always. Like, it has such an unearthly feel. Sounds like water? but just.. other worldly, that's all i can describe it.. Then the koto and traditional Japanese instruments begins.. Very very nice.... Then, Isshi begins singing very delicately adn nice.. GREAT SONG!
I really don't think I could live without these songs in my collection
Each of these songs, when I listen to them, I always just kinda faze out, they just feel so deep, and philosophical, they are just so beautiful!! Not only that, but Utakata's video is just so wonderful too! Other runner-ups are Shigatsu Tsuitachi, Tsurezure Uta, and Sakura mai chiru ano oka de kaeri saku 2002 ver.!!
So... check them out!! They's su-pa awesome!! Here's their OHP...well, their myspace > http://www.myspace.com/kagrraofficial
okay, well I posted their OHP link,but the computer doesn't like the comma this is it, it just doesn't work > http://www.pscompany.co.jp/kagrra,/
Wanna talk about this review of traditional Japanese wonder?? GO HERE!! http://otakuanime.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2672
Hiya!.. eh.. >< long time no see!..... heh heh.. gomenn...
Okay, I got a new review! (finally..lol) This time, I'm gonna tell you all about the cuteness that is RYTHEM!!
Where you might have heard of them before:
~~and actually, several other songs were used for various NHK t.v. shows, dramas etc...(I'll stop here!)
Anyways.. Rythem is a pop duo consisting of Member Yui (Yui Nitsu, born August 17th 1985) and Yuka (Yukari Kato, born April 3rd 1985). (oh! and don't check out wikipedia for this one, whoever posted such info. is way wrong..)Yui plays the guitar, while Yuka is on piano. They both sing.. They came to be in the 2002 (while they were still in high school), when there was a Sony music audition, and they won (with their song "Harmonia")!.. and they've been together ever since!
Rythem is in one word: Cute! ..and actually, my 1st actual Jpop cd was their 2nd album "Mugen Factory"(夢現ファクトリー).
Rythem is known primarily for making cute, cheery melodies, and i must say, for the longest time, their primary audience has been wiwl akachans~ lol... They're songs to me, always reminsce of summer, with sweet, positive lyrics (though they may be kinda dumpy, like "i think people were meant to fly" yada yada yada (in keeping with their primary audience of little kids))
Overall, this is how I have come to view Rythem's musical style..
Older (early 2000's) Their album: Utatane
The most "babyish" Rythem. This time is very cute, very dumpy, and all together very enjoyable...lol! Their music in this time was the least played around with i guess, and simple. Quite abit of their stuff too has a "western" feel to it, not "western" as in the U.S., lol, but like "cowboys & indians and JD!!" (added that last thing for you kelly!..)I find this time to be best for karaoke with very easy choruses and beats.. If you don't like nauseatingly cute music; this is NOT for you!..
Oh yeah! i forgot! But one of my cat's "Randy" just LOVES Rythem!!..Especially this time period..He just loves listening to it.. little lard-butt, lol...
Mid (2004-2006) Their album: Mugen Factory
Rythem is developing their talent more. This time period has the most overwhelming "summer" feel. Overall, the music is more "intelligent" i guess you could say, with a maturer feel, but they still retain their primary audience (children) feel. In this time period, they began to explore sad ballades and adding more piano and guitar then before. Some notable sadder melodies, "20 tsubu no kokoro", "song for you", "tsuki on usagi".. > these songs are calm, easy listening-type tunes..
Current (2007+) Their album: 23
Rythem feels much more mature, softer, and have developed more complex themes and melodies. It doesn't feel soo cute, but still lovely melodies nonetheless.. The duo has also delved more into heartfelt, sad songs, like "Bitter&Sweet", (which is down right heartbreaking, that I won't listen too..) I can't really find this time to be good for karaoke.. I kinda feel some of the songs are unmemorable and just boring.. I do just love "Love Call~ DAISHI DANCE REMIX" though.. It's impossibly ADORABLE! and plus, it's very interesting and GREAT for karaoke ...Oh and their latest single "Love Call", the duo collaborated with the male singing duo "Kimaguren" btw..
I think Rythem is trying to grow out of their purely "child" audience, and trying to show a more mature side, that is more readily accepted by older people. This is a real transistion/ experimental phase for them right now. This is not to say Rythem is losing any of their innocence or cuteness, per se, but they do wanna go on to "bigger and better things" as the cliche goes, i think..
