What you see above would be the new bra introduced in Japan this week which doubles as a rice farm. Seriously, when this is the news exported to other countries, do you honestly wonder why people think Japan’s just a giant island of insanity? Onto the music!
Mayo Okamoto “Sonomama no Kimi de Ite”
This right here might be the most fun storyline to squirm onto Music Station since I started doing this feature. If the less than modern video above didn’t tip you off, Mayo Okamoto released this song in 1997. So why perform it now? Well, Expo 2010 in Shanghai, going on right now, completely ripped off “Sonomama no Kimi de Ite” for their theme song. Check out the damning evidence below.
As you can guess, this stirred up quite the media fury in Japan. Relations between the two countries, at least based on how the media covers China over here, seem really icy, so the Japanese media couldn’t miss the chance to nail them on this. All deserved…that is some straight up biting. The Shanghai Expo thing also copped Gumby as a mascot. But I digress. Mayo Okamoto’s official site does say she has a new greatest hits album out at the end of the month, so on the surface this appearance serves as an advertising opportunity. The song selection, though, seems a bit more tied in to current events though.
As for Okamoto’s tune itself…a completely pleasant feel-good bounce. Nice singing, some cool synths and even a horn-heavy bridge. Nothing revolutionary but also totally inoffensive. The biggest complement I can give this oldie is how nice its brand of minimalism compares against the often super-overproduced J-Pop of today. That, and it’s miles better than the cheese-tastic Shanghai version.
Oh hmmm that title looks familiar. Wonder why? Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute, it’s because they did a medley LAST WEEK. I didn’t listen then, I’m not listening now. KAT-TUN…go do some charity work, or a Krispy Kreme opening. Better yet, since it’s on a Friday, go to a club. Just…anything to get you away from Music Station for a bit.
Fun fact: The three “A”s stand for Attack All Around. That’s badass, compared to being named for the people I call when I leave my keys in the car.
Remember how I said a lot of modern J-Pop sounds way too overproduced in the blurb above? Here is a fine example of that in action. Though, AAA’s latest isn’t so much “overproduced” as much as it’s “overflowing.” I actually dig the crystal-ly 80s vibe running through “逢いたい理由’s” run time, it never becomes too busy and comes off as a nifty throwback. Unfortunately, every other aspect of this track gets overcooked. Every member of AAA gets a chance in the spotlight, which would be great if they didn’t sound like the cast of Glee cut off from their material and forced to fend for themselves. The musical-like ADD (two letters off from this group HMMMMM) going on here turns “逢いたい理由” into a woozy ride filled with some real clunkers. Nothing manages to out-sink the rap segment shot at you early on, but the big emotional shift midway through comes darn close. AAA seems like a bloated unit…even Exile and their bazillion background dancers don’t sound this scatterbrained.
VAMPS “DEVIL SIDE”
“Hi I’m VAMPS and I’m a MAN! Not one of those sissy herbivore men you read about in the newspapers or a man-baby from a Judd Apatow film – I’m a real, testosterone jacked dude who just wants to rock out and get laid and then rock out again!!! Just listen to the guitar onslaught on ‘DEVIL SIDE’ (all caps because IT’S THAT IMPORTANT). There are so many guitars rockin’ out here it doesn’t matter if they sound remotely catchy! And check my voice man. I sound just like Eddie Veder at the start! Then I sound like the guy who fronts Hinder and/or Papa Roach during the verses, love those guys! But I’ve also got a sensitive side…check the chorus, I sound just like Chester Bennington of Linkin Park! What could be better??? ‘DEVIL SIDE’ is the ultimate modern rock track, it would fit in great on American rock radio. I couldn’t be more proud.
And look at my video! Look at all those chicks!!!! I totally touch ’em and make out with them and stuff. So masculine. I’m also a vampire or something…what says ‘ultimate man’ more than ‘vampire?'”
Funky Monkey Babys “大切”
I don’t listen to Funky Monkey Babys regularly, but whenever I stumble across one of their tracks they all end up sounding exactly the same. Big emotional beginning loaded with strings and Disney sound effects, leading into a kinda-rapped verse which comes back around to the big ol’ chorus. This latest track doesn’t break from this trend, so I’m sure you can just search this blog’s archives to see what I wrote before.
Winner Of The Week – Mayo Okamoto beats out a very very bad field. Congratulations song from the Clinton years, you win this week’s honor.