Welcome to yet another intersection of obscure interests of mine melting together in a blog post. This time I’ll be highlighting two recent releases of Visual Kei and Jpop artists doing collaborations. So far 2020 has had two collaborations that were expectedly unexpected. At least for me upon doing some research. So let’s dive into it!
SixTONES – Imitation Rain
Composed and arranged by YOSHIKI of X-Japan
This collaboration was actually one that was eagerly anticipated among SixTONES fans, with the announcement coming last year that YOSHIKI would be penning their debut track. Within 10 seconds you can hear Yoshiki’s influence all over this piece. From the piano, lyrical keywords and so much more it screams Yoshiki all over it. There’s something special about Johnny’s going for outside collaborations and this one was particularly interesting.
The track has picked up quite the stir among Jpop and Visual Kei fans. Many JPop fans found that a ballad as a debut track was a bold choice for the group. Many Visual Kei fans lamented that Yoshiki had finally ‘sold out’ by agreeing to the collaboration. As for me, I was rather unimpressed at best when it comes to this track. Musically there’s minimal flaws aside the rather questionable choice of having Juri do a spoken word/rap towards the end… but it’s solid enough to listen to once in awhile.
GLAY x PENTAGON – I’m loving you
Released in March which might have taken some fans of either group off guard. Or that might just have been me since I don’t follow either of these groups closely. It’s actually much more well thought out then many would expect given that Teru wrote and composed “Cosmo” Pentagon’s Japanese major debut single. It still makes an interesting impact that Teru went from merely writing for the group, to collaborating with them.
As for fans, I don’t think too many Kpop fans fully understand GLAY’s position within the Japanese music industry and therefore the true impact of this collaboration. GLAY fans reactions appeared excited for another new track from the group. Overall, from the fan perspectives the collaboration seems well received. As for me… I have to admit I was not expecting a Latin and flamenco piece from this collaboration. It’s not bad just surprisingly that my brain has yet to fully wrap around the idea. I actually enjoy the vocal harmonies between Teru and Pentagon members, and the overall composition of the track. The only distraction is the rap. The transition to and from it is solid, but it’s overall inclusion really throws off the balance of the song as a whole for me.
Another note is that Pentagon does have a Japanese member Yuto. According to fans, Yuto’s parents are fans of GLAY. Thus this collaboration holds even more meaning for Yuto and his family. (Please note this is unconfirmed but I wanted to include it anyway. It’s a feel good-full circle kind of thing, allegedly.)
This was just a fun piece to feature more music and obscure collaborations I’ve been made aware of in 2020. If the OG’s in Visual Kei are taking some leaps and bridging the gaps between JPop and Visual Kei, I can only hope for more dope collaborations in the future! Hopefully, some younger Visual Kei groups take up the mantle in the future as well! We’ll have to wait and see if 2020 has more collaborations in store for us!