Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lately in J-Pop

Some recent noteworthy things in my J-pop radar:

  • Crystal Kay posted about a recent shopping excursion with her mother at the Landmark Tower. I'm sure she still lives in Yokohama...I think I'd die if I saw her there (again--I think I saw her walk off the same train I was on at the Yokohama station in the summer of 2002). Anyway, I love her blog, low quality pictures and all.
  • Utada Hikaru posted about another English-language album from Island Def Jam on her blog, which led me to her MySpace. My initial reaction was, "MySpace?!" I suppose there's some marketing value to this. Anyway, she has a single up, "Come Back to Me," which I think sounds much more radio- and American mass-friendly than any of her electronic, ecclectic, pop-experimental stuff on her first major English-language album, "Exodus." It seems like the thing that was missing from "Exodus" was that drum machine snare fill that appears in every recent R&B/pop ballad. I'm curious to see who, if anyone, helped out with this song, and I still wonder about the strength of her voice.
  • BoA is I guess trying to cross over to the States as well. Joe messaged me the other day about a song of hers out in America, and I remembered that I had seen a BoA video on this blog I frequent, Lulu's, who for a period of time was obsessed with the drop-crotch pant. BoA is wearing some mild drop-crotches in this video. The song, "Eat You Up," is entirely in English, and it's kind of smart in that it forces BoA to enunciate every word she says in the verses so that you understand her (she still has what sounds to me like a strong accent in some interview videos, not that you can't understand what she's saying). So this sounds possibly promising as well.
All of this leads me back to Crystal Kay. Why isn't she attempting to cross over? Maybe she and her team are watching her contemporaries test the waters first, especially after seeing Amerie appear on the R&B scene only to pretty much disappear. I suppose this is the low risk path...or maybe it's just the stay-in-Yokohama path. Hmm. 045 is the best area code to have, and "Yokohama" is the best regional license plate registration. Can't criticize that route.

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