Japanese Music Recommendations – July 2013

I do realize the playlists as a whole are rather…long now (100+ songs!). But, really, just like tons of movies and dramas and books come out, so does tons of music. Even though there’s a ton of songs in the playlists, I don’t highlight them all…anymore. I just really like to give shout outs to the ones that I really fell in love with and then share the entire playlist for you to scroll through to find something that you might enjoy as well. Plus, I’m too lazy to do individual playlists for different countries’ music (unless I hit YouTube’s playlist limit cap that is).

Thanks to July being one heckuva release month for some great jpop, jrock, and visual kei songs, I had to create a playlist for Japanese music alone. 😛 I suppose I can gush and make long explanations as to why I like each song…but I’m too lazy to do that, so it’s just going to be the number in the playlist and the artist’s name and song title.

#1 Spyair “Genjyou Destruction” (at LAST they made this available in the US. Most of their videos aren’t available when you try to watch them.) #3 Kyo-Mi “My Baby” is such a beautiful song. #6 asano 夢のつづき (I think the translation is something like “Continuation of the Dream.”) #7 BiSKET “HOPE” (I don’t know why, but I’m reminded of Simple Plan’s music).  #10 Niiyama Shiori “Don’t Cry” (what an amazing song!). An Café. An Café! I love the fact they are doing back to back monthly releases. This month is イタイ女~NO PAIN,NO LOVE? JAPAIN GIRLS in LOVE~ (#113)and you get to see Miku and the band in high school girl drag. I am also happy to have a release by #115 flumpool. I have been in love with that band ever since they did both themes for BLOODY MONDAY. Both new songs are great.

I googled EXILE TRIBE. I really did as I was curious. So they aren’t a part of the original EXILE, they just belong to the same company. Good to know. That being said. You should check out Sandaime J Soul Brothers vs. GENERATIONS “Burning Up” (#11). Sandaime J Soul Brothers also had their own release with “Waking Me Up” (#84) an awesome dance song. I don’t really like really dance beat heavy songs, but find myself loving the EXILE TRIBE’s dance music like crazy. #96 GENERATIONS’s “Go On” is a really great dance ballad. The entire tribe are great at dancing. Their performances are no joke.

Visual Kei band SCREW has made their major label debut! Check out “Red Thread” from their album SCREW (#12).  #51 Kita Shuhei has also come back with his second album and the title song “Beyond the Rainbow ~Yumemirusekai~” is excellent! Royz is still relatively a young vk band in terms of how long they’ve been active, but their music is great. Check out their song “EGOIST” (#103). I think this song was a little harder than I was used to…but maybe I’m confusing them with a different band…not impossible. #104 NoGoD, the vocalist freaked me out in the PV, has come back with “FRONTIER”—it’s a good song.

#14 Hilcrhyme “New Day, New World.” #15 Yamazaki Aoi “Blue Summer” another pretty song and I think the artist is relatively new. #17 YU-A gets a special shout out for “Flavor” because of the video. Check it out. Hiroko Shimabukuro’s (former SPEED member…obviously not the kpop group that debuted end of last year/beginning of this year) “God Child” #18 sounds like a pretty lullaby. #19 And after that sleepy tune, check out Vimclip’s “My Generation”—great, bouncy summer song. #21 Ise Mikoto’s “My Darling” is good for her first solo mini-album. #22 the hills 裸のダンス (Dance Naked?). #24 DaizyStripper 嘘と陽炎 (NeeNee LOVES DaizyStripper). #25 South “Your Color” is just a really fun, summer song. #117 LIFriends’s 愛して止まないロックンロール is another fun, summer song with an interesting MV.

OMG. #26 is the first single from Kobayashi Taro “Beat”…I’m in love and expecting more from him. The song is just awesome!!!! From that awesome rock song we go to Noa’s upbeat pop song “The Key to Happiness)”#27 which then goes into her emotional ballad “See You…” featuring LGYangkee’s Hiro (#28). Another great song from a rookie, Ueno Yuuka, is “Kimi Toita Sora” (#50). Scarlett is a new VK band. The look like babies 😛 You should check out their song “Darling” (#65). Wienners has some great and fun songs and videos (#118 & #119). #120 ONE DRAFT has released their 4th album. I’m only finding them now. How sad. #124 Best Partner’s “Aozora to Kimi” is also a great song from a group I’m just discovering as well. Pokota was an interesting discovery as well. Check out his video for “be foolish” (#125).

