Album arts & tracklisting: Namie Amuro - _genic

Namie Amuro - _genic | Random J Pop

Namie Amuro is set to snatch every wig on the ORICON charts from June until September with a brand new album. Namie's 12th studio album _genic will release on June 10th. The album itself is no surprise, but the tracklisting most certainly is, as it features none of the songs which have been released between her last album Feel and now. No "Ballerina", no "Neonlight lipstick" on show, no "Sweet kisses" on the lips, nor a "Brighter day". So you best have bought the singles if you liked any of that shit.

Perfume deliver a beast of a performance at SXSW. Texas is left bald.

Perfume deliver a beast of a performance at SXSW. Texas is left bald. | Random J Pop

Perfume's live performances have been cutting edge for years. But over the past two years in particular, Perfume's creative team have continued to up the ante, out do themselves and set a standard that makes even the most established live performers stage set-ups look basic. Yes Madonna. That includes you.

Perfume performing at the SXSW was a big deal. Not just because of the international exposure, but for US fans finally getting a chance to see them live so soon after they took their World tour 3rd to the States for the very first time in November of 2014. I'm not sure what I was expecting from their SXSW performance, but I know I was not expecting Perfume to debut a new song and deliver something of a scale that most artists would leave for a large scale arena tour.

Music video: Perfume - Pick me up

Perfume's double A-side features one song which is pimping beer and another which is pimping a clothing store. Whenever Perfume's producer Nakata Yasutaka creates songs which are to be used in conjunction with product tie-ins, the lyrics are never subtle. This man gave Kyary Pussy Pamyu a song called "My Room", which was used in adverts for apartment renting. This same man gave Perfume "Glitter", which was used in adverts for beer and featured a lyrics which alluded to grabbing a beverage from a fridge. However, "Glitter" was pop perfection and is a song that's written in my will to be played at my funeral when my open casket is wheeled into the church amidst a laser show, so I'mma let that 'grab a sparky thing from a white box' line slide.

The video for "Pick me up" was directed by Kodama Yuichi, who also directed Perfume's videos for "Secret, Secret", "Natural ni koishite", and "Nee" - all of which were produced as product tie-ins, and you can see elements of all three videos here. The girls are not being restricted to looking like Mystic Force Power Rangers, and there being elements of the real world intermixed with surrealism.

Music video: Grimes - REALiTi

I have a soft spot for artists who willingly release material that they know will not make an album, as history has shown that album left overs can turn up gold and Grimes' "REALiTi" is one of such songs.

Canadian pop star Grimes' last album release was Visions in 2012. Since then she has been touring Asia and recording for her follow up, which is what sparked her to release this gem of a song to her fans who have been waiting patiently for some new material.

Grimes had stated that "REALiTi" will not make her upcoming album, and the reasoning behind the song not making the cut has nothing to do with label politics, but technology and a lack of keeping tabs on files.
This song was never finished. its a demo from ~ the lost album ~, recorded early 2013. i lost the ableton file, so its not mixed or mastered. i tried to doctor the mp3 into a listenable state, but it was poorly recorded in the first place and never meant to be heard by anyone, so its a bit of a mess haha.
The lesson here? Save your shit. Archive your shit. Back-up your shit. ALWAYS.

Audio fidelity may bug Grimes, but there is not a thing wrong with what I hear. Here's to hoping that she re-records this song in a state she deems acceptable for a mastered release or that she just changes her mind and places the song on her new album as is; because leaving "REALiTi" off of an album would be a crime. It's easily one of her best songs and one of her most radio friendly.

I shed a tear as I watched this video and listened to this song, because this is the kind of swag I wish my girl MiChi was back on again. *Sighs loudly and clutches pillow*

Music video: Ga-in - Paradise lost

Ga-in has pretty much elevated herself from Brown eyed girls entirely, by being one of the most alluring members whenever she goes solo. Between her being the most active member of the group (this is her 4th solo stint) and not being shy to flaunt her sexuality which has in turn led to her walking through the fire of controversy, Ga-in is at a stage where she can pretty much do whatever she likes. Its safe at this point to say that she very much has her own style and angle when it comes to her solo material, which never fails to illicit a strong reaction.

Never one to shy from sex, Ga-in's solo efforts have been largely focused on the matter and "Paradise lost" is no exception. Here, Ga-in refers to her pussy as a diamond, opens her legs with the camera aimed right at her vagina and sits on the floor whilst guys writhe naked around her; all to a musical backdrop which bares resemblance to Simon Haseley's "Hammerhead" - making it a nice fit for a Bond or a Batman movie.

As per "Bloom", "Irreversible" and "Fuck U", Ga-in pulls everything off effortlessly. Ga-in is a bad bitch.

Album arts & tracklisting: Ayumi Hamasaki - A One

Ayumi Hamasaki - A One | Random J Pop

Ayumi's 16th studio album will be titled A One, as in the paper size. Paper being the one thing she won't be making with this album. The new set will drop on April 8th and feature the singles "Zutto...", "Last minute" and "Walk".

During my last trip Japan I threw a 100 Yen coin into a fountain for this woman in the hopes she would make some attempt at updating her sound and delivering something new. Then I returned home to hear previews of her album and realised that Ayu is still hell bent on dragging her sound into irrelevance with a bunch of songs which sound exactly the same as what she's been doing for years and years with no difference between them. A One doesn't sound bad. It just sounds boring. Even worse, it's a regressive step from Colours.

