Category Archives: J-Pop

New Tofubeats Featuring Hitomi Arai Of Tokyo Girls’ Style: “Come On Honey!”

(Heh, talk about nice timing)

Kobe producer Tofubeats’ latest single is here, and after two major-label songs where he hooked up with some older names, he’s teamed up with Hitomi Arai of Tokyo Girls’ Style for new single “Come On Honey!” It’s a shuffling number featuring some nice synth blurts right before the chorus and a healthy dose of fuzzed-out vocals, one of those Tofubeats’ details that has always sweetened his songs considerably. Arai herself handles this well, in particularly when she goes in for the high notes during the chorus. Watch the video above.

Especia Meet Negicco: Negipecia’s “Girl’s Life”

It isn’t necessarily made clear here, but if you follow Make Believe Melodies on Twitter or on Tumblr, you’ll pick up on the fact that J-pop idols are responsible (or, at least represent) for some great music. This outlet…which, in theory, focuses more on the independent/not-mainstream side of Japanese music except, uhhh, when it doesn’t…hasn’t been shy in praising Osaka outfit Especia, a group with a vaporwave aesthetic and fantastic pop rooted in City Pop and acid jazz. Leak-boosting trio Negicco…not as vocal, though all you really need to know is that their “Triple! Wonderland” is one of 2014′s best.

Because they are idols, and because idols in 2014 constantly need to be doing something different, Especia and Negicco have teamed up to form Negipecia. They’ll release one single later this month, and that tune is now out, and you can hear it above (and watch the silly, hotel-parodying clip) above. It’s a surprisingly good midpoint between the two groups – it features the swoons and well-crafted sheen expected from Negicco, yet still squeezes in some Especia elements such as the beat and the twinkly synths (and the video). At the center – a hook that both groups would have probably been happy to have all their own.

New “Chyururi Chyururira”

A large part of manic pop outfit’s message up to now has been a desire to go worldwide – see the still definitive “W.W.D.” – but on their latest single, they turn a bit inward. “We are Japanese” goes one part at the end of the chorus, though the traditional-leaning instruments popping up all over should be more than clue enough. Not a bad move, considering they are gaining momentum domestically…might as well drive it home completely with one celebrating all sorts of corners of Japan.

Thing is, the group’s defining sonic feature – the pinballing approach to pop – is still in place (and check those 8-bit bloops lurking in the verses). Plus, those dramatic interludes!

New Perfume: “Hold Your Hand”

I’m very, very on the fence about this song – on the one (wait for it) hand, it is way better than the preview suggested, the chorus in particular being a far more intriguing addition to this song than originally hinted at (the way it swoons! When Kyary Pamyu Pamyu described the music of Perfume as “the sound of an innocent girl falling in love,” this is what she meant). On the other…you know…it is still very straightforward and reeled-in, a lazy jog of a song during the verses. Still trying to make sense of it, to be honest…

…but the video is undeniably cute, and worth a watch.

New Lovely Summer Chan And Yoshino Yoshikawa: “Starlight”

Singer Lovely Summer Chan has been working with a lot of artists as of late – she’s a member of For Tracy Hyde, has sung with shoegaze bands and even popping up on a Tofubeats single. Yet her collaboration with producer Yoshino Yoshikawa remains her best endeavor to date – her sweetly delivered vocals glide best over his twinkly, shifty tracks. “Starlight,” which title-wise is a nice follow up from the earlier released “Moonlight,” is a jaunty run that seems deceptively sparse – Yoshikawa leaves plenty of room for Lovely Summer Chan to do her singing, yet he also adds in great little details – like wind-chime-like ringing and bouncy bleeps – to the verses. Yet the real power of their team lies in how they wrangle out catchy, sugary pop music without ever turning infantile (just listen to all the bells and bloops here…weaker squads would turn childish quick).

The pair are currently running a crowdfunding project to turn this song into a single, so you should go and help out if you can. Click here.