Le sigh…summer is almost over, meaning no more trips to the beach and having to actually work on a regular basis again. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted. Now, for some J-Pop…
A medley, screw that, let’s talk about…
AKB48 “Flying Get”
Where to start…besides signalling a continued disregard for proper English by the Japanese mainstream crowd, “Flying Get” reminds the world AKB48 can’t be touched as Twitter sources tell me this single moved like pancakes at IHOP free pancake day. It’s also a gentle tap on the shoulder to show us AKB48’s music remains EXACTLY THE SAME HERE, the pop military doing the same grating dinner show revue to slightly different music and yet another dimwitted guitar solo. So yeah…not much has changed with “Flying Get.”
The one new wrinkle, though, seems to have been removed by vigilant Internet cops…there is an 18-minute-long video accompanying this song that was up earlier this week that tries to be like Lady Gaga except with all the interesting parts scalpeled out. If you missed it, let me share my experiences. The first ten minutes jump between AKB dressed as Chinese royalty (?) eating food and these presumably bad dudes moving a big wooden rotating-thing around for…some reason. That’s it for the first half…AKB bites into stuff and the crunches are super audible and it’s bizarre. Then the bad guys invade AKB’s culinary kingdom, the song starts and a fight scene plays interspliced with a dance number. It makes no sense, and two AKBers duel each other and whatever I’d tell you to watch it if 1. I could find it and 2. I hated you a lot. Can’t wait for the half-hour sequel.
2PM “I’m Your Man”
K-Pop might be the sultry new neighbor on the block seducing us away from the unchanging and progressively more uninteresting J-Pop missus, but let’s not get so drunk on a new thing to forget it has plenty of flaws hiding under those tight jeans. Regardless of what Elite Gymnastics say, a lot of Korean pop actually sucks even if it can initially sound like wonderful, wonderful new air in our sails after putting up with AKB for months. So yeah, 2PM break out the “interesting” production on the kinda desperate sounding “I’m Your Man,” mimicking the Euro-leaning tendencies of American pop while also adding some original touches. Yet step away from the behind-the-scenes nerdery and listen to 2PM themselves…this is basically N’Sync with more, really bad rapping thrown in. Revisionist history isn’t tricking me…those late 90’s days of boy band dominance blew, and anything reminding me of that needs to get away.
NICO Touches The Walls “手をたたけ”
I walked by NICO Touches The Walls’ set at Summer Sonic this year and they sounded way more aggressive than they do on this single, but maybe I just shimmied by during the “hard” number. This sounds like pretty safe J-Rock, some classical touches glazed on to not scare away the kids in the brass band club, the whole song sounding like a McDonald’s take on Riddim Saunter. The lead singer sounds a lot like the guy from Tally Hall…not a bad thing!…but overall this is a pretty unremarkable dose of modern J-Rock.
Wha….wait…whaaaaaa….huhhhhh? What is this? I joke a lot about shitty J-Pop, but I’m dead serious when I say this V6 song might be the worst thing I’ve ever listened to while doing this little feature. Like…Koda Kumi makes me laugh, and AKB48 are just dull at this point, and even Funky Monkey Babys just draw a big “meh” from me. But this…I literally couldn’t finish this, I was in such disbelief over what was happening. Remember that metaphor, about K-Pop seducing you in your neighborhood? This single is the equivalent of your J-Pop spouse taking pole-dance lessons in an effort to win you back, but backfiring big time. Just…wow.
Related, perhaps it might be cleansing to listen to Girls’ “Honey Bunny?” A lot more tolerable, I tell you what.
Last time we checked in with YUKI, she was taking inspiration from all the right sources for her single “Hello!” Even the video felt vaguely Feist-ey, cutesey simplicity (albeit clearly filmed on a green screen). She’s not quite as obvious on latest release “鳴いてる怪獣,” opening up with “dramatic” guitars reminiscent of either U2 or that one The Mirraz song, but settles into a nice bouncy gallop with a pleasant enough chorus. The above is only a clip, but pretty much lays it out. Pleasantly enjoyable!
Winner Of The Week – YUKI, for being the least painful.