Okay! some favorites!! (I'll try to load music up here, if you don't see any links quite yet, i'm working on it adn/or bugging Jon to help me.. lol..)
Newest Favs.: Like a Friend (like a edison, sorry, but i had to add a little randomness that kelly would appreciate), 東京メトロガール.WMA (4.88 Mb) Tokyo Metro Girl (TOHOKU METRO GIRL!..), Bitter & Sweet.WMA (6.06 Mb) Banana Moon (I just LOVE the name of the song as well.),, and Hotarubi (蛍火)
Love Call (DAISHI DANCE REMIX).WMA (7.23 Mb) You have to listen to this song!!! It is SOO ADORABLE!!! From the adorable beginning piano through the whole song, it's my favorite Rythem song of all time I think! A total song i'd wanna do for karaoke!!!!!!!!!! (oh, adn GREAT use of the "te" form!!..lol)
Oh.. and also, i don't wanna sound patronizing or anything, but, if you happen to like a band or anything, please buy their music, and don't just download if possible (i have TONS of great music, and i haven't had to download any of it, so it's possible)!!! It helps support the band/ artist/ singer whatever and to continue making great music!!
Okee! check them out o negai shimasu!!!! Here's their adorable OHP: http://www.rythem.info/
Post your thoughts on this entry here!! http://otakuanime.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2523
(..w00t! Just ordered Kiyoharu’s Kuroyume self-cover “Medley” album with Limited-edition t-shirt!!... wahahaahh!! ('▽｀).。ｏ…)
Where you might have heard Kiyo-sama before:
• “The Wallflower” (Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge) – “Slow” & “Carnation”. The creator, Tomoko Hayakawa is a HUGE Kiyoharu fan.. I mean, she’s OBSESSED with him! Hee hee… Yeah, and Hayakawa-san said all the guy characters in the manga (i.e. Kyouhei, Takenaga, all the attractive guys “dazzling creatures”..), were designed after Kiyoharu, even though they may not necessarily look like him..lol!! You should read the manga if you haven't, all her little side stories (that most manga artists have) are about her adventures going to various Kiyoharu concerts.., especially check out volume 17, when she finds out Kiyoharu announced he’d do the music to the anime, and then, she met him backstage!! It’s priceless.. and like me..lol..
• He’s former vocalist to the very popular bands 黒夢(Kuroyume) and サッズ(SADS).. Kuroyume lasted from 1991-1999 and was a visual-kei punk-rock band. SADS, was a post-punk, glam-rock band that lasted from 1999-2003..( I may review these bands at a later date!..)
Genres: Currently, alternative rock, but also has touches of pop ... But, he has also worked with punk, and hard rock influences..
Okay, so I’ll admit it, I myself am a HUGE Kiyoharu fan too.. I’ve always hated boy bands when I’ve been growing up, so I guess this makes up for it..lol! I’m just a total fangirl.. I’ve heard of Kiyoharu awhile ago, but recently have gotten real into him, and now I can’t get enough! Despite this, I think I’m still able to objectively judge his music. It’s just something….. something about Kiyo~sama that makes him so irresistible.. (///∇//)♡...Anyways.. back to the musical aspects!!
Kiyoharu’s actual name is 森 清治 (Mori Kiyoji) (soo cute...) oh! I also wonder if he’s related to Mori Chaxx (creator of GLOOMY BEAR)?? Anyways..and he was born October 30th 1968.. jeez! X___o;; I know! He’s so old, but soo doesn’t look it! I think it’s just Asians, they’re lucky and seem to never have to age.. wait.. I’m only 18! What am I worrying about for..lol….woops!.. off-topic yet again… eh..to..
Well, Kiyoharu is a widely known, recognized, and respected musician, it’s just you don’t hear about him that much, as he’s not main-stream, or as socially accepted, as other artists are. He is the man that influenced popular vocalists 京(kyou) of Dir en Grey and ガラ (gara) of メリー (Merry).
