4.13.2014

Two shots of Namie Amuro looking miserable for money; for it LOVE magazine and UNTITLED

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Queen Namiserable I aka Namie Amuro refuses to hit up TV stations or do any serious promo for her shit, because her face doesn't stay out of fashion / girly magazines for more than 2 months at a time. And if you can't find her staring dead into your soul through the pages of Jelly and S Cawaii, then chances are you will see a giant poster of her hanging in a clothing store or a lipstick counter at your local pharmacy. Nobody can shy from the gaze of Queen Namiserable. NOBODY. She runs Tokyo in di spotlight. Ya'll saw that "Alive" music video.

Fashion and lifestyle magazine it LOVE has undergone a re-launch. So who better to entice new subscribers and readers than that of the miserable faced Namie Amuro?! She looks dead. She looks fed up. She looks amazing.

Namie Amuro for it LOVE magazine and UNTITLED | Random J Pop

Namie is still the face of the Japanese clothing brand UNTITLED. With their new Spring range hitting stores, a new bunch of campaign images have touched down, with a promotional video set to follow. Her shots for Untitled's Spring 2014 collection aren't as hot as those she shot last year for their Winter collection, but Namie still looks 10 years younger than your fave despite being 15 years older. And most importantly, she is getting paid to stand in front of a white backdrop and act like she gives a f**k.

Single reviews: 60s 70s 80s | Sit! Stay! Wait! Down! / Love story
Album reviews: Play | Past Future | Uncontrolled | Feel

Perfume's Music Japan performance of "Clockwork"

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Perfume - Clockwork (Live performance) | Random J Pop

After denying Prfm'ers the "Clockwork" performance for what felt like FOREVER, they have finally quenched the thirsts in the fandom with not only their tour DVD which features said performance, but also a surprise performance of the song on Music Japan.

"Clockwork" was not a single, but it damn well should have been. There was no real reason for them to even perform this song on national television, but it's great that they did. It beats seeing another performance of "Magic of love" or "Chocolate disco". I'm skirting close to being sick to absolute death of that song now.

Listen to... MNEK's debut single "Every little word"

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MNEK - Every little word | Random J Pop

London born MNEK's (em-en-ee-kay) star has been on the rise for the past 3 years. Going from a guy uploading songs to myspace as a teen to a top 10 songwriter and producer. Whilst you may not be familiar with MNEK himself, if you live in the UK and keep your ears to the radio, there's a high probability you've heard, liked and bought a song he's been involved with - with his penmanship being expended on The Saturday's, Little wings, Mutya Keisha Siobhan, Duke Dumont and Rudimental to name a few.

With his collaboration with North London duo Gorgon city having charted within the top 10 on the UK singles chart and featuring on many a TV spot, and his name now on lips as a result of his work on Kylie Minogue's Kiss me once ("It feels so good") now is as good a time as any for him to release his first major single.

MNEK's "Every little word" is a great slice of throwback 90's R&B harkening back to the freak nasty anthems from the likes of Jodeci, H-Town and Blackstreet. The song takes a while to hook you, as there's a fair bit going on with it between the production, the melodic shifts, the key changes and the hook which doesn't come in until well after a minute. But the song is bursting with so much vibrance and bounce that you just enjoy the ride it takes you on and appreciate it for being different within the UK mainstream soundscape.

How this will chart in the UK is anybody's guess. It also goes against the grain of everything charting highly in the UK right now, which could either go against it, or be the one thing which helps it. Either way, this is a solid song which shows a facet to MNEK which hasn't been showcased in anything he's done prior. Although this song shouldn't come as a surprise to those who follow him socially, as MNEK's love for R&B is there on his Twitter and Instagram feeds for all to see. Shade at the lessers and all.


4.12.2014

Perfume's LEVEL3 4th tour in dome performance of "Clockwork"...runs like clockwork

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Perfume - Clockwork | Random J Pop

When Perfume's LEVEL3 album dropped and I heard "Clockwork", all I could think was 'The routine. I would love to see Perfume perform this live and she the routine'. Based on this and also my love of the song (easily being the song I play most off of LEVEL3 alongside "Party maker") I had an expectation for this performance once I saw it was part of their LEVEL3 4th tour in dome setlist...and it was met.

