söndag 27 december 2015

Jpop: Sssurrounddd / (((さらうんど)))

The trio released their first album this year and is part of the vaguely defined term "new city pop" which is meant to be a renewal of the 80s bubble pop era. Anyway I like their electronic sound quite much.

fredag 25 december 2015

Kpop: Top 20 of 2015

If my yearly top 20 of jpop is about variation and oddness, the kpop top lists is more about perfection and honing that hit recipe a bit more, adding that extra spice or trying a little new. This may sound boring but it is what has made kpop tha shing beacon of musical success outside the local asian community, instead nowadays almost everyone knows someting about kpop.

The five outside top 20, which deserves some mention of course, were:

25. Jimin & J.Don - God. She may not be a 'real' rapper but that attitude just gets to me every time.
24. Girl's Generation - Catch Me If You Can. A masterpiece choregraphy-vise hides a rather average EDM song. But that dance oh it is perfect.
23. Red Velvet - Dumb. Visually a top 10 video, a must see, but the song was just a tad too much.
22. Primary ft Lena Park - Hello. Stylish and intelligent kpop again from Primary.
21. Crayon Pop - FM. My favorite nerds with their celebration of otaku culture.

Moving on to my absolute favorites:

20. Kara - Cupid. Yet another trademark Kara song, polished and shining kpop that I never tire of hearing.

19. Hong Jin Young - Love Wifi. My number one trot track this year.

18. 9Muses - Drama. A bit of a step down for the girls compared to last year song-wise, but Drama was quite good.

17. Rainbow - Black Swan. A dark theme and a well crafted song (though a bit repetitive) from the experienced girls brought them into my favorite list.

16. Twice - Like OOH-AAH. Even for kpop, twice seemed like a very artificially constructed group, but in the end I found it hard to defend myself from the song's inherently catchy sound and refrain.

15. Jun Hyo Seong - Into you. She really got something going for her in her solo career with already several nice videos under her belt, this being the best.

14. Tahiti - Skip. The strength and weakness of this song is its accessibility bordering on tediousness depending on persective.

13. PSY - Daddy & Napal Baji. The lightning never strikes twice and all that...this placing is honestly somewhat unfair to PSY, but I still after 3 years find myself comparing him to his historical hit Gangnam Style. This is his best try so far, but it still stands in the shadow of that landmark.

12. AoA - Heart Attack. This song really grew on me after a while, and the eye-contact version really did it for me.

11. Girl's Day - Ring My Bell. A burlesque and at times but ugly video that is (because of this also) very fascinating and addictive. And as usual their charm is unresistable.

10. Jonghyun ft Zion T - Deja Boo. Super smoth and soulful but still with passion.

9. Jay Park ft Genius Nochang & B-Free - Want It . So. Cool. The Man in kpop 2015.

8. Melody Day - Speed Up. A surprisingly everyday kpop melody for a top 10 song, but it delivers on the points that matters in the long run, not just in impressive visuals or gimmicks.

7. Fiestar - You're pitiful. A melancholic uptempo track that didn't have any weak spots really.

6. Stellar - Vibrato. Stellar managed to make the theme so openly sexual that it almost took the step into sex ed instead, in a video that actually had again a really nice song too.

5. Got7 - If You Do. The popular boy band got to me with this well tuned ballad where both refrain and all the other parts works so well.

4. Stephanie - Black Out. The almost embarrasingly explicit video aside, I just dig this track so badly, its a killer.

3. Tey - Dangerous. Even though I'm more into girls, I must say Tey is sexy in this video, with a dramatic song to match.

2. IU - Twenty-three. Gloriously well written and intelligent lyrics sung with a new-found mature charm that really makes the Alice-in-Wonderland-styled video shine.

1. miss A - Only You. So what makes this the number one kpop song this year? Well, the girls really pull off a superbly choreographed feat with a music score that has such an enjoyable combination of instrumental and singing fun that it is hard not to love this track every time I hear it.

Jpop: Top 20 of 2015

Another great year for jpop and as usual it is hard to choose only 20 of them but here goes:

The five videos just outside the top 20 was:

25. Meiri Alaha - Crave. New and interesting debutante.
24. Dotama - Music Valyrie 2. A very personal style of rap.
23. Ringo Shiina - God, nor Buddha. The visuals oh the visuals.
22. Momoiro Clover Z vs. KISS - Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mina. KISS *and* nerdy jpop!!
21. 5572320 - Ponpara Pekoruna Papiyotta. If you ever loved Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, you have to see this!

For the final 20 I have chosen:

20. 0.8Syooogeki - Words of rainbow color. Punk and jpop, attitude and passion.

19. Towa Tei - Luv Pandemic. Again the man produces a electronic pop song that exists in its own unique universe.

18. Sloth - Bi Bi Bi. Not high culture this, but the rap and the hands-on party feeling makes an excellent contrast to much else in jpop.

17. Perfume - Pick Me Up. Ironically, after seeing them live last year, my appreciation for their more static videos has lessened.

16. Charisma.com - Kongara girl. The duo with the impressive attitude delivers maybe their most rhythmic offer so far with this.

