With 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)
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.
4. Burnin’ X’mas (1998)
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.
3. Wild Rush (1999)
That repeated guitar riff is a thing of beauty, made even better by the song’s filtered backing vocals and massive chorus. (full review)
2. Hot Limit (1998)
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)
1. High Pressure (1997)
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.