Tuesday, September 28, 2010

J-pop anonymous: 10 optimistic songs to get through the day

Finally back from a school/AmeriCorps induced hiatus!! The year's off to a great start, but unfortunately that meant I had no time for my poor little blog :( Boooo. So hopefully I'll post more often now that the really crazy part of the year is over!

I've been feeling rather good about the future lately, and I have a few tunes in my j-music library that I've been listening to a lot lately because of that! If you need some more j-poppy optimism in your life, I've got 10 (ish) great songs that will help you get more of just that!:

In no particular order, but I'll start with my favorite:

#1. Buono! ...pretty much everything.

3 of my favoritefavoritefavorite girls in the j-music WORLD, right here. Airi, Momo and Miyabi have been singing together in Buono! for three years now, and in that time, they have made some of the best music Hello! Project has ever put out.

Buono! was put together to make the ending music for the anime Shugo Chara! (which I would also recommend if you need a cute, pink pick-me-up!), so in accordance with "anime ending rules," they have a bit of a rock sound. The lyrics of their songs are all great and uplifting, which is why I couldn't pick just one song of theirs. I recommend absolutely every song they've ever put out, but here are my top three optimistic favorites, all with subtitles so we can all appreciate the wonderful lyrics:

Goal



Blue-Sky-Blue



Honto no Jibun



Honorable mentions: Kokoro no Tamago! One Way = My Way

#2. capsule: Dreamin Dreamin

capsule is an addicting group, especially if you're a fan of electronic music. (Cue the shudder of a thousand techno-haters--no, it's not THAT kind of electronic music.)

"Dreamin Dreamin" hails from the group's seventh album, FRUITS CLiPPER, which in my musical opinion is one of their best, second only to Sugarless Girl. I have two other songs from this album on my "optimism" playlist, but this one is my favorite because you hardly need to speak Japanese to understand the lyrics in the chorus and appreciate the song for what it is about (though the translation is really nice).



Honorable Mention: Happy Life Generator

#3. Morning Musume: Seishun Collection 青春コレクション and its c/w, 友 ("tomo" or "friend")

Now, I know what you die-hard H!P fans must be thinking: "This single sucks because Tsunku has been using almost the EXACT same instrumental motif for at least 4 other songs over the past nearly two years!!!" And you know what? I almost agree with you.

The older Morning Musume put out much better quality music, and hearing the same-ish kind of instrumental for Naichau Kamo, Nanchatte Renai, SYO and Onna ga blah blah blah did get vomitaciously old.

BUT...I was absolutely compelled to buy Seishun Collection, and it is now one of the three MM singles I own (the other two being Egao YES Nude and Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~). Why? Because of the lyrics, the fun colors (sue me, I actually kind of LIKE the outfits :P), and the awesome, emotional, Linlin-can-be-heard b-side, 友.

Seishun Collection is simple, upbeat and bright, and I think we can all stand to be reminded of our inner child once in a while.



#4. Kago Ai: no hesitAtIon



I really hate those capital letters... :P

No longer a little girl in Hello! Project, Kago Ai is all grown up and doing her own thing! This girl fascinates me--she got into so much trouble for dating boys and smoking underage, and the way she was portrayed in the couple of years following her H!P departure, you'd think she was a terrible criminal or something. No, not so much. She was just a somewhat troubled youth, like so many of the rest of us.

Aibon's debut single, released in June of last year, is all about her beginning life anew, being a new and better person, as we should all strive to be everyday. This song is a must listen for those days when you feel out-of-place and out of touch with your future. Incredible sound, great lyrics, wonderful girl!







#5. Mano Erina: Genkimono de Ikou! 元気者で行こう! (Let's go cheerfully!)


Manoeri's 8th single is incredible. It's hard to believe the Casio-playing H!P soloist has come so far from her bubblegummy, less-than-stellar origins to...THIS!!

Tsunku spared no expense on her PV for this song--it was directed by renowned Japanese director Yukihiko Tsutsumi, and it shows. The PV tells the story of an overworked and underpaid dad with two kids and an equally overworked spouse, a situation many of us in this crappy economy can relate to well.

