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Station To Station: Music Station For April 27 Featuring Anne, SMAP And Ikimono-gakari

For the next few weeks, Station To Station will be happening on Thursday nights for various reasons that will be revealed in due time. Don’t worry – our irrational hate of Sexy Zone won’t be going anywhere.

Anne “Ai Wo Anata Ni”


New night, but same old boring material. This might be a bit of a bumpy edition, so let’s try to highlight some positives, shall we? Like this clip of the new Kaela Kimura single “Mamireru.”


The “hey, let’s go!” repetition and (especially) the way the song bursts into this twinkling electronic-heavy section reminds me of Sakanaction, except given a more upbeat tone courtesy of Kimura. Looking forward to this one – it’s out May 16.

Ikimono-gakari “Haru Uta”


Ikimono-gakari might be the perfect mid-point in contemporary J-Pop. The majority of singles they foist onto the world sound identical – vaguely mid-tempo pop that always has violins playing off in the distance, and can become a huge weepy ballad by just adding more violins – and this formula doesn’t provide much memorable music. They have a few noteworthy moments – a ballad like “Yell” manages to go a long way by squeezing a lot of drama out of the quiet-verse-loud-chorus formula – but for the most part they just are, providing the J-Pop consumer with songs in the style of Ikimono-gakari and nothing much more. Critically, though, they aren’t terrible. They never descend into the annoying depths of an AKB48 or V6, trustworthy but bland like a piece of unbuttered toast every morning. “Haru Uta” doesn’t divert from anything mentioned above.

Itano Tomomi “10 Nengo No Kimi E”


Here about the former members of AKB48 who went to some Japanese tabloid to vent about their former employer? Read a translation here. A lot of the stuff isn’t that salacious – the more popular members got better treatment! While I never! – but the fates of the former members plus the bit about Itano Tomomi being “carnivorous” and going to the beach with male friends are pretty interesting. The prior for sad reasons, the latter because I think this whole article might be stealth marketing to promote Itano’s new solo single. The tabloid article goes on about how popular members can go out all night and have boyfriends – well, guess what we see Itano doing in the above clip? She’s at a club! She’s with some artsy dude who makes models of churches out of shoeboxes! There is some other guy! Seems a little suspicious, ya know what I’m saying?

Thinking about wacky conspiracy theories ends up being way more fun than listening to this boring single, a track where the best thing I can say is “the percussion is cool sometimes I guess.”

SMAP “Sakasama No Sora”


How’s the new single from SMAP? It’s not very good.

You know what is good? Sleepy Tokyo’s Dark Circles album, which you can hear this way. Way more reflective of modern-day Japan than anything SMAP releases nowadays.

Sexy Zone “Lady Diamond”


How’s the new Sexy Zone single “Lady Diamond?” Oh my god fuck humanity for this one.

No what isn’t a blight on the face of the Earth? Breezesquad, who makes video-game-powered music and has a free EP waiting for you. Just get far away from Sexy Zone.

Yuzu “Niji”


Oh poor Thursday night, what have I done to you.

Winner Of The Week – Of these songs? Ikimono-gakari, because they are the non-terrible option this week.