Happiest of new years to everyone, and to all my fellow bloggers! It’s been a wild ride, but 2020 has ended. I admit, it’s been a great year for the blog as I’ve gotten more written than ever, rejuvenating my passion for blogging, but it also has been a pretty tough year for myself and all physically, emotionally, and mentally. Most importantly, I want to say that I hope everyone stays safe going into 2021 and that we can get through this!
Kicking off in 2021, I’ve set my sights on a new writing goal, and my J-pop fans might dislike this… I’ll be delving more into K-pop, with my first project on 12-member girl group LOONA. If you don’t possess a Twitter account, you might not be familiar with #stanloona, but boy, did it become quite the phenomenon! Did you know their humble beginnings started out as ‘Girl of the Month’? It’s quite literally in their name. (Translate above!) The first girl is HeeJin, who many may have seen on MIXNINE (and made it quite far). Was this first release pre-debut a great foreshadowing of LOONA’s future releases, or was this a stumbling first stepping stone into the K-pop scene? Let’s take a leap into 2021 and see how this release fares!
Despite everything that’s been going on in my life, from securing myself a new job and starting school again, I’ve been keeping on track with a lot of K-pop in 2020. In a year that is probably the weirdest, 2020 delivered on the K-pop track with various songs ranging from haunting to straight up wonky. It seems like there was no way coronavirus was gonna bring K-pop down. I’ve narrowed it down to fifteen songs to keep it small, but here is my list of songs from December 2019 to December 2020… and here’s a warning: don’t be surprised if it’s majorly girl groups. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
It’s Halloween! Woo! Spooky day. It’s also the big day for the Tommy series! The third single in the promotion of her second album, Heavy Starry Heavenly, ‘Lollipop Candy♥BAD♥girl’ is the actual Halloween single, with promotional art, its music video, and the track itself being all forms related to Halloween. If you thought she was Halloween from her previous efforts a la ‘I’m Gonna SCREAM+’ and ‘Pray’, you haven’t come across this.
It’s a creepy night, but here’s hoping we’ve got some good music by the lollipop candy bad girl herself to comfort us. Let’s check it out… enter if you dare…
Next up on the Korean artist spotlight series is TWICE’s most recent release: ‘Eyes wide open’, their second full-length album released just shy of Halloween.
I gotta admit, I was hoping that it would be another Halloween-related release, but this concept is just as fabulous for the fall season of TWICEtober. ‘Eyes wide open’ takes TWICE’s image even further with a fashionista concept, evoking the mature growth that TWICE has gone through in a span of 5 years (let’s not forget, they did debut at this time in 2015… how time flies).
TWICE’s eyes are wide open after a long journey in the K-pop industry, but will our eyes ‘open’ to the sounds of the album, or are they going to close because it’s unbearable? Read on…
Next up for the countdown to Halloween, we’ve got the second tie-in for Miss Shimamiya Eiko to the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni anime series. Released as ‘Naraku no Hana’, this single is the opening theme song for the sequel to the mysterious horror/thriller anime Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, based on the game of the same name, which is titled Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (which you should watch, frankly, if you loved the first series and wanted answers to your burning questions).
‘Naraku no Hana’, literally known as Flower of Hell, follows the dark themes of her previous single, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (the fourth time this title has been mentioned here), but is this flower of hell one that blooms beautifully or is it wilted in quality? Read on!
Second up on the artist spotlight series for Tommy heavenly6 is the second single from her second album, Heavy Starry Heavenly, which Gintama fans may be very familiar with!
Pray is the title of the next single, tied-in with popular anime series Gintama as its very first anime opening in 2006. It continues on the Halloween theme that many of the singles from Heavy Starry Heavenly follow, but this time opting for a more humorous vibe but with some ghostly samurais!
Pray is one of Tommy’s well-known singles, but is this prayer worth chanting with or is it just going to be left unanswered? Click on to read more…
How about let’s do a Korean artist spotlight?! Since it’s Halloween coming soon, we have to have the queens of fun Halloween concepts (and queens of autumn releases, to be honest): TWICE!
I’ll be covering five of their albums: this one, THE STORY BEGINS, YES or YES, twicetagram, and their newest effort, Eyes wide open, as part of their ‘fall’ release line-up (as all of these releases have been released in October/early November, and I also covered Feel Special here). I wanted to start with TWICEcoaster : LANE 1 first because it is one I have been working on reviewing for YEARS, and it’s about time it came to its full stop (lol).
‘TWICEcoaster : LANE 1’ is the third effort from the nine-member JYP group and came on the heels of their success with their second mini. We then have to wonder, was this rollercoaster of a mini-album worth the trial or are we riding on the kiddie ride? Check out the review!
Speaking of Halloween… let’s do an artist spotlight, also!
When you think of Halloween and J-pop, you might think of a few artists. Does Tommy heavenly6 cross your mind? She should! Having released many Halloween-related releases as of recent, Tommy (or Kawase Tomoko) started out with an Avril Lavigne aesthetic, but upon prepping for her second album, Tommy tackled on a new style: Halloween aesthetic. The very first of these singles (and eventually album) is ‘I’m Gonna SCREAM+’.
With this single, she set up the standard of being an artist devoted to Halloween and all the spooky things around it, but is this single worthy of a scream or is it just a slight mumble? The doors to the dark side have opened… you may enter…
To commemorate the return, and just in time for the Halloween season (a short three days), I will be reviewing some fun horror-related tunes, whether they be from a horror anime, or have some concept/affiliation to the horror genre in any way. First up, I’ll be reviewing the opening tracks from a fun, mysterious anime series known as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, or When They Cry for Western fans.
An iconic opening track, “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni”, titled just like its tie-in, is a single released by I’ve Sound alum Shimamiya Eiko, and it propelled her career by making it her best-selling single. How does this track and its B-side hold up now, with a new Higurashi adaptation airing, and does it still spook to this day?