Music video: Namie Amuro - Anything

Namie has only shared short versions of her music videos up until this point - but has released the full version of "Anything". Half of Namie's album having leaked last week is probably the catalyst for us getting the full version of this video so soon.

As with her previous _genic videos, Namie's shoe game is looking brand new. We have yet to see her rock a pair of her trademark tired ass thigh high boots. But I'm sure they'll make an appearance in the "Fashionista" or "Golden touch" videos.

"Anything" is a really nice ballad and is a huge upgrade from Feel's "Remmyrechugoor" "Let me let you go". Not just in terms of her Engrish being much better, but just the song in general.

Perfume perform "Relax in the city" and "Pick me up"

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

Perfume's next album should be titled Thirsty, because that's how they have left their fans in-between:
  • Waiting on the next single after their "Cling cling" maxi release
  • Waiting to hear "Pick me up" after everybody done heard "Relax in the city" in the TV commercials
  • Waiting on the live performances of both songs
Thirsts across the Perfume fandom have been quenched...for the most part. I can't speak on those who are parched on waiting for Perfume to perform their B-side jam "Toumen ningen", but the "Relax in the city" and "Pick me up" loving folk are well and truly spoken for.

As is customary for Perfume, the girls have been turning up to TV shows wearing the exact same dresses they wear in the "Relax in the city" and "Pick me up" music videos and single covers. Just to show other hoes how you handle branding and visual consistency.

Music video: Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea - Pretty girls

After the train wreck that was Britney Jean and a Vegas residency which see's Britney performing with as much charisma as a Chinese Lucky Cat in a Chinatown buffet restaurant window, the princess of pop (Queen to some) is back with a new single which does away with the tired EDM cliché's of songs such as "Work bitch" and replaces them with faux urban hood cliché's instead. Also, she has Iggy Azalea in tow, who not only contributes a barely there rap on the song, but also co-directed the video. Think "Fancy" 2.0 and you're pretty much on track as what to expect from this song and video.

Namie brings her _genic album cover to life in her music video for "Stranger"

Interestingly (or not) the "Stranger" music video is the one that was shown in the _genic teaser which featured the song "Photogenic". But of course none of us knew at the time that the visuals would make their way into a music video, and for a completely different song no less.

Namie is known for her bitch face and looking utterly fed-up as she dances. But she takes these to all new levels in this music video. If you watch the dancers around her, you will see how Namie is supposed to be moving. Then you watch Namie and you see she is phoning in every damn step. She still looks fly though. I'm feeling the part time Morticia Addams look.

This isn't the type of treatment I was expecting "Stranger" to have, so it's a pleasant surprise. Further pleasantries would come in the form of Namie switching outfits in the latter half of the video and then really going in on the choreography. But I know deep down this will not be the case and that I will have to pin these hopes on either the "Golden touch" or "Fashionista" videos.

Namie drops a preview of her "Birthday" music video

Namie Amuro has dropped a preview of one of the five music videos she has shot for her 12th studio album _genic. The album is sounding so strong in preview form, with each song showing single potential, that I could have done with videos for every song. But I shalln't be greedy, given that Namie completely did away with her post Feel singles and did the unimaginable by recording an album of all new material. *Ignores of the wails of 'But Beyoncé...'*

"Birthday" is by no means one of the songs from _genic I'm looking forward to, but it's a solid pop song. As has become customary for Namie's songs "Birthday" is sung entirely in Engrish. It may as well have been in Japanese, because I can barely understand what's being sung for the most part, keeping me knee deep in the bane of existence as J-Pop fan who can't understand a damn thing on a song. I love Namie, but the only words I could make out from this were selfie, celebrate, double birthday and what I think was anniversary.

Namie was looking too damn cute in this video. The double birthday she's referring to in this song is probably the news of Ayumi Hamasaki and Kumi Koda's latest albums flopping; which is what is keeping the smile permanently on her face throughout the video.

I'm sure the next music video to surface will have Namie back on her knee high pointy boots, ponytail and off the shoulder top swag. She needs to serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and After eights in the "Stranger", "Golden touch" and "Fashionista" videos.

Namie's social team have been her Facebook and Twitter accounts around the clock to promote this album. In comparison, Ayu's promo for A one was just Google alerts on legacy shit. As for Kumi, I have no idea what her marketing team did for her album. 

Music video: BoA - Kiss my lips

BoA's comeback began with the release of "Who are you?" the video of which was essentially a Samsung Galaxy commercial which featured BoA every now and then looking like Taeyeon from Girls' generation. The song was cute and sweet, but wasn't the punchy comeback that had you on the edge of your seat for when it gets performed on M countdown or SBS' Inkigayo. This comes in the form of the album title track "Kiss my lips". Much in the way that "The shadow" did as the successor to 2012's "Only you" - "Kiss my lips" is the sharper song, which comes with a video in which BoA sells some sex as she works a routine which involves opening her legs and slapping her own backside. Given the name of the song some Rihanna style vaginal pats wouldn't have gone amiss.

