6_Jpop CDJapan

We update with 10 new J-Pop songs once each month, on the day first day of each month.


RSS feed for our song reviews can be found at: https://jtop10.mymti.org/category/j-pop-song-reviews/feed


1. 東京ゲゲゲイ – “ゲゲゲイの鬼太郎” (featuring 堀江 ヒロアキ)

DC’s thoughts: What you get from this track by TOKYO GEGEGAY may strongly depend on your familiarity with with ‘GeGeGe no Kitarō’ – though it’s not had huge amounts of exposure outside of Japan, this story of ghouls, goblins and other mysterious yōkai has been a part of pop culture in Japan in various forms (comics, anime, drama) since the 60s, and this track takes the ‘GeGeGe’ and makes it ‘GeGeGay’! Rapping as several well known characters from the story, it’s probably best when paired with its full costume video, replete with dance routines and spooky sounds throughout. Even if you have never heard of Kitarō’s adventures, you can’t miss the track’s spooky, halloween-y vibe, and if you’re watching the video, there’s a good chance viewers of a certain age may be thinking about a certain Backstreet Boys video! Without getting the references or watching the dance routines, the track does suffer a bit though – the MCs are actually all excellent, but the song’s quirky theatrics can be a bit much if you don’t really know what’s going on. 6.5/10

iTunes download: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/%E3%82%B2%E3%82%B2%E3%82%B2%E3%82%A4%E3%81%AE%E9%AC%BC%E5%A4%AA%E9%83%8E/id1188785725?i=1188786164


2. UNISON SQUARE GARDEN – “10% Roll, 10% Romance”

10% roll, 10% romance / UNISON SQUARE GARDENDC’s thoughts: This is very energetic and catchy right from the get-go, and maintains a feeling of high octane pop-punk from start to finish. The high vocal register of the singer works well for the track, and for this genre in general – it gives the feeling of the vocalist being teenager, and as so much of pop-punk is rooted in teen culture and emotions, it just works much better than some sonorous baritone or a bluesy rasp. Rapid tempo changes and bass style give the track a ska flavour, but it never goes fully down that route, preferring to keep the 200mph tempo from start to finish. Ending on a big crescendo and an impressive high note, if this genre is your vibe, chances are ‘10% Roll, 10% Romance’ is for you. 7.5/10
10% roll, 10% romance [Regular Edition] UNISON SQUARE GARDEN


3. DAOKO – “打上花火”

UCHIAGE HANABI / DAOKODC’s thoughts: Starting with a lovely twinkly piano intro, this unfolds into a nice mid-tempo track with the stylings of a ballad, although it never dives fully into melodrama, it has a contemporary melancholic feeling to it. Just as you think you have the measure of the track, it unexpectedly turns into a duet halfway through, which was a really pleasant surprise – both vocalists’ voices are very strong individually, and also work well together in combination. Employing some interesting synth flourishes and a nice momentum throughout, the track finishes beautifully with a callback to the sparse intro from earlier. 9/10
UCHIAGE HANABI [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] DAOKO



Reo / PARKGOLFDC’s thoughts: If someone out in the wilds of the internet has put together a toolkit of sound files for anyone and everyone to be able to cut and paste together to make a parody trap record, I would not be surprised if you told me this was how this track came into being. Though there’s certainly some interesting ideas in here and the melody is actually pretty nice in places, it’s hard to concentrate on it from all the seemingly random sound effects and the jarring cheapness of the MIDI backing track. In some cases deliberately retro and obsolete sound styles can be re-purposed as a backing for something really exciting (grime’s adoption of 16-bit game music, for example), but in this case it feels a little overwrought and under-thought. 3/10


5. 大原櫻子 – “マイ フェイバリット ジュエル”

My Favorite Jewel / Sakurako OharaDC’s thoughts: Sakurako Ohara has had a lot of great songs in the last few years, and this one is no exception. Though obviously there are a lot of mid-tempo pop records out there, what sets this one apart is the arrangement – uplifting orchestral flourishes and other subtle choices like live drums and bits of xylophone combined with clean, crisp production gives the track a bright, airy sound and an overall hopeful feeling. Though the song itself is already good and Ohara always delivers vocally, a well thought-out arrangement can make the difference between a good song and a great one, and that’s more than evident here. 9/10
My Favorite Jewel [Regular Edition] Sakurako Ohara


6. LACCO TOWER – “遥”

Haruka / LACCO TOWERDC’s thoughts: This indie rock track from LACCO TOWER has a breezy style not dissimilar to a band like Spitz, and that’s no bad thing in my book. At first it seems like it might be a bit unmemorable, but by the end the song will more than likely win you over – even if the diversion into 80s style power riffing is a little incongruous, by that point you’ll be so invested you won’t mind. This is the sort of track which feels like it will grow on you with multiple listens. 8/10



Bye Bye / SHISHAMODC’s thoughts: ‘BYE BYE’ is bass led rock song which is a refreshing change. The vocals are good, with a playful sort of a delivery, giving the track a feeling like it might turn into something a bit more punk or ska, but in the end keeps a rockish aesthetic with pop sensibilities in melodic terms. The onomatopoeic breakdown/chorus is also lot of fun. 7/5/10
Bye Bye


8. オシリペンペンズ – “青春もう少し”

Crystal Body / Oshiri PenpenzuDC’s thoughts: This track is certainly unique, to say the least. When you first start listening, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it sounds a little bit like your dad formed a band with his drunk mates, and this is the result. Truthfully, it really does sound like that, but after the first few verses, somehow it’s endearing, rather than annoying. In the same way that Ian Dury & the Blockheads managed to do irreverent talk-singing and people are into it, this has a sort of late 70s fringe post-punk vibe in places. If nothing else, this is unlike anything else you’re likely to hear – though it’s not totally to my taste, there’s unquestionably something interesting about it. 6.5/10
Crystal Body
Oshiri Penpenzu


9. Flower – “たいようの哀悼歌”

Taiyo no Aitoka / FlowerDC’s thoughts: A very dramatic opening makes way for a power ballad with some unexpected tropical house stylings in places, but drama is definitely what the track is going for. With a keening violin line underneath it and escalating vocals, this is not the territory of a generic Cheat Codes remix, and though the two styles – power ballad and trop house – feel like they wouldn’t blend well together, somehow it just works. It helps that the vocals are very good, and it’s likely the performance which carries the ambitious scale of the song so well. 7.5/10
Taiyo no Aitoka [Limited Pressing] Flower


10. 3SET-BOB – “UP & UP”

ORIGINALUCK / 3SET-BOBDC’s thoughts: The combination of melodic rock, whimsy and rapping on ‘UP & UP’ reminds me strongly of Orange Range, so fans of that band might want to take notice. It’s pretty catchy – I didn’t think I’d like it from the opening, but I warmed to it as it went on as the melody and energy won me over. 7.5/10