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. 永原真夏 – Dancer in the Poetry

Great Hungly / Manatsu NagaharaEthel’s thoughts: Irresistible from the opening phrases on acoustic guitar, Manatsu Nagahara’s timeless vocals, reminiscent to that of YUKI, unapologetically carries the emotional and reflective weight of the song’s lyrics. The accompanying lyric video directed by Michiro Takeuchi sees Manatsu semi-dancing by herself as she wanders along streets listening to her song. How apt since it is titled 「Dancer In The Poetry」– the lead single coming of Manatsu Nagahara’s first full length album「GREAT HUNGRY」. (7/10)
Great Hungly [Regular Edition]
Manatsu Nagahara


2. 米津玄師 – LEMON

Lemon / Kenshi YonezuEthel’s thoughts: 「LEMON」is Kenshi Yonezu’s first musical offering of 2018 which has been used as the main theme song for the Japanese TV drama, UNNATURAL. The drama is based on a pathologist’s work to discover the reasons behind unsolved unnatural deaths. Keeping in line with the drama’s theme, the song’s lyrics is written from a first person’s point of view dealing with lingering memories brought by the death of a loved one. The song opens with Kenshi singing forlornly accompanied by a piano solo, it gradually builds and soars towards the chorus and bridge through its incorporation of guitar, string section on an upbeat drum tempo, turning what would have been a typical sad ballad into a more hopeful, bittersweet melody. This same concept can be found in the music video which was filmed in a church showcasing the evolving state of mind of attendees of a Requiem Mass, which was further captured in movement by renowned contemporary dancer, Nao Yoshigai. (8/10)
Lemon [CD + DVD / Limited Edition]
Kenshi Yonezu


3. Czech no Republic – Telepathy

Tabi ni Deru Junbi / Czecho No RepublicEthel’s thoughts:「Telepathy」is the lead single from Czech no Republic’s latest album 「旅に出る準備」. Featuring heavy synths and electric guitar, be prepared to keep this trippy, psychedelic electro-pop-rock on loop! Just like the catchy, loop-like quality of the song, the music video is filmed with a constantly rotating angle and features scenes similar to the Penrose stairs, where the main pair of high-school protagonist’s seem to be chasing each other endlessly until they meet at long last in a dance-off. If not, enjoy mimicking the unique dance choreography and wiggling your fingers every time the word, “Telepathy” is sung. (7/10)
Tabi ni Deru Junbi
Czecho No Republic


4. 阿部 真央 – immorality

You / Mao AbeEthel’s thoughts:「immorality」is Mao Abe’s latest release and is featured in her recently released album titled, 「YOU」. Arranged by electronic musician/producer, Okazaki Taiiku, the song features Mao singing to a Eurobeat akin to early 2000s club music similar to that of Ayumi Hamasaki’s music work of the same era. In this day and age of high-calibre electronic music production, this single offers a tame and slightly lacklustre piece in arrangement and composition. The accompanying music video does little to push the song further as it simply features Mao singing and dancing sexily by herself in a club alongside a pair of dancers very wrapped around each other. (4/10)
You [Regular Edition]
Mao Abe


5. NOBU – 「今日もハレ feat.HAN-KUN」

Ima, Taiyo ni Mukatte Saku Hana / NOBUEthel’s thoughts: Originally released in September 2013, Kyou mo Hare is a reggae-infused Japanese pop love song featuring the vocal collaborations between long-time friends NOBU and HAN-KUN. The message-like lyrics speaks about the parting of two people who have decided to go their separate way but are nostalgically bound together by memories of unforgettable days together. Featuring piano, guitar and strings, the instruments adds a tinge of sadness to an otherwise upbeat melody that is boosted by NOBU and HAN-KUN’s smooth and complimentary vocal flow. (6/10)
Ima, Taiyo ni Mukatte Saku Hana



