Friday, January 27, 2017

Music Recommendations (Jan. 27, 2017)

I figure while I'm already on here, what the heck lol. I also mainly want to feature one song in particular which is why I end up posting these in the first place.

Urbangarde - Kuchibiru Democracy (2015) (J-Pop/J-Rock)

I looooooove this. Love it so much I actually listened to the entire album. I never do that. Usually albums just go onto my "I'll get to this eventually" list and it takes me a year or so to get to it. The album is equally as good as the song.

CLC - Meow Meow & Liar (2017) (K-Pop)

Their comeback was a cheap rip off of 4Minute. There. I said it. Hobgoblin is a fun song yes, but Hyuna ruined CLC by trying to make them EXACTLY into 4Minute. And does she love the sound of her voice so much to make the one rapper girl sound exactly like her? Gosh that was the most offputting thing I've ever experienced in K-pop. Hyuna needs to stay away from CLC unless she has some fresh ideas for them. These two album tracks on the other hand are great. They're tropical house/K-pop sounding would have worked much better for a retooled CLC. Make them more of a cool "bad girl" group, but with something fresher and less sounding of desperation.

Seohyun - Don't Say No (2017) (K-Pop)

I love this new K-pop trend. Bright colors and house fusions. It's so hilarious to me how obvious the trends show up in K-pop. No. K-pop is nothing like Western music at all *rolls eyes*.

Predianna - Cry Like This (2017) (J-Pop)

Tsubaki Factory - Hatsukoi Sunrise (2017) (J-Pop)

My babies! Mark my words. They are H!P's next big thing.

Dreamcatcher - Chase Me (2017) (K-Pop)

Enjoy!

SNH48 - Princess's Cloak

And we're finally back with another review post! China48 is so interesting to me. They keep expanding so rapidly to the point where it seems excessive, however with the population in China I don't think they'll reach that saturation point as fast as Japan48 did. It's also interesting how few graduations they seem to be having in the past year or two. When SNH first started, I remember hearing about members leaving all the time but it seems to have stabilized. I wonder if them getting more work/original stuff curbed the graduations or if there were changes in management. I'm really glad that they're getting original music now. I hate cover groups lol. Like, I'd love to know more about JKT48, but all they do is cover Japan48 songs and that's so dull. I don't care about personalities or TV shows or stages or magazines so there's nothing for me to latch onto without original music. I do wish that China48 would slow down on the releases though. Not a big fan on how all three release their EPs at generally the same time...can't afford to pick them all up at once that way.

Princess's Cloak is SNH48's 3rd original EP and their release after their Senbatsu Sousenkyou. It was released in two editions (a Princess's Cloak version and a Romantic Melody version) with different tracks on both versions. When I first saw that there would be separate tracks on the versions I was upset because I really don't like how Japan48 does it because it makes it impossible to get all of the songs for me. Japanese CDs are so ridiculously expensive, even when I get them off of ebay the prices seem to be going up. However, SNH's prices aren't super bad for a full EP. At least, the guy that sells them on ebay doesn't price them crazily. I can't find them elsewhere to buy in US, so I'm glad that it's not very expensive for the EPs. Although if anyone wants to buy from ebay and haven't before, I do have to warn people that all 48G sellers on ebay can sell for so cheap because they remove the photos/event tickets to sell or use themselves. I personally don't care because I can't use event tickets anyway and I already have a bunch of useless photos around my house from CDs I couldn't get on ebay so I don't want them either. I think I'm blathering again lol. On to the review!

Track #1: Princess's Cloak [Both Versions]

SNH's original music had very little appeal for me up until this EP. There was only one song (Hand of Justice off their first original EP) that I really cared about. I feel like their music had a lower quality of production and it was pretty offputting. They seem to have corrected that now because I was really surprised at how good this EP sounded in quality. I also don't really feel like the Chinese language itself fits poppy music like 48G and it really showed on their earlier EPs where on this one it flows much more smoothly. The Chinese language thing might just be me though because I'm not used to it like Japanese or Korean. I probably thought the same thing with both of those languages when I first listened to them, although I can't remember that was almost 7(!) years ago. Anyway, song itself. I do like this song quite a bit. It's catchy and it has a dancey background to it, but it's not EDM. It reminds me a lot of early 2000s teen pop in the States. That's not a bad thing at all though because it works for SNH. Kind of a blend between Japanese idol music and more Westernized Korean music. 4.5/5.

