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Author Topic: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition  (Read 599 times)

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Offline Manimal

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The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« on: November 25, 2020, 08:00:42 AM »
It's back. In 2016 I did this and now I'll do it again. Everyday I'll share a different J-Pop song as a advent calendar of sorts. I'm starting now and going for 30 days until Christmas Eve.

As to not clog the front page I'll only make a new post every now and then so keep checking back every day for updates. Enjoy the tunes and hopefully you'll find some cool new to you stuff.




Let's get into it! Links for every song under my small write ups. 
« Last Edit: November 25, 2020, 02:26:52 PM by Manimal Claus »

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2020, 08:03:19 AM »
Day 1 - the peggies : weekend

  • Rock trio the peggies have grown a lot in the last two years. Their latest EP anemone saw them take on something new with the fun poppy song "weekend". This is a delightful airy song with some funky elements. The instrumental is very nice with an awesome bassline and drum groove. Yuho's vocals sound sweet as always. the peggies have been a great group to follow and I highly recommend everyone to check out their album Hell Like Heaven. "weekend" has been one of my favorite songs this year and I've listened to it tons. I could hardly recognize Yuho when I first watched the video, the whole band has matured their image and sound a lot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRGeqFB2TUY 

Day 2 - Ayumi Hamasaki : Boys & Girls

  • An ultimate jam from one of J-Pop's classic artists. Ayumi has had many classics and most people who like J-Pop are bound to like atleast one of them. "Boys & Girls" is my favorite, it has that great techno instrumental with an awesome melody. This could of been a song in a 90's Gundam show. I can see the animation playing out as we hit the chorus. The production is awesome on this track, the whole album Loveppears quickly became a new to me classic recently. It's extremely good and this is the album's brightest moment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw_cTMqHQ1w


Day 3 - miwa : We Are The Light

  • This song ended up becoming an all time J-Pop favorite for me. It's a wonderful track that highlights miwa's soft comforting vocals. The instrumental is fantastic and adds to the emotion and positive feeling of the song. This track came out in 2017 and I really wish miwa had released an album that year. She had two fantastic singles which focused on this Electro sound. These are my favorite kind of songs, not just of J-Pop but of all time. I can always go back and listen and love them as much as my first listen.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skMWL7wbcF8 
« Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 10:01:00 AM by Manimal Claus »

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2020, 10:00:40 AM »
Day 4 - ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION : Loop&Loop

  • A track that hits you with that wall of comforting guitars. "Loop&Loop" has great melodies and production, the guitar tones are excellent and I love all the small details ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION put in their tracks. All the arpeggios and little fills have great effect, such as the small part at 0:56. This song has a unique structure as well, taking it's time to get to the first chorus. You really can't go wrong with the songs on their album Sol-fa. The band re-recorded the album in 2016. I much prefer the remade version of "Re:Re", famously used in Erased. However the re-record of "Loop&Loop" takes all the balls & punch out of the track. I say stick with the original.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4l9qxtTbmM

Day 5 - Nana Kitade : KISS

  • Nana Kitade was known for her song "KISS or KISS" so logically she released an EP of songs with the word kiss in the title. The song "KISS" is a cover of a Princess Princess song and oh man, this is one of my top most beloved songs of all time. It's instantly sentimental to me and takes me back to late 2015 everytime I hear it. The instrumental is fantastic and I love Nana's catty vocals. She's forgotten these days which is a shame because she had some pretty good songs in the 2000's. She was in a grunge band The Teenage Kissers for a while and then made a surprise comeback in 2017 with a 4th solo album Violet Blaze. The short version of "KISS" is the only one on YouTube, I recommend seeking it out elsewhere to enjoy the full thing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdAZm7Rb9qY

Day 6 - You'll Melt More! : Night Hiking

  • Here is a group who beat you over the head with their pure Idol power. There is a certain energy that You'll Melt More! have that is unique, they are not traditional idols. The music is always great and varied. It's an experience to listen to one of their albums. They are certainly more candy sweet than other Alternative Idols and "Night Hiking" is one of their more chill laid back songs. I recommend anyone who likes idols to look into this group, they are quite good!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1xHnExn9Ks 

Day 7 - Haru Nemuri : Narash!te

  • Haru is the sort of artist who assures you Rock 'n Roll isn't dead, it's just changed hands. "Narash!te" is a powerful song with her intense and raw vocals. When she breaks into screaming it's so visceral. Her sort of rapping in the verses is great and this is one of the many amazing songs on her Haru to Shura album. It's a record that kicked ass and showed Haru had a lot of potential as a rising artist. This is my favorite song that she has made so far.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY9QHQlfNQ8
« Last Edit: December 01, 2020, 07:04:02 AM by Manimal Claus »

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2020, 08:51:30 AM »
Day 8 - Momoko Kikuchi : Adventure

