Holy fuck, I had this J-pop version of the Rundown planned for months, but I got busy and I’m also lazy so guess what always got put off?
Anyway, here’s some releases I had brief thoughts on that were released from January through March, and feel free to contribute your own faves from that timeframe in the comments.
FEMM – “We Got Each Other”
If you hadn’t heard, the FEMM girls have ditched the robot stuff and are now just a standard pop duo. It’s unapologetically Top 40, but it hits most of the notes well enough.
Koda Kumi – “Sure Shot”
A long way from her best, but it’s nice to be reminded that she’s still releasing music at least.
Predia – “DRESS”
The members are all in their early-to-mid 30s, so while in a lot of ways it feels like a typical idol track complete with choral singing chorus, it’s enhanced due being performed by adults with maturer sounding vocals and the whole formula works better as a result.
Momoiro Clover Z – “HAND”
A simple song about friendship at its core, but one that’s executed well with a bright, uplifting groove to it.
SKE48 – “Kokoro Ni Flower”
The song is unremarkably generic in the typical upbeat 48 group song sort of way, but the music video is extremely cool.
FANTASTICS – “Santa Monica Lollipop”
It’s maybe a bit of punch away from being a standout pop track, but it’s still an alluringly vibey one that sustains itself thanks to its funky stylings and an appropriately playful delivery. Playlist material for me.
STARKIDS (Feat. Seri) – “STARKIDS NO SEI”
Holy shit, it’s ‘Hyaku Gecs’! This is honestly not my sort of thing, but I see the vision and if you’re a fan of hyperpop then this should be right up your alley.
Perfume – “Flow”
A quite nice soundscape that puts you directly into this dreamy trance state, but it also doesn’t really go anywhere beyond that.
XG – “Tippy Toes”
On trend with a lot of K-pop girl group releases this year in terms of the unbothered delivery and disdain for anything resembling a melodic chorus. So not exactly my thing, but it’s supposed to get by on aura, visuals, and image, and if you like the others then you should like this as well.
INI – “CALL 119”
Speaking of overseas trend chasing, this is basically all the macho posturing K-pop boy group releases rolled into one. Impressive in a way.
Kawaguchi Yurina – “Look At Me”
Honestly feel like there’s a lot of untapped potential here, and it’s unfortunately going to remain untapped as long as her production continues to go with things like an exceedingly mid instrumental-heavy chorus.
King & Prince – “Odoru You Ni Jinsei Wo”
Like an upbeat number from a musical or play, and while it’s not something I would necessarily seek out just to listen, in conjunction with the music video it was definitely a fun change of pace.