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
[audio:Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z Hen – Kanjite Knight.mp3]
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
[audio:White Album – Garasu no Hana.mp3]
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
[audio:Macross The Movie – Do You Remember Love.mp3]
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
[audio:Top wo Nerae! 2 Diebuster – Groovin’ Magic.mp3]
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
[audio:Kashimashi – Michishirube.mp3]
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
[audio:Kimikiss ~Pure Rouge~ – Wasurenaide.mp3]
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!
[audio:Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ – I Do!.mp3]
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
[audio:Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~ – Fly Away.mp3]
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
[audio:Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase~ – Neko Mimi Mode.mp3]
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
[audio:Code Geass R2 – Masquerade.mp3]
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