J-Pop 


I’ve been thinking about whether or not to write anything about the reasons why I haven’t been updating the blog for a long while, but I think I’ll just leave it at: I had to prioritize what I wanted to focus on and I had to give up many of my hobbies. This blog being one of them. Now things have calmed down a bit, so I can give you a quick recap of things I’ve done the past year and a half.

One of the few things I kept doing was studying Korean. Not at a high pace or anything. It’s just a weekend class. I’m learning slowly but steadily and I really like my classmates. They’re very cool and friendly.

Last year I went to see 4Minute when they had a showcase here in Sweden. … Continue reading

 

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Crayon Pop is still one of my favourite groups. They’ve just finished recording their comeback album which will be released in June, if I’m not mistaken. Teaser images have suggested a different, non-tracksuit, concept. Perhaps a bit sexier. We’ll see. That makes me think of a clip I saw of Crayon Pop where someone mentioned a sexy concept and how they wouldn’t be able to pull it off and Cho-a said: “I would” :lol: . I hope they keep their cute and sassy style, though.

They’ve also announced that they’ll be adding a sixth member for their Japanese promotions. Her name is Arisa.

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So, to the main reason for this post. I’ve been waiting for Crayon Pop to release their song “1,2,3,4″ that they’ve been performing since last year, but it hasn’t been released as far as I know. I’ve heard the song in English and Japanese. Not in Korean so far. The Japanese version sounds a bit cutesier than the English version, but both are very good.

Here’s the Japanese version. … Continue reading

 

Last year YUI released new versions music videos for Feel my soul and Good-bye days consisting of old footage from her debut years. It’s interesting to see these old clips of her. I found new love for this and many of her other songs after listening to the covers on the She loves you album. When I watched her perform this song at her last live as YUI at the CDTV new year’s show, I thought that the captions were wrong, so I checked the CD booklet. Turns out that I’ve been singing the wrong lyrics all this time :lol: .

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YUI ~ feel my soul~2012 ver.~

YUI ~ feel my soul~2012 ver.~

26MB 3:52 H.264/AVC 480×272 PSP Ready

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And appropriately last: Good-bye days. It’s one of my favourite songs. I love how you get to see YUI smile a lot in this video. I hope there’s more where that came from in her future projects.

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YUI ~ Good-bye days~2012 ver.~

YUI ~ Good-bye days~2012 ver.~

37MB 5:28 H.264/AVC 480×272 PSP Ready

(download | thm | preview)

These are the last PSP videos I’ll post. Like YUI, I’m moving on to something else. The blog will remain. There just won’t be any new PSP videos for download. Six years is plenty and I’m looking to focus my energy elsewhere.

 

Since YUI announced her indefinite hiatus from her activities as “YUI”, there have been many rumours flying around about what she’s doing next. There were some news about her performing at very small venues under the name Flower Flower and that she didn’t perform any YUI songs, only new/unreleased material.

There has been no official word and the whole thing seems to have leaked out earlier than intended. It’s hard for a big artist like YUI to perform at small venues if all her fans find out.

From the bits and pieces I’ve heard, she wasn’t given the artistic freedom that she wanted as YUI and started performing under a different name. There may have been some problems with her record company due to this, but either way she has now put “YUI” aside and will continue pursuing her music career under a new name. Supposedly she’s still under Sony, but the official word was supposed to be released by the end of the year (not now).

I also saw a recent picture of her with short blonde hair, but it was removed because it wasn’t supposed to have leaked, I guess.

I’m curious about what her new music sounds like. Less main stream for sure, seeing how she felt (according to the rumours) that she wasn’t allowed to do her songs the way she would have liked to.

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Above is a longer version of the “YUI’s message to her fans” video that I posted a while back. It still doesn’t tell the whole story though, and we’ll have to wait a while longer for any kind of official announcement. It’s encouraging to hear that she’s moving on to something she appears to be enjoying.

 

I had these clips from Ai Otsuka’s 2007 Love is Born concert lying around, that I never got around to posting. I thought I’d post them here in case anyone’s interested.

Multi-talented Ai plays the violin in the intro to Honey. Clearly not her main instrument :lol: .