And thanks to this Kiyoharu Live Journal Community, that I soo want to join, I see that up until Kiyo’s early 20’s he still just dreamed of being a rockstar, and worked in a video rental store and a love hotel… His musical career started in the 80’s in indie bands, Sus4, and then later Garnet. After Garnet disbanded, he formed 黒夢(Kuroyume). This band had a heavy, dark image, influenced by punk rock. Kuroyume was a “visual-kei” or “visual style” band. Just so you know, “visual kei” is what it is, it just refers to bands that like to have typically “out-there” appearances, if not androgynous... Many VK artists I know of, musically, are as diverse as pop and death metal.. Well, they disbanded, (not officially until January 29th 2009), then Kiyoharu went on to form SADS. SADS first started off sounding like Kuroyume, but evolved into a lighter, but still very energetic band, with a glam-rock feel. After the drummer left the band in 2003, SADS was left into a definite hiatus..Even though there has been a Kuroyume reunion, it’s uncertain if SADS will ever have one..
So, Kiyoharu began creating solo work. And since then, he’s been recognized not just as a vocalist, but also a songwriter and guitarist. He's also a fashion designer with his brands, CHARM CULT & GLAM ADDICTION.. Overall, Kiyoharu’s solo work is much gentler than his previous stuff. His first album being solo, “Poetry” was released in 2004.. now, he’s just as active as ever, constantly working on new songs to the delight of his fans and many, many fangirls!, he’s even been known to work non-stop for 20 hours recording and writing lyrics..I just hope he takes a nice rest every once in a while! .. Currently, he’s working on a new single and new album!! I can’t wait!!!!!!
RANDOM-NESS ALERT (But, keep reading!!): I like to check out his blog and see what he’s up to! Check it out yourself! He always uploads pictures of food and his ADORABLE doggy! (lots of jmusicians do this on their blog, just talk about food and animals..hee hee)
Lately, he’s had lots of pics. with him in the recording studio and various Rilakkuma stuffs.. hee hee..
This is Kiyoharu's new blog, as of April '09 > http://kiyoharu.syncl.jp/
-Oh! I just saw this video, I HAD to post it!! It’s very very funny and cute how Kiyo is eating backstage at one of his concerts.. (T///T), you can tell he’s thinking so profoundly after each bite, then he just asks “is this curry?” He’s kidding though, he knows it’s curry...lol..<33 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRoq66fgdTk
-Oh! On another side note: he’s good friends with Justin Davis (his jeweler) and Takanori Nishikawa ( T.M. Revolution & the vocalist of Abingdon boys school…)
-lol.. another side note, he’s known to take naps during interviews.. hee hee! oh.. Kiyo~!!<33
SPECIFIC MUSIC STUFFS……..
Anyways I’ll talk about more specific music aspects of Kiyoharu’s… Well, first of all, he has quite an… original voice.. Personally, I LOVE it, and he has such a cute way pronouncing.lol.. it's just soo intoxicating, but other people may think otherwise. His voice has been scratchy and rough in his earlier career, but throughout his solo career, it feels much more gentle and polished, so if people previously disliked his older voice, it’s toned down. But you still get a nice feel of his voice, with the nice “unique-ness” of it..yay! His lyrics tend to stay about sentimental love and videos are usually of elegant images.. His stuff in Kuroyume, especially in SADS, had lustful lyrics and out-there, in your face, videos..
I LOVE both main time periods.. Both are soo lovely, but for different reasons check a little bit of both out!!..
Some (and I mean “some”..) of my favorite songs!! <33
• 光 (Hikari): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39MtCqvz_-c
This song is soo cool and eerie. It’s really like nothing I’ve EVER heard before... I LOVE the beginning bass, then adding the keyboard (that strongly persists throughout the song, and adds to the eerie/ weird feeling to the song), then, the guitar comes in... This song is just soo...mysterious and nice... Kiyo’s voice adds to the out-there feeling, it’s light and airy, then “constricted”?? at times?.. anyways.. The beat continues to get louder, faster , and heavier around 2:20..
“I long my empty... whatever..I long my empty..whatever...”
There are 2 guitar solos.. then, from 4:50 on, the song starts winding down. Kiyoharu has his ending vocals, with the song starting to fade out, quieting.. It’s a very very great ending.. with a jazzy feel from the guitar..
• COME HOME: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKZNNp1nzdY
I LOVE this song!!! I wish Kiyoharu would have more songs like this. The fast beat, the catchy, funky beat is AWESOME! The weird keyboard in the background and the heavy guitar really adds to it, I think this song overall feels “industrial”..