15. Mizuki Nana - Super☆man. No more dark and gothic here, and I love this 180 degrees turn-around!

14. Suiyoubi no Campanella - Ra, Medusa, Ono Imako, Diablo, Napoleon, ... this group is hard to place in a list as on the one hand they *are* a bit special and an aquired taste, on the other hand I couldn't make a list of jpop this year without including them as a prime example of what the japanese sound is about.

13. Root Five - Love Ninja. I just love the charm of these guys, somehow they turn the whole kawaii concept around and create a male version of it that really works!

12. Tokyo Karan Koron - Spice. Their best song, with a musical sweetness perfected by adding real feelings and empathy to the mix.

11. Especia - Aviator & Boogie Aroma. Explicit 80s retro done right.

10. Tofubeats - Stakeholder. Tofubeats has strong sound going for him, but often it is just a bit too intelligent and a little to hard to access for me. But not here, Stakeholder was his best song this year.

9. Asako Toki - C’est La Vie ~Onna wa Ai ni Isogashii~. Soft and soulful, her song embraces and relaxes you.

8. Daichi Miura - Unlock. He has a full sound that is very much international and his performance as an artist adds to that impression.

7. Frederic - Owarase Night. Their sound flows like a summers day through my mind; light and flowing without uninteresting partsbut without being stressed.

6. Rebecca ft Charisma.com - Friends. A perfect example on how to make a good cover - update it to the present (make a dance song out of a rock song) and add some personal new elements (like the rap). Viola!

5. Asakura Saya - River Boat Song, and more. Her songs are the most personal and charming I know from jpop, and she is a hopeful beacon for the future of enka styled music too.

4. Osaka Syunkasyuto - Furo the King. I dare you to be able to not have to join the chorus for this fantastic Rainbow cover!

3. BoA - Kiss My Lips (and Lookbook). I don't know any other asian pop artist that has the same presense and pondus in her artistry as BoA has. In the end her songs may lack depth, but the return to greatness in Kiss My Lips was still pure perfection.

2. Gesu no Kiwami Otome - Romance is too much for me. I just can't get enough of the lyrics for this one, with the music perfectly set to heighten the mood.

1. Sakanaction - New Treasure Island. They was my number two favorite last year and again they deliver their trade mark sound that is a combination of singer Ichiro's voice and airy and light sound that somehow conveys both happiness and melancholy at the same time.

torsdag 24 december 2015

Mandopop: Top 20 of 2015

Another year has passed and when I sum up my top 20 favorite videos from the Chinese speaking world, these are the ones I choose:

20. 831 - Yoleh Yoleh. The young rockers from Taiwan delivers a modern rock song.

19. Yang Fan - Grandma Yang. Two years old but the comedian makes a video with an almost shockingly bizarre change of style in the refrain that it is to be cherished again and again. ;-)

18. Yen-j - Contemporary Art. Sharp singing in a song about art, I loved this new sound from him.

17. Chopstick Brothers ft Fruit Master - Little Fruit. The lightning never strikes the same spot twice, and just as with korean PSY, it is really hard to find a way forward when having the biggest hit of the year (in this case in China). This is also a creative copy, but still a copy, of the original hit.

16. Han Lei & Da Bing - Scratch Scratch (Nao Nao). Humorous video from this comedy duo.

15. Zheng Bing Bing - Don't Be Afraid. Surprisingly violent (in a cute way!) for a 9 year old girl, and so fun!

14. Mao Ze Shao - Do it, Lady. Funky singing from Ze Shao in a positive and uptempo dance song.

13. Zhang Wenqi - Three bowl of pig feet. One of the most fun title's I've encountered in a song sung in the southern Chinese dialect hakka.

12. Xiao Quan - Social Shake. One of the more interesting goes at creating a viral hit this year.

11. Jolin Tsai - I Love, I Embrace. The video is heaven for a Jolin Tsai fan. Nuff said.

10. Jike Junyi - Lotion Song. A unexpectedly contemplative yet fresh song from her.

9. Tianyo - Three Second Countdown. Cool guy in cool videos that focuses on delivering a great performance, so the sometimes not super english really doesn't matter at all.

8. Popu Lady - Gossip Girls. Even though this is actually a revamped cover, they deliver such a show and strong impression in this video that I feel this is their most (first) unique song, defining themselves properly for the first time.

7. Miss Ko - Ready, Set, Drunk. A New York native from birth, she has gone to taiwan and she really does manage to deliver the goods with some mandarin rap that is really fun and rhythmic and so engaging.

6. Cosmos People - I Hate You. This is really an old hit from 2012, but it is so good I had to bring it onto the top list.

5. Li Yuchun - Only You & Real Love. These delicious songs confirms the fascinating Li Yuchun's current bias for more electronic sounds.

4. Ren Lijia - Xiao Fang, Oh, Xiao Fang. Not many will know of this guy, which is too bad as his song is a very effective pop song.

3. Xiao Zhiming & Chen Wei - Most Beautiful. Not cool but folksy KTV pop, this duo sung their way into my heart with their refrain, it is so addictive.

2. Momo Wu - I wanna be your lover. *Finally* she found her sweet spot with her voice, restraining her wierdness in just the right amount and channeling it into rhythm instead, in this sharp and funky track that is an explosion of color.

1. Da Mouth - Funky Girl, Loser & What The... Their intelligent and sound-perfect disco retro just blew me away and each of these three songs individually places in my top 5 mandarin songs this year.