Track #2: Romantic Melody [Both Versions]

Now this song I really love. It hasn't quite surpassed Hand of Justice yet, but it's up there in my top two of China48's music. On the surface, this isn't the type of song I'd generally attach to because it's a rather laid back pop track with guitar pieces, but it is so catchy. It doesn't even really have a noticeable hook (think like the Ra Ra Ra Ma Ma Ma in Gaga's Bad Romance for a super hooky song) like a lot of pop songs do, but the singing style in the song really hooked me into it. 5/5.

Track #3: A Yo Ai Yo [Both Versions]

This is where the EP starts to falter a bit. This song is a really Chinese pop track. That sentence probably sounds super weird, but outside of Jolin Tsai, every Chinese pop girl group/singer I've tried to check out seems to have this weird rock-pop-dance attempt type of song that just sounds dated and odd. It also sounds like something Hilary Duff would have done as an album track in her Disney days. Again, not bad by itself, but it's just so odd for a song on a release in 2016. The production even sounds like it could've been done in 2003. It's ok, but really not my kind of song. 3/5.

Track #4: 48 Secrets [Type A]

I have mixed feelings about this song. It's catchy, but it reminds me of 2008-2009 K-pop music mixed with AKB stage songs. The production doesn't sound as dated, but it doesn't stand out enough because of it and it gets drowned out in the sea of much better songs from both parties. 3.5/5

Track #4: Dreams Flag [Type B]

I really don't like that translation (I prefer to translate for Chinese/Korean songs while I keep Japanese just romanized. Weird preference, I know). Is that really the closest translation? It feels clunky. That's another issue I have with China48 songs. Most of the translations I see online just sound so off. I'm guessing that they're more of a literal translation and that's why. I don't know enough Chinese to even attempt something smoother with Google Translate so I've just dealt with it. This song is pretty average. It's a typical pop song with guitars in it. Actually, I keep thinking of old Hannah Montana songs when I'm listening to it. The sound is very dated, but like most of the EP as a whole, at least the production sounds current unlike their earlier EPs. 3/5

Track #5: Do It [Type A]

I expected this song to be an awesome EDM track based on it's title. Imagine my disappointment when it ended up sounding like a bland idol pop track. I do give it credit for sounding more like a Chinese pop idol track than a Japanese one. Again, not sure if anyone gets what I'm trying to say here. From what I've seen of Chinese girl groups they have a very distinct "idol pop" style that is reminiscent of Japanese idol pop yet has it's own identity in my opinion. I might just be making it more confusing. I don't know. It makes sense in my head but I feel like I'm explaining it very poorly. 3/5

Track #5: It Has To Be You [Type B]

Although I don't care too much for this song, I think the style really fits SNH. SNH to me seems like a girly group (think Nogizaka) that would do well with pop tracks flavored with light dance music. I do like their heavier EDM stuff, but I don't know. The group's image doesn't seem to suit that. In fact, I feel like this would make a good Nogizaka song and I'd love to see them do something like this. They have kind of done it with Inochi wa Utsukushii, but that was darker than this. 3/5.

Track #6: Brand New Love [Type A]

Ah. Here's the AKB style idol pop track. It actually sounds a lot like the old AKB summer singles. It's not my style and I wish they'd stay away from sounding like AKB. 3/5.

Track #6: BEJ48 - Love Of The Spacious Items [Type B]

They certainly went AKB single with this one by including the sister groups. I don't mind too much, but I'd hate to see SNH start releasing as many types as AKB does. This title translation I truly hate. It has to be a direct translation because that sounds bad in English. Actually, by putting it in Google Translate, it says the same thing. Not sure if that means that Google has it right or if someone literally just copy/pasted from Google Translate and used it as the translation. Tried Googling it, can't find anything else about it. I don't even know what it's trying to say. Is it a pun/saying in Chinese that doesn't translate properly? Is it trying to describe something metaphorically? It's driving me crazy because what even are 'spacious items'? Wait....this is about the song. Ignore rambling. The song is good, but forgettable. It's really girly K-pop sounding. Imagine A-Pink for early SNSD. Not really my thing, but A for effort I guess. 3/5.