And all seriousness aside, next up is the visual kei band Awake with their vampire inspired PV for “ByexBye” (#29)… the song isn’t bad, but nor is it completely spectacular to recommend alone. Seeing them play their instruments and sing with the fangs…lol…that makes it a winner. Speaking of “Bye Bye” Sako Tomohisa’s single by that name (#31) is a great song, but the MV…just WHY is he walking around wearing that monster costume covered in balloons? A great MV and great song is HAZZIE’s “for YOU.” (#33) Then there is Aso Natsuko’s “Never Ending Voyage” which is a great song…but the PV kind of has some awkward moments. We get a cute and fun MV from bomi with her song “Beautiful” (#59 ).

aiko’s “Loveletter” #30 starts with a heavy rock beat that I loved but the actual singing is pretty keyed back when compared to the music…kind of doesn’t jive well. I’m not very big on girl groups, but I find #36 “At the End of the Light” by Fairies (the opening of Jewelpet Happiness) to be quite addictive. I also fell in love with Hirai Dai in his dreadlock glory with “Dream” (#37) and “Sweet Home” (#109). JAY’S GARDEN “Ganbatte ikou ze” is a very uplifting and fun song (#40)—it does feel like they are really wishing you luck and to go for it. Then there is JUNO’s beautiful love song “Ring” (#58).

#41 rieco’s “Believe” is an awesome song. I wish I could have found a longer version of it so you could hear the entire thing in all its glory. I have not heard of LIPHLICH before, but their 4th single “Mazurou Mansion” (#42) totally caught my attention and I’ll be keeping my ears peeled for more by them.  And #44 Garter Belt with “Egoist” is really good. And keeping in the rock vein of things, Lustknot has come out with a major label debut Deeds, not words. “DECAYED MY SKIN” (#45) has the mix of growling and yelling with more straight-up rock. #46 VK band Lil.y’s 1st anniversary single release MOMENT is something to check out.

SiS releases their debut single and I believe are being produced by vk band NoGoD. “Labyrinth” is a pretty good song (#47). I haven’t listened much to Black Gene for the Next Scene, but love their “CHANGE TO CHANCE” music video because of the little boy in his oversized suit. The song itself has kind of a clubby rock feel to it. Speaking of rock…GLAY! Yay for Glay! “Dark River” (#54) and “Eternally” (#55) are both great songs from this iconic band. Vamps also makes a comeback with two great songs as well—#108 “Ahead” and #112 “REPLAY.” They both also have epic videos.

Speaking of debuts, #63 Kyoro the World has released their first album (okay, not a debut, but still…). A lot of Japanese artists are putting out Best albums this month. I skipped over quite a few, but there was some I just couldn’t resist… like DEEP with “Starlight” (#57) and the ever-active GACKT with “Claymore” (#93) and “Sakura, Chi Ru…” (#92). Takahashi Yu (neither debuting nor coming out with a Best album) has a great song in “CANDY” (#110).

I have also made a discovery with COMEBACK MY DAUGHTERS which has a soothing and almost old-fashioned sound. There song “21 Years Old” is quite pretty (#60). They have some great harmony. Another great discovery in July was the group satellite blue metro (#63). I highly recommend checking out their 2nd mini album Tunnel wo Nuketara. Another great discover was phonegazer. They are a co-ed band that definitely deserves some love. Check out their song “Ghost” (#64). A fund discovery is the group SECRET GUYZ. They spend their days dressed as women, but when needing to rescue a girl in distress, they become male heroes. I had to laugh at their group dance and their video for “HUGxHUG” (#112). Really I can’t think about it without chuckling.