Janelle Monae gets money from Pepsi and prepares to cash some cheques with Kimbra in Australia

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Janelle Monae, Pepsi & Kimbra | Random J Pop

It's taken a while, but the wattage is finally cranking up for the electric lady. After a performance at American idol, a song on the Rio 2 film soundtrack, a spot during Outkast's headlining comeback set at Coachella and her partnership with Cover girl, Janelle Monae is now a part of Pepsi's global footbal campaign; lending her cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" to the cause and appearing in the TV commercial. The song is currently available for download on iTunes and Google play. So there's none of this featuring a new song and then not letting people hear it or download it for years shit like what Beyoncé did with "Grown woman".

Perfume's "Sleeping beauty" 'performance' from their LEVEL3 4th tour in dome

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Perfume - Sleeping beauty | Random J Pop

Unfortunately Perfume's "Sleeping beauty" performance wasn't my dream performance which saw Nocchi, A-chan and Kashiyuka go to work on a routine in a Kaftan hijab and start working waists when the bagpipes drop, but what they delivered was still amazing on whole other level.

"Sleeping beauty" was 'a live performance' but not in the conventional sense. It was a tour intermission which was essentially a beautifully visualized thank you to the fans. It's an amazingly crafted visual which utilizes technology developed by Daito Manabe of the Rhizomatics: the man and the team behind much of the amazing technical feats we've witnessed from Perfume over the course of their LEVEL3 era. Check out the spectacle below and be prepared to rewind and get your life from: THAT walk in those dresses and the BOWSS-ness when Perfume break out of their glass capsules.

Music video: Liz - All the boys

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I have a soft spot for Liz. She's a throwback Britney loving, *NSync fan-girling, Sailor moon stanning chick doing R&B meets Garage style jams, dressing like Age ain't nuthin' but a number Aaliyah in music videos and dropping music videos that look like they were shot in the late 90's on a really tight budget. Bless her jersey wearing soul.

"All them boys" isn't my favourite song off of Liz's Just like you EP, but it's the best song for Liz to do promo with. Of all the songs on her EP, it's the one which sounds the most different to everything else being put out in the West right now, with the exception of the UK's Katy B. I can imagine this song being picked up and used by TV shows. Just watch how season 2 of Looking features this jam in a club scene. I would not be surprised if UK radio stations starting spinning this and Liz caught a bit of a following over here, as this type of sound gets a lot of cut through on mainstream UK radio.

If I were Liz, I'd hit up her label founder Diplo for another 50 dollar advance to shoot a video for "Turn around". It would be nothing but her sat on a bench at an outdoor inner city Basketball court side as sweaty dudes in Jordans play ball and some young black girls do jump rope on the grass. There would be lots of lens flares and slo mo shots. It would look like it was shot on Instagram. But it would be something.

EP review: Just like you

4.10.2014

Album arts + tracklisting: Namie Amuro - Ballada

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Namie Amuro - Ballada | Random J Pop

Namie Amuro is releasing Ballada - a best album of ballads would competee June 4th. Avex were probably just waiting for Namie to have enough ballads so that they could put this shit out. 7 years ago, Avex would not have been looking to Namie to put out a best album of sorts. But Kumi and Ayu aren't worth the yen it costs to host their websites at the moment, so of course it falls to a Les Namiserable release to keep the Avex staff from facing redundancy.

4.09.2014

Music video: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Family party

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J-Pop's busiest pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has released her latest video for her 9th physical single "Family party" and it is your standard Pussy Pam affair. Colourful, lots going on, quirky visuals and at least 2 wigs changes, with viewers being left with no idea what the frick is going on. Despite the song being called “Family party” – the video centres on Pussy Pamyu playing what looks like Wii Sports with some rubbish robot who is shit at everything, but but makes being shit look cool because it’s so adorable. There is also a pop ‘n’ locking referee who I am convinced is Yasutaka Nakata.

4.07.2014

A preview of Perfume's new song "Hold your hand", which sounds a lot like "Sweet refrain"

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Perfume's producer Yasutaka Nakata must be bored stiff and be running low on f**ks to give, because what he's phoned in for Perfume's new single "Hold your hand" is so lazy that its lying horizontally, eyes fully rolled back...and it still manages to shit on your faves' latest single and trample over relegated chicks in the lower 100.