I don’t really care for the video.. I feel like ahh! Kiyo's goin' back to his days working at the love hotel for inspiration..lol..X__x;;..it’s reminiscent of his SADS days, but... I prefer his surreal/ artistic videos more.. He does look very nice in the video though..(〃∇〃).. oh.. i shouldn't say that..eh..(￣∇￣ ) ;;
• 影絵(Kagee): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMFJSX1VlgY
See, I really like this video, it’s quite interesting.. The beginning bass is again, GREAT! In these slower, deeper, and more emotional songs, Kiyoharu’s voice is phenomenal, and i LOVE the "huh..huhuhuh.." that he does throughout.. (о＾∇＾о).. I can’t really describe it, but the feeling just envelops you. Throughout the song the “kush-kush” noise, maybe those stick instrument things.. (wow.. great description.. I know.. sorry..>_<..lol) is a nice touch. This is an other excellent, mellow, dreamlike song.
“I believe..I believe..”
YAY!!<3 (ok.. 1st off, the music doesn’t start in the video until 40 secs. Sorry!) Anyways.. this song has a GREAT classic rock feel.. I absolutely love it.. to me, it feels nostalgic, just so familiar.. I also think the video is pretty cute and dumpy.. I laugh when i see it.. When he’s standing around at 1:50 about, for some reason, I just find it real cute and amusing.lol...( side note: I believe this video was filmed in Vietnam... I heard it somewhere but forgot..oh well..))
• (Melodies is a newer song, but makes me also think of a classic rock feel, but it’s gentler..)
• 星座の夜 (Seiza no yoru): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuxSzqLmioA&feature=related
Hee hee.. Kiyo’s talking at the beginning is so cute.. “hai.. moshi-moshi”! <3 This is a nice, fast-kinda song.. I really get it with the video, it makes me think of traveling or going somewhere.. LOVE the chorus.. it’s real nice..then the great guitar and bass..
• 五月雨(Samidare): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFqQCV2oMZ0
OOOHH!! BIG TIME FAVORITE!!! This song is so lively, and exciting..Listen!!<3 Such spectacular guitar skills..
• And 五月雨 acoustic ver.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yui5i4wzl7c&feature=related
I had to have this version listed too, the acoustic version is SOO FANTASTIC..it’s soo nice!!! LISTEN!! I COMMAND YOU!! Lol...hee hee..(*´∀)ノ⌒￡ονе☆…I would just like for Kiyo~sama to stop smoking so dang much.. he does in like every video .. (´＿｀) …eh..to.. I mean, I completely DESPISE smoking, but Kiyo~ actually makes it look cool, (not that i ever will..) , but i (along with all his other fangirls) worry about his health!!
• 愛撫 (Aibu): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MPoIeEjkj8
This song begins with a nice, surreal keyboard.. This song feels choppy, celestial, and subterranean at first, then it evolves into this cool rock tune.. It’s a very nice video too..!!
OMG!!! This song.. this song,, is SUCH a masterpiece. The soulful guitar.. it has like a reminiscing-feel, it’s truly mesmerizing.. JEEZ! <3.. it’s soo sentimental, beautiful, emotional, and deep.. This song is Kiyoharu’s masterpiece.. This is a tribute to Kiyoharu’s dad as he had recently died of cancer, Rinne means “Sansara”, which is pretty much “reincarnation” as much as I think... Even though Kiyoharu can be a crazy guy, singing lustful lyrics, he also has such an ability to really speak to the soul.. Just beautiful guitar overall..4:07 + BEAUTIFUL guitar solo..
This is Kiyoharu’s latest single and was released Oct. 29th 2008, the day before his 40th birthday, and he even looks younger than he did years ago!! Anyways.. this is such a lovely song.. The beginning keyboard, and the bass, then Kiyoharu singing the one line, then the influx of other instruments is soo...dfggjtrrfsdkseop..GREAT! (≧∇≦）(I’m bad at adjectives..>___>;;) This is song is soo enchanting... At 3 minutes, there’s a great guitar solo.. It’s a little “pop”ier, than his previous stuff, but it has an extremely enjoyable beat and background rhythm. (side note: it seems it’s popular for artists to have churches in their pvs.. and also wearing military covers.. I’ve yet to figure this stuff out..lol..)
As Kiyoharu keeps creating better and better things, each new release is outdoing the last.. it’s AMAZING! Even though I’m just a fangirl, Kiyoharu’s music is top-notch.. otherwise i wouldn’t listen to him!!!! So, I hope this on-going yammering was helpful, but I at least hope it was amusing to read!..lol..
