New & Noteworthy J-pop of the Week (May 21, 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 // 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 // Apr 9 – Apr 15 // Apr 16 – Apr 22 // Apr 23 – Apr 29 // Apr 30 – May 6 // May 7 – May 13

THIS WEEK: May 13 – May 20

AK-69 – Ride Wit Us

This is giving me early-2000’s hip-hop and I love the swagger.

Atarashii Gakko – Seishun Wo Kirisaku Hado

Atarashii Gakko are really making waves this year and their take-no-BS attitude is very much appreciated.

Huwie Ishizaki – Wasuregataki

A nice, upbeat rocker with great energy and a timeless sound.

I Don’t Like Mondays. – Umbrella

This is my favorite I Don’t Like Mondays song in a while. Its breezy, synth-kissed groove feels perfect for summer.

INI – Fanfare (single of the week!)

I wrote about this here. I loved it, and it’s one of my singles of the week!

Neo Japonism – Sniper

Fans of Dreamcatcher should love this one. It’s got that anthemic, apocalyptic metal-dance sound down. I’m a fan.

Queen Bee – Mephisto / Faust (b-side of the week!)

I already featured Queen Bee’s Mephisto as my b-side of the week, and now it has a music video! I love it, though the audio distortions in the video don’t work for me.

I also want to feature new track Faust as one of my two b-sides of this week. It’s one of the most interesting songs I’ve heard all year — so weird and avant garde, yet incredibly catchy. Prepare yourself for the bonkers switch-up midway through the track…

Ryugujo – Mr.FORTUNE (single of the week!)

I wrote about this here. I loved it, and it’s my second single of the week!

Sekai No Owari – Saraba / Turquoise

Saraba now has a music video, though I still don’t think the song is all that memorable. Turquoise should be up next, and it’s definitely an improvement.

Snow Man – i DO ME (Album) (b-side of the week!)

I really like Snow Man’s new album. I think it’s much stronger than last year’s Snow Labo S2. Slow and Aikotoba have grown on me (especially the former) and the unit songs are super fun. Other than that, my favorite tracks are the dance bangers Super Deeper (my second b-side of the week, co-written by the incomparable Christofer Erixon) and Poweeeeer.

And for those keeping track, this is the group’s first album to sell over one million copies in less than a week. Congrats!

Superfly – Spring Is Gradation

Superfly released some of my favorite singles of 2022 and I’m hoping for more on the upcoming album. This new track is enjoyable, but far from my favorite.

Travis Japan – Moving Pieces

I wrote about this here. I liked it a lot!

Yamazaki Ichimon – Kobushi

I can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard something quite like this in mainstream pop!

This week’s old favorite:

Sandaime J Soul Brothers – R.Y.U.S.E.I. (2014)

how about one of the 2010’s best and biggest dance tracks for today? This one never gets old. I’d consider it a modern classic at this point.


9 thoughts on “New & Noteworthy J-pop of the Week (May 21, 2023)

  1. recently i discovered this (now-disbanded) group called Fairies, and i’ve been enjoying their dance-heavy sound. sone songs i like are “Bling Bling My Love,” “White Angel,” and “Hey Hey Light Me Up”


  2. I somehow missed the EP that Wednesday Campanella dropped last month. Little Red Riding Hood, Tinker Bell, and Seven Lucky Gods are bangers


  3. At this point of the year, don’t we have to say Snow Man has the best J-pop/idol album of the year? What else would be in contention?…


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