Perfume's 20th major release single "Hold your hand" sounds identical to their previous single "Sweet refrain" to the point where the lyrics are almost interchangeable. I don't know what Nakata is playing at. He Crtl + C’d from Perfume’s "Furikaeru to iru yo" for Kyary Pussy Pamyu’s "Yume no hajima ring ring" B-side "SloMo". And now he's just taken "Sweet refrain", removed the wub-wub, flung in 2 key changes and has passed this off as Perfume's brand new single as though we hadn't heard all this shit before 3 months ago. THE SHEER LAZINESS!

The likeness in sound between Perfume's newest and most recent isn't the only reoccurring theme with this song. "Hold your hand" is the theme to NHK's Spring drama Silent poor, which stars Kyoko Fukuda, who also starred in Sengyou shufu tantei: Watashi wa shadow - the show in which JPN's "Spice" was the main theme for and was also Perfume's first song to be tied to a TV drama.

"Hold your hand" doesn't sound bad. I like the key changes in the chorus and I also like how Nakata is working more intricate vocal layers and harmonies into more of Perfume's songs, but the whole thing sounds way too much like "Sweet refrain". Universal can't be putting both this and "Sweet refrain" on Perfume's next studio album. They need to pick one or the other and based on this preview, I'm leaning more towards "Hold your hand", as the 80's vibe works pretty nicely. It's a shame about the vocals though, as they really do grate on the chorus.

I may like the song more when Perfume start performing it. "Sweet refrain" grew on me in a big way once the girls started hitting up shows and slapped the whole of Japan with that choreography and Nocchi in a pair of full length trousers. But it still won't take away the fact this song is pretty much "Sweet refrain" (Part 2). If I get Nocchi with bangs in the music video, Kashiyuka setting the forehead free and A-chan in a shorter skirt, then I might be swayed. Might. Possibly. Definitely. Importing this single.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a "Kira kira killer"

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Japan's busiest J-Pop star without a f**king doubt has only gone and shot yet another commercial featuring yet another new song. Where she found the time to this in the midst of a world tour, shooting trillions of other commercials and recording new material, I have no clue. This girl must either be dying inside from fatigue and exhaustion, or she has Hermione Granger's time turner.

Pusha P was made the face of Japanese cellular network au in 2013 when she debuted her song "Ninja re bang bang" via a commercial of theirs and and this year she does the same with "Kira kira killer".


If you were to present Pussy Pamyu with a seat, she would do everything but take it. This girl's grind is ridiculous. I'm on full stand by to hear the news of her impending breakdown. Only 2 weeks ago news hit that Pussy Pam would be releasing a new single for a Crayon Shin-Chan movie and now a TV commercial is being broadcast all over Japan featuring yet another new song which is not featured as neither a second A-side or a B-side on her next single "Family party".

"Kira Kira killer" sounds like a really watered down version of "Invader invader" which is quite why I like it. The snippet is pretty pedestrian as Pamyu Pamyu songs go, but many of us should know by now to take Yasutaka productions in snippet form with a pinch of salt; as anything the sound of the song could shift dramatically either side of the 30 seconds we hear in the preview.

Mademoiselle Yulia becomes the face of H&M

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Mademoiselle Yulia becomes the face of H&M | Random J Pop

Green haired music flop Mademoiselle Yulia has been picked as the face of Hennes & Mauritz's H&M ♥ music campaign, which spotlights 'emerging' artists. I won't shade Yulia for being referred to as an 'emerging artist' after multiple years in the game, 2 studio albums and a tour. I promise I won't.

Despite H&M touting this as a global campaign, the exposure of Yulia as one of the faces of this campaign has been pretty minimal outside of Japan, with their recent whoring of Miranda Kerr taking precedence absolutely everywhere. In Tokyo however, Yulia's face has been plastered all over the damn place.

Yulia has been making small waves outside of Japan, getting attention at European fashion events, her affiliation with Jeremy Scott, Adidas and also H&M's competitor UNIQLO. With Kyary Pamyu Pamyu being snapped up by Adidas and Diesel hitting up Hirari Ikeda for their reboot campaign, Harajuku's finest are clearly on the radar of global fashion brands and they all seem more than happy to oblige. Some would call it selling out, but your fave has to get paid somehow. It's all fashion.

Album reviews: Mademoworld | Whatever Harajuku