Album review: Perfume - Cosmic explorer

Album review: Perfume - Cosmic explorer | Random J Pop

Perfume's sound was easy to pigeon hole at one point. But over the years it has gone through some changes. Changes which only reveal themselves once you place their albums side by side. What their 5th effort Cosmic explorer highlights in a way that none of Perfume's other albums have is what clearly works for them and what does not. The strange thing about this is that it should not be a revelation or even news, given that Perfume are now game veterans who have had their entire discography helmed by the same man for the past decade. The writing on the wall is that perhaps Yasutaka Nakata doesn't know what Perfume's sound truly is any more and Perfume are just happy to be the vessel for whatever material he puts in front of them.

Hikaru Utada set to make her 2016 comeback with 2 brand new songs. Scalping season begins in April.

Hikaru Utada set to make her official comeback in 2016 with 2 brand new songs. YASSSSS! SCALP ME BITCH!! | Random J Pop

Hold onto to your wigs. Because Hikaru Utada will be releasing new music this year. This is not a test. This is not a hoax. This is 100% legit. Scalping season is upon us.

Hikaru Scalptada will be unveiling 2 songs on April 4th. The first song "Hanataba wo kimi ni" will act as the theme song to the Japanese renzoku drama Toto nee-chan. The second will act as the ending theme for a news program  - the song title of which at time of writing is yet to be revealed.

Album review: Crystal Kay - Shine

Crystal Kay - Shine | Random J Pop

After releasing what was one of the best pop albums of 2012 and a digital single in 2013 which was an absolute bop, I had high hopes for what Crystal would deliver next for her follow up album. These hopes dwindled a little following some miss fired digital single releases over the course of 2014. But they were swiftly shot down when Crystal finally released her long awaited album.

Music video: Perfume bring out the kung-fu for "Flash"

Perfume are sneaking out a last single mere weeks before the release of their 5th studio album, as if we have not heard enough of it by this point. "Flash" has been doing the rounds in varied forms over the past few weeks, but now we have the official music video.

I do not like this song. It’s dead like Tama the railway cat. (Unless of course the album mix can turn it all around). But I really like the visuals. Perfume’s outfits genuinely look nice. The shoes are still a damn mess. Perfume’s pump game is an atrocity. I miss the days of Game and Triangle when somebody actually gave a damn about the footwear and allowed the girls to wear more than one style of shoe. But it is nice to see Perfume roll out with a video which has a really clean visual, following the sloppy messes which are their Cosmic explorer album covers. The look and aesthetic in this "Flash" video should have been the visual concept for the album. But I won’t go there.

I’m done with the kung-fu choreography though. It was cool in “Cling cling”. But I was done with it in “Ijiwaru na hello” (which I think is one of Perfume’s worst and sloppiest routines) and I’m beyond done with it here.

Shout outs to Nocchi, because was hitting those marks in this video. Girl was moving and whipping her little onigiri bob in a way I’ve not seen in some time.

Listen to... Ariana Grande - Be alright

Ariana Grande - Be alright | Random J Pop

When Ariana dropped "Focus" I had officially lost any interest that I may have had in a new album from her. The song sounded like "Problem", looked exactly like "Problem". The song itself was a problem. The shred of hope I had of Ariana attempting something new was dashed in a bid for Ariana's team to try and recapture the success of a song which wasn't all that great in the first place.

A flop single and an album name change later (what was titled Moonlight is now Dangerous woman) and we had a new song in the form of "Dangerous woman". It was a nice change of pace for the donut licking songstress, but it still wasn't enough to sway me. But then Ariana stopped by SNL and performed a song by the name of "Be alright". Ariana hit me with deep house, smooth vocals and a cute little vogue inspired dance routine. And just like that I was sold.

Album review: Namie Amuro - _genic

Namie Amuro - _genic | Random J Pop

_genic feels like the album Namie has been gearing towards for years. With Namie's past 2 albums you got a sense of what she was striving for, but the end results were lacking. Uncontrolled had its overall direction dictated by the album cuts, but was anchored so heavily by the singles that the end result was a very divided album. Feel felt very cold and as though Namie was singing other people's songs. "Hands on me" and "Heaven" took on lives of their own and superseded the legacy of the album as a whole, but nothing else truly stuck. _genic on the other hand is a solid amalgamation of who Namie is and where she stands musically. Deciding to record an album of all new material and not including the singles she had released leading up to the release of this was one of the best decisions Namie could have made. It will be interesting to see how she handles her approaches to recording singles and albums from this point on.

Album arts, tracklisting & tour info: Perfume - Cosmic explorer

Random J Pop | Perfume - Cosmic explorer

Perfume have finally announced their 5th studio album, which will be titled Cosmic explorer. A complete buck of trends in comparison to their previous 1 word album titles. Dare I say it, the album title feels Pamyu Pamyu-ish. This is no surprise as Perfume's producer Yasutaka Nakata had been re-hashing Pussy Pamyu songs for Perfume for most of 2015.

The art direction for the Cosmic explorer album covers were handled by Yoshida Yuni and the girls are sporting Issey Miyake dresses on the limited edition version of the album cover. Perfume's style game is like a black hole of doo-doo. Shit so strong that even a creative director who has helmed campaigns for Louis Vuitton and a designer as iconic as Issey can't save them from looking dead ass.

Music video: Beyoncé - Formation

As has become somewhat customary for Beyoncé, she released her new single "Formation" with no pre-warning, along with a video. Not only did Beyoncé set the beyhive swarming with a new release, but she had everybody talking because of the content of both the song and video. Both of which are odes to blackness.

"Formation" is one of Beyoncé's most controversial and noteworthy releases, from an artist who in the past 10 years has always played it safe and as vanilla as a soft whip. She says the word 'negro'. There is not a single white person in the video. She says she's proud of her husbands' wide nose and her daughters hair being nappy. The video is shot in New Orleans. She sings about taking her boo to Red Lobster after he lays the dick down good. There is a scene of the Police putting their hands up and then a shot of 'Black lives matter' sprayed across a wall. "Formation" is basically everything many have been wanting Beyoncé to comment on for the past 3 years. Better late than never. Oh. And she went and dropped this the day before the Super Bowl 50.

Between the song, the video and the Super Bowl 50 half time performance of the song, "Formation" in a nutshell is basically Beyoncé doing this...

Single review: Perfume - Star train

Upon hearing the preview of "Star train" I rolled my eyes and thought 'What kind of shit is this?'. It had been clear throughout 2014 and 2015 that Capsule member and Perfume producer Yasutaka Nakata's output had clearly been influenced by top 20 UK chart music. But upon hearing the "Star train" in full and seeing the video, the song grew on me and now I really like it. I'd even go as far to say it's Perfume's second strongest single post LEVEL3 after "Pick me up". "Star train" will no doubt go on to become Perfume's ubiquitous encore song during live shows. I'd quite like it to be. "My color" is tired and there's only so much of "Chocolate disco" I can take.

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.

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.