Saturday, September 18, 2021

Three Album Curses, Repackaging and Compilations

I am not sure what got things going, but Zard / Izumi Sakai has exploded into streaming... she was arguably the female jpop singer of the 90s and transformed the genre.  If you wonder why I love jpop so much, check this out;

As a note this should have happened years ago, but Japan's music industry is sometimes a decade 

behind the US and generally very insular.  They think the music appeals to Japan, but I can assure them jpop/jrock is loved in many places. 

Maybe the offshoot of this is that Zard's albums were remastered again* and her 9th album re-arranged.   This could maybe finally bump Zard past Yumi Matsutoya to #2 female soloist in Japan.  No small feat and #1 is 30m more.  We'll see but even #3 is an accomplishment.  

So getting to the tetchy subject in jpop of greatest hits, remasters, etc (some of this was taken from 
Marty Friedman, so cred to him).  It is a product and labels will constantly shift talent or interest, so if any artist/group hits 3 albums... that is something.

What you see in jpop is a constant stream of compilation albums for artists.  
Zard has had a slew of them, about every 5 years.  Puffy(whom I adore and are my #1) has done the same thing.  The different between these releases?  Minimal. Do I buy them? Yes...
The fact of the matter in the in jpop scene breaking up groups into other profitable ventures is normal (Judy And Mary).  In some cases breakups & reformations are another marketing angle (re Luna Sea).  Like lovely packaged Japanese snacks, music is the same.
One of the funny things about my jpop/jrock journey is the number of bands that I love and discovered working my way through the genres that came and gone before I found them.  Sometimes I find one at the "right time." Girlfriendis one of those and after 3 albums: done.
Whatever happened with Girlfriend we'll probably never know. The repackaging for what is next with Mina, Sakika, Mirei and Nagisa I do hope themselves more success.  They have tremendous chops as musicians.  I also half expect a greatest hits album...
Another jpop band with an odd trajectory is Sard Underground, originating as a Zard tribute band... they have grown into their own and out of the long shadow of Izumi Sakai with an original 3rd album and I hope there is not that 3rd album curse.
That's a journey through jpop.  Japanese music is amazing and guys like Marty Friedman touch upon an idea. 

Whatever you like, there is an analog in Japan and it is going to sound amazing. Japan doesn't realize you'll like it. You'll have to work to find it and you'll love it!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Puffy really could cover "Yureru Omoi" by Zard

Yo Yoshida and Rio Suzuki have been doing Pokari Sweat adverts in Japan for a while and honestly they have so much synergy between with each other that I hope they do commercials with each other forever.  They are silly ads and simple.  Then something happened and they started doing the songs for the ads.  Then the songs themselves had a full length MV.  Most are fun and for actors singing come off very well. 

However a couple years ago they covered "Yureru Omoi" by the 90's legend Zard aka Izumi Sakai (who I have covered in a previous blog).  It works amazingly well and Yo Yoshida is of an age that Zard would have hit critical mass when she was younger.  Her excitement singing and going into the chorus is really heartwarming.    

My oldest and I were watching this and her comment was that Puffy would cover this song even better.  She was right, "Yureru Omoi" would be an incredible cover by them.  Especially with Puffy's more lean band line up so vocals would sound something like this but instruments something more like Zard. 

If you have not checked out Zard... well Izumi Sakai was a special vocalist so please do so.  Her positivity and powerful singing were something that resonated in Japan. My kid upon one listening started checking her out because her voice was second to none.

Despite her tragic death in 2007, she remains relevant today.  Concerts with her recorded vocals and live musicians still happen.  A cover band of young women, Sard Underground, carry the musical torch and they bring new life to Izumi Sakai's music.  

Izumi's death still gets me and makes me sad... yet happy because her music was special.  There was so much more she had to give to Japanese music. While she is now long gone, the world is better for her being in it, even if that time was short.

Here is one of the memorial concerts.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Hoyareho Lullaby

Hey Puffy fans... this new song, "Hoyareho", escaped me, which is a littl eembarrassing as I (like almost everyone) is stuck at home... listening to a lot of music. Anyways, Natalie Mu has a write up here... The song was composed by an AI, then Ami did thee lyrics and Shunsuke Watanabe did the arrangement.


 I would not call this an official release as it is not on the Puffy site as a single, I'd call it a musical experiment or project. I'll be honest it really is not my cup of tea, but I can see why it is a lullaby.  I am glad to see Puffy doing some work.

Anyways, I hope 2021 provides something interesting to write about and that where ever you are that you are safe and healthy.