MORE COMING!!! W00T!! (ノ'ヮ')人(ヮ`*ヽ) Here's his WONDERFUL OHP: http://www.kiyoharu.jp/#
Have thoughts on the best topic EVER!?!??!?! Post your thoughts here!! http://otakuanime.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2477
宇多田 ヒカル (Utada Hikaru)
okay first review/ recommendation!
Where you might have heard of her before:
•Kingdom Hearts "Sanctuary” & “Simple & Clean”—the English vers. of “Passion” & “光” (hikari) respectively..
•Neon Genesis Evangelion (Rebuild of Evangelion movies..) "Beautiful World"
•oh! and for various commercials.. like "Kiss&Cry" was used for a Nissin Cup Noodle commercial (i'll get to later) and "Keep Tryin'" for a cell phone company, i believe??
•Probably other stuffs too that i'm unaware of.
Some basic info.. She was born Jan. 19th 1983 in New York City.. Yes, actually she's an American (i don't know if she changed her citizenship or anything though.. eh.. ) But I do know when she was 14 or 15, she moved to Japan, and started her musical career shortly after.. Her mom was a famous Enka singer and her dad, a music producer, so pretty much, she was born to be a singer..Oh! & fyi, she’s known by many of her fans as “Hikki”..
I really don’t know how I got into her, I’ve never played “Kingdom Hearts” lol… but, one of my friends had, and I heard “Hikari” and I remember it since.. so I checked her out, and I’m happy I did! She has such a beautiful voice (with the ability to sing high pitched or low) and amazing English (like I said, she is/was American, so not surprising…) She flawlessly sings from English to Japanese, then back..
Genres: pop; r&b; dance; and ethereal wave primarily.. I’m not good w/ assigning genres to music, so I checked out wikipedia..lol She also uses lots of synthesizer and keyboard (that she plays)..
When she first started (late 1990’s) her music tended to be most heavily influenced by r&b, and she was just starting writing lyrics, so you could tell it was all just developing, but she still showed such potential.. I think this was my least favorite time.. I’m not really crazy about the r&b-ness of her early stuffs..
Then, in early to mid-2000’s (specifically 2002-2006) was my favorite time period.. I think in this time period, she showed the most vocal range, and really blew me away w/ her skill.. she also had the most ballad-type songs… -nods-
Currently (late 2000’s) she has moved towards a more experimental feel (Heart Station especially overall). Her music also feels more “dance” than before.. I’m saddened to see her vocal talents not be so fully expressed as before, as it seems to be “squashed” as the need to fit w/ the overall quick beat of the Heart Station album.. I don’t think it’s staying though.. And now, instead of just trying to be commercial and get people to buy her albums, she cares about actually creating music she wants to and experiment.. it’s important! She’s still going to keep creating great music…
Well, she’s is impossibly successful and had 12 #1 hits on the Oricon charts (like our billboard 100 or whatever I guess..) .. There is all these other awards she’s gotten etc.. but I don’t know the specifics..She has also had English specific releases for overseas fans (like me), and she has a new album called “This Is The One”.. I wanna check it out, even though her past American releases have much more r&b-ness to them than I’d like and I actually think her Japanese music is usually better, I wanna give it a look though… (or a hear if you wanna get technical.), I do have TONS of other tunes I NEED ASAP too though.. ugh..><..… Well, anyways..check her out, you won’t be disappointed!
Okay, Here’s a list of some of my favs.! <3 (I’ll eventually get mp3’s up here on the site, but for the time being, I’m just gonna have the youtube video, if it’s available.. and hope to be enough for now!
• This is Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcePv-BAv3Y&feature=related
(This is her performing this live.. there’s no actual pv.. sorry!><) Such a great, lively song! It’s so nice w/ a great beat.. also ,the lyrics are on the screen, & pretty easy to understand too! <3 I love the keyboard and synthesizer (which she uses a lot in all of her music).. It’s real nice when she sings higher pitch, with another layer of her voice that’s lower in the background, or under the main singing..
•Keep Tryin’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCc-RN2fOjQ
FAV. SONG!! YAY! <3 This is my first “real” song of her’s I listened to when I was first actually checking her out.. The song is GREAT! It’s nice and light pop, but with a nice techno-ness to it, which is love. This video is SOO cute (I think one of my fav. videos of all time..lol) and I just realized this video has karaoke lyrics!! (hey!*hint hint*) and if you get the lyrics, they are soo meaningful and like me I’ spose.. It’s soo funny when it’s the chorus when Hikki sings “ I don’t care about anything..” then continues w/ the Japanese.. Because in the Japanese lyrics, she’s really telling the complete opposite.. Not to be too philosophical or anything, but I think these lyrics can be applied greatly to common human behavior. Lots of times, we give off a presence/ act to people ( the English lyrics), but may truly feel very different about things. ( the Japanese lyrics..) than what we show.. it’s interesting!!