  • Here is a great City Pop jam, a very sweet and fun song. The instrumental is excellent and catchy. It has a great soft feeling, especially with Momoko's vocals. This is the sort of track that's amazing from it's first second. The intro sets a great tone. This album recently came back out of nowhere and I just found out it's now available for Western buyers on record and tape! It is a bit expensive for a repress, I will have to think about it. But anyway "Adventure" is a fantastic track and one of my favorite City Pop songs!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hv6IE8l2TA 

Day 9 - BRADIO : You Make Me Feel Brand New

  • One of the great songs that's soundtracked by life. This is a very powerful track from BRADIO, who mostly make high energy Funky jams. You know them from "Flyers", a God tier anime OP, but they have so many more amazing songs. This is a beautiful track that rides a great melancholy Winter mood. The slow drums, gradually adding of instruments and low vocals of the singer all give it a vivid feeling. The chorus where he breaks into his high range is great, this song just hits me directly in my soul. It was my defining song of 2019 and I love it dearly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-soz7ADAjI 

Day 10 - BRATS : Unfair

  • BRATS are a Rock group that have been around since the singer Rei Kuromiya was 11. Rei been all over the place in her career so far, being one of the members of Ladybaby previously. In BRATS she has a great Rock voice and I have been hoping for the band to really have a musical breakthrough. They released an album this year, Karma, though I haven't listened to it yet. This song "Unfair" is the best they've done so far. It's a fantastic Rock song!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLqr1Y5QJuE

Day 11 - Aimer : Believe Be Leave

  • Aimer has many wonderful tracks. She has one of my favorite voices in J-Pop, such a great husky tone. I love her chill songs like this, it has great emotion to it. The melody is very nice and I like all the English phrases. This is on the same album as her masterpiece "Brave Shine" and other excellent tracks like "AM0:400".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6lyX9pPf-o
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 08:45:30 AM by Manimal Claus »

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2020, 09:05:16 AM »
Day 12 - BAND-MAID : Blooming

  • BAND-MAID, if you ask me the greatest Rock band of our time. I am so happy to be following a group that is releasing such exciting music! For the first time in forever they made me feel the true spark of Rock music, with their own unique style that has been evolving album to album. The gimmick of BAND-MAID is simple, they dress like maids and play in their words "impossibly hard rocking" music. Ever since WORLD DOMINATION they have emerged powerfully as songwriters with their own spin on things. "Blooming" is a really fantastic song from CONQUEROR that rocks the house down. It's fast tempo, great riffs and of course Saiki's awesome vocals. BAND-MAID came from the era of gimmick J-Pop that BABYMETAL started and they've continued on strong because of their great talent, excellent focus on image and killer music. You know a KISS fan loves a band with a good visual gimmick, it adds to the fun and makes them distinct. The members all have different personalities that they present with their stage presence and they are all kick ass performers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUt_JBMocKM

Day 13 - L'Arc-en-Ciel : Caress Of Venus

  • An absolutely magnificent song from a great album. This song is super cool, with a very 90's beat and classic 80's Jangle guitars. HYDE's vocals are so good, he has so much personality to his performances. This song began a new wave of new to me J-Pop artists, it's the kind of track that is so great you have to hear more from the band. From the few albums I've heard so far I have to say L'Arc-en-Ciel have some very impressive output from the 90's!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72FKwD6qSHg
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 12:15:53 PM by Manimal Claus »

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2020, 09:53:38 AM »
Day 14 - PASSCODE : Taking You Out

  • PASSCODE have a distinct and unique sound that is focused on beating you over the head with a whiplash series of style changes, all in the same song. "Taking You Out" is their greatest work, with Metal, Chiptune and Idol all exploding at the same time. Screaming vocals and sudden change ups. They've released a lot of music, with many singles this year, but this song still stands as the best summary of what PASSCODE is. When they say "Taking You Out" it doesn't seem like it's out on a date. PASSCODE went for the kill with this song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmt86RKEkuY 

Day 15 - SCANDAL : Oyasumi

  • SCANDAL started out as a record label creation who were feed songs. Overtime they improved as musicians and then in 2015 with the release of Hello World they reached a creative stride when they began to write all their songs. From this point SCANDAL has been a fun group to follow, with Yellow and Honey also being great albums. They were a popular group well before they released their best material and now after finding their own expression they are even better. "Oyasumi" is a song sang by the drummer Rina, I loved this song in 2015 and I still love it now for it's great melody and instrumental take off. This song has a unique feel to it, Rina is not the best vocalist but she makes it work.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6lELX_1zC8   

Day 16 - Anna Takeuchi : B.M.B.