The video is your typical K-pop affair, with some flashing lights, an open room and a couple of outfit changes. It's a pretty indistinct video in comparison to "The shadow" which had a lot going on with it and ranks as one of BoA's best video. BoA's long past the stage in her career where she has to prove herself. But a stronger and more defining visual would have been nice to a song which marks one of BoA's most suggestive offerings, re-affirming her sexuality and sensuality as a woman.

BoA's pussy eating plea is produced by US production trio The Stereotypes, responsible for the works of Usher, Justin Bieber, Far East movement, Danity Kane and fellow J-pop star Jin Akanishi and his super flop album Japonicana. just to name a few. It's a really nice song with a nice throwback vibe and some solid production. If BoA were to ever consider trying for an English language album again, she'd be wise to hook up with The Stereotypes and consider material such as this.

I'm sure SM will be handing The Stereotypes a retainer to work on songs for Girls' generation and Super Junior too. We know how this goes.

Namie drops an album sampler of _genic and snatches wigs through the internet

Namie Amuro - _genic | Random J Pop

Namie's 12th studio album _genic is still a month away from release. But given there are no singles to precede it, an album preview has made its way online to whet fans' appetites until June 10th rolls around.

To release an album in Japan with no singles and all new tracks is a risk given that it goes completely against the modus operandi in Japan when it comes to album releases. But if anybody can get away with this, it's Namie Amuro. And if the album sampler is anything to go by, recording an album as a complete body of work has done her wonders, because _genic is sounding like one of Namie's most consistent offerings.

If upon seeing the track list for this album you were crying over the loss of "Neonlight lipstick", "Ballerina", "Sweet kisses" and "Brighter days", dry your tears chile. Namie has given you some new-new that trumps every single one of these songs.

Music video: Perfume - Relax in the city

As every body pointed out once the single art work was revealed, visually "Relax in the city" is pretty much "Kasuka na kaori" meets descendants of Krypton from the House of El. The music video to this song was just the single art work come to life. This is pretty much the case with every Perfume music video, except the result here was pretty underwhelming and yielded few surprises. The girls looked lovely and the scenery was beautiful, but there's nothing about this video that would make you watch it twice. And as great as some of the editing trickery was at the start, it seemed to get sloppier as the video progressed and lost impact after the first minute.

As for the song, I'm not a fan. "Pick me up" is where it's at. "Rleax in the city" is not a terrible song, but it's not a great one neither. Yet again, the girls are sounding like chipmunks and the whole thing feels like a school nursery rhyme. In the wake of "Pick me up" where we finally got to hear Nocchi sing in a higher register and A-chan sing in her natural singing voice, it comes off even worse and feels regressive. Yet again, I get this feeling that Nakata is uncertain of which direction ultimately Perfume's sound should go in. When he gets it right, he nails it. But for every instance he gets it right, comes a song where you are left wondering 'What the actual fuck?'.

If Perfume's 5th studio album were to drop and "Pick me up" was the only single to make the cut, I would not be upset. Not even a little bit. In fact, I wholly welcome a new Perfume album where 90% of the material is new.

Music video: Girls' generation - Catch me if you can

Girls' generation have gone all Ciara "Work" for their latest single "Catch me if you can". The girls have recorded the song and video in both Korean and Japanese. The videos are exactly the same, and the Japanese version of the song manages to retain the same rhythmic pattern as its Korean counterpart. But purely for the sake of Korean being what these girls are fluent in, the Korean versions beats out. The Japanese version feels rather choppy as a result of the girls putting so much focus on the enunciation.

The dance routine for "Catch me if you can" is pretty solid, but the editing in this video makes the girls look better at it than they actually are, with the exception of Hyoyeon who eats routines for breakfast. Watch these girls perform the song live and you will get all of the usual traits that come with Girls' generation performing any dance routine live. Sloppy movement, an inability to keep in time and moments of complete uncertainty if they're even doing the right moves.

The girls look great in this video. The production in the song is strong, but the song itself doesn't stick in the ways you would expect a Girls' generation song to. As much as I disliked "I got a boy" when I first heard it, it stuck in my head for weeks. I can not say the same for "Mr. Mr." nor "Catch me if you can". They're just generic songs and the visuals in neither video are strong enough to even give you a vivid reference by which to remember the song - not in the same way as colour skinny jeans in "Gee", sailor outfits in "Genie" and try hard street fashion in "I got a boy".

Single arts + track listing: Crystal Kay - Kimi ga ita kara

Crystal Kay - Kimi ga ita kara | Random J Pop

Crystal Kay has finally emerged from under the rock called 'her US music career' to release a brand new single in Japan on May 13th. "Kimi ga ita kara" will be Crystal's first physical single in 3 years and acts as the theme song to NTV J-drama Wild heroes.

Crystal Kay has not been making so much as a pebble scratch on the ORICON charts for years and has not had a bona fide hit since "Konna ni chikaku de...". And as amazing as that song was, the popularity of Nodame cantabile (the anime series of which "Konna ni chikaku de..." featured as the theme of) at that time helped her to no end. I'm not expecting any similar level of success with this song, but I will light a vanilla IKEA candle for home girl and pray for entry into the top 10.

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.