Anime Piece of the Week: #5 – Pop Vocals

I'm starting to feel like this all the time it seems.

Voting Thread

Unjustly or no, J-pop does have a tendency to be viewed as a genre that’s rather homogeneous because there’s very little diversity within the set of works out there. Sturgeon’s Law seems to hold a pretty strong grip, but the folks over at the MAL music club did manage to get a hold of some rather enjoyable tracks out of this supposedly inane genre and I was quite pleased with the selections. So let us take a look at what people thought merited a listen after the jump:

Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z Hen – Kanjite Knight

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I have no complaints with starting things off with a rock track as a means of preventing the stale air of J-pop from getting too strong of a hold right off the bat. JAM Project and Lazy work together to unleash a torrent of energy that fits right into the whole old-school giant robot genre as they sing with a great deal of PASSION. Very awesome, though with all the picks that we’ve had this week, there are other tracks that catch my fancy just a bit more, but this one is not bad by any stretch.

White Album – Glass no Hana

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I’m going to say lazy on this one to excuse myself from having to write up something of substance in praise of this track because from the time I wrote this entry until now, my opinions of the song have not changed. (+2)

Macross: Do You Remember Love? – Ai Oboete Imasuka

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Now to get to the real stuff, starting with a piece that has quite a bit of history behind it though I can’t really claim to like it as much since Mari Ijima’s delivery here doesn’t age quite as well as I had hoped. Mind you, I have no issues with the melody or the way the song is executed; rather, my issues stem from Ijima’s voice in that it doesn’t seem powerful enough to project the sort of emotions that this track is capable of delivering through its poignant melody. Compare this performance to Megumi Nakajima’s version on Macross Frontier to note the differences and to see why I prefer the later version much more than this one.

Top wo Nerae! 2 Diebuster – Groovin’ Magic

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Oh god, this track is so campy but oh so sweet. Seriously, the “Ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh Oooooh ooh oooh ooooh” part just gets me every time because of how ridiculously catchy it is that I can’t seem to let that out of my mind. ROUND TABLE feat. Nino has always been outstanding with their music, producing excellent tracks like the Chobits OP as well as several EDs for ARIA. And in this performance, they’ve created an incredibly catchy pop piece that manages to win me over with its pacing as well as it’s ability to put a smile on my face through its cheesiness. Needless to say, I love it! (+1)

Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~ – Michishirube

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I really do like this track because it fits my reserved tendencies. It’s soft and quiet, with an air of subtlety that’s really gentle. I think the piano and acoustic guitar parts in the background along with Yuumao’s rhythmic delivery is what secures this piece as one of my favorites since it allows a feeling of calmness to wash over you while you examine your feelings. Yuumao, in particular, helps in that area by dispensing with the subtle sense of longing well when she sings. A very solid track overall!

Kimikiss ~Pure Rouge~ – Wasurenaide

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I figured someone would nominate this track since it’s definitely Suara’s strongest performance as she pours forth a large amount of emotion backed by the piano which complements the song nicely. Her delivery is just so beautifully done that one can’t help but be swept away by the music as a whole. Of all the tracks selected this week, this one is my favorite because of how the vocals and the instrumentation just combines together to feel just right, making it an enjoyable track from start to finish. (+2)

Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ – I do!

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Of all the tracks selected, I think this one is closest to pure, unadulterated pop. In light of some of the pieces we have at our disposal, this one also comes off as being closest to generic, as nice as it sounds. The singer’s voice is pretty soothing and the chorus part does work as far as being catchy goes. This track is something that I can see myself listening to once in awhile, but it’s not likely to become a mainstay in my audio player.

Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~ – Fly Away

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A victory for diversity in the form of THYME who delivers a track that has an impeccable sort of pacing that makes for a contagious listen because of how you get sucked into the opening chorus section. The electric guitar and THYME’s voice complement each other well throughout the chorus and even if I’m not as thrilled with the main verses, I really do enjoy the way it builds itself back up to the chorus part. In addition to providing variety as far as the week is concerned, this song also has its own internal variety throughout each verse’s execution, which keeps the song engaging and fun. The shift in the key does feel a bit bizarre as you close in towards the end, and I think that’s the tiny dinger that makes this track lose out on points just barely.

Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase~ – Neko Mimi Mode

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What. OK, my objective side tells me this should not get any points at all, but how can I not? It’s so moeeeee that I’m going to die from the sheer cuteness overload. No, I have not seen Tsukiyomi Moon Phase, so I’ll have to picture this in mind with Chiwa Saito’s other characters: namely Rebecca Miyamoto. Seeing Miyamoto-sensei put on cat ears while indignantly saying those lines in the song just conjures up imagery that’s just far too hilarious that I can’t stop laughing in delight. It becomes even more adorable when she starts making those cat noises which grab at your attention and make you go “dawwwww,” a feeling that gets enhanced when she makes that pouting, whining noise. I gotta give it to this track for being able to keep me entertained… and for getting into my head. I can’t stop putting this song on repeat! I’m in DESPAIR!!! (+1)

Code Geass R2 – Masquerade

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I’m apparently not quite as knowledgeable about this artist, but I can say that this track doesn’t catch my attention at all. There’s a sort of airiness that I really don’t dig and the Gothic feel that this song pushes forth doesn’t really sit well with me unlike Ali Project’s Rozen Maiden fare. I just don’t like Hitomi’s delivery. Sorry.

So there you have it! My point distribution can be found below. Week 6’s theme will be based on traveling, so if you want to get a head start, feel free to start digging into that week’s selections. A voting thread will be created once I compile all the music together, but I look forwards to giving them a listen! And I also hope to see some new faces turn up!

(+2) White Album – Glass no Hana
(+2) Kimikiss ~Pure Rouge~ – Wasurenaide
(+1) Top wo Nerae! 2 Diebuster – Groovin’ Magic
(+1) Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase~ – Neko Mimi Mode

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

6 thoughts on “Anime Piece of the Week: #5 – Pop Vocals

  • June 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm
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    Top wo Nerae! 2 Diebuster – Groovin’ Magic

    This is one of those music which definitely does not need content to be enjoyed. I still strongly remember how much that song attracted me even before I even began watching the anime. I kept a single episode lying around in my PC just so that I can listen to this Opening whenever I feel like it (way back when I haven’t even heard of download-able mp3’s Lol!)

    It isn’t anything of the rock genre but it does, however, has a bit of the J-idol feel to it though. So I could say it does belong to the homogeneous group. No? :p

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  • June 20, 2009 at 7:21 pm
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    @blur
    Well, that’s harder to say since it’s certainly not your run-of-the-mill J-pop. ROUND TABLE feat. Nino has their signature style that’s easily recognizable and despite all the songs I’ve heard from them, all of their songs carry a unique flavor that keeps their style of music from growing stale.

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  • June 21, 2009 at 1:21 am
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    Wow I can’t believe Groovin Magic made it on this list. That was a pleasant surprise.

    All the songs compliment this week’s theme well, with “Fly Away” and “Masquerade” being the only two songs I disagree with.

    I think Thyme can be considered less poppy, as the bands vocals are more grounded and have an earthy feel to it. It’s a great song don’t get me wrong, it just doesn’t bode well with this week’s theme of “pop” vocals.

    Sadly I just dislike “Masquerade” in general and think it’s a poor song. It uses way too many synthetic vocal effects resulting in Hitomi sounding even more robotic and artificial than Miku Hatsune. I doubt even WITH the effects removed it would sound any better.

    It’s a shame I didn’t have a chance to nominate can/goo’s Kimi To Ikite Iku for this week, it would have fit the theme perfectly.

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  • June 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm
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    This week left me with a sort of bad taste in my mouth. I mean I feel like trying to be objective when listening and voting each week but this week was difficult and almost entirely subjective. I believe that it probably was most difficult because their were so little specifics in what was wanted from “pop vocals”. The previous weeks themes usually had to do with a specific emotion or feeling. While the nominations from each person were fairly subjective, it could be said that to an extent you could be objective in a subjective way when voting. That is to say, it might be different from person to person what inspires that particular emotion but you could at least say that “I feel like this part of the song conveys this emotion”. Which I didn’t think worked too well with the pop vocal theme, so i just chose whatever I liked.

    It seems that it makes sense in nomination of the theme. I feel like it throws a wrench in things when it comes down to actual voting. There are many kinds of pop and what’s more are we just judging the vocals or are we judging the entire song? So we got a wide variety of various songs and styles from pop-rock to strange synthpop with meowing attached. I changed my nomination like 3 times because I couldn’t decide what classified as pop and moreso what classified as pop vocals.

    But I guess it is all okay since it’s all for the fun of listening to new music. Still just had to get that off my chest.

    Reply
  • June 22, 2009 at 8:08 am
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    @sung gyu
    Kimi To Ikite Iku would have made for a pretty strong selection for that week since I really dig the track’s rhythm and energy (I haven’t seen Sister Princess though).

    @taka
    Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from since I more or less went after tracks that caught my attention through some way or other.

    You are right in that the chief goal is giving people new tracks to listen to. If people can discover even one new track to add to their playlists, the MAL club will have done its job. Hopefully these next upcoming themes will be less stress-inducing 😛

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