See that tasty-lookin’ burger above? That’s McDonald’s Japan’s new KBQ Burger, a Korean-inspired offering available in stores starting today. But hey! Any day now that whole “Korean wave” is just gonna recede away yeah? Any day now……
Kazuyoshi Saito “やさしくなりたい”
Kazuyoshi Saito has a new album out soon, yet “やさしくなりたい” isn’t on it. He’s performing it special, because I think a Japanese drama is using his version in their show. MAYBE. Since no recording of his version can be found from a 20-second YouTube query, let’s instead focus on the original version by Nagai Mariko. Released in 1991, “やさしくなりたい” jumps out as a wholly inoffensive bit of karaoke-ready pop, coming off like something potentially put together in a single afternoon but simple enough as to not really be a hassle when it plays in the background. It’s actually OK – the chorus glistens just enough, and nothing about it sounds bad. No idea what Saito does to it, but the original is a surprisingly pleasant walk that probably wows them in the karaoke box.
Last week, I joined a new gym and it’s pretty swanky. They have a coin machine that dispenses towels, a Vitamin Water freezer and something called a “Splaza” which I think is the strange hybrid of a spa and a plaza. Not sure what that is. Overall, fine establishment mere steps away from workout-ruining Burger King. Yet, while attempting to work my “delts” (I think that’s what they are), I realized something about the music being pumped into the main room – all Western. A mix of Foster The People, Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne. Then I remembered the LAST gym I went to played pretty much the same sort of stuff, save for more Matchbox Twenty. Then it dawned on me every gym I’ve heard about in Japan does the same. A quick Twitter poll revealed that the only time anyone had heard Japanese music in a Japanese gym was in a public facility, one surely lacking a Splaza. Apparently, many gyms skip over Japanese tunes in favor of Nickelback.
Initially, I thought “maybe Western music is just more conducive to lifting heavy things.” But nope, Japan has Superfly right there. Tracks like the one above fit the gym-soundtrack mold incredibly well – rockin’, but not too much! Vaguely inspiring! It even seems paced in such a way that I could time lifting motions to this. Superfly seems like a group born to write music appropriate for squats, so why haven’t Japanese gyms embraced them yet? Have some national pride, Workout World chain!
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…this sounds like Christmas music. Which means…Christmas music season is now upon us, DAMN IT. The coming of Christmas signals another year drawing to a close, and that means reflection. Which blows. Thanks a lot Tegomass.
The actual song up above is pretty boring, lamer than the usual Johnny’s bloodfart. But the video is a must watch. Tegomass dress up as workers from the Alice In Wonderland ride at Disneyland to…construct some sort of magical flying device that doesn’t look like any mode of transportation that already exists, no sir. Serving as their band are…elves? Or maybe Moldova’s Eurovision 2011 entry? Whatever they are, the video is funny in an awkward, they-were-not-trying-to-be-funny sort of way.
This minute-and-20-seconds preview of “GLITTER” probably lays out all the major pieces of the song – something sounding like a cowbell, constantly falling synth sparkles, the type of singing Perfume does where they all sort of blend into one another. The verses sound like by-the-numbers Perfume…not remotely a complaint!…but then the chorus snaps in and stuff gets good. The actual backing music barely changes, the same electro flurries storming down, but the actual singing takes on a new shape in a little reminder that this isn’t all studio perfection. When a full version appears you can bet it will appear here, but for now color us intrigued.
Fairies “More Kiss”
I have a friend who, very briefly, wanted to know as much as possible about the group Fairies. His motives were pure – he had seen the video for “More Kiss” playing in a bowling alley, albeit with the audio on mute. This same bowling joint exposed him to the likes of Sakanaction and OGRE YOU ASSHOLE, so he figured maybe Fairies fluttered around similar artistic space. Though I had never listened to anything by them, I figured they probably didn’t because a recent trip to Tokyo revealed a barrage of Fairies advertising. Now though, I have an excuse to listen and hate to tell my friend…meh.
Fairies exist to latch onto the vaguely creepy “we love youth” market spurred on by AKB48. Tokyohive tells me the average age of the members in Fairies is about 13.1, which makes everything about the video mortifying. Despite being the same age as my junior high school students, Fairies have one thing going for them – “More Kiss” actually sounds better than anything AKB48 have ever released, these barely adolescents imitating R&B moreso than Branson, Missouri stage show. Heck, the subtle electronic glows going on in the back sound great…unfortunately, they only flicker up occasionally. Still, the whole thing sounds like a song some adult singer didn’t want to bother with it, so these kids got it. Has some good points, but overall nothing thrilling. To my friend…sorry!
Winner Of The Week – I mean, it seems cheap to give it to Perfume…but it’s them or Fairies and I’m not doing that. Perfume.