In 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 // Feb 19 – 25 // Feb 26 – Mar 3 // Mar 4 – Mar 10 // Mar 11 – Mar 18 // Mar 19 – Mar 25 // Mar 26 – Apr 1 // Apr 2 – Apr 8
THIS WEEK: April 9 – April 15
Atarashii Gakko – Janaindayo
They released a new EP with a couple of music videos this week. This is my favorite, even though I think Otona Blue is still better than both!
Da-iCE – Dandelion
I’m very excited about Da-iCE’s upcoming album, but Dandelion is just kind of “pleasant” for me. I like it, but I’d prefer a more lively arrangement. The vocals are fantastic as always.
DXTEEN – Come Over
Ahead of their debut single’s physical release next month, we’ve got a performance video for one of its b-sides. This is pretty generic, but it’s bright and upbeat.
Hinatazaka46 – You’re In My Way (b-side of the week!)
Hinatazaka46’s single is a lot stronger than its promoted tracks led me to believe. And in the context of the full release, I enjoy those songs more. Of the b-sides, I’m most smitten with the fast-paced You’re In My Way and the theatrical Tomo yo, Ichibanboshi da. The former is my b-side pick of the week.
iSCREAM – All Mine
I need to get more familiar with these girls. I like the retro synth and percussion influences.
Kalen Anzai – La La Loud Love
This is fun and lightweight. Well-suited to spring.
KANA-BOON – Gradation (ft. Yuho Kitazawa)
Upbeat rock with a quirky edge.
Mamoru Miyano – Quiet Explosion
I properly got into Miyano’s music a few years ago and I like it best when he goes as dramatic and theatrical as possible. Quiet Explosion has plenty of energy and brings him back to rock sounds.
One Love One Heart – Kajouhonnou (single of the week!)
I’m a bit salty that, for the second time in a row, One Love One Heart aren’t utilizing their full vocal roster. The boys pop up briefly during the bridge and that’s it. Even so, this group is spoiling me because they continue to release brilliant music with increasing regularity. This is like a blend of Now Or Never and The Witch from their debut album. I like it a lot, and it’s my (co)-single of the week.
Psychic Fever – Baku Baku (single of the week!)
To be honest, this is the first Psychic Fever song I’ve really liked. The synth sound is new for them and I love the melody. It’s my other single of the week!
The Rampage – 16BOOSTERZ
I was REALLY looking forward to this and I’m a bit letdown. It’s still great (that opening note is powerful!), but I’m bummed about the second verse and the overall repetitive nature of the chorus. Still, I like this a ton and will be playing it often. My standards for The Rampage are just super high.
SixTONES – Abarero
I… don’t hate this! I initially thought I would since it’s basically Johnny’s trying to do NCT-style pots and pans music. There’s so much posturing that it becomes a caricature of itself. But, that goofiness is kind of charming and the chorus has genuine impact.
Snow Man – Aikotoba
For maybe the first time ever, I’m a bit disappointed in a Snow Man promo track. After how excellent Tapestry and W were, they’ve got a lot to live up to. But as a lead for their new (upcoming) album, this feels very throwaway – a nice fan song or seasonal track instead of the kick-off of a new project.
Yoasobi – Idol
This is likely the most well-known of this week’s many singles. Yoasobi are just so popular. I enjoy some of the dramatic production elements more than the song itself, but I applaud its adventurous spirit. Is it weird that some of the rap reminds me of Snow Man’s Brother Beat?
This week’s old favorite:
SUPER☆DRAGON – Arigato (2017)
SUPER☆DRAGON have some great music in their back catalog, and this is one of my favorites. I love the anthemic heft of the melody. It feels so powerful.
I love this creepy(?)/theatrical sound from ONE LOVE ONE HEART, they always deliver.
I also recommend “Secret Love” from iScream’s full album if you liked All Mine!
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so i watched suzume yesterday (it just released in the US this week) and while watching, this old classic played. i found the song super familiar when it played. then i found out it was used as the theme for kiki’s delivery serivice
I’ve had on repeat JUNNA’s 3rd album title-track on repeat! 5 minutes of bombastic melodies. The album also includes the splendid Yuki Kajiura-produced single “the sea and a pearl”.
The Bias List’s favorite Nishikawa Takanori released a live album of his 2022 tour. Such a performer! Loved the live rearrangements. There’s also a storyline throughout the live.
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Thanks for this, I’m really enjoying JUNNA’s Dear above! Added it to my playlist 🙂
Ooh I’ve always been a great fan of Mamoru Miyano’s Voice Acting career but never knew he had a musical one as well! He’s definitely one of my most favorite VA’s so that will be an interesting song to check out!
He’s got some great songs!
Ooh thanks for the recommendations!! Will check them out! 😀
Crazy how Kalen Anzai has went from one of J-Pop’s most promising stars to a no-name, hope her career can rebound.
OLOH, come on, USE YOUR DIVERSE GROUP OF VOCALISTS. Don’t cut your group in half 😦
I think Yoasobi is my favourite Japanese artist. ‘Idol’ by Yoasobi is such a great song. It fits well in her discography. It’s different but still has that Yoasobi sprinkle to it.
Also, I watched Suzume no Tojimari last week. Radwimps are such incredible musicians. I love their latest song ‘Suzume’
check cute ebichu’s kyo-do?
I like the Yoasobi a lot. The Da-Ice is kind of standard classic 70s keyboard pop but the vocals are indeed on another level.
I really love OLOH’s new song too, but I also wonder why it’s mostly the girls (especially two, though I also think they’re the best singers of the group) singing, and one of the boys in the bridge.
iScream have pretty great songs. I’m sure you’d love them. My favorites are Catwalk, Pendulum and Koi tsuru planet. I was disappointed with The Rampage’s song too but it’s not like it was bad so