The assassination of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

A-chan has been sick of Perfume's run of material lately and has attested it to Yasutaka Nakata spending far too much time with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. So A-chan decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. Ideally she wanted to do something about the blonde haired hit-maker with the shrapnel grill. But she needs him for the well being of the group. At least for now. So she decided to do something about the wig wearing material snatcher instead.

R.I.P Mondai gurl.

Perfume's "Flash" to feature in the movie adaptation of Chihayafuru

Perfume's song "Flash" to feature in the movie adaptation of Chihayafuru | Random J Pop

To keep the silence on a new album from deafening fans, Perfume have unveiled a new track by the name of "Flash", which will feature as the theme song to the film Chihayafuru, which is based on the manga of the same name. Fans are still waiting on their copies of Star train to be dispatched and already there are 2 new Perfume songs doing the rounds. Perfume's single releases for 2015 have been a mess. A mess that they want to be dragging into 2016, whilst fans are begging them to just let that shit go.

Check out the video below to hear a preview of "Flash". The song kicks in at around the 0:35 mark.

"Flash" reminds me of "Cling cling", but better. But given how Yasutaka Nakata has struggled with song structures for most of his output in 2015, there's every chance the groove could be completely fucked up with some dub step warble or some unnecessary switch. The vocals are still too high in pitch for my liking, but the beat makes my booty pop. So I will be all about the instrumental when this drops.

Perfume's roll out this year has been a type of mess. From the constant product tie ins to the maxi singles and the outfits which just get worse. I personally feel that news of "Flash" and "Next stage with you" have come far too soon after "Star train", which should have closed the year in regards to Perfume news.

At this stage nobody knows if Perfume's next album will features these 2 songs along with every A-side that's released over 2015. I personally would prefer for the line to be drawn under "Star train" and for "Flash" and "Next stage with you" to go on the new album with fresh new material. Fans are still upset over how Perfume rolled out with JPN - an album of which was 80% of singles. And if they were to go this route again, nothing on their 5th studio album would be new.

Music video: Namie Amuro - Red carpet

This video is about the closest you may ever get to Namie and a red carpet, because this woman does not show up for shit. Promo and public appearances are not in her job description.

Part of me was hoping that "Red carpet" and its B-side "Black make up" would be a song about women being on their periods and cultural appropriation respectively. Namie could have had a pop game changer on her hands. But I don't think Japan is quite ready for that just yet.

"Red carpet" shares a similar visual aesthetic to her 2005 festive bop "White light", which I loved and still love. I'm not in love with this song. It's very generic and by numbers, much in the same way that "Anything" was. It literally feels as though Namie is ticking off top 20 US radio sounds that she wants to give her take on without giving much else. It is however nice to have Namie singing in Japanese again.

Music video: Crystal Kay featuring a struggling male vocalist - Very special

"Very special" could have been the Winter jam that had couples slow grinding in front of fireplaces. But somebody made the choice of pairing Crystal Kay up with a dude who can not give the vocals needed for this song, rendering each moment that he opens his mouth akin to doors opening at a slaughterhouse. Crystal is in her corner giving soulful vocals and more runs than a tap. Meanwhile homebody is struggling to sing on beat, on key and is messing up the groove.

What a shame. What a waste.

Perfume preview a new song "Next stage with you" in exchange for money from Mercedes Benz

Perfume x Mercedes Benz - Next stage with you | Random J Pop

With no album in 2015 and a film which hardly broke the box office, Perfume and their staff of tech wizards 'n' geniuses need to get paid somehow. Enter Mercedes Benz, who threw money at Yasutaka Nakata for a song and slid a check at Perfume for their likenesses to be used in a commercial for their latest A-class series of car.

I'm no car fanatic. I'm sure no Perfume fans gives a damn about the car neither. We are all here for the new song "Next stage with you", which sounds pretty good coming off the back of a year which yielded a string of lacklustre and inconsistent songs.

Music video: Namie Amuro featuring Hatsune Miku - B who I want 2 B

The Sophie produced "B who I want 2 B" was a song that I loved when the original version performed by QT had leaked. Grew anxious about when the vocal-less preview of Namie's version was released. Then felt let down by once I heard it in full. But there's denying the bounce in the beat and now its one of my highlights from Namie's twelth studio album _genic.

For this song to have gotten a video post album release is a great look, as it not only gives _genic more longevity, but is a small sign that Namie as an artist is fed up with the standard release model of J-pop albums. I would love it if post album music videos became more of a thing. Although Namie is at that point in her career where she can do what the hell she likes and sell 250,000 copies of an album in her first week without a public appearance or any heavy promo; a luxury that not every act in J-Pop can afford.

A Christmassy J-Pop playlist, from ?J

?J's J-Pop Christmassy playlist @ Google play music | Random J Pop

'Tis the season of giving. Whilst I've been slow to give you the gift of posts over much of 2015, I at the very least can see the year out by giving you the gift of a playlist to get you in the festive holiday mood - but with a twist. On there here playlist there is not a hint of Mariah or Beyoncé ruining Christmas classics by screaming about baby Jesus. Every song on this playlist is Japanese.

