single review: Utada Hikaru “SAKURA Drops / Letters”

If you don’t know who Utada Hikaru, one of Japan’s top soloists known to millions as the simple and clean Kingdom Hearts musician, is, you have clearly been on some other planet.

Oddly enough, that’s where Hikki, as their fans lovingly call them, is for their mid-2002 release ‘SAKURA Drops / Letters’. In this single, Hikki goes all-in on their journey through experimentalism, transforming their original R&B sound from their First Love and Distance days to an avant-garde artistic style reminiscent of Björk, albeit less wacky. Does this transition, which they had introduced even as far as ‘traveling’, pay off as the sakura leaves flutter and drop, or is this change similar to a poorly-written letter to their fanbase?

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single review: Ziyoou-vachi (QUEEN BEE) “Kaen”

If you’re not familiar with Ziyoou-vachi, otherwise known in international waters as QUEEN BEE, then here’s one way to get introduced to them. The rock quartet, known for their eccentric yet ever-changing musical styles and image (which they themselves call “fashion punk”), had already marked 2019 as their biggest year, entering the mainstream in the forms of anime music (notably as an ED for Tokyo Ghoul:re).

In their most recent effort, they tackle anime once again with a fiery title track, one that introduces every episode of the anime ‘Dororo’ for its Winter 2019 season. With Dororo having been one of the more popular anime of the year, this single has propelled Ziyoou-vachi to newer heights; this begs the question then: is this single actually fire or is it a burn-out?

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single review: MEG “PRECIOUS”

We continue to stroll down memory lane, as you can tell by the recent posts!

Next up is another Nakata Yasutaka protege, by the name of MEG, a fashion-designer-turned-singer, with a unique vocal tinge a la YUKI or Chara. In her short-lived tenure working with the electronic music producer, MEG pumped out tunes that brought her into the limelight and propelled her to a career high. In fact, the single we’re about to look into is her highest-charting single. Now, if you’re already reeled in by her unique style and sound, great! But you might find this single even more precious if you like, say, cat videos…

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single review: Perfume “Spending all my time”

Let’s go back to 2012, seven years ago, where things were a little less chaotic in the world and Perfume was just getting their feet into international waters. They gave Japan the techno-craze they needed in the 21st century; it was time for them to extend this reach outside Japan (as if they hadn’t already), and they needed to gift their international fans something special to commemorate this.

Enter this single, which was their second release of 2012, and this particular single has Perfume exploring territory that is vastly different to them, but undoubtedly familiar for us. The question is, did they spend all their time making something lovingly for the fans, or was it not enough?

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single review: DAOKO “Moshimo Bokura ga GAME no Shuyaku de / Daisuki with TeddyLoid / BANG!”

People know of DAOKO from a variety of places. She’s got fans from her indie days, when she was just developing in the underground hip-hop scene. She’s got fans from a viral video known only as ‘ME! ME! ME!’. She’s got songs in anime (hello, Shingeki no Bahamut and Kekkai Sensen, I see you). She’s collaborated with huge artists and created perhaps 2018’s biggest hit (ah, the Uchiages and the Hanabis). And if you’re surrounded by friends who are into this little thing called Dragalia Lost, then all you ever hear is DAOKO.

Perhaps the most well-known in the field of Dragalia Lost is the little instrumental tracks/music bits that come from DAOKO’s first few major singles. Such is the case for DAOKO’s second major single: a triple A-side filled with a “game” full of “bang”ers to “like” and enjoy. But is three A-sides company or is it crowded, and are the songs worth hearing every time you play Dragalia Lost?

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single review: the peggies “Stand By Me”

Do you like anime? Do you like girl bands? If so, the peggies is right up your alley. As of recently, the pop-rock trio have dabbled into anime territory, with many familiar with songs in works such as BORUTO NEXT GENERATIONS and Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai. Their most recent effort, that I know of, is an ending track for a fairly recent and slightly popular anime known as Sarazanmai. With this ending, the peggies look to stand by you, but will the single stand to be good or bad overall?

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mini-album review: IZ*ONE “HEART*IZ”

Remember Produce 48? Here’s a rundown: it’s basically the survival reality program to find the nation’s girl group Produce 101 merged with Japanese mega-group AKB48. Despite it facing some scrutiny under recent times due to ‘voting manipulation’, Produce 48 created monster rookie group IZ*ONE upon its completion, who managed to stir the charts with an elegant but fiery red debut, creating waves in both Korea and Japan as a girl group to watch out for.

In April 2019, IZ*ONE released their very first comeback, and with all the hype that came before for what may follow from their huge debut, all IZ were on the group to follow-up with something just as great. Carrying on in the floral concept, IZ*ONE tackles the heart with the second mini HEART*IZ, but is this where the heart is?

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mini-album review: TWICE “Feel Special”

If you have been living under a rock for the year or have distanced yourself from K-pop entirely, then perhaps you might not have heard about the recent news involving 9-member JYP girl group TWICE. One of its members, Japanese-born Mina Myoui, took a hiatus from promotional activities due to anxiety, something that isn’t fairly represented in the world of K-pop. With the concerns that their fanbase had over Mina’s health and this affecting TWICE as a whole, TWICE decided to shed light on the matter with a comeback that is not only dedicated to their fans, but may be important to Korean pop music as a whole.

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single review: HyunA “FLOWER SHOWER”

2018 wasn’t a particularly good year for former CUBE family members HyunA (of 4minute fame) and E’Dawn (of PENTAGON fame). After the announcement of their dating hit the netizen world, they were thrown under so much scrutiny and ridicule that it led to their dismissal from the company and disappearance from the public eye. Cut to about a year later, and P NATION, their new management company led by the Gangnam Style hitmaker PSY, announces a dual comeback: HyunA and E’Dawn.

HyunA’s comeback tackles a trendy concept, but are we going to be showered with blooming flowers, or is the concept going to wilt the flowers around it?

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