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. Leo Ieiri, Sakurako Ohara, and Sakura Fujihara “Koi no Hajimari”

Andy’s thoughts: The combined talents of each of these singers meld into a sweet, almost doo-wop-y love song. The piano and support vocal “ah’s” play to the endearing nature of “Koi no Hajimari”. This song works best when swinging your head along to the beat and feeling the sunshine on your face! It is feel good, pick-me-up but not so surprising. But the combination of Ieiri, Ohara, and Fujihara is definitely worth a listen to when you need a burst of cute energy in your week. 6/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/koinohajimari-single/id1281857547


2. LiSA “Ash”

ASH / LiSAAndy’s thoughts: The drama of the opening strings work well to set up this intense rock number. LiSA’s vocals soar over the heavy drum beats and pulsing guitar. This nice combination is accented with strings which bring this song to the next level for me. The bridge mid-song is a nice moment of rest among a rather busy JRock number. I am all for the “fantasy strings” which seem to be common among anime and video game music! 8/10
ASH [Regular Edition]


3. Aimer “Hana no Uta”

Hana no Uta / ONE / Rokutosei no Yoru Magic Blue ver. / AimerAndy’s thoughts: Continuing with the string-heavy openings, Aimer’s “Hana no Uta” is a brooding and contemplative ballad. The slow open into a more classically instrumented ballad works well with the Aimer’s vocals. It has an anime-esque grandeur in the way strings build the drama of the sleepy beginning of the song to swelling conclusion. Although for the most part traditional in its instrumentation there are moments of wind chimes and other sounds that creep in the background making for an interesting listening experience. 9/10
Hana no Uta / ONE / Rokutosei no Yoru Magic Blue ver. [Limited Pressing]


4. DAOKO x Yasuyuki Okamura “Step-up LOVE”

Step Up Love / DAOKOAndy’s thoughts: From the get go, this song is high octane techno energy! It has the high paced vocals/breathy quality of DAOKO’s voice fans of hers have come to expect which are nicely offset by Okamura’s smooth yet emotional vocal work on this track. Overall, the track doesn’t give the listener much of a break until the last bridge, but within that bridge we are treated to robotic warp of Okamura’s voice which brings the whole technopop vibe of the song full circle. 8/10
Step Up Love [CD+DVD / Limited Pressing]


5. back number “Sea Glass”

Pause -Straightener Tribute Album- / V.A.Andy’s thoughts: There is something nostalgic about this song which may stem from the scales the guitar part seems to be descending down. I hate to be cliche but there is a beachy vibe also around “Sea Glass”. The backnumber track is light and refreshing in the face of winter on the horizon. During the verses the banjo-like plucking running through the guitar part is infectious and matches the sweetness in the vocal line nicely. 9/10
Pause -Straightener Tribute Album- [Regular Edition]


6. MIYAVI vs Daichi Miura “Dancing With My Fingers”

Samurai Sessions / MIYAVIAndy’s Thoughts: This song is incredibly unique in it’s mixing of EDM-esque drums in direct competition with screaming guitar. I am not sure what I was expecting but what I got was the best combination of rock and EDM. MIYAVI absolutely dominates this track with his guitar playing while Daichi Miura brings so much energy to his vocals. Overall this track make me want to dance from fingers to toes. 8/10
Samurai Sessions Vol.2 [Regular Edition]



FLY / U-KISSAndy’s thoughts: I am all for a Japanese release from a KPOP and the boys of U-KISS deliver a solid dance track with Fly. Each verse is handled with the unique vocal parts of each member and the dance break choruses use a conventional KPOP techno sound in a nuanced way. I am definitely partial to the boy band sound and I thoroughly enjoy the rap breaks from Eli Kim. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a little more variation in the way they used the builds in the song but overall still a great listen. 7/10


8. Yuzu “Koi Hajikemashita”

Andy’s thoughts: From the start the scale runs jamming out on the piano hooked me and I was already set for whatever Yuzu was going to bring me. I was not disappointed either! This song is nonstop energy with the characteristic uniqueness I’ve come to expect from Yuzu. They bring in horns, frog-like squeaks, bird tweets, all toward a fresh burst of JPOP. The combination of these effects with the more traditional instrumentation recalls Yasutaka Nakata in a strange way, and I love it. 10/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/id1291827837?l=ja&ls=1&app=itunes


9. Kenshi Yonezu feat. Masaki Suda “Haiiro to Ao”

BOOTLEG / Kenshi YonezuAndy’s thoughts: The vocal layering of “ooh’s” from the outset are the perfect setup for this reflective yet powerful track from Yonezu. Suda’s verse and addition is a perfect call and response for this song, and the two artists voices don’t fight for attention but rather blend nicely. “Haiiro to Ao” surprised me from start to finish. I was expecting something a bit more predictable but the undulation from sweet and demure verse to the pulsing chorus makes such a perfect combination. 10/10
BOOTLEG Boot Ban [Limited Edition]
Kenshi Yonezu


10. Chan Po Lantern “Ocha Shiyo”

MIRAGE COLLAGE / Charan-Po-RantanAndy’s thoughts: I adore this quirky take on a girls day out and about. The lyrics are a riot and this ridiculous, Russian, vaudevillian sound is something I never thought I needed but now that I have it, it is all I want! It is fresh and works well as a fun, aware pop tune about girls getting together and having a ball spilling the tea. It is daring to start on a cold open with just vocals but in the case of “Ocha Shiyo” it works so perfectly. The intermittent phone rings are a nice touch as well, start to finish this song just works on every level. 10/10