The playlist is available to listen to / stream for free for those of you who have Google play music accounts. Whether you want to get your Christmas slow grind on via your phone or your desktop, I've got'choo. The playlist features bell tinged jams from Crystal Kay, Namie Amuro, BoA and Sayuri Sugawara amongst others.

Listen / stream: ?J's Christmassy J-Pop playlist

I wish each and every one of you all a happy holiday.


Perfume celebrate their 10th anniversary in a spectacle of lights, lasers and EDM bangers at 3:5:6:9

Perfume - 3:5:6:9 | Random J Pop

To celebrate their 10th anniversary Perfume performed a gig titled 3:5:6:9 at the Tokyo dome. The format of the show was very fan centric - from from the stage setup which placed Perfume bang in the centre of the venue, to the MC sections which were a lot more interactive and intermittent than usual.

The show also featured their first full length performance of "Pick me up" (the intro and stage entrance of which left my wig in cinders) along with their first Japanese performance of "Story", which they had previously debuted at the SXSW music festival in Texas, in March of this year.

The entire show was up on YouTube the day after it aired in Japan. But a user uploaded the video with the title 'Perfume 3:5:6:9 live show' so it took all of 2 minutes before Perfume's team and broadcasting authorities took that down and slapped the user in jail.

I don't know when Perfume fans are going to learn. If you search hard enough online, I'm sure you will be able to find another link or a download to th eentire performance. But for now, you can watch their performance of "Story" after the jump, which feature a few new elements from their debut performance of the song at SXSW.

Music video: f(x) - 4 walls

With Girls' generation offering nothing new and having pretty much bored me to other side and back with Lion heart, I looked to f(x) to hit me with something. Their lead track "4 walls" from their 4th album of the same name is not what I was expecting at all and the same goes for the video. Whilst both represent a nice change of image and pace for the group, there is a sense of déjà vu here.

f(x)'s "4 walls" bears more than a striking resemblance to SHINee's "View". For those who are wondering if they're going mad or I'm talking crazy, a fan has already done a mash-up of the two to highlight the similarities. SM entertainment are not strangers to recycling concepts and sounds between their acts.

Cynicism aside, I do really like "4 walls". It's a good song with an equally nice video which bucks the trend of what you would have expected from f(x). When you look at "4 walls" in isolation, it's a job well done. But if you're fully aware of SHINee and "View" (which let's face it, most K-Pop and f(x) fans are and will be) then it comes off as a little lazy. But a good song is a good song, and "4 walls" is good.

Album art & tracklisting: Crystal Kay - Shine

After a 3 year hiatus, Crystal Kay is back with her follow up to Vivid. When Crystal first released Vivid in 2012 fans were received a quenching of thirst that had become unfathomable after a lacklustre EP, a deadpan album and news that Crystal Kay had switched record labels. And she delivered. Vivid was one of the best pop albums to drop in 2012. Not just within Japanese pop, but in general. So the nerve of this woman to leaved us parched for almost 4 years and then release a bunch of boring US singles, a string of dry Japanese singles and then an album which stinks of Spin the music part 2.

Music video: Perfume - Star train

The most notable aspect of Perfume's "Star train" video is that it features the girls in ensembles which stray completely from the Mystic force Power ranger outfits that they usually wear. Although it is consistent somewhat with the looks that the girls sported in the "Pick me up" video, which presented a more fashion conscious Perfume than we're used to seeing. A-chan is looking like a time Lord, which I kind of love. Nocchi once again keeps her coat game tight and Kashiyuka works her ensemble as she always does. She's the real style MVP in the group. I just need her to set that forehead free again.

If the official version of the "Star train" video didn't do it for you, then I would like to direct you to an alternative edit which was produced by a fan.

Music video: Ariana Grande - Focus

To sum "Focus" up, it is "Problem" (Part 2) without the assistance of Big Sean and Iggy Azalea. Big horns, kiss off lyrics and Ariana trying to act sexy in the music video. It's clear that the objective with "Focus" was just to mirror "Problem" and not a great deal else - despite its follow up "Break free" being the better song.

Ariana's image still seems forced, but she at least seems more comfortable this time around than she did before. Her hair and make-up are on par with her dancing ability. Now, I am by no means a make-up expert, but her make-up  in the close-ups looks off. Her make-up looks as though it has been painted and caked onto her face.

Ariana Grande's third studio album Moonlight is due for release in 2016. I hope that "Focus" is not indicative of the album being more of the same. It would be a much welcomed and needed surprise if her album took a U-turn. Ariana has a good voice and as a grown woman, she has a lot to say, as is evidenced in many of her interviews and social media presence. But neither of these are fully conveyed in her music.

I'll light a candle on my CD copy of "Leave (Get out)" and pray that JoJo's new album sees the light of day, because I know she will give me what Ariana cannot. At the age of 15 JoJo gave me what Ariana couldn't give me on two accounts in her early 20s.