When I hear the term ‘Japanese idol pop‘, two names that first come to mind are Momoe Yamaguchi and Akina Nakamori. That’s my opinion though, as both were quite different artistically than most of their peers – Yamaguchi and Nakamori stood as sort of femme-fatale figures, capable of powerful delivery, whose music was often dark and/or provocative. They were certainly huge back in the day, but even then, the bubbly sugar pop dominated the scene, and it continues to do so to this day. I’m definitely not trying to make it sound as if it was a bad thing – the 80s produced a great deal of amazing idol-singers, and there are some newer artists I’m also fond of.
Music-wise I particularly love the 80s, and my previous great discovery from that time was Yukiko Okada – her catchy music and the tragic story gripped my heart. My most recent unearthed 80s gem is Yuki Saito. I did hear about her before, but only in the context of the timeless 80s anime Maison Ikkoku and the superb song used for that show – 悲しみよこんにちは (Kanashimi yo Konnichi wa – ‘Hello Sadness’). It was composed by Tamaki Koji of 安全地帯 (Anzen Chitai) fame.
However, I soon found out, that there’s much more to her career than an anime opening theme. Continue reading →
I’m not sure if it’s anime overdose, me getting old or anime getting worse, but I must say I watched very few series last year – the number is even lower if I only count the shows which actually aired over the last 12 months. So, there was the always solid Natsume Yuujinchou with its 6th season, the wrap-up to my beloved Monogatari series – Owarimonogatari 2nd Season (which did bring some closure to the franchise, but it was missing the sparks that captivated me almost 10 years ago, when all this started); Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e, aka Welcome to the Classroom of the Elite – that intrigued me for a while, but ended up being half-assed about everything; as always hilarious Shokugeki no Souma S3, and light Masamune-kun no Revenge. So when I suddenly felt an urge to watch a decent anime, I approached Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-) very cautiously, without huge expectations. I was positively surprised. Intended and non-intended spoilers ahead! →
BABYMETAL managed to combine idol culture with metal. Halcali or Rhymeberry mix it with hip-hop. Seiko Omoori, just like the legendary Jun Togawa back in the day goes for the anti-idol gimmick. My newest jam, Dance for Philosophy, is a cool 4-piece Japanese girl group, which puts their own, refreshing and bouncy spin on the genre. Continue reading →
I haven’t written about Shiina Ringo, my favorite Japanese female artist in a while. There wasn’t that much going on around her, and the recent years showed that cashing in on CM music is the thing she’s focused on the most. And that’s coming from a guy who thinks that Sunny(Hi Izuro Tokoro) was a decent album, Nippon is corny, but acceptable, and Ringo Expo ’14 was an enjoyable hot concert recording (a bit of a mess at times, but a hot one). 逆輸入 ～港湾局～ (Gyakuyunyū: Kōwankyoku, ‘Reimport: Ports and Harbours Bureau’), the self-covers CD, which came in 2014 was pretty cool as well. Finally, three years since the aforementioned Reimport and Sunny albums, we got a new record this December – and guess what, it’s the vol. 2 of Reimport. Continue reading →
I’m gonna keep mention this ’til I’m blue in the face – I simply cannot get over Wonder Girls’ disbandment. Yenny, Sunmi, Yubin and Hyerim turning into pop/rock/reggae band with idol elements was a perfectly executed idea, and Reboot album in particular got me super-hyped and hungry for more. Unfortunately, the girls could not win with the vicious kpop industry. As they had been around for quite some time, newer, younger idol groups became much more popular, and this led to the obvious conclusion – only the bands which bring in the most $$$ get to stay and do stuff (WG’s contracts were expiring and the re-negotiations brouhaha was bound to end in flames).
Yenny and Sunmi parted ways with JYP, and as it turned out, fortunately they’re good without him. Continue reading →
Lovely Summer Chan’s LSCwas the perfect out of the blue album that rocked my world last year. The perfect blend of the kawaii, distorted guitars, mellow, adorable voice and pop/rock/electronic/you-name-it sound hit that perfect spot on my music palate. Since then, I’ve been eagerly anticipating more stuff from her, and on August 2 this year, Lovely Summer Chan has finally released some new music – an E.P. entitled Ningen no Tochi (人間の土地 – ‘Human Land’). And once again each song appears to be entirely different than the other ones.
Ningen no Tochi consists 4 tracks and all of them represent different music genres and styles – which is a lot like LSC– the diversity of that record is something that continues to amaze me. Continue reading →
I never considered this blog to be a source of enlightenment for the masses – there’s very little substance to it and it’s surely reflected in the number of readers – but nostalgicrocknrollais something very important to me. Even those dry album reviews which appear here, somewhat give an insight into my skull, and in a peculiarly unclear way show what goes on in there. Whether anyone would want to take a peek is a different story altogether.
Anyhow, this post is mostly about that. About my head. As usual, it won’t be written in the now-popular way: ‘I woke up this morning when the sunrays touched my cheeks. I served breakfast in bed for my sweetheart, my life is perfect in every way, have a gorgeous day my darlings! <3’ … I’m gonna be sick. Continue reading →
Nigdy nie uważałem, że mój blog niesie oświaty kaganiec – ma raczej niewielką wartość merytoryczną i znikomą liczbę odbiorców – jest jednak czymś dość ważnym dla mnie. Nawet te suche recenzje płyt z Japonii itp., które się tu pojawiają, niejako dają wgląd do mojej czachy, i w całkiem niejasny sposób ukazują, co tam się wyprawia. Chociaż trzeba dodać, że to, czy komuś miałoby jednak zależeć na tym, co dzieje się w mojej głowie, to zupełnie osobna bajka.
W każdym bądź razie, o tym głównie będzie w tym wpisie. Niestety, w trochę mniej popularny sposób, niż: ‘obudziłem się dziś rano, gdy promienie słońca dotknęły mych skroni. Przygotowałem dla mej luby śniadanie do łóżka, moje życie jest fantastyczne, miłego dnia kochani! <3’… Litości. Continue reading →
I wrote about Lovely Summer Chan. I wrote about Kamin Shirahata. Now it’s time for Ayano Kaneko. And firstly I must say, it’s fucking amazing we’re living in times when I can find out about all these talented artists from the all over the world, even if they aren’t worldwide famous, promoted and mass-sold to us through all the means available. It’s actually possible to learn about this young girl singer who plays the guitar in Japan, and despite the fact that I don’t understand much, I know enough to decide whether someone rocks or not. Continue reading →
Lana Del Fuckin’ Rey did it again. She released a new album and it’s a bewitching, breathtaking audiovisual journey as usual. The work is called Lust for Life (it rolls off the tongue well), and it already sounded like a change in artistic direction for Del Rey. No more gloom and sadness? While dark Hollywood tales still have their room on the new record, the singer seems to have accepted fame and the shit it comes with, but also she accepted herself. Familiar love stories are included, but at some Lust for Life surprisingly gets political too, and the issues she’s trying to raise are well-thought out. Lana Del Rey is fully grown now. ‘Gone is the burden’, she says. It’s like taking off the weighted clothing in Dragon Ball Z, making your power levels spike. Continue reading →