The lyrics to the song are what will help the poor guy get through the day, and it will be a great listen for you too! I included a translation for the lyrics below, since it seems no one has gotten around to subtitling the PV yet.



You're worried, huh - your shoulders are drooping
At today's meeting that didn't go well
You forced a laugh; that kindness
Today, rest just a bit
That's right, I am on your side
No matter when, I'm your ally
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up throughout Japan !
Send those conflicted sighs
Flying with a punch !
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up throughout the world !
Take the stress of being proper
And clear it all away with a kick !
No matter where you are in the world, you can feel it
Tomorrow, let's take one step forward !

Endless overtime continues on
If you go home, no~one is there
Like in a frantic sprint, on the verge of losing your breath
You email one word "Goodnight"
There must be someone who
Has kindly always watched over you
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up across all the smiling faces !
Send those absurd constraints
Flying with a punch !
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up for her and for him
Take those rude lectures
And clear it all away with a kick !
Bury everything in the world in love
Let your ways become a storm ! *

Your spirits, get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up throughout Japan !
Send those conflicted sighs
Flying with a punch !
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up throughout the world !
Take the stress of being proper
And clear it all away with a kick !
No matter where you are in the world, you can feel it
Tomorrow, let's take one step forward !

#6. Sweet Vacation: I feel so good



This song always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, even if I don't feel that way right at the moment. A nice electropop beat in a nice, warm key is enough to bring up your spirits any time. Singer May's voice is sweet and inviting, and fits the optimistic mood perfectly.

"VERY GOOD DAY!" awaits your ears =^_^= (I love me my Engrish)






#7. Hamasaki Ayumi: INSPIRE

One of my favorite j-music songs of all time, and one of the first ones that really got me into Japanese music in the first place. Ayu is an incredible performer and songwriter, and she got that way through lots of hard work and sacrifice. When she first said she wanted to be a singer, people laughed at her and told her she would never make it. But one producer believed in her, got her to vocal coaching, and turned her into the undisputed queen of j-pop.

The song is about never making excuses, never giving up on your dreams, and never pretending to be someone else. That is how Ayu got where she is, and she wanted to share that with the world.



(Short video is due to avex being notorious for hunting down their content on YouTube and slapping people for even thinking about using it >_< )

Honorable mention:
RAINBOW

#8. C-ute: EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!! (EVERYDAY 絶好調!!--"everyday in perfect form")



My favorite song by my favorite group IN TEH WROLDS!! I've gushed about this song before, but I think it is worth gushing about s'more.

This song is a fun, summery pop song about waking up in the morning and not letting everyday things get you down. And making takaoyaki. :D

For those of you who need a little more "genki" in your lives...and that's all of you :P




#9. Hatsune Miku: Strobo Nights

Ah, VOCALOID. Such an interesting genre of music. Vocaloid songs are entirely computer-made, except for a voice sample given by a real person to create the voice of a Vocaloid singer. Usually, if videos are made of these songs, they will be largely based around pretty tough dance routines that some intrepid people dare to learn.

(<--Meet the real Miku) It can be tough to find good Vocaloid music, but there are some gems out there, like Hatsune Miku's "Strobo Nights." This song is just lovely, as any song about shining stars should be! The girl in the video is the lovely LunaCherry2, from Sweden. She recently got back from what I'd imagine was an awesome 4-month stay in Japan, and she shot this dance cover video somewhere in Tokyo :P


#10. Perfume: love the world

Perfume is an awesome electropop group hailing from Hiroshima, and they have this crazy habit of putting out awesome and fun music.

"love the world" is one of my favorite songs. Like most Perfume songs, the lyrics are quite meaningful. The song is mostly about finding peace in introspection and lovey things--something I believe the world is sorely lacking :)








Honorable mentions:
Vitamin Drop
VOICE

And now I leave...my cat is begging for her chair back :P

1 comment:

Raelyan said...

Thanks for sharing these. Didn't know some of these artists and I'm glad I heard them ^^

Really made me smile!