the best of jpop 2021 thus far

Here we are folks, we are at the sequel stage of 2021’s very best of Japanese pop in 2021. Surprisingly, my last post, “the best of jpop 2021 so far”, received an incredibly slow but warm welcome, to the point where I got inspired to share more songs that have been on my radar from 2021.

Let me tell you, it has been a journey! I ended up listening to way more Japanese pop music in 2021 than I ever did over the last five years, so this is saying a lot for the current state of the Japanese music scene.

So… without further ado, here are the best J-pop songs of 2021 up until the end of November!

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album review: Perfume “Triangle”

As I mentioned previously in some recent posts, I am getting back to finishing up a lot of backlogged reviews. Just recently, I finished reviewing three singles from Perfume’s catalog from 2008 to 2009, them being “love the world”, “Dream Fighter”, and “One Room Disco”. These three singles lead up to the studio album release of “⊿”, otherwise known as “Triangle”.

” is the second studio album release from electropop sensations Perfume, a trio of girls produced by famous electronica composer Nakata Yasutaka of CAPSULE. Having secured their status as a prominent force in Japanese pop with the release of their first-ever original studio album “GAME” in 2008, all eyes were on the girls for the follow-up sophomore album and interest developed on what sound it would tackle, especially with its three preceding singles having very unique sounds when compared.

With “⊿”, Nakata was going through a rebranding of his sound on his own right, and if you listen carefully to this album, you might just hear those influences bleeding into his works with Perfume. One has to wonder if this experimenting into what almost seems like an exploration into the 80s will shape this triangle to its right angles… the only way to find out is to take off into the night…

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single review: Perfume “One Room Disco”

Since Perfume has made a stellar comeback with their “Polygon Wave EP” release just only days prior, I’ve gotten into a huge Perfume kick. It’s here that I realized I haven’t actually finished a lot of my Perfume reviews! And as a treat for my return to blogging after a few months, I decided to return to taking a look at their releases.

First up is the final single for their Triangle album, “One Room Disco“. Having already reviewed two of the three singles for their second album, I believe it’s high time we take a look into this release, which takes listeners into the journey of living independently, usually in places known as ‘one-rooms’ in Japan. It’s an interesting concept that takes a left-field from the more futuristic efforts the girls had released prior. However, will the foray into more pop and more present territory fare well for this disco, or is there not enough room for this ‘one-room’ to disco?

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mini-album review: Perfume “Polygon Wave EP”

Perfume has returned!

2021 has been a relatively quiet year for electropop trio Perfume in terms of releases, having released a digital single in the summer as part of a tie-in with the Japanese version of the popular TV show The Masked Singer. That said, Perfume continues to treat fans with new content every year, even if it means re-releasing that same single in an EP containing different variations of the song and adding two new tracks into the mix. That EP is the “Polygon Wave EP“, which is Perfume’s first physical release of 2021, and it has the girls exploring futuristic yet nostalgic territory.

With the continued assistance of producer Nakata Yasutaka, the girls look to ride the polygon waves of 2021 as we near the end of the year, but are the waves high enough to sweep other J-pop competition or are Perfume at a stand-still in their long careers with this release?

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artist spotlight: Perfume

It’s time for something new!

I know it has been a minute since I’ve been around, and I come back in spurts every now and then. I have a crazy schedule – I’m back in school, I’m working a lot, and frankly, I’m also playing a lot of video games on my brand spanking new PC, but aside from all that, I still want to continue writing and sharing my views on Asian music with others, in the hopes that I can spread some good word about songs I like (and even ones I dislike). Who knows… you might fall in love, naturally, with some of the songs I recommend!

I’ve opted to start a new series that I more-or-less have started a while back – an artist spotlight. Usually, it would involve me reviewing a lot of their works in a short span of time, like Koda Kumi or Brave Girls prior, but this time, I thought I’d fill you in on the artist themselves – have you get to know them and recommend some of their works.

The very first in the series is none other than Japan’s top girl-group Perfume. I’ll expand more on this later in the spotlight, but a recent poll suggested they are currently at the top for girl group rankings in 2021… that’s not hard to believe, but man, they’ve been in the game for more than 20 years, and they continue to be a huge influence over Japan. I love it. So let’s take a look at Perfume in more detail, and perhaps, if you haven’t already, you’ll find a song in their discography that you may find yourself gravitating towards!

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single review: Perfume “Time Warp”

Perfume is back!

I repeat! This is not a drill!

Perfume returns with a brand-new single, their first new release in 2020, and the very first physical single in over 2 years. For Perfume fans, like myself, this is amazing. Coming off the heels of a best-album tour and even taking part in Coachella, of all things, Perfume is taking Japan and the world by storm, and now they may just cure 2020 with their 31st single.

Titled “Time Warp“, the girls take us back in time with this new release, but is this time warp going to malfunction on us at all? Find out by reading on!

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single review: Perfume “Dream Fighter”

Continuing on the streak of Perfume reviews I’ll be doing, we’re taking a look at the follow-up single to ‘love the world’! Released the same year, ‘Dream Fighter’ continued amplifying Perfume’s fame in Japan to greater heights, peaking at number two on the Oricon charts and delivering sales counts of over 100,000. When it rains, it pours!

Since it was the follow-up, a lot of eyes were on Perfume as to how they would continue. Would they keep up in the change of sound? Would they take on a similar musical structure as they did in ‘love the world’? Was this dream worth fighting for? Read on for more!

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single review: Perfume “Magic of Love”

I’ve been on a huge Perfume kick lately, and I’m not complaining! I have been a huge fan of Perfume for over 10 years, and I can’t recommend them enough to people. Today, I’ve come to really appreciate their music evolution over time, and it feels like I’ve grown to love them even more with everything they do.

For this particular post, I’m transporting myself back to 2013, when I was just a budding university student who, much like every Perfume fan, was anticipating for that next Perfume release and whether it held itself up to the quality that Perfume churns out every time. We’re taking a look at their single, ‘Magic of Love’, which didn’t quite make a huge mark on the charts but still cemented their influence over Japan. Is this single filled with magic to make fans new and old fall in love, or is this just not the right spell?

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single review: Perfume “love the world”

Let’s go back to 2008, a better time, when there wasn’t a global pandemic and Perfume was ruling the Japanese charts for the very first time in their (at the time) 8-year career. Coming off from the success of their first album ‘GAME’, fans were anxiously awaiting for the next release and a lot of questions came up: how were they going to follow this up? Are they just a one-trick pony? Will they continue this same level of success?

Luckily, Perfume released their seventh major single, ‘love the world’, in July 2008 to huge success, becoming the first techno-pop single to reach #1 on the Oricon charts in its first week, and it ran on to be their best-selling single of their career. It did receive some critical success, as well, but how did I find the single myself? Was it as loving to the world as its title suggests, or is this only a one-way love? Read on!

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