Review

A Trio of Excellent New J-Pop B-sides!

A Trio of Excellent New J-Pop B-sides!As I’ve lamented several times already, 9-rated songs have been few and far between this year on the blog. Even many of my “buried treasures” haven’t quite crossed that threshold.

I don’t often feature buried treasures for J-pop songs. There’s only so much music I have time to cover, and I know the Bias List audience is much more interested in reading about K-pop. But in the past few weeks, there have been three new J-pop tracks worth gushing over. Rather than give them all their own post, I thought I’d bundle them together for a triple strike of goodness!


JO1 – Move The Soul


JO1’s Born To Be Wild was my favorite song of 2021, so I’m delighted to see the guys revisit that sound. Move The Soul isn’t quite as potent as its predecessor, but its ebullient funk-dance energy makes me so happy. It just sounds so massive, especially when its commanding chorus drops. The beat-heavy dance break is another standout, building to a knockout finale. This song will be part of the group’s upcoming album, but I’m more likely to play it right after Born To Be Wild for a double shot of serotonin.

Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

Miyavi – Dumb


Dumb is the b-side to Miyavi’s equally-excellent Strike It Out, released late last month. So many current songs opt for beat drop choruses, but ladies and gentlemen THIS is how you do a beat drop! The instrumental is so hulking and full that you’ll feel it in your gut. Meld rumbling synth with searing guitar and you’ve got the recipe for a Bias List favorite. Miyavi’s punky vocals add an idiosyncratic touch, bringing extra texture to an already tactile track. Honestly, Dumb is everything I was hoping Stray Kids’ Maniac would be.

Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

Snow Man – Refresh


First off, I hate the YouTube edit of this song. It removes part of the chorus, much of the point choreography and makes it seem like the song crashes into a second verse tempo shift (it doesn’t). Second, I may eventually count this as a single since the guys have been promoting it and this dance video might as well be a proper mv. Third, I’m bound to love anything Snow Man releases at this point. Refresh is the group at their upbeat best, injecting a ton of fun into a catchy electro dance track. It’s a little silly, a lot catchy and best when the volume is turned all the way up.

Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

21 thoughts on “A Trio of Excellent New J-Pop B-sides!

  1. Thank you for posting about JO1. Don’t forget to listen to their previous b-side “We Alright”. it also has that groovy feel to it. those three songs are triple kill together

    I enjoy many of Snow Man’s songs as well. I wish they’re available on digital for casual listeners like me

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  2. Excellent songs! All of these!
    J-pop is really just on a whole other level. Whereas K-pop companies abuse the hell out of a trend, There are artists in the former’s market who sticks to their own individuality and reaps the rewards as such. Miyavi being one excellent example.

    Liked by 1 person

      • in a perfect world, kpop companies wouldn’t have to constantly milk a trend to death and everyone would have their individual sound without having to rely on sounding like everyone else. but unfortunately, what’s happening to kpop rn is what happens when the industry is held down to the pavement by the big foot of capitalism :/

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          • I also don’t get the sense that producers are writing with specific acts in mind anymore. Instead, it feels like agencies are drawing from a pool of generic tracks designed to work for anyone, in line with whatever trend is popular at the moment. All this does is make every idol group sound the same.

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  3. so i got bored and decided to rank all the encanto songs from my favorite to least favorite (i still think the mitchells vs the machines should’ve won the best animated feature award, but then again, its disney). here it is lol

    1. surface pressure [10, 10, 9, 9; 9.5]
    2. colombia mi encanto [9, 10, 9, 9; 9.25]
    3. we don’t talk about bruno [10, 8, 9, 9; 9]
    4. what else can i do [8, 9, 9, 9; 8.75]
    5. dos oruguitas [9, 9, 9, 8; 8.75]
    6. the family madrigal [9, 8, 9, 9; 8.75]
    7. all of you [8, 9, 9, 8; 8.5]
    8. waiting on a miracle [9, 8, 8, 8; 8.25]

    also i listened to hong jin young’s viva la vida and despite it being a trot song, i think its one of the best things i’ve heard from korean music all year

    Liked by 1 person

  4. all three of these songs are great! move the soul is probably my favorite. as brawnybones mentioned, i appreciate that jpop typically explores more trends / sounds rather than sticking to a singular genre.

    in terms of jpn songs, i really like wednesday campanella’s recent work with their new frontwoman. overall cute tracks! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YA34RqNcco

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  5. Move the Soul is Born to Be Wild’s worthy successor! I’m so happy you rated it! Knowing JO1’s kpop-style roots, I can’t help but think it could have been the number 1 kpop song in this blog this month if it was released by a kpop act. The chorus and the postchorus are so strong and knitted instead of just some vague oh-ohs and la-las we hear a lot lately.

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