Station To Station: Music Station For May 13, 2011 Featuring Perfume, Girls’ Generation And J Soul Brothers

Wrote that headline and realized this episode of Music Station falls on a Friday the 13th. Who knows what spooky surprises await! Oh, another appearance by Kanjani8? IT REALLY IS CURSED.

aiko “恋のスーパーボール”

Sadly, the video above is only a short commercial for aiko’s new single, so it seems a bit unfair to make huge generalizations about this song. I’ve got nothing against making slight generalizations though. “恋のスーパーボール” (the first half of the clip) features a bouncy albeit not terribly exciting chorus that hints at something interesting with the disco-aping strings goin’ off in the background. More intriguing, the title of this song which I think roughly translates to “Superball Love.” What the heck does that mean? The B-Side to this single, by the way, actually sounds a little more directly catchy despite being a pretty typical jogging-speed J-Pop number.

Kanjani8 “My Home”

三代目 J Soul Brothers “LOVE SONG”

Funny when a band with the word “Soul” in their name lacks any. I’m a big defender of the idea that a sentence like “this sounds like J-Pop” is stupid because J-Pop doesn’t have a set sound…unfortunately, dead-on-arrival singles like this do their best to prove me wrong. This plodding almost-ballad just sounds like really bad Japanese pop condensed into one 6:34 (geez!) torture chamber. Check that bass line, directly ripped from the “Music For Supermarket Interiors” CD. Peep all the Disney sparkles raining like sugar vomit after the chorus. Punch yourself in the groin every time you realize “LOVE SONG” (clutch name Bros!) isn’t going anywhere. You’ll be sterile soon enough. Even the one dude’s penciled in mustache can’t save this from being a complete waste of six minutes.

Girls’ Generation “MR. TAXI”

K-Pop update for May 2011…this year has been blessed so far by two great pop songs courtesy of two-thirds of South Korea’s girl-group Hydra. Girls’ Generation teamed up with Intel, of all things, to make “Visual Dreams,” a satisfying slice of minimalist pop where the space between drum beat and synth swoop magnifies them all the more (at least until the track sorta explodes into 3-D near the end). It’s also their most effortlessly sexy song to date, a surprise given this track might actually be about the inner workings of a laptop. KARA, meanwhile, continued their Japanese saturation with “Jet Coaster Love,” a chart-ready swirl of cotton candy that might as well be the K-Pop “Best Of My Love.” It’s also right up there with “Mister”…originally I hated that song but it gets caught in my head so much I’d be lying if I said that attitude remains…as being there most accessible moment to date.

Ball’s back in Girls’ Generation’s court and they go hard in the paint with “MR. TAXI.” Sorta. This single actually sits on the other end of the spectrum of “Visual Dreams” in almost every way…it’s packed to the brim with noise, it’s way too busy and the group themselves try way too hard to turn the listener on. This isn’t an isolated case, as the group has tried at various points in their past to embrace the artistic spirit of the Pussycat Dolls several times and have managed to succeed in each case (much to my ear’s dismay). Even a nice bridge gets ruined by a mishandling of Auto-tune. Stick to “Visual Dreams.”

Naoto Inti Raymi “今のキミを忘れない”

Consider this the dolled-up alternative to that J Soul Brothers track above. Naoto Inti Raymi gives into a lot of the same cliches rallied against in that blurb, but he’s smart enough to not just lean on said mistakes and at least give cynical masochists like myself something enjoyable to hear while we wonder why we keep rolling out this ditzy feature. Which is all to say…I’m glad they included an actual, propulsive beat to this song, because that alone almost makes the countless other transgressions (the near balladry, the loooooook-at-meeeeeee singing, terrible misuse of Auto-tune). Not particularly good, but if the bad guys kidnapped me and forced me to listen to this or “LOVE SONG” for 24 hours straight, you could be sure I’d be sliding this one into the evil geniuses’ CD player.

Perfume “Laser Beam”

Watch here

The strongest critique against “Laser Beam” I can summon up at the moment seems to be “I think the skittery bit at the beginning is easily the best part of the song.” Not exactly critical damnation, especially considering all the good stuff popping up on repeated listening. The chorus does its job admirably, but it’s all about the way the beat hops into the fray. I’m also liking the the way parts of the song sort of weird out around the corners, twisting into what actually sounds like something a member of the Rebel Alliance would use. And, yeah, the way Perfume’s vocal glitch out a bit later on. Despite not being a huge departure from what they’ve done in the past, “Laser Beam” is turning into a grower.

Also, this video owns in so many ways.

Winner Of The Week – Don’t make me sick the bee on you.

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