Weekly J-Song Roundup #2 – miwa, LUCKY TAPES, i☆Ris (and more!)

Hello there! If you happened to miss it last week, I started a new segment on this blog where I gather a few songs from various Japanese artists and show you guys what some J-bands have to offer! Most of these recommendations are from the music streaming service Spotify, but there are some that I found from just roaming around YouTube or other instances like a seiyuu I like being involved, something of that sort.

I’m leaning towards this segment actually being a weekly thing, even though I said I had my doubts last time so I hope you’ll enjoy reading these if you haven’t already! But time will only tell if I can maintain making these posts every week lol

I don’t want to make this introduction any more lengthy, so let’s just dive right in!


“22” – LUCKY TAPES

I seriously love LUCKY TAPES and the soul/funk, jazzy, and pop combination they express in their music. The overall mellow and almost sad-sounding vibe it gives off thanks to the musical composition and especially Takahashi Kai’s seductive/smooth voice, I find this band very, very enjoyable to listen to.

While I’ve mainly heard LUCKY TAPES take on more calming and relaxing kind of songs, “22” definitely still a nice funky track and embodies what this band is all about. Something I noticed was that Takahashi Kai really likes to mix a ton of English in LUCKY TAPES’ songs and especially in this one, given it’s called “22” and pronounced the English way of saying that number.


“INOCHI TAN SHI KOI SEYO OTOME / 命短し恋せよ乙女” – MOSHIMO

Hmmmm… I wonder what made me take a listen to this particular band. Maybe it’s something about their name and how it sounds very similar to another musical artist that I really enjoy…

But in all seriousness, I feel like MOSHIMO takes on a more traditional and youthful rock style of music, which is always fun to listen to. The distorted guitar, fast paced rock, sick guitar solos, plus Ikabuchi Saki’s high pitched/child-like voice is probably what makes this band unique to me.

…okay, now that I think about it, this band is actually pretty similar to SHISHAMO (lol).


“Kataomoi / 片想い” – miwa

This might not be the “Kataomoi” song you’re thinking about. But I still really like that Aimer song, definitely!

This particular song is by miwa, a well-known J-pop singer and songwriter who has had an extensive history with music, from learning the guitar and writing her own songs at the age of 15, to later having one of her songs be featured as an opening theme to the popular anime series Bleach. Her love of music and immense interest in both electric and acoustic guitars has made me like her even more 😛

But going back to the song at hand, it’s a very beautiful track with the combination of miwa’s soothing voice and the relaxing piano and violin accompanying her. It has a pretty slow pace to it, and for some reason I think this would be a great anime ending theme for a romance or something (lol).


“CALL ME IN YOUR SUMMER” – SHE IS SUMMER

Have you ever seen that music livestream on YouTube that’s on 24/7, with the animation of an anime girl endlessly writing in a notebook and flipping the pages? It’s supposed to be a radio livestream based around the “lo-fi” genre of music, and essentially plays music that can help you study or just something to chill out with. While it has more or less become a meme on the internet, the songs they put on are honestly pretty nice to listen to and I occasionally stop by to use it while working on homework or something.

“Lo-Fi”, to put it simply, is a combo of multiple musical genres like jazz and hip-hop, while also giving off a very calm and atmospheric sound. I don’t think I’ve really heard any lo-fi tracks from Japanese artists (even though apparently the best lo-fi music producers have come from Japan), so this song by SHE IS SUMMER is a first for me… and it’s a pretty damn good track! The lo-fi beats and instrumentals like the 8-bit like noises, mixed with MICO’s low and calming voice makes for an excellent song. And while it’s not summer anymore, this music video (and even the song itself) really gives off a hot weather, summer-y vibe.


“Bright Fantasy / ブライトファンタジー” – i☆Ris

Let me be real here, and I feel really bad for saying this, I pretty much like i☆Ris because of one member, Kubota Miyu (the one with orange-colored clothing), since she’s my favorite seiyuu in the newest Love Live group (which you can read about here). You’ve probably seen me fanboy about her before if you follow me on my Instagram. I even changed my Twitter profile picture to a selfie of hers lol

HOWEVER… I’ve been trying my best to listen to more of their discography and learn more about the other ladies. If you don’t know who i☆Ris is, they’re essentially a female seiyuu idol pop group, where they perform as regular pop idols while also being voice actresses in anime and other related media. All six of these ladies (Yamakita Saki, Serizawa Yuu, Akaneya Himika, Wakai Yuuki, Kubota Miyu, and Shibuya Azuki) are featured as the main cast in the popular anime series PriPara. But other than anime voice acting, they perform their own music and songs and some of them have even been featured in various anime series. One of their more recent features is their song “Changing point” being the opening to the dark magical girl anime Mahou Shoujo Site.

“Bright Fantasy” probably has to be one of my favorite i☆Ris songs, other than “Dream Parade / ドリームパレード”. It’s the fifth opening to the anime PriPara, and it’s a very upbeat song. It’s pretty much like your usual fun Japanese pop idol song, but I think the voices of all six of these ladies are worth noting and they definitely blend together really well.


“Ceremony” – Special Favorite Music

Kansai-based indie band Special Favorite Music mixes together a little bit of soul/R&B with pop to make some really upbeat yet mellow-like music. They remind me a lot of the band Awesome City Club, mainly because of the duo singer format and the bright color aesthetic both groups got going on.

