Filed under: Jpop
I finally started listening to Nishino Kana last month – I know, where was I all of the last two years when she was the top of everyone’s list? I’ve enjoyed what I heard so far (though I still think her music is fairly one-track and similar sounding.)
Getting off track though: before I listened to her music in the car of a friend and got hooked, I had avoided listening to her not out of spite or dislike, but out of just boredom. I got most of my j-pop exposure from the internet, where video is king and youtube (or other streaming or download or mysterious ways of acquiring media, your mileage may vary) is the hand that feeds us all. However a big fan you are of her, you have to admit: on live performances, she has fairly bland stage presence. Her PVs are all fairly similar, she looks like a fashionable girl dropped straight out of Shibuya, and her voice is good but not particularly unique.
I’ve all but dropped off the face of J-Pop blogging down a precipice into a cavern of internet silence… but this album makes me want to write about them.
Even the quickest of ganders around my blog shows that I love Perfume. A lot. I thought ⊿ was fabulous, even if not up to GAME’s standards, and I loved “Fushizen na Girl.” But I wasn’t a particular fan of “Voice”. Nor did I enjoy “Nee” as much as their other hits. That, coupled with real life worries (those pesky bills! troublesome jobs!) turned me from someone who checked the Tokuma Japan website to someone who would see Perfume on Music Station and be pleasantly surprised.
Filed under: Uncategorized
What differentiates a pop idol from being a pop musician?
An person who can be an idol is different in every culture, but when you think of it in terms of a J-pop idol, you’d think AKB48, Johnny’s Entertainment, and Hello! Project, amongst dozens of smaller companies and lesser known groups. Those are our idols: good looking but down to earth entertainers who can (sometimes) sing, (sometimes) act, (sometimes) host, and (always) charm the pants off of their demographic, whether its 12 year old girls or 50 year old men.
No matter what your favorite idols say about your love and devotion, your strongest contribution to them continues to be your wallet. Whether you’re purchasing their records or their concert tickets, it’s your dollars and yen that make the real difference.
It’s something everyone knows but doesn’t want to admit. The record companies are especially adroit at sidestepping the implication of using the fans for their money. Avex often presses multiple copies of the same release with the exact same musical content, just different covers – just limited editions masquerading as “treats” for fans. Johnny’s presses multiple versions and emphasizes that their groups reach #1 on the Oricon, with a something-single streak – as a good fan, you’d want to get all the songs and support your band, don’t you?
But your love for the artist is definitely #1. They encourage fanmail. When balloting for something, you’re limited to how many you can apply for. We appreciate your money, the record companies say, but it’s still all about how much you love the artist! Your passion, your time, your devotion – how much you buy is just a little extra.
AKB48 goes a little differently – with the senbatsu rankings. While the thought of having fans decide firsthand the direction and fate of their idols, it’s the voting method that’s interesting to me. For the girls of AKB48, it’s not about how many of your fans join the fanclub, and how many devoted hours they spend lining up for your tickets and goods – all they have to do is reach in their pockets and hand over stacks of yen. You could buy hundreds of thousands of copies of their single and make the least popular girl in the company the top star, all by your own power. It’s no longer about how passionate the feelings in your heart are – it’s all about how much money you can spend.
It’s a shady business, it’s cruel to the girls, and it’s absolutely brilliant. Why ARE we limited to one vote per person, per fanclub member? It’s unfair to the fans who don’t have that much money to spend, but it motivates. A guy working in a convenience store who is a diehard fan of Ooto Aika, who’s on borderline for making it into the senbatsu single or not – well, he might just skip lunch a few days and pick up a second single to submit an extra vote.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have your money matter? If I want to pay, why can’t I buy a guaranteed good seat at an Arashi concert? Shouldn’t I be allowed in the audience for Music Station watching Ayumi perform if I actually bought multiple copies of her single? In opinion polls, shouldn’t I have more say if I’ve bought and watched the actual series the idol acted in, rather than someone who just casually caught a few episodes on tv? Idols are a business, and maybe making it a more clearcut, money-based business isn’t a bad idea.
Of course, first post back is lyrics to one of the A-sides on Perfume’s new single “Fushizen na Girl.” (What, you think first priority is actual writing? Think again.) I really like this song – it has quirky but relatable lyrics.
I know the English community has embraced the translation “Artificial Girl” for the single – but for the sake of the translation, I went with “unnatural”, because I think it more correctly represents the meaning.
Japanese, romaji, and English translations under cut. As always, let me know if you see a mistake!
Filed under: Site
Without an announcement, I’ve been pretty MIA from the Japanese blog scene for more than half a year. I’ve been traveling around, having bandwidth troubles, going through interest changes, devoting less time to Japanese entertainment – the bills gotta be paid, after all.
I logged on recently again and was pleasantly surprised that somehow, I’m still getting occasional hits – so to those people who continue linking to me (mostly for those naked Yamapi pictures, but oh well) thanks.
This is a temporary post to announce some revamping around here and I’ll be writing again soon – no more extensive drama overviews or individual musings on singles, but some thoughts here and there. Thanks for bearing with me!
And now the song translated from Perfume’s ⊿ album is this one! I love the sound of this and originally thought the song would have cute romantic messages but the lyrics turned out to be of a really needy girl. (Nakata, the things you are making Perfume sing!)
I had just planned to do up to this – you know, “favorites from the album” and all – but apparently my favorite new songs are pretty much every new song on the album that’s not in complete English. So I might do Zero Gravity for fun too.
Like always, alert me to any mistakes you might see! Japanese, romaji, and English lyrics under the cut.