Single arts & tracklist: Perfume - Relax in the city / Pick me up

Perfume - Relax in the city / Pick me up | Random J Pop

For Perfume's 21st single Relax in the city / Pick me up, fans have already drawn comparisons to their 13th single - double A-side release Laser beam / Kasuka na kaori and it's not difficult to see why. Whilst the "Relax in the city" and "Kasuka na kaori" connection is blatantly obvious. "Pick me up" isn't such a copy and paste job of "Laser beam", but instead looks like a cross between "Fushizen na girl" and "Glitter" with a touch of the "Sleeping beauty" intermission for their LEVEL3 4th tour in dome gig. If the song itself happens to be as good as any of the aforementioned, then we'll be in for a treat. Hopefully Perfume's choreography Mikiko will put them to work for the dance routine, because I'm not expecting anything noteworthy from "Relax in the city". Although I would love to be blindsighted and made to eat my words.

Music video: Ciara - I bet

There's only so much of Ciara having a seizure on a white sound stage and cocking her legs open that one can take. She did it in the music video for "Like a boy". She did it in "Love, Sex & Magic". She did it again with "Ride". Aaaaaaand, she's gone and done it again.

With a song like "I bet", Ciara could have given us something gritty and literal to match the song, or something highly stylised and conceptual. Instead we got something which was nothing more than commercial for her weave, her threaded eyebrows and a Sony Xperia. Where is that girl who gave me fly ass videos for "Work" and "Go girl"?

Jermaine Dupri has called out Ciara concerning the similarities between Usher's "U got it bad" (which he co-wrote and produced) and Ciara's "I bet". It was only a matter of time, because it's something that many had flagged because...they do sound alike. Jermaine gave his 2 pence on the whole Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and Marvin Gaye situation, which then sparked him to comment on the likeness between Usher's 2001 smash single and Ciara's latest.

Music video: Björk - Family

Ever since the 2 month premature leak of her 9th studio album Vulnicura Björk has been the gift that keeps giving. Officially dropping the album on iTunes way ahead of its planned release date, announcing gigs, having a career retrospective be placed in MoMA and now a steady drip feed of visuals.

The first official music video from Vulnicura is actually "Lionsong". But Björk is never one to skimp on the visual elements of her music and has therefore filmed visuals to other songs, not all of which will be singles. The purpose of these videos isn't solely to promote the songs as singles, but for Björk to create tangible points of contact to the world of which she has created, which her fans to physically interact with. Her visual for "Black lake" is part of an installation at MoMA, whilst her visual for "Stonemilker" was shot for the use of the virtual reality headset Oculus rift.

Perfume get drunk in a forest to promote their new single "Relax in the city"

Perfume - Relax in the city / Perfume: Green aroma | Random J Pop

Perfume fans rejoice. The "Cling cling" era is finally over! Throw those Chun-Li dresses on a bonfire.

Perfume's 21st single will be a double A-side: featuring "Relax in the city" and "Pick me up", the former of which will be promoted in conjunction with a product tie-in. Beer.

Music video: Carly Rae Jepsen - I really like you

With the ridiculous success of "Call me maybe", the term 'One hit wonder' was thrown around Carly Rae Jepsen like rice at a wedding. It's understandable given that none of her follow up singles managed to touch the level of success that "Call me maybe" had reached, but it may have been a little unfair to think than any other song of hers could.

After some time off, Carly Rae is back, and from the sounds of things she has another hit on her hands. Of "Call me maybe" proportions? Nope. But enough to secure herself a career which involves releasing music and not simply living off of the royalties of her 2011 smash - although she will / is doing so regardless.

"I really like you" is features a chorus which features the words 'really' so many times that it will drill itself into your cerebral and take up residence there for the next few months, leaving no room for anything Carly Rae Jepsen releases for another 3 years. With Taylor Swift having gone all 80s big beat with her album 1989, Carly is bound to draw comparisons to the Pennsylvanian pop star; despite everybody and their mother jumping on the 80s pop bandwagon post 2005.

The video to the song unfortunately doesn't do the song a great justice. As lovable as Tom Hanks (usually) is, he did not seem into this video. I couldn't help but stare at his face, which seemed about as expression reflexive as Mickey Rourke's. Tom Hanky Boo-Boo has clearly been shot in the face with Botox. But this video speaks a lot about Carly Rae, that she was absolutely okay with not appearing in the video until the end, and even then she's swarmed by popular Viners, extras and Justin Bieber. Pretty much anything that can draw the attention away from her.

Music video: Jolin Tsai & Namie Amuro - I'm not yours

Jolin Tsai is on a fucking roll. She has been consistently rolling out with music videos created on a budget that top tier chicks in J-Pop haven't been able to get since 2009.

In "Medusa" she strutted in looking like the Queen of Versace (Bye Gaga). In "Play" Jolin drew us into her own Simlish type world for a video which was genuinely funny, and for "I'm not yours" Jolin bosses with her bad bitches in a setting which looks like some Chinese brothel, with none other than Namie Amuro playing her chief madame. Ayumi Hamasaki is wishing she had gotten this video treatment for "XOXO" and Kumi Koda is looking for the ship that sailed that is her Japonesque album and wondering why she didn't shoot a video like this.

Namie's English continues to baffle me. There I was singing her praises after hearing "Alive" and "La la la" from her album Feel, then she comes with her 'Mirror mirror of the world' and misspells the word 'GIRL'. I know the misspelling is not her fault, as Jolin wrote the lyrics, but she's asking to be trolled with that one. I can't speak for how well Namie handled the Mandarin, but I like how she sounds singing in it.

It would have been nice to see Jolin and Namie dance together, but Jolin probably had to pay her a 6 zero figure just to get her to turn up for the shoot and sit on a couch with a fan. But Namie did look hairboonly, as did Jolin, and the song's not too shabby neither.