music

No Good? More like So Good.

Jin Akanishi and Ryo Nishikido have finally released their album, No Good, this past week. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I do, yet here we are. Like my last post, this isn’t really a review.. More so just my feelings on the album overall.

N/A No Good

Released on September 9th, 2020

Official MV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIWAsD0PKNM 

Available for streaming? Yes! Apple Music, Spotify

The album opens up with your standard introduction titled, N / A Introduction. I mean, it’s an intro track. It does its job of getting you properly hyped for what’s to come. Immediately following is a track in all English, Get Loose. Honestly, when I first heard this one, I didn’t like it. It’s kind of grown on me, but the chorus kind of grates through my head.. If that’s even a proper way to describe it. It’s one of those tracks that I think solely exists to be performed live immediately following the introduction, especially going by the lyrics.

Now, we get to one of my favorite tracks which I wanted to put on my previous post, but didn’t because I can talk about it here instead. No Good. This song is CATCHY. I would have much rather had this as the album opener and just cut Get Loose completely, but what do I know? Anyway, No Good is such a feel good, good vibes type song that I have on repeat constantly without even realizing it. It just puts you in that type of mood, and I’m very thankful for that because we could all use that feeling right about now.

The next two tracks, Not Bad and Lap Dance have that mellow vibe to them. Though the title may not seem it, Lap Dance has a lot of positive vibes about wanting to have fun and live life. Hey, What’s Up? Is a song originally by Jin, which I really like. This version is more of a remix of it that adds Ryo and a band atmosphere. It’s still a good song! And I love the tweaks that were made to it and the addition of Ryo’s vocals.

Point of Departure almost acts like a type of interlude, though it arrives more than halfway through the album. It’s another song entirely in English, and discusses moving on to the new, which I think is really symbolic for Ryo since he just left J&A last year and has moved on with his solo career and this venture with Jin. Though, it’s also symbolic for Jin and his history.

Jin Akanishi and Ryo Nishikido (Barks.jp)

Kingdom is probably tied as my favorite track along with No Good. It’s just really good. The production, composition, and vocals are top tier here in my opinion. Just go listen to it. It’s amazing. I think this was the moment I realized that I actually was enjoying this album a lot. I just love songs that have that slow build up throughout the entirety of it, adding layers of vocals and instruments as it continues onward. The melody is also lovely and very catchy.

Now Eve is a more upbeat song and it sounds very… Johnny’s-esque to the point where I was trying to see if I missed something and maybe this was a re-recording of a random solo from years ago that they had the rights to, but couldn’t find anything. It’s kind of cute. Well, as cute as you can get from Ryo and Jin these days. 

Blue has that sound that seemed to be in almost every single song from a few summers ago. Maybe it was 2015-2016. That chorus where there is just a mellow EDM instrumental playing alongside a distorted and pitched voice repeatedly saying the same phrase over and over again. So, this one sounds a bit dated, but it’s still alright. It was a mellow way to end the album. There’s a bonus track called Hey Girl but I haven’t found it and it’s not on the streaming release so I’m just pretending the album ends here.

If you have a spare 30 minutes, check out this album. It’s worth a listen. Even from ex-fans. I hope they continue to make music together. Maybe they’ll do an online concert or tour whenever the pandemic goes away. This would be a fun album to see live. Until then, I’ll go catch up on their YouTube stuff.

music

My 3 favorite j-pop songs from the summer.

This year has completely reawakened my love for Japanese pop music, to the point where I’m listening to it so much that I feel I can actually make favorites lists for it again! So, here we are, with my top 3 favorite j-pop songs of the summer! This really isn’t a “review” type post.. More so just my feelings on the songs and why I love them so much.

Haruma Miura Night Diver

Released on August 26th, 2020

Official MV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6-IaSJLNOA 

Available for streaming? Yes!

The first thing I will say about this one is that I absolutely love Haruma’s vocals. He really shines in this and I think it effectively shows off his range and what he was capable of with his voice. Though the tempo of the song is upbeat, the lyrics are very.. Sad? Especially in relation to his death. So, while this song is at the top of my playlist, it’s also one that makes me think about a lot of things. It’s a song that seems to be about loneliness and in the translation, even talks about losing something (or someone) important. The music video is worth a watch to see Haruma’s dance performance. He did so well with conveying the emotions of the lyrics. I also loved the water effects and the various lighting and the color palette fit the tone and mood of the song as well! It was nice watching the making of documentary movie for this and seeing how it was all put together. Definitely check out the video if you can!

King & Prince Mazy Night

Released on June 10th, 2020

Official MV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aCS8d9e3nI

Available for streaming? No 😦

Update 9/15/20: Okay, maybe J&A heard me and unlocked the Mazy Night MV so it is linked above so we can all properly stream and support Kinpuri!! Hopefully this trend continues (and also that it wasn’t a mistake)!! It’s not the full MV, but it gives you an idea!

This is it. This is the song. This song has such a great slow burn during the intro verse and bridge that starts showing it’s EDM genre inspiration as it goes into the chorus. And I can’t even properly explain how much I love it. The chorus is very catchy, especially with the “cheers” (or however you want to describe it) that happens towards the end of each chorus. One thing I really love about songs like this is how they have a very loud, fun chorus and then immediately gets softer and more subtle as the verses start up again, which this does perfectly and not ending up a mess. This song also has an official music video, but sadly is region locked. If you know how to get around it, give it a watch. It’s a nice video, actually. I was impressed with Kinpuri’s dancing. I’d love to get the version that has the dance videos on it someday soon. This is definitely a song meant to be performed in a huge venue where everyone is having a good time. Maybe someday.

Tomorrow x Together Everlasting Shine

Released on August 19th, 2020

Available for streaming? Yes! Apple Music, Spotify

I think this might be one of my overall favorite releases of the entirety of 2020. The rhythm, the flow, the vocals, the production, the nostalgia it gives me everytime I listen to it is incredible. TXT is one of my favorite groups, so maybe the bias is showing a bit here, but this song really is something special. It’s very fresh. The song is for an anime, so it would sound a bit different from what they normally do, but it just suits them so well. I’d love for them to do more songs like this in the future. Maybe it’s just my small obsession with anything acoustic sounding, which is another reason why it stands out to me so much over other songs. Also, the message of the song is so hopeful. They literally say to turn your tears into hope, which I think really can be said for 2020 overall since we all need a little hope right now. So, if for some reason you aren’t listening to TXT yet, please do yourself a favor and check them out. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

There were other j-pop songs that I really enjoyed this summer, like N/A’s No Good, but spoiler alert: that’s getting its very own post that I hope to have up later tonight.

As always, thanks for reading!