It’s been a while since my last J-Pop post! It’s a lot more difficult for me to discover Japanese music that I really enjoy, but when I find it, I fall in love. It doesn’t feel right to add “2011” to the title since some of this stuff is from this year, BUT I’ve also been discovering a lot of older songs. Remember, I’m a complete J-pop newbie! Also, I decided to ditch the one-by-one song listing format and just talk about artists that I enjoy. It’s hard to just choose just one song from each of these artists! I chose to focus on J R&B, which is more of my style. But keep in mind, it’s still J-Pop, so my selections are very poppy sounding.
I am completely head over heels for Shota… and in a non-fangirly way. I would describe him as the Japanese Chris Brown (not really a CB fan, but can’t help but make the comparison). His voice is just amazing to me and his music can be pop and soulful at the same time. Shota is one of the Japanese artists whose songs I never skip over. I once marathoned his song “Sakura” for 2 hours straight. For some reason, he doesn’t to seem to be very popular, but I think that’s the way it is for a lot of J R&B artists. However, his talent was recognized by none other than successful R&B singer Joe, and they even collaborated on a song together. Isn’t that crazy? I totally loved Joe back in his “I Wanna Know” days.
His latest single “You & I”, which I have yet to get sick of:
Kimi Ga Suki
… And my absolute fave… Sakura ❤
Here’s another J R&Ber with an amazing voice. I don’t know if I’m the only one with this experience, but I feel a lot of times Japanese vocals take time to get used to. I used to think Japanese artists couldn’t sing, but really it just took a time to get accustomed to. I never felt that way about Kana Nishino. Her voice seems kind of Western sounding to me, which is not a bad thing at all. I really could never get used to Namie Amuro and Miliyah Kato, so I’m glad I discovered Kana. Her voice can be described as sweet, light and pretty (using my super technical terminology here lol). And she’s so cute! She kinda looks gyaru, don’tcha think?
Here’s my favorite Kana Nishino song, “Distance”:
Here’s her newest single “Esperanza”. It has a Spanish sound to it, which I know is totally different from Latino, but how sick is it to have one of your fave J-artists singing a few words in Spanish? I love it!
This guy’s just a tad more on the Pop side than R&B, but I thought he’d fit in on the list quite well. I believe he is much more successful commercially than the artists mentioned above and has a dedicated fan girl following. That doesn’t mean his music isn’t just as enjoyable. While I am a total K-pop fan girl, I really don’t know my Japanese idols too well. So I enjoy Yuya’s music, but am not a follower. He’s not as strong in the vocal department as Shota in my opinion, but it still sounds really good.
His latest single, and a great track to welcome the summer with, “Naturally”:
My first Yuya song, also a really good one- “Paradise”, which was featured in the J-Dorama “Quartet”:
Tell me what list is complete without these boys??? Yes… I am a VIP… just IN CASE you were wondering :-P. (And for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about–this can just be translated as me being a total obsessive fangirl!). The boys aren’t Japanese, but I included them as a bonus since they are partly responsible for making the Hip-Hop/R&B scene more visible in Japan these days. Since they are a Korean Pop group, their music is much more Western sounding than that of Japanese idols. And they are a Hallyu idol group (would that be the term?), they get more exposure than someone like Shota Shimizu. Taeyang even did a nice collab with J-Pop star Thelma Aoyama. I’ve mostly been a fan of Taeyang and other solo acts within the group like V.I. and GD&TOP, so I’m still discovering group songs that I like. Here are some of my favorite Japanese songs from Big Bang…
Koe Wo Kikasete- Really good poppy R&B ballad type of song. This was the first Big Bang song I found after discovering Taeyang was a part of the group, and I remember not liking it at all. Well, I’m back after about a year of becoming experienced in being an Asian pop fan and I love it.
Don’t Tell Me Goodbye- Again… another good R&B ballad, this one has more of a hip-hop feel to it though.
Well that’s all the obsessing I can do for now, I will surely be back in a few months with more J-Pop. I hope you enjoyed atleast one of my selections, if not let me know, I am open to hearing about it! Anyone I should be listening to that’s not on the list?