EPCOTIA / NEWSEthel’s thoughts: 「EPCOTIA」is NEWS’ latest single released on their latest concept album of the same name, marking the band’s 15th anniversary since forming in 2003. 「EPCOTIA」is an acronym of the concept album’s space theme – Experience Planets, a corner of the Cosmos. Let’s go Travelling Into Astroworld – which sets it apart from the band’s previous “island” concept album, 「NEVERLAND」. Sticking to the space theme, the catchy pop song starts with a mission control snippet and an introductory monologue in English about experiencing a whole new level of space travel. The lyric work writes about the hopeful dreams of exploring the planets in the galaxy. Perhaps this could be the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) theme song for their next recruitment 😉 The accompanying music video features the band members acting as staff members on a futuristic spaceship called the EPCOTIA Liner. (6/10)
EPCOTIA [Regular Edition]


7. amazarashi 『月曜日』

Chiho Toshi no Memento Mori / amazarashiEthel’s thoughts: In true amazarashi form, the band returns with their latest single titled 『月曜日』or Monday, a stellar sounding and lyrically powerful piece that captures the anxiety and worries faced by students such as identity, friendship, and of an uncertain future. The single is aptly named after the top-ranking and well-reviewed popular manga 『月曜日の友達』or Monday’s Friend by Tomomi Abe, in which it was created for as the manga’s main theme song. Created specifically by Abe to be enjoyed by all ages, the slice-of-life manga tells the story of its main protagonist Akane Mizutani, a self-conscious, obstinate junior high school freshman, and her strange Monday-only friendship with a gentle, inconspicuous boy, Tsunesuki Tsunenaki. The music video for the song features animated stills from the manga drawn by Abe interspersed with amazarashi’s typical use of typography to emphasise meaning of their music. (9/10)
Chiho Toshi no Memento Mori [2CD+DVD / Limited Edition / Type B]


8. 中島美嘉 – Kiss of Death (produced by Hyde)

Kiss Of Death (Produced by HYDE) / Mika NakashimaEthel’s thoughts: By far the most surprising and exciting collaborations of the year, Hyde (L’arc en Ciel) and Mika Nakashima have teamed up 13 years since collaborating on 「GLAMOROUS SKY」, the main theme song to the super popular movie NANA. As per the duo’s previous collaboration, 「KISS OF DEATH」features Mika Nakashima returning to a heavier rock musical style, a move I 1000% support! The music video for「KISS OF DEATH」features Mika sporting devil horns and a persona similar to the main character, 002 (Zero Two), from the 2018 sci-fi anime series, Darling in the Franxx, which also happens to be the show’s opening theme song. (9/10)
Kiss Of Death (Produced by HYDE) Anime Ver. [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Type A]
Mika Nakashima


9. Perfume – 無限未来

Mugen Mirai / PerfumeEthel’s thoughts: Perfume returns to set the electro-dance music genre on fire with their first release of 2018, 『無限未来』which will be used as the main theme song to the final movie instalment titled『ちはやふる -結び-』/ Chihayafuru – Musubi- from the anime series, 『ちはやふる』/ Chihayafuru. This single could be considered Yasutaka Nakata’s strongest production for Perfume since their Triangle and JPN music era. The song features tastefully layered synth and electro beats that beautifully captures the vocal contributions of each Perfume member and soars into a seriously catchy chorus rhythm. To compliment the track, Perfume ticks all the boxes once again with a visually stunning music video for 『無限未来』. The members of Perfume are filmed dancing among the lush landscapes of Guam, from stunning riverside sunsets, red stone bedrock and grassy plains. Truly not a song to be missed this year. (10/10)
Mugen Mirai [w/ DVD, Limited Edition]


10. One Ok Rock – Change

Live Blu-ray "ONE OK ROCK 2016 Special Live in Nagisaen" / ONE OK ROCKEthel’s thoughts: One Ok Rock’s fresh new single, Change, signals the bands continued foray into more Western influenced pop-rock music styles. The single also marks the band’s first musical collaboration with a major manufacturing brand, case in point, for the latest Honda commercial promoting the HondaJet. The optimistic lyrics were written to remind listener’s that they’re in control of their fate and it’s never too late to make positive changes in their lives. Featuring familiar syncopated rhythms and lots of handclapping, the song is immediately noted for its more light-hearted vibe and would serve as a decent introduction to listener’s unfamiliar with the band’s existing work. (7/10)
Live Blu-ray “ONE OK ROCK 2016 Special Live in Nagisaen”