“TA-I-MU I-ZU MA-NEE” lol!! I understand Japanese.. hee hee… XDD
This is the Japanese version of “Sanctuary..( I think "Passion" is better) Such a beautiful song and amazing video, it has a celestial quality I really like .. This video is really along the genre of “ethereal wave” if you were wondering earlier..
No video again.. But a real real great song.. “Ultra Blue” was her overall best time period I think.. Following along w/ that album, this song has such amazing vocal talent and the wonderful actual instruments, beside just her keyboard & synthesizer, give it a more “real” feel I guess..
•FINAL DISTANCE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u07EGhOoRvY&feature=related
Well, first of all, I think this is the most powerful, heart-wrenching song I’VE EVER heard.. (Kelly refuses to listen to this song and doesn’t like when I listen to it..) I love this song, but I really can’t just “listen” to it, if you know what I mean..It’s not a song you can listen to everyday, it’s too much.. Hikki is always so emotional and expressive in her singing, and this song is really over the top.. It’s really chilling just how this song is.. jeez! This is a rearranged version of her previous song, “DISTANCE” and Hikki wrote it in honor of this 8 year old girl that really loved Hikki and wrote an essay how she wanted to be like her, but was murdered in a school killing.. The whole feeling of this song just engulfs you.. It’s soo beautiful, but soo sad.. especially at the end of the video at like 3:50+..(watch!) The violin and her beautiful expressive vocals,, really kills me.. 。・゜・(*ノД`*)・゜・。 Just watch and listen, take it in... (on a side note, you see the director of the video, Kazuaki Kiriya,(he directed several of her videos) that's Hikki's future ex-husband! O_O;; crazy.. I know..)
•HEART STATION: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RHpb2uRyUg&feature=related
Okay ,this is new.. I love the simplicity of the beat and nice danceable beat.. The beginning keyboard is real nice and when I first heard it.. I had it stuck in my head for WEEKS..lol.. she’s real good at creating memorable music (i.e. music that won’t go away! Hee hee..)
•Kiss & Cry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaK5Vc0cx0Y
This is the real video, I know, it doesn’t seem like it, but the animation is from an actual anime too though I don’t know what one (you guys could play this during intermission!!) Anyway.. I LOVE the beginning trumpet (and that it scattered throughout the song also..) There’s the funky cymbals , drums and beat.. I just ADORE this song, it’s definitely a favorite!!<3 It’s the closest to r&b that I like.. it’s good dashed in, to add “spice” I guess you could call it, but not too much.. Also, the lyrics are real cute and some-what dumpy in parts of it. Like “..Dad’s Layoff, Brother’s internet, Mom’s on diet…” (translated in English) She also sings “Kyou wa NISSIN CUP NOODLE” lol.. Thusly, this was used for a NISSIN CUP NOODLE commercial.. hee hee XDD This reminds me of another song of hers,, but I don’t rember.. oh well.. ><.. but I love when she sings higher pitched and a higher or lower pitch of hers is in the background.. I already mentioned this in “BLUE”, but she uses it a lot..
So, yeah, Check her out already!!
Here's her OHP!: http://www.emimusic.jp/hikki/
More reviews coming!!
What are your thoughts!?!?!? buweah desu... -> http://otakuanime.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2462
Hiya minna-san! ^^
Hi everyone! Sabokappa here!!
Finally, GREAT thanks to Jon, I will be writing Jpop reviews, recommendations etc.. to hopefully share my love of great music many people sadly are unknowledgeable about, except maybe for anime tunes...
There is such a wonderful array of Japanese music with tons of different genres that is seemingly forgotten and ignored, (I guess the fact it's a different language than English kinda helps cause this though.. oh well.. hee hee..)
Well, I'll be working on reviews asap, and hope to get to posting some soon! *(^^)* But, if there's anything specific you guys may want me to review, I'll work on it, and if it's a band i'm unfamiliar with etc.. I'll try to do some research and shed some light on it!
Well, I'm real excited to post and I hope everyone can find a band or artist you come to really love, because there's ton to love!!