Right above this line of text is the reason I’m missing Music Station this week. For a bad Steven Seagal-DMX (redundant, I know) flick. Then I’m following that up with a Jersey Shore marathon. I’m total trash, I wouldn’t blame you if you never read this blog again. Anyway, lets listen to the artists featured on this week’s episode.
HY “告白” – I’m still pretty much Japan-challenged, so I don’t know how to listen to many of these songs outside of YouTube. Besides actually tuning into Music Station. Still, until I find the J-Pop equivalent of Lala, I’m watching the music videos, and a bad video has a solid chance of torpedoing the song in question. HY, already in hot water for performing live with Linkin Park and not being Jay-Z, do themselves no favors by making the video for “告白” seven minutes long. I can’t stand when Justin Timberlake does that, and he actually makes good music. Unlike this lifeless ballad, which tries to fake feeling by centering on sappy piano and (admittedly nice) singing. A guitar line suited for morning drive-time smooth jazz radio drops in later, but it’s not enough to make this slog anymore enjoyable. Did I mention it takes two minutes of guy-riding-a-bike footage to get to the song?
KAT-TUN “THE D-MOTION” – Another reason LANDS “Bandage” is such a triumph? It’s stunning anyone associated with KAT-TUN managed to make an honest-to-God great song, a revelation fortified by a listen to the boy band’s latest “THE D-MOTION.” Remember the techno-song from this SoBe ad? That’s basically “THE D-MOTION” but not over in 30 seconds. This is a poorly executed “futuristic” pop song where Autotune gets used needlessly and KAT-TUN basically try to bring “Do The Locomotion” into some dystopian future. In short….more like THE F-MOTION.
BARBEE BOYS “女ぎつねon the Run” – Whoa, looks like we got a throwback act on our hands! BARBEE BOYS appear to be a J-Pop outfit from the ’80s, and “女ぎつねon the Run” reflects that. BARBEE BOYS must have been Japan’s answer to Flock Of Seagulls, because this song overflows with new wave-ness. Peep the cheesy-as-hell horn solo that could only be excused in the Reagan years. This type of music has plenty of problems (the Flock Of Seagulls namedrop should have tipped you off), but it’s still a nice artifact from the ’80s. And honestly…after listening to KAT-TUN be over processed to death, BARBEE BOYS sound like a revelation.
FUNKY MONKEY BABYS ”涙” – So…are FUNKY MONKEY BABYS supposed to be a rap group? Because I had been under the impression they were before firing up “涙,” which started off with big dramatic strings and singing. Then, BAM, the verse comes and FUNKY MONKEY BABYS sort of sing-rap for a few seconds before doing there best Up With People impersonation. Repeat repeat repeat. The strings and singing make this song way too over the top to take seriously, but I have to give “涙” some credit; it’s the rare example of a “rap song” meant to sound like an Olympics commercial, what with the soaring “you can do anything!” instrumentation.
Also…the video is long and stupid. CUT IT OUT JAPAN.
Becky “好きだから” – Really Music Station? After a very underwhelming collection of songs, you thought the best way to top it off was with Becky? Surprisingly, “好きだから” not bad…it’s a middle-of-the-road pop song that well not a stand-out by any stretch of the imagination still sounds plenty catchy with it’s pleasant melody and (subtle) use of violin. And Becky went and made a good chorus! Big step forward for this idol, and a (emphasis on) pleasant jam.
L’Arc～en～Ciel “BLESS” – Another string-driven slow-mover featuring some over-the-top singing. I truly am out of ways to talk about this sort of music, except I’ll note the violins sounds nice and the singer’s voice really irks me for some reason.
Winner Of The Week – I could be a huge jerk and choose the song from the 1980s, but I’ll stay contemporary by crowning Becky this week’s winner. She entered the ring with a bunch of J-Pop heavyweights, and did the least to make me hate her song. She’s getting better yay!