Feature

New & Noteworthy J-pop of the Week (Feb 26, 2023)

New and Noteworthy J-popIn connection with my desire to fully keep up with the J-pop industry, I’m planning to do a weekly round-up of any new releases that have caught my ear. Some of these may have been covered on the blog already, but my hope is that this will become a one-stop shop for anyone interested in what’s new in J-pop.

With that in mind, here’s where you come in: I’m one person with one set of musical preferences, so please embed any other new J-pop tracks you’ve enjoyed in the comments so we can get a fuller spectrum each week.

*And just like I do with my reviews, I’ll wait until full versions of songs are available before posting them in this round-up. This will mostly apply to Johnny’s groups, who still limit the majority of their YouTube uploads to shorter, edited versions.


2023 Index: Feb 1 – Feb 18


THIS WEEK: February 19 – February 25


Atarashii Gakko! – The Edge

I love the punky edge mixed with the new wave-esque production.


BABYMETAL – Light and Darkness

Help me out, here. Do BABYMETAL often fuse elements of dance music to their heavy metal sound? If so, I definitely have some catching up to do because this is great!


BiSH – Bye-Bye Show

I’m not always a fan of BiSH’s music, but this farewell single has a nice grungy energy.


Fantastics – Easy Come, Easy Go (b-side of the week!)

Good news! Fantastics’ buoyant Panorama Jet (from last week’s round-up) is officially a single and will have a music video in the coming weeks! Before that, the group have delivered a lyric video to one of its b-sides. I love this so much. It’s an explosion of melodic pop joy.


Frederic – Yuyukanei Kaiyuroku (Album)

This group’s quirky sound is a lot of fun. My favorite b-side from this new mini album was actually pre-released late last year, but their single Sparkle Dancer is also good.


iScream – Love Me Better

Super solid, atmospheric dance pop from this talented trio.


Kep1er – I Do! Do You?

I wrote about this one here. I thought it was okay.


King & Prince – Life Goes On / We Are Young

I wrote about Life Goes On here. I liked it!

We Are Young is a beautiful ballad, but I’m not usually a big ballad person.


NOA – NO.A (Album)

It’s funny… I didn’t care for the vast majority of the singles that preceded this album, but there are a handful of fantastic b-sides on the album. I’m posting my favorite, alongside the current single for reference.

And FYI, NOA was part of project group 8LOOM last year, in case you’re wondering where you’ve seen him!


The Rampage – Round & Round (Album)

The Rampage released their fifth album this week, preceded by a number of excellent singles. There are a few new tracks included as well. These are my two favorites.


SKY-HI – D.U.N.K.

SKY-HI’s rapid fire flow is in full display over quirky production that’s equally as ferocious.


SUPER★DRAGON – Revolution

I really appreciate what they’re going for with this and there are parts that are quite ear-catching. But, but vocal arrangement during the chorus lets the song down. It’s too thin. I wish they would have layered the heck out of it.

Still an interesting track, though. I love those electronic breakdowns.


7ORDER – Who I Am (single of the week!)

I wrote about this one here. I loved it!


This week’s old favorite:


Hey! Say! JUMP – AinoArika (2014)

One of my favorite Hey! Say! JUMP songs, newly available on YouTube this week! It took me ages to get over the super nasally performance during the verses, but that orchestral chorus is EPIC.


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7 thoughts on “New & Noteworthy J-pop of the Week (Feb 26, 2023)

  1. Since I’m so bored with the state of K-pop right now and it seems to have fallen off a cliff quality-wise, lately I’ve been diving back into 90s Japanese Shibuya-kei – Flipper’s Guitar, Pizzicato Five, Fishmans, Cornelius, Kahimi Karie, Capsule, etc. Do you like any of this stuff, Nick? I liked it at the time, but re-visiting it now, I think I like it even more. Strangely enough, some of its best singles don’t seem all that far away from what JYP and the Wonder Girls would do later (although its scope was broader, taking in French ye-ye, bossa nova, lounge, space age exotica, along with nascent turntablism, etc; not too different from what was going on in the UK at the time – Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, Stereolab, Deee-Lite (which arguably also belongs to the Shibuya-kei genre).

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  2. I’ve been a BABYMETAL fan for a while and they DEFINITELY have always been mixing dance with metal and rock; they do some pretty insane choreography when they perform live! I really recommend checking our their earlier albums; they’ve been pretty consistently excellent and I can only think of a few of their songs I’m not in love with. I could not be more excited for their upcoming album!

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    • Long time fan here also. Babymetal’s songwriting has always incorporated a wide variety of influences from various genres, with a lot of pop-meets-metal contrasts. For example, “Shanti Shanti Shanti” incorporates south Asian rhythms for a terrific hook. And their live performances always include lots of choreo. For example, “Gimme Chocolate” was their breakthrough hit and features a gonzo routine that features lots of swaying, bouncing, and miming eating chocolate.

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  3. I Don’t Like Mondays released a new single a few weeks ago! They’re a funky rock group, I think Wolf Vibes is pretty serviceable and groovy. Won’t be adding it to my favorite songs from them but it’s nice.

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