I have to admit; I’ve been in a bit of a musical rut this year. Normally I start tracking the current year’s releases from the moment it hits midnight
(sometimes even earlier!). This year, between some of my favorite groups disbanding, or going on hiatus, on top of 2020 being the year of no festivals or concerts; it’s been tough.
I have been looking back on my posting habits and realized a mid-year musing wouldn’t be a bad inclusion. I’ve never really done one before, aside from including a song at the end of my monthly round-up posts. This year’s mid-year will be a bit sparse, since I haven’t been digging much of the JRock pickings this year. But I do have some previously not yet discussed tracks to showcase, so that’s what I’ll do.
People familiar with my earlier exploits in blogging know my love of Snow Man runs deep. It’s a shame that their debut year got messed up thanks to COVID. It didn’t help that leader and my favorite member Iwamoto Hikaru got suspended from group activities for 4 months thanks to old gossip. He got reinstated back into activity on July 1st, so my year is looking up a little bit more.
Anywho, D.D. or Dancing Dynamite is their debut track and it’s a song that grew on me pretty quickly. It’s fun, upbeat and the choreography is done by Hikaru which is an added bonus. I’m eagerly looking forward to their next single which should be released soon which should include “Stories” the opening for Black Clover and “Kissing My Lips” which was used as a backing track for Raul’s collaboration with Dior. I have a lot of hype for them still even if I don’t blog about it as often.
Of the approximately 6 different LDH and friends tracks I could have included, I decided to feature “Bessekai” by E-Girls again. I know I said I wasn’t going to feature songs I’ve included in the Monthly Favorites, but… it’s E-Girls. I can’t deny them especially since they are in a bit of a limbo. They were set to disband after their final tour, but LDH has cancelled all tours this year… so… limbo. “Bessekai” is still a beautiful song and should be hear by everyone.
M-flo is back with the m-flo loves series? Holy fuck, I didn’t think the day would come. With Lisa back in the M-flo lineup, I guess more miracles can happen. While I don’t particularly care for Sik-K, he’s not my taste.
I also don’t think he brought much to the table with his particular verses here, but that’s just me. Mukai Taichi with M-flo though? What a dream come true. His opening verses, being followed by Eill? Now that was a dreamy verse I didn’t know I needed. In fact Eill surprised me a lot since I hadn’t heard of her before this feature. She and Lisa could keep trading lines I wouldn’t get bored of it. Certainly not a perfect track, but a fun one putting a new spin on an old series.
SIRUP, my man SIRUP. He’s iconic. Mark my words, if anyone from the Japanese R&B scene makes it to the global stage it should be him. He’s such a sweetheart and honest. Despite his activities limited this year, oop COVID, he did put out his entire album “CIY” earlier this year. “Why Can’t” being the main promoted track, which despite the confusing English title, is a whole-ass bop. I always put this song on when I got on my walks and during my workouts to get a burst of energy. It’s such a unique color, and flavor of Japanese R&B that I seriously can’t recommend it enough.
I feel like it’s been a very long time since I’ve talked about the ladies of Yanakoto Sono Mute. They had a line-up change towards the end of 2019, and added a new member to retain their quartet vibes. So ‘Afterglow’ is their first time showing up their new composition, and I have to say it’s perfectly balanced and still what I’ve come to expect from the group. The instrumentation has gotten a bit stronger, a bit heavier with guitars it seems. However, the ladies are still delivering on their vocal prowess especially my girl Nadeshiko. This track just goes to show that good things come when proper time is given to let them bloom.
Are Nurie taking over my Visual Kei top spot? No, not in the slightest, but they are doing some very interesting things within Visual Kei that I’m here for. I know they don’t have an official pianist in the band, but they really should. Their compositions are so striking with the inclusion of piano, and I’m sure it would be absolutely haunting to hear them performed live. Also guitar and bass work by Ayato and Yahiro? A blessing to my ears.
(Yes, I am doing my best to see them live when it’s safe don’t come for me.) Ryutaro has the right amount of skill to deliver in the more ballad parts of a track, but also the swifter lines he has the right cadence to sell it as still being lyrical if not a bit in the rap genre. The best part of this is that the harmonies in this song? Are actually Ryutaro the vocalist, and the drummer Yuta.
I’m not going to lie. I just added in Zombie’s release because I like Kanata’s voice. The whole reason that Zombie stands out to me is largely due to Kanata’s voice actually. The creative direction done by Midori is a close second though. I haven’t seen such a simple but nifty looking music video in a long time. It’s so distinct that I actually remembered the video over the song… something that I can’t say has happened before. So is this music video cheating for this blog post? Maybe. Both the song and music video are incredibly entertaining so, here it is!
I feel like I made a big deal last year that Ayabie had come back from the grave last year with my full fan-girling and then… I just never followed up on that. So here’s the follow up. “You are an Agitator” is song off of last year’s comeback album. I’m still putting it here because we finally got a video for it. It’s got that late 2000’s early 2010’s type of sound with the highly manipulated opening and then following breaks that Ayabie was known for back in the day. Given how much each member has improved on their own instruments and how it’s being used more as a fun throwback vibe then core sound in their recent comeback, it’s a welcome change of pace. It’s an upbeat track that will have you following along with Aoi’s guidance and the furi even at home!
So with that, is my breif… ish Mid-Year Musings. A bit of a random smattering from the last six months, but I hope you found a track or two to enjoy. With that I’ll see you next post!