Track #7: GNZ48 - Flashing Dream [Type B]

Now this song I really like. The dance line in a midtempo track just catches the ear immediately. This style would be amazing for GNZ to stick with. I think the China48 groups don't have an "identity" at this point. I think that it's good that they have musical diversity, however, to be noticed in the general public, they should have one particular style where people are like "Yeah! That's SNH!". Like how AKB is known for easy dance/catchy KFC type tracks or SKE is the dance heavy group or HKT is the cuter younger sister group. All the groups do plently of different song styles, but they have that niche that they explore. 4.5/5.

On YouTube:

Type A is also on Spotify so I'll also link that (their newest EP is on Spotify as well!):

Overall, I think this is the strongest EP SNH has put out so far. Their new EP sounds like it is really meh and their EPs before this are also mainly meh. SNH needs to take whoever produced this, came up with concepts, made the music, etc. and run with it. This EP is SNH. It's the most clearly SNH release they've ever had and shows that they are capable of being their own thing outside of the constraints of the 48G label. 4/5.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

GALETTe - G (Lyrics) [Romanization]

I noticed that there aren't really any Galette lyrics online (at least, that I can find. I don't know if Japanese sites have them or not), so I decided to try my hand at a little romanization. Just as a disclaimer: I DO NOT speak Japanese. I don't read Japanese very well. Coming up with the romanization for this was very hard and I have mad respect for those who do it on a regular basis and can actually understand the language. As I don't understand Japanese, I apologize if there are any errors in this romanization. If there are, please let me know so I can correct them!

This is just the romanization. I don't have the kanji lyrics (did this all with the CD insert + Google translate + my ears) & no translation (as I don't speak Japanese to be able to do that). Do I need a copyright disclaimer? No clue but here: I don't own this song or any of the lyrics. Copyright is owned by the company who managed the group/the record label/the actual songwriters. This is not done for any monetary gain & is just for non-Japanese speaking/reading fans to sing along. Enjoy!

GALETTe - G [Lyrics Romanization]

G! Te wo nobashite todoku sekai yori tooku e
G! Kakugo waii? Guzuguzu shite cha game is over.

Ima kara yo speed up. Okamai nashi ni iku wa
Noumakunaraba no thank you tsuite kite yo ne

(Check it out!)
G! G! Oh oh girly! Hajimete no sensation
Kono mune no takanari wa…otome da wa
(Yes! We are)
G! G! Oh oh give me! Gyutto kuru brand new days
Girls’ talk yori jikan wo wasureru youna mainichi wo kanjitai

G! Mitsumete ne? Harahara suru seventh sign
G! Hanarenai yo? Me ni yakitsuketara saigo atoda wa

Ari na no? Konna situation doki doki no renzokutte
Kiss yori mo takaburu passion matte iru yo ne

(Check it out!)
G! G! Oh oh girly! Kagayaki no timing Gloss mo kasanete miru….otome da wa
(Yes! We are)
G! G! Oh Oh Give me!
Matenai yo Brand new style
Hoshii mo no bakari wagamama ni mo narukedo
Tsukamitai Shiny Dreams

Taikutsuna kinou ni Good bye
Hoshii no yo Special na trick
Saikou no mirai kara kitto
Mou soko ni aru

(Check it out!)
G! G! Oh Oh Girly!
Hajimete no sensation
Kono mune no takanari wa…otome da wa
(Yes! We are)
G! G! Oh oh give me!
Gyutto kuru brand new days
Girls' talk yori jikan wo wasureru youna
Mainichi wo kanjitai

Friday, January 6, 2017

Music Recommendations (Jan. 6, 2017) + Welcome 2017!