But focusing back to this song, it’s very relaxed yet has a fun pop energy to it and it’s a great example of being very soul and R&B like. The calm vocals from the two main singers was very pleasant to listen to, as well as some of the instruments featured like a flute and a violin being in a song like this one.


“Basue / 場末” – DADARAY

DADARAY might be my favorite Japanese band right now, woooooo

When I first heard this song, it felt VERY similar to a band I’ve listened to before, them being Gesu no Kiwami Otome… well, I happened to be correct with that assumption since the bassist of GnKO, Kyujitsu Kacho, is a member of this trio band, as well as the fact that Kawatani Enon (leader of J-bands like indigo la End and Gesu no Kiwami Otome) is the musical composer of their songs. No wonder I immediately liked this particular band lmao

I think one of the main reasons why I love this song is because it’s super similar to the style of music from Gesu no Kiwami Otome… or I guess it technically is the same style since it’s composed by Kawatani himself. Everything from the vocal performances, the pace of the song, the similar instrument selection like the keyboard having a big presence in this track… it pretty much screams GnKO (lol). However, one specific thing to note is the vocal performance of katyusha (I think she’s the main vocalist in this song). She has a real nice voice, it’s one of the reasons why I adore this song.


“God only knows 第三幕” – Oratorio

This song is the opening to a romance harem anime called The World God Only Knows, and probably one of my favorite OPs in an anime, like, ever. And I’m talking about the FULL version, not just the TV size one.

Oratorio’s vocal performance is angelic and incredibly good, plus all of the lyrics are English. Usually when I hear Japanese people speak the English language, of course it’s not gonna be as good as native speakers. But this instance with Oratorio, I found it to be pretty impressive how they sang the whole song in English, with it still sounding beautiful. The song is broken up into five sections, with the next section having a very different vibe from the previous one. Every second of the eight-minute track length is just pure bliss to listen to and really gives me the chills; it’s such a good song.

And I totally didn’t put this song in last minute in this week’s list in order to self-promote my review on The World God Only Knows over on #moe404 (lmao). If you’re interested in reading my thoughts on this particular anime, feel free to check it out! I think I did a pretty nice write-up on it, if I say so myself 😛


Alright, I think those are enough songs to showcase for now. I hope you enjoyed this week’s selection of J-music, this one was definitely fun to compile and write about. Also, if you missed last week’s list and/or want to listen to some more of my suggestions, click here!

And as always, if you have any suggestions yourself, I would be more than happy to listen to them! Just feel free to leave them in the comments.

Thanks for reading!! 😀

-al

  1. Good haul this week! 😀

    Good funky blues is hard to come by (when you’re mostly on the female-fronted side of things.. haha… ) so LUCKY TAPES is always gonna be a refreshing take for me, lol

    lol at one point I did mix up MOSHIMO and SHISHAMO for one another (xD), but yeah no, MOSHIMO breaks one of the two preferences I have for Pop/Rock bands with the vocalist’s high pitch. The instrumentation more than makes up for it though.

    I get getting behind an idol group because of one member sure :p
    I’ve only heard “Changing Point” from them (and now “Bright Fantasy”) so I can’t say much about their sound, save maybe for how much I’ve been impressed by their collective vocal range (in particular Serizawa Yu’s).
    As a slight aside, it *is* interesting though that Miyutan is now simulataneously a member of i☆Ris and PDP/NijiGaku (though I suppose NijiGaku isn’t so much an idol group as it is a collective). I guess her situation is similar with how Soramaru and Mimorin were part of Milky Holmes while being part of u’s, but the difference here is i☆Ris does function as an actual idol group. It’ll be interesting to see how Miyutan juggles her activities moving forward.

    Now, recommendations~~
    I’ve been on a bit of a Hirabayashi Jun kick this past week
    ~ xxLove
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eef683X6cQg)
    ~ Night Rider
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvqUdDrFar4)

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    1. appreciate it bro 😀

      Surprisingly for me, there have been a ton of great Japanese funk/soul bands I’ve listened to (some good examples other than LT being UNCHAIN and BRADIO) and I definitely plan to discover more.

      MOSHIMO’s vocalist’s voice is a bit high than what I’ve usually heard, but I dunno. As I mentioned in my thoughts, I feel like it’s a nice unique aspect of them compared to other girls rock/general JP rock bands I’ve heard.

      I feel a bit relieved that I’m not alone with getting into an idol group b/c of a particular person lol. Now that I think about it, I might’ve had the same case with Sphere, since both Toyosaki Aki and Kotobuki Minako were seiyuu I loved and were already familiar with. But yeah, seeing Miyutan be involved with two idols groups now, plus all the other jobs/roles she’s getting recently (such as in Jashin-chan Dropkick), it’ll be preeeetty busy for her now. But, I’m glad she’s getting more recognition, and I hope the same happens with both the rest of i☆Ris and PDP.

      As for your wonderful suggestions, I realized I don’t listen to many female artists that have more of a deeper and “mature” voice when singing so Hirabayashi Jun is a nice change! I’d love to play the guitar as good as her. Especially after seeing her perform”Night Rider” lol.

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  2. […] like to see some of my song choices from the past couple of weeks, you can see week 1 and week 2 at the […]

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  3. […] so do check those out for more artists and songs to listen to. He has done three already (here, here, and here) at the time that I’m writing this […]

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