A calm image before we embark on the terror below.
Earlier this week, the founder of Johnny’s Johnny Kitagawa was attacked at his home, where he barricaded himself from his assailant until help could arrive. Now, we don’t condone violence around here even against people responsible for some of the worst music on the planet…Make Believe Melodies isn’t THAT sadistic!…but arson is sometimes justified in our books and after hearing this string-heavy dribble from Kanjani8 we wish someone would burn down the pop factory responsible for all of these deplorable tracks (as long as no one was hurt!). This is the typical “emotional” Johnny’s ballad that somehow manages to be less soulless than the “fun” Johnny’s pop songs, with the added wrinkle of Kanjani8’s lead singer not sounding all that good here. Something sounds off to my ears. Whatever, another turd from Kanjani8. All those warehouses housing indie records were burnt down in London, yet the Johnny’s distribution center remains intact. I don’t know what to believe in.
Keisuke Kuwata “明日へのマーチ”
Dude has been on Music Station for, like, three weeks now. I’m OK with this, because Keisuke Kuwata is like the cool, non-creepy uncle of J-Pop who can be a little corny at times but is still pretty cool to hang with. This is a pretty inoffensive acoustic ditty, peppered with some whimsical touches. Nothing spectacular, but some nice mid-morning coffee-drinking music, I’m sure.
Koda Kumi “Poppin’ Love Cocktail”
I originally saw this clip…the exact one in the above link…late Saturday night. Like, two in the morning. Immediately after that program, there was a show focusing exclusively on new “idol DVDs” (read: videos of Japanese women walking around in not much clothing). I figured this abomination of a song had to be by some nobody, what with the infomercial-appropriate time slot and all. Then it was revealed this was the work of Koda Kumi and everything actually made much more sense.
Where to start with this? Well, for once Kumi doesn’t fire off the stupidest line here…that honor belongs to Jersey Shore-aping goon TEEDA who declares early on “Damn girl! You looks like horny.” That may be the worst line I’ve ever heard in a J-Pop song for oh-so-many reasons. She does drop some clunkers (“better watch it, I’ma scratch you” being the latest in Kumi’s history of trying to be sexy but ultimately begging for a restraining order), and I’m not even going to ask what is in a “Poppin’ Love Cocktail.” Sonically, portions of this sounds like The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy).” Somehow, she’s done it again…she has managed to make something even worse than “Lollipop” or countless other misguided sleazy club numbers. She almost deserves an award for this.
Reggae-tinged take-it-easy music made for a mom’s midday drive to Albertsons. Normally, I’d dislike this…but after “Poppin’ Love Cocktail” my world has been flipped upside down. Plus, this has a pleasant chorus.
SMAP “夜空ノムコウ” And “オリジナル スマイル”
Both of these songs came out over a decade ago (in 1998 and 1994, respectively) so I don’t know why SMAP were dragged off their cooking show set to perform them. It does help to highlight the lameness of Johnny’s further, as either of these songs could be released tomorrow and I wouldn’t blink an eye. I do have to give credit to “夜空ノムコウ” for at least incorporating a few interesting electronic elements into the background, while the other song has bongos which is kinda different. Otherwise, this is confirmation Johnny’s have been using the same song molds since 1994. Again, burn it to the ground.
An enthusiastic “hi!” back.
YUKI seems to be channeling Maia Hirasawa (albeit a very J-Pop-ified version of her) on this single, with the bubbly horns and shiny twinkles abounding. Which is pretty great to hear…if mainstream J-Pop wants to take cues from less-mainstream sources, Hirasawa’s easy-breezy-ready-for-NPR sound is a good choice as I could actually see it having some success. It’s also a bit better than the new Feist song, but I think that might say more about the new Fesit song to be honest.
Winner Of The Week – YUKI, for taking inspiration from the right sources.