Although I’ve admittedly not listened to as much Japanese music this time around as I have in previous years (or at least, fewer full albums), I still enjoy hearing what’s out there and writing up these annual posts as a result. There’s just something fun about it for me, and taking a break from anime every once in a while to write about other aspects of Japanese pop culture is also something I can get behind. Read More
Just to be clear, none of the following is to say that Carole & Tuesday is by any means a bad show, or even a below average one. There are numerous excellent aspects I’m happy to praise, including of course its general style and overall aesthetic, which is (unsurprisingly) far more sophisticated than any other title this anime season has to offer. More to the point, I’m enjoying watching it every week and am glad it’s going to have 24 episodes, which will hopefully be used to really flesh out its cast and do a solid job in terms of pacing.
But. My biggest problem with Carole & Tuesday is the one I never thought I’d say about any show with Watanabe Shinichirou at the helm: the music. Read More
They may be vastly outnumbered by the number of vocal OPs, but instrumental anime openings have plenty to recommend them. For those viewers who aren’t the biggest fans of J-pop, instrumentals can be far preferable. Their lack of lyrics also means that for viewers without a working knowledge of Japanese, there’s no need to peer at subtitles (assuming they’re there in the first place) while also trying to concentrate on sometimes fast-paced or frenetic visuals. And of course, for any anime viewer, the very fact that the vocal-to-instrumental OP ratio is so unbalanced makes the latter stand out purely by default.
That said, there are still a good number of instrumental anime OPs around, some of them better or more attention-grabbing than others. Based on a combination of the music itself as well as the visuals, I’ve managed to narrow that number down to my top five (plus an honourable mention) – a couple of which will hopefully be new to at least a few readers. Read More
It’s been a fairly underwhelming year for Japanese music for me, at least as far as full studio albums are concerned. While plenty of my favourite artists released compilation or best of albums during 2018, far fewer released studio albums; as a result, I listened to only 11 of them total, while just 3 of these made the cut. As always, the following list is arranged in order of release date and comprises only full and original studio albums by a single artist or band – no cover, compilation, EP, or live albums have been included. Read More
Previously on Otaku Lounge, I wrote a post about my anime Top 5 Foreign Language Anime OPs. However, in order to try and keep the list as diverse as possible, I ended up discounting OPs that were performed in English by English native speakers. This is a companion piece to that post. (Admittedly, the title is something of a misnomer. It should really read something more along the lines of ‘Top 5 English-Language OPs Written and Performed by English Native Speakers’, but I quickly decided that was too much of a mouthful and went for the slightly less accurate version instead.) Read More
For whatever reason, there have been a ton of Favourite Anime OP posts out lately. These are always pretty fun to read, and I had thought of doing my own for quite a while now (in fact, I’ve been putting that off for the last couple of years, if not longer). And while I do intend to get there eventually, I thought it might be good to first write up a few different articles on the topic, each with their own specific theme. First up: my top 5 foreign language OPs. Read More
This year’s list is a little lighter than in 2016, when I listened to 18 Japanese studio albums total (in comparison to 13 this time around). However, I think that’s more of a reflection on my own time constraints as opposed to any particular dip in the Japanese music industry, and I managed to find a handful of albums that really stood out to me regardless. As always, the following list, arranged in order of release date, is comprised solely of full and original studio albums by a single artist or band – no covers, compilations, collaborations, EPs, or live albums. Read More
It’s been a whirlwind year in the Japanese music industry. Influential singer/songwriter Utada Hikaru released her first album in eight years; Boom Boom Satellites released their final (gorgeous) record before the passing away of vocalist Kawashima Michiyuki; iconic boy band SMAP disbanded after a run of nearly three decades; and BABYMETAL took one step closer to world domination when they opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers on their UK tour. To nobody’s surprise, fan-favourite idol groups such as Arashi and AKB48 continued to top many of the charts, but they were far from the only fare on offer in 2016. Read More
Clearly there’s some kind of heathen magic at work here, because every year I listen to more albums than I did the previous one and every year I end up picking exactly six of them for this list regardless. Oh well, at least I have a male band on it this time. Read More
Japanese music can be potentially quite difficult for English-speaking listeners to get into, and not just because of the language barrier. With the record charts saturated by saccharine-sweet idol units such as AKB48 and their numerous sister groups, and bishounen-heavy boy bands like Arashi and Kis-My-Ft2, the industry might seem off-putting to those wanting something with a little more depth. However, even lovers of mainstream pop might find the comparatively high-pitched and sometimes rather nasal vocal style of many J-pop singers overly harsh on the eardrums – and besides all that, it can simply be tricky to know where exactly to begin. Read More