single review: BEYOOOOONDS “Megane no Otoko no Ko / Nippon no D・N・A! / Go Waist”

Ahem.

Hello! Project is at it again! The mega-group BEYOOOOONDS, ridiculousness aside, consists of two already-formed Hello! Project groups, joined with three winners of the ONLY YOU audition, makes their debut in the summer of 2019 with a triple A-side that addresses the hot topics: will that boy with glasses like me? Will we reach out to Japan? Will we get the body we want?!

I wonder if we get any of these answers through this single release and if they end up being the right ones… there’s only one way to find out!

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single review: Koda Kumi “TABOO”

Speaking of nostalgia, remember when Koda Kumi created homosexuality in Japan? I was there when that happened.

Jokes aside, Koda Kumi is an LGBTQ* icon, and she’s no stranger to the ‘taboo’ topics of being gay in her music. From her lustful dance moves with her back-up dancers of the infamous music video of ‘SHAKE IT’, to the sensual lesbian foreplay of the 4 TIMES, Koda Kumi has done it all for homosexuals everywhere. She does this exclusively for her 2008 single ‘TABOO’, and one has to wonder how ‘taboo’ she’s gonna go, but is this worth exploring or should we just forget it even happened?

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single review: Tokyo Jihen “Erabarezaru Kokumin”

Speaking of something new, did you hear the news that Tokyo Jihen is reuniting? Um… excuse me! This is amazing!

Tokyo Jihen is a five-piece rock/jazz band consisting of five incredible talents, including rock soloist Shiina Ringo, whose music carries a distinct but artfully crafted sound. However, in 2012, Tokyo Jihen decided to part ways and proceeded to do their own individual endeavors. Color-bar me surprised when I find out that they’re reuniting with a new song and a tour! Is this a miracle after nearly 8 good long years? Perhaps. That being said, is their new song of a lower class than some of their greatest hits, or will it reach first class status? Read on!

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single review: BoA “MASAYUME CHASING”

Next up on the nostalgia train is K-pop singer BoA, who J-pop fans may recall as one of the biggest soloists of the early 2000s era. Having pumped out tracks that include ‘LISTEN TO MY HEART’, ‘DOUBLE’, and a Western-favorite known as ‘Every Heart -Minna no Kimochi-‘, BoA was (and still is) a household name. Anime fans know her for ‘Every Heart’ for InuYasha, as well as other obscure tunes like ‘BESIDE YOU’ for Asobotto Senki Goku.

As of recent, BoA has made her mark on another popular shounen series; this time, it’s for the anime FAIRY TAIL, providing the first opening for its 2014 reboot. Is this track fitting for the series, with its B-side being as ‘fun’ as it claims, or is the entire single just a continuous chase to nowhere?

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single review: Morning Musume. ’20 “KOKORO & KARADA / LOVEpedia / Ningen Kankei No way way”

2020 marks a new year, and it also marks a new number for Morning Musume to add to the end of their name (which has been going for about 6 years now, it really sticks!). Kicking things off for Hello! Project in this clear vision year is a new single release, introducing their fifteenth generation (yowza) members. There’s also a slight interesting quality to this single, proclaimed by Morning Musume themselves as something they’ve never done before.

With that said, is this going to be a new era for Morning Musume, prepping our minds and bodies for something amazing, or is this a bad start to our new year?

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single review: Perfume “Spice”

It’s the new year, and I’m finally back from the annual Christmas holidays to wreak havoc on Asian music once again… I kid, I kid.

This year, I’m feeling very nostalgic, and I’ve decided to make 2020 the year of nostalgia. Can you believe it’s already been nine years since 2011? That means it was nine years since the release of Perfume’s single “Spice”, the final single from their album JPN. It’s time for me to see how this has held up through the test of time.

Is this spice worth sprinkling over onto my New Year’s dinner, or will this be too spicy for my liking? Let’s head into 2020 with my first review of the year!

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single review: Utada Hikaru “FINAL DISTANCE”

Continuing in the Utada Hikaru series is the single “FINAL DISTANCE”, which was originally meant to be a re-cut single from their second album, formerly titled ‘DISTANCE’.

A little bit of history behind the single itself: the single was made in honor of student Yamashita Rena who was tragically killed in a Japanese school shooting. Rena had won an essay competition with their dreams to be a singer much like Utada, and having heard this, Hikki remade the planned single to pay respect to Rena.

Having the same lyrics as its original counterpart, “FINAL DISTANCE” takes on a new approach; I won’t say anything snarky or pun-like here. Is “FINAL DISTANCE” a beautiful tribute to Rena?

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single review: Utada Hikaru “Hikari”

Bet you were waiting for this!

Next up in the Utada Hikaru series is a single that Westerners who know of Hikki know all too well. Having the exclusive tie-in to the Square Enix-Disney video game Kingdom Hearts (a formidable video game, at least by my standards), “Hikari” is one of Utada Hikaru’s most-beloved songs and continues to be by the PS2 gaming generation.

With this being said, it has been nearly 17 years (holy), and one has to wonder if this song and its single still holds through the test of time. Is it a light enough song that it is still accessible to this day, or has its light flickered out?

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single review: Utada Hikaru “Addicted To You”

Next up in my Hikki series is the hugely-successful single “Addicted To You”, a single that does not even bear an original mix, but two ‘mixes’ with different nostalgic appeals. With this single, Hikki continued to reign, having dominated the Japanese music scene with their fresh R&B sound that was already making waves in the West. Being one of their best-selling singles of all time, Hikki joins forces with famed R&B recording duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who Westerners may be familiar with from the tunes of Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men, Usher, and the like.

Here’s the question I pose now: Is this single addicting to you, or is it just a one-time thing?

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