Then there is a band with a really long name—TOKYO SKA PARADISE ORCHESTRA—with “Diamond In Your Heart” which is actually entirely in English, but you can understand what the singer is singing for the most part, so always good (#61). Speaking of English songs… you should check out Breaking Arrows which made a simultaneous debut in the US and Japan (#138). Chie may not be singing in all English, but her song “LIVE LOVE GAME” has TONS of English in it and at least most of it makes sense if not all of it (#76). #79 I fell in love with Namie Amuro’s “Contrail” from her album FEEL, but her song #80 “Let Me Let You Go” (which is entirely in English) is my favorite from the album. #90 Koda Kumi “LALALALALA” which was shot in US.

#67 Girl group Sanmyu’s Natsu Matsuri (Summer Festival) is a very pretty song. Speaking of pretty songs, cossami’s “Minuet” (#68) is really pretty. And then there is Yasuda Rei’s weird PV, but the song is a beautiful ballad—“Best of My Love” (#70). I’ve always loved CHIHIRO’s voice and she released a song with TOC from Hilcrhyme—“Love Letter” (#71). #72 We get to see A.F.R.O stalking a high school girl in “Ao” (okay, not really stalking, lol). It’s an interesting video with the members trying to cheer this girl up.

I would really like to know who thought that having a bund of men dancing around toilets was a good idea. Want to know what I mean? Check out Daichi Miura’s “GO FOR IT” (#77) which features men in a warehouse dancing around toilets. A good song… but the video. Pfft. (#78) Another good song is 16 no Beat’s “Tokyokarankoron” which has me singling along with “Muuuusic.” #82 Canta’s “Heaven’s Waiting” wasn’t my cup of tea at first, but it really grew on me for some reason. S/mileage’s “Be the New Me!” (#116) sounds very familiar to another song in certain parts, but I can’t put my finger on what song that is…

Former vocalist of ayabie, Aoi, comes back as Aoi-168- with the great song “Hisureba hana” (#85). #89 bump.y “Savage Heaven” – they are another girl group I like. I don’t listen to much enka (more of a traditional Japanese music), but I fell in love with “Sasori no Namida” (#94) by Chon Tefu. #97 Jupiter has made their debut (I don’t know if its just their major or their over-all) with “Blessing of the Future”—they are pretty good. #99 Komatsu Mikako’s 終わらないメロディーを歌いだしました。is another great song.  #105 SKY-HI who is part of jpop coed group AAA comes out with his own solo work. “Rule” is a strong hip hop song. #106 lecca has a very surprising voice. If you didn’t know better, you’d almost think it was a man singing, but lecca is female. I love her song “SOLA.”

#127 The Sketchbook’s “Spilt Milk” is another great song coming from this coed trio. ANd I originally and Kota Shinzato’s “HANDS UP!” (#128) under May, but it was released in July. It’s a really great and addictive song. L&DS (Lovers & Duo Style) have an interesting name and are a great band. Check out their “sugar blue ocean” (#130). Speaking of bands. Sadie. Another visual kei band. They either produce albums and singles like crazy or have long periods between releases, but you got to love them. #131 “Setsugekka” is a great song to check out. !132 Another vk band the Raid. has released their 6th single. Yet another song called “moment”—it’s still a good song. v[neu] has a beautiful song with “APOLLON” (#133) and a more upbeat song with “starting over” (#134). We end with BREAKERZ member Daigo. Check out both his songs #139 & #140.

We also have Korean artists debuting in Japan or at least releasing new songs in Japan if they’ve already debuted their. #83 The trio Eden (I believe the drummer is the one from Shut Up Flower Boy Band) made their debut with “Never Cry” which is an awesome song that I can’t stop listening to. SuJu had their first full Japanese release with the album…Hero…or was that a song off the album…? #137 Idol band Led Apple has finally made their Japanese debut which has a lot of their Korean songs (in Japanese obviously), but their original Japanese song is fun—”Gimme kimi LOVE” (Give Me Your Love). FT Island seems to be more active now in Japan than Korea. Their 11th single was released in July! #87 “Shiawaseori” is a great song from them. #88 And I have no idea if this was released in July or not, but U-KISS’s “Inside of Me” is another awesome song. #98 Daesung (I really don’t like Big Bang’s Japanese monikers for some reason…D-LITE…shake’s head) released “I Love You” featuring Taro Hakase. It’s really pretty. CNBlue released their 6th Japanese single “Lady” #100.


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