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Archive for the category “音楽 – Music”

2011 Year in Review – Music

According to Last FM, my 10 most-played artists during the last 356 days were:

#10 – James Morrison

#9 – Corrine Bailey Rae

#8 – MWK

#7 – David Cook

#6 – Anoop Desai

#5 – Jamie Cullum

#4 – Justin Nozuka

#3 – Kate Bush

#2 – English Chamber Orchestra & Nigel Kennedy

#1 – Adele

K-pop, J-pop, and ジャニーズ? (Musings on East Asian Boybands and Girl Groups)

My 13 year old daughter has been absolutely fascinated by K-pop.

Last night, I caught a glimpse of one of the K-pop videos that she was watching on YouTube, and I was intrigued. I sat down with her and watched many more. I was impressed. The boys and girls are good-looking, they dance reasonably well, the songs are ultra catchy, the videos are visually entertaining, and the production is flawless.

The songs are catchy – I found myself singing along even though I don’t speak Korean and I had little idea what the lyrics meant. They are BSB-, NKOTB- or NSYNC-catchy.

After watching quite a few of these (we spent about 3 hours watching K-pop videos as well as a series of Korean pop culture vlogs at http://www.eatyourkimchi.com/), I felt that I should be introducing her to some Japanese culture as well. So I did a little Google search, and found out that Arashi (嵐) is currently the most popular Japanese boyband. They are managed by Japan’s authority on boyband management, Janiizu Office (ジャニーズ事務所). (Janiizu Office has been around since I was a little kid – I grew up with Tanokin Trio (たのきんトリオ)!)  However, after much googling, I could not find a single official music video of theirs. When you do a YouTube search with any of the K-pop band names as the search tag, you get all the official music videos as the top search results. On the other hand, when I YouTube search “Arashi,” all I get are some poorly-made fanvids and random TV appearances. J-pop is absolutely failing in the international public relations department.

As a result, I failed to get my daughter interested in J-pop in general. To make the matters worse, she has seen some AKB48 videos, and she had already decided that K-pop girl groups are much better at singing and dancing than AKB48 (which I wholeheartedly agree, sadly).

It looks like she and I will be making a trip to Shinohkubo (新大久保) while we are visiting Japan later this month. She is excited about getting her hands on glossy K-pop photo books and CDs. (Incidentally, Shinohkubo is adjacent to my college, so I am excited about revisiting the place and see what it is like now after all these years.)

During those 3 hours of the K-pop immersion, I also found out that one of the K-pop boybands, FTIsland, will be doing a show at Budokan (which is the biggest arena in Tokyo) while we are there. So I went on to search for tickets. It turns out, however, their Budokan show was sold out within 10 minutes of going on sale, and the Japanese version of StubHub has them listed at about 8-9 times the original price.

I haven’t given up, though. I will keep checking for the ticket dump. I think the last time I went to Budokan (~20 years ago) was for Whitney Houston.

Lost In America – To Have Heroes is about to release a new EP!

I just heard that To Have Heroes, Andy Skib’s folk/alternative musical unit, is getting ready to release its second EP Lost in America. Andy just leaked the first track from the EP, “Dream of my own” (above), which was co-produced by him and Neal Tiemann. (Neal Tiemann is my musical hero along with Nigel Kennedy and Jamie Cullum.)

Andy has one of the most distinct, and beautiful, voices. He makes music that reminds me of things I’ve lost over the years, the things that I will never have again. His music also helps me decide what to hang onto.

The title track “Lost In America” is one of my favorite To Have Heroes songs, and I am absolutely looking forward to the studio version. I don’t know yet when the EP will be released, but I will be buying it as soon as it becomes available.

(EP cover art from Fifth Floor Up)

FREE mp3 download for Anoop Desai’s EP Zero.0

Anoop Desai’s latest EP Zero.0 just came out for a FREE download. It is produced by DJ Trauma. Visit HERE for FREE stream and download hosted by billboard.com.

“Not On Your Side” by Anoop Desai, written by Cravity, produced by Sak Pase:

I love this EP so much. Many of the tracks throw me back into the J-pop and J-indie of the 80’s in the happiest and most nostalgic way. Zero.0’s production and vocal are much better, however.

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