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My Favorite J-pop: T.M.Revolution

T.M.RevolutionWith such a busy slate of K-pop releases, I don’t always have a chance to rave about some of my favorite J-pop. This week, I’ll be giving an overview of some of my favorite acts and songs. Hopefully you’ll find a new obsession to add to your playlist!


Why I Love T.M.Revolution (and you should too)

Over the past decade, there’s been an increasing urge for pop stars to become more relatable, building social media narratives and infusing their music with specific details about their lives. T.M.Revolution isn’t like that. He’s a veritable pop music god from another planet, and that’s why I find him so iconic and one-of-a-kind. If nothing else, he’s my pop music god — someone who subscribes to the philosophy of pop maximalism I love so much.

With his throaty, powerful voice and provocative (sometimes downright comical) looks, his persona is like nothing else out there. I’ll always feel most attached to his 90’s and 00’s work, but he’s still active today under his given name and creating standout tracks that embrace the rockier side of his music.

There’s more to him than his 90’s work, right?

Of course! My top five songs might be stuck in one era, but he’s got plenty of highlights beyond the 90’s and early 2000’s. In fact, I’d like to feature the blistering Naked Arms from 2010 and the incredible Crescent Cutlass from 2019 to show how his work has progressed as he’s moved on to different collaborators and a heavier sound.



My Top Five Singles

(Disclaimer: These music videos are (criminally) region-blocked in most of the world, but if you have access to a VPN I strongly encourage watching them because the visual aspect is so important to understanding T.M.Revolution’s appeal. But, I’m also including the streamable audio below each video for those who can’t bypass the region-blocking. And if you’re okay watching videos on a different platform, I’m including a clickable link to the video uploads on Bilibili, which should be accessible to everyone.)

5. Der Freischutz (2000)


(Bilibili video link)

One of the most surreal and bonkers music videos ever made. You simply must watch this one until the end. The song itself is addictive in its blistering force.
Rating: 9.5


4. Burnin’ X’mas (1998)


(Bilibili video link)

Looking at that single cover pretty much tells you you’re in for an overblown, ridiculous time. Don’t go into this expecting a Christmas carol. The costuming is… something else.
Rating: 9.5


3. Wild Rush (1999)


(Bilibili video link)

That repeated guitar riff is a thing of beauty, made even better by the song’s filtered backing vocals and massive chorus. (full review)
Rating: 10


2. Hot Limit (1998)


(BiliBili video link)

One of the most iconic songs and videos in J-pop history! Though blocked in most of the world, the YouTube upload still has almost 50 million views. That should tell you how beloved a song this is. (full review)
Rating: 10


1. High Pressure (1997)


(BiliBili video link)

I mean, it’s one of my favorite songs of all-time in any genre or market. I don’t know what else I can say except this feels like me in musical form. Make of what you will! (full review)
Rating: 10


My Top Five B-sides

5. Untouchable Girls (1998)


This one has all the hallmarks of my favorite T.M.Revolution singles of its era. It just happens to be a b-side instead!
Rating: 9


4. Aqualovers – Deep In The Night (1998)


A firm fan favorite, Aqualovers‘ creeping riffs and atmospheric electronics combine to craft a should-have-been single.
Rating: 9


3. Neo Sphere (2003)


This is as close to disco as T.M.Revolution ever got. The chugging electronics and anthemic melodies make a flawless match.
Rating: 9.5


2. O.L. (1998)


Surprisingly, my favorite T.M.Revolution b-sides tend to be slower-paced. I think this is the best ballad in his arsenal. The guitar, synth beat and gorgeous vocals so perfectly evoke 80’s-era Billy Idol.
Rating: 9.5


1. Fragile (2000)


An utterly gorgeous piece of synth pop perfection. The moment at 0:50 when the full beat drops is as transcendent as music gets.
Rating: 10

9 thoughts on “My Favorite J-pop: T.M.Revolution

  1. Ooh I wasn’t expecting this one! My connection with jpop is primarily via anime which admittedly exposes me to a slightly smaller group of artists and in a way is noob level jpop lol yet I still find the jpop I heard to be quite enjoyable! As much as I love kpop, the anime songs are still my comfort food πŸ™‚

    My favorite from T.M Revolution has to be Tsukiyabureru Time to Smash. I remember absolutely not liking it the first time I listened to it for some obnoxious reason πŸ˜‚ But it totally jammed to it as it grew on me!

    Then I really love his work with Nana Mizuki for the anime openings “Preserved Roses” and “Kakumei Dualism”! Both are great fun to just blast away and sing-along (read scream) with! πŸ™ƒ

    Like

  2. I usually go for YOASOBI, ZUTOMAYO, Aimer, TUYU, yama if I want to listen to J-pop. I have a very specific J-pop taste. Bubbly, kind of controlled chaos, fast paced.

    YOASOBI

    ZUTOMAYO

    Sangatsu no Phantasia

    Aimer

    Like

  3. Well, I think I can’t really do anything than re-post my comment from your review of High Pressure:

    “The High Pressure in the title is referring to the pressure on the very next song you hear after this one, it has a lot to live up to.”

    But yeah, TM Revolution, despite a name that sounds like something from Pokemon, is a pop legend for a reason.

    Like

  4. In high school my twin brother was in a male beauty pageant our school hosted called Mr. BHS. For his talent section he performed a dance routine to Koi Nimo Makezu, complete with backup dancers. He didn’t win 😦

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  5. T.M. Revolution once had a side project named abingdon boys school (“abs” in short), and I couldn’t wait for its official revival to happen. Tours are not enough, please shove us with new music!

    Some recommendations:
    1. An anime opening. Adrenaline rush!

    2. A Buck-Tick cover. Classic tribute done right, done well and done impressively.

    Like

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