Guess who totally fell off the face of the planet & didn't post a day #25 for the countdown? I'm always super busy on Christmas Eve and with Christmas itself being on Sunday this year I was busier than usual that day. I kept thinking about it, but the further away it got from day 25 the less I wanted to post anything lol. Whatever, the post was just supposed to be a Merry Christmas message anyway. Woo hoo? But anyway, it's now 2017! Thanks to anyone who read any of my posts last year! I think starting the year off with a music recommendation post is a great idea (especially cause I found a super duper awesome song today & I just had to share it with the world lol)

Broods - Free

This song is SO GOOD. Oh my gosh. Where has this song been in my life in the 10 months it's been on YouTube and my not knowing about it? I love this type of music and I really need to check out their album....after I get through the other pile of albums from 2016 I still haven't listened to yet.

Speaking of 2016 albums....this is just an aside it has nothing to do with anything tbh....was anyone else super disappointed with Britney Spears' Glory album? All I see is praise for the thing but I thought it was her worst album since In The Zone (which also seems to be super praised but again I don't really care for it). Really there wasn't a single song on the album I really cared for, usually there's at least one or two songs I like off of pop albums but Glory was just bad.

Neptunica - Alive (ft. Matt Defreitas)

Woooo EDM awesomeness! It's not often I like a song from Trap Nation (I'm more into MrRevillz type music), but this is amazing.

Rev. from DVL - Vampire

You'd think with Kanna Hashimoto centering them that they'd be more of a cutesy type group but I love that they've got that more H!P-ish style to them. The English bits are a little weird in the song but it's still super catchy. Another totally random side thought, the day before their company posted this I became a vampire in Skyrim. I thought it was amusing.

Gang Parade - Plastic 2 Mercy

This song shocked me. I do not like BiS or it's 20,000 clones/sister groups. I don't like the "alternative idol music" because it's usually just bland rock/alt with the terrible nasally idol singer voice over top and it's so off putting. At least with pop/dance numbers the music can mask the terrible singing but it does not suit rock music in the slightest. It's why I was so surprised that this is a dance track and not a rock song. I wouldn't call this song a favorite or something I'd play a lot, but it's cool to hear a song like this from one of those BiS clone group things. However they're related.

Honey Spice - Don't Let Me Go

This is a pretty typical idol pop dance track, but these girls have a lot of potential in my opinion so I'd love to see more people listen to them/know about them. Their voices also aren't completely terrible for a super indie group.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

25 Days Of Christmas Countdown Days #23 & #24: J-Pop/K-pop Groups To Watch In 2017

Warning! Lots of embedded videos in this post so sorry for slow loading computers out there!

Combining these two from last year so I can catch up to the correct day lol. Essentially these are new groups that either released their first single this year, or were formed this year. They could also be more unknown groups that just came on my radar this year. Since I combined the two posts, I chose four groups from each of the two genres for a total of eight new groups to watch. They're in no particular order, just alternating between K & J.

Group #1: Dear Kiss (J-Pop)

Full disclosure: I'm not super impressed with the music they've put out so far. I only care about them cause Nonoko. Really hoping their first release with her will be super awesome to entice me to buy it! Dear Kiss is a new group that formed early this year around former Galette member Saki Shishima. They currently have 6 members and have released one single and one mini-album. Nonoko recently joined not long after the end of Galette. I wonder if the other three former Galette girls will migrate to this group. I'd really love to see Yui Komori join as I liked her as much as Nonoko. I feel like this is nothing about Dear Kiss and everything about Galette. Cause it is. I miss them D:

Group #2: Blackpink (K-Pop)

The new YG girl group that everyone had been begging for for year finally arrived and they were much better than expected. I was nervous that YG would attempt to make them the new 2NE1. I'd say that their styling is very much that way, but their music is very different. Boombayah was a bit of an attempt to stay 2NE1, but Whistle & Playing With Fire really stick out as good framework to build the group's sound around in a way that they won't get labeled "2NE1-lite". I realized a little after PWF was released that I had been screwing up Jisoo & Rose lol. I thought it was Rose I liked, but it was actually Jisoo. Jennie is my overall favorite though. She is such a standout of the group.