Ai Otsuka ~ Love is Born 2007 Honey

Ai Otsuka ~ Love is Born 2007 Honey

23MB 3:37 H.264/AVC 480×272 PSP Ready

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Listening to Kumuriuta gives me chills. Very emotional song.

Ai Otsuka ~ Love is Born 2007 Kumuriuta

Ai Otsuka ~ Love is Born 2007 Kumuriuta

36MB 5:37 H.264/AVC 480×272 PSP Ready

(download | thm | preview)

After almost getting depressed listening to Kumuriuta, Frienger brightens the mood. Ai uses the baseball bat that you can see in the thumbnail to hit balls into the audience during the song. lol @ when she hits the ball straight into the front row at the end of the song.

Ai Otsuka ~ Love is Born 2007 Frienger

Ai Otsuka ~ Love is Born 2007 Frienger

27MB 4:13 H.264/AVC 480×272 PSP Ready

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This song is from one of Ayu’s latest maxi singles called LOVE. It sounds like the old Ayu. I started listening to Ayu around the time Rainbow was released, but my favourite album was always I am. Missing sounds like it could have come from that era. It even has that harmony that goes into so many of Ayu’s songs. It’s also in Song 4 u, which is another track on the same single. That song also has a classic feel to it.

Ayumi Hamasaki ~ Missing

Ayumi Hamasaki ~ Missing

32MB 4:52 H.264/AVC 480×272 PSP Ready

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Sony Hong Kong posted a video on their facebook page where YUI talks a bit about her decision to take a break from being “YUI” and try different things.

Embedded video (requires flash):

Link to the facebook video

Unfortunately, neither the embedded video nor link will work on iPhones, so you’ll have to use a PC or go to Sony Music Entertainment Hong Kong on facebook and browse until you find the video. I also shared the video on my timeline.

Update: I posted a longer interview here.

 

Hold on to your sexual insecurity! :lol: Yohio is the lead guitarist of the Swedish visual kei band Seremedy. He’s now pursuing a solo career in Japan and is doing pretty well. I really like SKY☆LiMiT. It’s a good mix of pop and rock performed in Japanese by a Swedish guy wearing a lolita dress. What’s not to like? There’s even growling :) .

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Yohio ~ Sky Limit

Yohio ~ Sky Limit

27MB 3:50 H.264/AVC 480×272 PSP Ready

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I saw Yohio in a Swedish newspaper not long ago. Then I watched some TV interviews. Apparently he’s going to compete in the song contest where the winner gets to represent Sweden in the Eurovision song contest. He won’t be singing in Japanese, though. Unfortuntaly. Would’ve been cool and different.

I almost saw Seremedy once, but I think I was out of town when they played here.

Yohio will be releasing his first full-length solo album this spring and I heard that it will be released in English in the EU and in Japanese in Japan. I definitely prefer the sound of the Japanse lyrics. … Continue reading

 

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Last week YUI announced that she’ll be taking a break from her activities. She’s been on a hiatus before — around the time of her B-side compilation album. Both back then and this time around I feel respect and admiration for YUI for following her own path and taking a break if she needs one. I’ll be looking forward to her future projects.

You can read YUI’s … Continue reading

 

There’s an album out called She Loves You, which is a tribute album to YUI where other artists cover her songs. I really like this album. My reservation is that some of the covers are perhaps a bit too straight forward. I think that a great cover is an interpretation where the artists adds their unique traits to the song. Many of the covers on this album, while good, sound a lot like the original songs. Maybe the artists who participated are just too similar to YUI. That said, it’s definitely worth a listen. I’ve been listening to and enjoying it a lot this week.

I thought I’d share some thoughts on each track:

1. SCANDAL - How Crazy. A pretty straight forward cover with slightly heavier electric guitars and drums.
2. Negoto - Tomorrow’s Way. I like her voice and the way she half-speaks during the verse. The song is a lot more “filled out” with sound than the original. Lots of drums and even a little “noise”. Maybe I should recommend this song to a friend of mine who listens to “noise music” (not enough of it perhaps). I’m a sucker for all-over-the-place-y drums like the ones in this song.
3. miwa - Good-bye days. … Continue reading

 

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