J-Pop Phenomenons.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 rinachan

I’m going to introduce/discuss a few J-Pop phenomenons. The really popular hits of Japan. Most of these girls I actually listen to and know about, so it won’t be too terribly hard to give you info about them. First up:

Ayumi Hamasaki (how did you guess?!)

This woman has dominated the charts over and over, and, to my knowledge, is one of the best selling and best charting female J-Pop singers in today’s media. She’s been active since I was actually born (that being 1994) and has been dominating ever since.

When she first became a singer, and released her first album on the label Nippon Columbia, her album failed to chart and therefore, she was dropped from the label. However, Avex Trax picked her up in 1998 and she released another album. This album was highly successful, debuting at #1 on the Oricon Charts, staying on the charts for 63 weeks (over a year), and had sold 548,210 in its first two weeks. Quite a turn-around for Miss Ayu. Since her debut, she has released one album on Nippon Columbia and nine albums on the label Avex Trax. Eight of those albums made #1, with her newest album only charting at #2. Aside from albums, she also has four best (compilation) albums, with her “tenth anniversary” album set to be released this September, containing every single she’s released. She has nineteen remix albums (wow!) and fourty-six singles. Eight of those singles failed to chart on the Daily Oricon Charts, but those were her earliest singles. One of her newer singles that had no rank was a digital single, and since those first eight singles thath ad not charted, she has made all #1s, with the exception of 2002’s ‘Daybreak’.

Getting down to business, there really is no way to describe Ayu’s music. Most of her earlier hits were more on the ballad side, but now she is changing it up, creating both ballads, rock tracks, pop tracks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if her next experiment was R&B/hip hop. She has many different songs. My favorites are:

  • Fated
  • Glitter
  • alterna
  • Fly High (Voo Doo & Serano Remix)
  • STEP you
  • Dearest
  • No More Words
  • Bold & Delicious

I actually prefer much of her newest music to her old, and so, I prefer to buy her newer albums.

Moving right along, you guessed it, let’s introduce BoA

BoA is a Korean singer that became popular in South Korea, and so, she made a debut in Japan. She is fluent in Japanese and knows conversational English, so it is often that you find her singing in English. Although she doesn’t speak Chinese, she has several Chinese songs as well. In Korea, she has four #1 albums and also has six #1 albums in Japan. She debuted at the young age of thirteen back in 2000 with ID; Peace B in Korea and is now twenty-one years old. She debuted at the age of fifteen in Japan with her album Listen To My Heart, which debuted at #1 on the Oricon Charts. This album charted for ninety-one weeks. Some of my favorites by BoA are:

  • Girls On Top
  • Winter Love
  • Moon & Sunrise
  • Be The One
  • Nanairo no Ashita ~brand new beat~
  • Dakishimeru
  • BESIDE YOU ~Boku wo Yobu Koe~

So far, she has released five Korean albums, three Korean mini-albums, two Korean compilation albums, and six Korean singles, one that was given out at the beginning of her career and one that was digital. Aside from her Korean discography, she also has six Japanese albums, two Japanese remix albums, and thirty Japanese singles (one special single and three digital singles included). She has done work with m-flo and is included in AnyBand.

Her music is primarily pop with hints of hip-hop in the mix, but she also has ballads, such as Moon & Sunrise, Every Heart, and Winter Love. I personally love her songs Moon & Sunrise and Winter Love, and Every Heart is a pretty catchy one, too.

Next up is another dominating diva, Ms. Namie Amuro!

Namie has been active since 1992, and made a solo debut in 1995. She was apart of the unsuccessful Super Monkeys from 1992 to 1995, but left the group to go solo. She has released eight albums since her debut, with five of her albums debuting at #1 on the charts. Two of her albums hit #2, and one hit #4. She has four compilation albums, with her latest released on July 30th. She has thirty-five singles, with eleven of them charting at #1 on the Daily Oricon Charts, with ten of her earlier singles failing to chart on Daily. The remaining of her singles got up to top five, with an exception being “Put ‘Em Up” (#7). She has eight concert DVDs and three video albums. I suggest listening to:

  • Want Me, Want Me
  • Funky Town
  • Full Moon
  • NO
  • Alarm
  • Can You Celebrate?
  • Baby Don’t Cry
  • Step With It
  • Should I Love Him?
  • Can’t Sleep, Can’t Eat, I’m Sick

Her music is more on the hip hop with a touch of pop as of recently, but she has both straight-pop music and R&B. She also has ballads from her earlier days and was mostly a dance-pop artist before changing up her style back in 2002.

On a side note, in the early ’90s, Namie was also an actress. She played in the drama Toki o Kakeru Shōjo, a 1994 drama adaption of the novel by the same. The novel’s official international title is The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

Lastly, Koda Kumi

Koda Kumi, another idol and singer, is probably best known for her sexy image. In many of her songs and videos, she portrays a sexy image or speaks about wanting to “do something.” Like BoA, this twenty-five-year-old singer made her debut in 2000. Koda has six albums, three best/compilation albums, and has fourty-three singles. She did not achieve major success until her seventh single, “real Emotion/1000 no Kotoba“. She also did not chart on the Daily Oricon Charts until her release of her #1 single in 2005, “you.” Since then, the majority of her singles made top five, with five of her singles making #1. Her most successful album is Black Cherry, with over a million copies being sold, and is, apparently, still on the charts. Many of her songs has also been used as theme songs and, altogether, she has sold 10,520,774 copies of her singles, DVDs, and albums combined. I recommend:

  • No Regret
  • Aisho (Aishou)
  • Black Cherry
  • Cutie Honey
  • Anata ga Shite Kureta Koto
  • BUT
  • Hot Stuff
  • Get Up & Move
  • Kiseki
  • Crazy 4 U
  • Candy

Her music is mainly pop and hip hop, with some songs ranging more towards the pop end and some being primarily hip hop/R&B. Some of her songs even include collaborations with rappers. Aishou is a more slow pop-rock ballad-type song, and is currently one of my favorites from her. The song expresses a loneliness, and for the PV (promotional video), she plays as a geisha/high-class prostitute.

I’ve now discussed four of Japan’s most active idols and performers and have given you plenty of suggestions. Rina-chan hopes you enjoyed and please comment!

I also hope you’ve learned something new about singers you’ve come to love, and I hope you’ve found your next favorite singer!


Entry Filed under: Music

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