Group #3: FuwaFuwa (J-Pop)

Ok so I still hardly know anything about this group except that they're a subunit of Harajuku Ekimae Parties. Do you know how hard it is to Google the term "Fuwafuwa"? Yeah. Not easy. All you get is a bunch of other result that have nothing to do with the group. Then searching HEP gets you nowhere either. Guessing there's not a lot of info in English out there? So I had to resort to the Japanese J-idol wiki database thing I found a year or so back and my poor Japanese skills to find out some basics about them....and then I STILL couldn't find them in the lists. I'm guessing I'm blind cause they must be there lol. So here's my poor description of them: They have lots of members and sing cutesy idol songs that actually are pretty catchy and sung rather well for cutesy idol songs. Check 'em out lol.

Group #4: Cosmic Girls (WJSN) (K-Pop)

They are currently an 11 member new group from Sistar's company. I didn't care for them one bit when they debuted. Both of their debut singles were awful honestly. Mo Mo Mo is the better of the two. I don't know what the heck they were trying to do with Catch Me because that song is absolutely tragic. Then Secret came out. The music video is the most stunning ones I think I've ever seen. The song was such a 180 from their first release. Really excited to see their comeback in January to see what they can do.

Group #5: Questy (J-Pop)

I debated adding them as I am not a huge fan of their first release as everyone else seems to be. However, they remind me of a new Fairies-type group more than a new Flower or E-Girls so I'm interested in what they will release in the future. They are a seven member group trained by LDH and debuted under Avex. Like with Fairies & other LDH groups, three of the girls are vocalists and the rest are performers (pretty much just back dancers to put it bluntly.)

Group #6: Sol-T (K-Pop)

These girls are from a super unknown company and they're also super unknown but their Bad Girls song is awesome. They have four members and have released two singles. They sound pretty great considering how unknown they are. I'm really hoping that they keep going down the Bad Girls path because that style suits them so well.

Group #7: Cherrsee (J-Pop)

I want to like these girls because their premise is interesting. A J-Pop group produced by a major K-Pop producer isn't probably a good idea for business, but it is super interesting for music in my opinion. I didn't care too much for their two A-sides this year, but their one B-side Surisuri Masuri sounds very promising. I hope they release something amazing in the new year.

Group #8: Matilda (K-Pop)

Surprisingly, this super unknown group has released THREE singles this year. For an "indie" K-pop group, they've actually done quite a lot. They've also gotten better with each single release. Their current one is their best in my opinion, although I don't think it quite fits their vocals (and the chorus is produced kinda badly. It's way too loud for the rest of the song.)

Friday, December 23, 2016

25 Days Of Christmas Countdown Day #22: Top Hello! Project 2016

I am doing my best to keep up with these lol. I really don't know if I'll be able to make it tomorrow but I'm going to try. I'll still make all 25 posts, but life is busy lol. Like yesterday, just jumping straight to the countdown since everything's already been talked about.

#10

Angerme - Itoshima Distance

#9

Morning Musume - Sexy Cat no Ensetsu

#8

Country Girls - Boogie Woogie Love

#7

Kobushi Factory - Sakura Night Fever

#6

Morning Musume - Tokyo to Iu Katatsumi

#5

Juice=Juice - Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai

#4

C-ute - Mugen Climax

#3

Morning Musume - Mukidashi de Mukiatte

#2

Country Girls - Koi wa Magnet

#1

Juice=Juice - Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~

Thursday, December 22, 2016

25 Days Of Christmas Countdown Day #21: Top 48G 2016

I've already talked about both the music & the members from this year, so let's just jump right into the countdown!

#10

Keyakizaka46 - Futari Saison

#9

HKT48 - Make Noise

#8

AKB48 - High Tension

#7

NGT48 - Kimi wa Doko ni Iru?

#6

NogizakaAKB - Mazariau Mono

#5

Keyakizaka46 - Silent Majority

#4

Tentoumu Chu! - Seijun Tired

#3

AKB48 - Love Trip

#2

SKE48 - Chicken Line

#1

Nogizaka46 - Harukanaru Bhutan