  • Anna is a newer artist who released her debut album MATOUSIC this year. She is another acoustic wielding singer songwriter but there is something more interesting about her music. For one she's actually a really good guitarist with a nice finger picking style and her songs are very fun. "B.M.B." is so disturbingly catchy that just the first seconds will get stuck in your head. I love the beat and how Anna sings the chorus. She has a nice voice that reminds me of Yui with less husk. Anna might be an artist to look out for!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhu033YVrzk 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2020, 07:03:58 AM by Manimal Claus »

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2020, 08:38:29 AM »
Day 17 - Seiko Oomori : Ryusei Heaven

  • Seiko Oomori has been a Top 10 artist for me since I first heard TOKYO BLACK HOLE in 2016. Her music is expressive and very creative. She takes on so many J-Pop songs and weaves them into her style. On kitixxxgaia she did so many different songs that summed up what Alternative J-Pop was at the time. Seiko started an Idol group, ZOC, that she manages and performs in. There is so much about her I find so interesting and as a performer she is very inspiring to me for her great expression and music. Sennou, TOKYO BLACK HOLE and kitixxxgaia are such amazing records that cover a lot of ground. "Ryusei Heaven" is one of her warmer songs that starts off with gentle verses before going into a great chorus. The instrumental is absolutely fantastic. She has so many fantastic songs and even if her music start to decline she will always be a very important artist to me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDTwXCrcHxs 

Day 18 - Perfume : Baby Cruising Love

  • Perfume are a great group with really sweet & catchy Electro pop tunes. The music is mixed so the singers become part of the mechanical instrumentation. They peaked with their first album Game, a magnificent listen beginning to end. "Baby Cruising Love" is the highlight. It makes me feel really nostalgic with it's amazing melody. I love the dirty bass and washes of keyboards. The main melody is so lovely and the mix is brilliant. This is truly one of the finest J-Pop songs I've ever heard.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYaxQYf_EdI 

Day 19 - Yui : Driving Happy Life

  • Yui delivers some of sunniest and most enjoyable Pop Rock tunes. "Driving Happy Life" is a pure joy, the youthful freedom of being able to go on a cruise. It's a really nice song with great guitar layering and Yui's fantastic vocals. It's always summer when one of Yui's songs is on! There is a music video with her driving a Beetle but good luck finding it online. I only found out there was a video today from screenshots!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doosUBsnCf4

Day 20 - GARNiDELiA : Moon Landing

  • GARNiDELiA have a lot of excellent songs. Their first album Linkage Ring is so good! It has jams which are alright but it's really these deeply melancholic songs that get to me and have made the album so nostalgic and emotive to me. "Moon Landing" is one such track, it fills me with a sentimental feeling. There is just something about the melody and instrumental that gets into my soul. The soft verses and then the instrumental pick-up into the chorus. The song "Steps" is very similar to this one, it's sort of like a melancholy dance song. GARNiDELiA have remained a favorite for the range of emotions the songs give me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyc6X3TOmU 

Day 21 - Maison book girl : Silhouette

  • Among Alternative Idols Maison book girl are extremely unique. Their instrumentals are insane, with a distinct style of craziness. All the time changes and sudden shifts are crazy. The vocals are great and very melodic. "Silhouette" is one of their calm songs with a very vivid mood. It sounds like sitting in an apartment looking over the city at 2 am with the TV on faintly in the background. It's such a mood that is captured perfectly in the music.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o8aUALfjt0
« Last Edit: December 16, 2020, 08:25:51 AM by Manimal Claus »

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2020, 08:31:42 AM »
Day 22 - BiSH : Beautiful Sa

  • BiSH have been a great group to follow over the years. They are an Alternative Idol group that aim to be a Punk Band Without Instruments. Their name stands for Brand New Idol Sh!t and the members are all a bunch of weirdos. They evolved from the original BiS who were a very edgy norm defying group. In the beginning BiSH did a lot of shocking tricks and had crazy PVs but over the years they became more commercial and found a different identity separate from BiS. Ayuni D has recently emerged to be a fantastic performer with a lot of charm and character. She had a great transformation from an awkward girl to the frontwoman of a three piece rock band. The same line-up of BiSH has been around for 4 years now, which is highly unusual for an idol group. I have the feeling BiSH will come to an end in the next year or so but I hope they continue on for a long time because their music is so much fun and gives me a lot of joy. "Beautiful Sa" is one of their anthems, it's a great catchy song with powerful driving guitars. It perfectly showcases BiSH.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVLLAg5kJR8

Day 23 - Satoko Shibata : Tears

  • Satoko is a fun and creative sort of Folksy artist. "Tears" is a great song with a playful melody that keeps building in the chorus. Most of her songs have a nice laidback beat and feel. There are a lot of cool things going on in the tracks though which make her more exciting than just another singer songwriter.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4oFhYVSzjc 

