November 13, 2011
Amazon MP3 is the greatest thing since baked bread, since it's DRM-free, but its indexing is just useless for anison and J-pop. It plainly has no clue that such a category even exists. At first, I searched by name, but that was like searching needle in the haystack. No Ayumi Hamasaki, no nuthin. Only the blasted Utada as far as eye can see. Then, it was mostly trawling carefuly through lists and "customer who view this, also..."
One of the most annoying pests is "I Love You! Project", which floods search results with ear-rending instrumental remixes. Their production is the worst... except Anime no Magic. The Kimi To Yakusoku Shita is particularly rad. Typically, there's no artist credit. Who sings? Who plays? Mystery!
Miku Hatsune floods too, thanks to mediocre creators seeking opportunity. Still, genuine hits are represented, such as Sososo's Next Stage, which once reached the top of Oricon in CD single form (true story!). After buying all of Sososo's Miku stuff, it begins to sound about the same, so for the sake of difference, check Biruru's Dou Demo Ii. It may not necesserily be Sososo's fault, Miku's range is not that great. However, creators have a lot of trouble breaking away from her. The best Luka track I found so far is Stay by my side.
KOTOKO: Actually, She Is At Amazon. There's one album, where she only took a part: Disintegration. It's an early one, so I hope for more, in the years ahead.
AKB48: They sound surprisingly amateurish to me (Sorry, J!). However, I gave them a good try after reading this review:
This is a really creepy and sexist phenomenon. Nevermind the typical soulless music, this industry does everything to make these girls seem as generic as possible so they can easily be replaced, like homogeneous puppets pumped out by some machine. [...] Congrats, Japanese teen idol industry: I'm not politically correct by any means, but you managed to ruin my day. I wish people wouldn't tolerate these kinds of dehumanizing messages in popular media.
My favourite AKB48 track is probably Kimi to Niji to Tayou to. I can just see jamming on the synth for them (even though with the way multi-tracks are recorded in reality, it's a pure illusion).
Another one-album wonder is Megumi Oukutsu, with Asu Heno Tobira. The poor thing did not even get the lifespan of Stereopony. Frankly, she beats the pants off the collection of singles that Yoko Ishida recorded in the twilight of her career.
I did not find Scandal's work to my liking, with a possible exception of Yumemiru Tsubasa. Also, I suggest sampling Maihime's Hiryu, just for the heck of it. And the final oddball is Go, by Flow: the token anison in the album, and yet sounds more entertaining than the rest. If you want to get depressed, try to find Haruka Kanata. There is even a vocal imitation (and a bad one at that).
UPDATE: J. commented that AKB48's music is "pretty bad". Well, that settles that. Although, he should try that one track that I linked.
Omo reminded to mention a Miku author Supercell (not the other Supercell, a band). As far as critical acclaim and royalties, Sososo is pretty much unbeatable.
J. also added:
Oh, and if you didn't know, AKB48's producer has been in the idol game a long time, having been responsible for the original giant girl group, Onyanko Club, and after inspiring Tsunku to create Morning Musume, he returned to crush them.
UPDATE 2012/02/04: Found Minami Kaze by one Mikuni Shimokawa. Unfortunately her renditions of classic anison are rather odd, so I prefer Yoko Ishida's, even if they're remixed into Para-Para.
The pop singer whose Japanese music I like the best these days is Younha, and she 's Korean. And not part of the idol scene, so they actually promote her music, not trading cards, bikini photobooks, and "hug events". Not in the Amazon MP3 store, sadly, even the Japanese one; there are a few tracks available in the iTunes store, but only off of her Korean releases.
Posted by: J Greely at November 13, 2011 06:49 PM (2XtN5)
Posted by: J Greely at November 14, 2011 09:43 AM (2XtN5)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at November 14, 2011 10:42 AM (G2mwb)
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