Day 24 - E TICKET PRODUCTION : Out Loud

  • E TICKET PRODUCTION was a one off project where a few Alternative Idols did rap songs. There was a range of styles with Rinne Yoshida doing the more aggressive tracks, Shiina Pikarin doing high voiced insane antics and Nagi Nemoto doing this awesome chill song, "Out Loud". This song has an excellent laid back vibe with a great beat. Nagi's rapping over it is enjoyable, she does well and fits the vibe of the song. I really liked some of these E TICKET songs and I was hoping they would do more but it was just a one time thing from 2017. Just another reason why 2017 was my absolute favorite year of music in my life so far.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEmznINVGV8

Day 25 - Aimyon : Marshmallow

  • Aimyon is a great Singer Songwriter who's been very successful in recent years. I'm a new fan of hers, although I've known some of her songs for a while I never really got into her until I listened to her new album I Heard That There's Good Pasta. Her voice is so pleasant, with a great deep tone. "Marshmallow" is a really fun song with marching drums and rocking guitars. YouTuber
    hongyao made a video to help English speaking listeners learn about Aimyon which is the first link below.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfCzia-SQDI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq0c35eLyFw
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 07:32:42 PM by Manimal Claus »

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2020, 08:23:37 AM »
Day 26 - PASSPO : Mr. Wednesday

  • PASSPO were a flight themed idol group with a Rock theme. They had a long history before disbanding in 2018, and oh boy did they ever go out on top. I got into PASSPO in 2015 and by that point they had already done a lot. There was something special about them, their genuine energy. PASSPO were such a feel good group and they had great music to back it. In 2016 they had their best year ever with a string of brilliant singles. The first one "Mr. Wednesday" is my favorite idol song of all time.

    Everything about this song is absolute perfection. It's a total masterpiece of Pop Rock. The keyboard intro catches your attention and the strong beat & guitars keep you in. "Mr. Wednesday" is super catchy, energetic, super upbeat, positive and most importantly full of personality. It's cute without feeling forced. The members sound great and the composer did a brilliant job. I love the melody in this song, PASSPO always had distinct compositions. This song is amazing and it's everything I want in idol music. It's the gold standard for me.

    As if that wasn't enough they also did BAND PASSPO were the members would pick up instruments and actually play a few songs live. This was awesome and really made the group stand out. They weren't all great at performing but I give them a lot of credit for really playing live and improving over time. Mio Masui, who played bass, actually formed a Rock trio after PASSPO called BabooBee. They have a few projects out. So ya, PASSPO were awesome. Check them out they have a lot of awesome music that will make you feel good.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrSbn0_zt88 

Day 27 - Mika Nakashima : My Sugar Cat

  • Mika Nakashima is an artist with a more mature sound than the others I've posted so far. Her album LOVE is a fantastic set of Jazzy J-Pop and she has done many different styles over the years. "My Sugar Cat" is a song from YES that represents her sound very well. It's a very pleasant Jazzy Reggae type song. Mika's voice has weathered over the years which has worked well on songs like "Kiss of Death". Her discography has a lot of great highlights.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve7zI7O0x6Y

Day 28 - Silent Siren : Alarm

  • A Rock band that hits you lightly, Silent Siren have a great sound. Suu's melodies and the mix of guitars and keyboards makes them instantly recognizable. Over the last few years they have evolved as musicians and continued to improve. They have some surprisingly heavy songs that are still soft and fun. They are almost like an Idol group that became a band. "Alarm" is my favorite song from Silent Siren. It has a great morning energy and represents everything I like about their sound.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIjOh4Rc81E
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 08:42:53 AM by Manimal Claus »

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2020, 05:15:37 PM »
Day 29 - EMPiRE : S.O.S.

  • EMPiRE is one of the Alternative Idol groups from WACK who also manage BiSH, BiS and GANG PARADE. There is nothing overly distinct or special about EMPiRE but they have some really solid tunes. There is a more Electric edge to their first album, but otherwise they are standard for WACK. They debuted on a major label which makes them different from the other groups. "S.O.S." has a night drive type feel with the great opening riff. Alt Idol groups know how to make good music videos and this one is certainly attention grabbing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMV-z8SQsNw

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Re: The Manimal's Yuletide J-Pop Advent Calendar 2020 Edition (Complete)
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2020, 07:22:34 AM »
Day 30 - Utada Hikaru : Can't Wait 'Till Christmas

  • Utada Hikaru is my favorite J-Pop artist and one of my top 5 artists of all time. Her music is absolutely wonderful and has a great comforting effect. There is something behind her beautiful voice on her songs that really hits me. Tracks like "DISTANCE" and "Keep Tryin'" are the most warm and comforting music gets for me personally. "Can't Wait 'Till Christmas" is a great melancholic piano based Christmas song lead by her vocals. and that does it for my weird advent calendar thing this year. Merry Christmas everyone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LeWbcmUe8E