Music


Every so often, I'll be uploading a few songs here. They'll either be songs I've been listening to the most lately, some new releases, or some of my all-time favorites. ♡ Back in the day, I followed a lot of sites that would update every week with new music, and that's how I got into some of my favorite artists like Koda Kumi, Mika Nakashima, and Tommy february6. Unfortunately I don't have the time to update that often, but I hope you enjoy!

March 27 2020

1. Papaya Mango


Artist:

Shiina Ringo

Album:

Heisei Fuuzoku
Spotify

I rewatched Sakuran the other day with my boyfriend because he hasn't seen it. We're trying to watch a new movie every Sunday night to maintain some sense of normalcy and routine in this crazy time. What made Sakuran so intriguing to me is that it stars Anna Tsuchiya, it's directed by Mika Ninagawa (who went on to direct Helter Skelter and AKB48's Heavy Rotation), and it has a soundtrack by Shiina Ringo. It's also just a gorgeous, fantastic movie that I always cry at the end of. The entire soundtrack is phenomenal honestly but

Papaya Mango

is definitely my favorite, it's so dramatic, extra, and fun.


2. Chuo Freeway


Artist:

Yumi Arai

Album:

THE 14TH MOON
YouTube | Spotify

Yuming has really been keeping me sane this past few weeks. I love

Chuo Freeway

so much, it's just so damn cozy. It really takes me back to driving at dusk in Tokyo in the 80s, which is obviously something I've never done but I have a lot of nostalgia for it somehow.


3. Marionette


Artist:

Mika Nakashima

Album:

LOVE
YouTube | Spotify

Here's some more chill music for dealing with The Rona.

Marionette

is so nice and relaxing, much like the rest of the songs on LOVE. Not much to say about it honestly, I just love the melody and think you should check it out.


4. Say So


Artist:

Doja Cat

Album:

Hot Pink
YouTube | Spotify

Can we just agree that

Say So

is the theme song of quarantine? I lowkey hate that having this song stuck in your head is a mutual experience everyone is having while we're all stuck at home right now. This song DOES slap but the fact that it was secretly produced by Dr. Luke under the name of Tyler Trax or whatever makes it even more cursed.

Past updates

March 20 2020

1. Sputnik


Artist:

Akino Arai

Album:

Sora no Uta
YouTube | Spotify

Akino Arai is seriously slept on. She has such a soothing voice and her music is really otherwordly. My first song by her was

Kiniro No Toki Nagarete

back in like... 2007, courtesy of last.fm's radio recommendations. That really just made me date myself. As amazing as that song is, I really want to talk about

Sputnik

. The lyrics alone are so beautiful, thoughtful and sad. Just even thinking about that poor dog alone in space makes it real sad hours for me.


2. Angel


Artist:

Ayumi Hamasaki

Album:

CoLOURS
YouTube | Spotify

Ayu has been... a hot mess the past few years tbh. She's still my favorite artist of all time but I did need a bit of a break. Thanks to coronavirus, avex trax has been a generous queen and uploading tons of concert videos on YouTube. I'm trying to go through at least a few of them before they get taken down. I finally watched Ayu's

PREMIUM SHOWCASE ~Feel the Love~

tour and it was incredible. I'd seen clips of it before (mostly Terminal and Connected because those songs slap) but I finally got to see the entire thing. Her performance of

Angel

was absolutely insane, she did silks!!! She probably saw her dancers doing it so many times and was like "Well I wanna try it." It made me appreciate the song a lot more, which is definitely an underrated sweet bop.


3. V.I.P. feat. T-Pain


Artist:

Koda Kumi

Album:

JAPONESQUE
YouTube | Spotify

Kuu is the queen of thottery and I love her for it. This song isn't as hoe as some of her others, but it's a banger that was apparently written by Jessie J? She should probably stick to writing other people's songs instead of making her own tbh.

V.I.P.

also has T-Pain on the track, who I have a completely new appreciation for after he won the first season of The Masked Singer. I'll forgive him for saying "Sayonara I'm out."

JAPONESQUE

in general is definitely my favorite album by her, followed closely by

W FACE ~outside~

, and I think it's a really good starting point for anyone who's never listened to Kuu before.

1. Boyfriend


Artist:

aiko

Album:

Natsufuku
YouTube | Spotify

So I've heard that a lot of people think aiko's music is boring. I haven't listened to her in a long time but her discography recently got added on Spotify and I really enjoyed revisiting some of my faves by her today.

Boyfriend

is an absolute certified bop that is really cozy and perfect for warmer weather (fitting as today seems to be the warmest day of the year so far in the Burgh). The country influence is very fun too. And as always, aiko's voice is adorable.

be master of life

and

Hatsukoi

are two other great songs on

Natsufuku

that are worth checking out as well.


2. Sunrise


Artist:

BENNIE K

Album:

Synchronicity
YouTube | Spotify

And here's another song I revisted today thanks to Spotify adding BENNIE K to their platform. I can't remember if I heard

Sunrise

or

Dreamland

by BENNIE K first, but either way, I first heard them back in middle school. I also think they might have been one of the first legitimate j-pop acts I heard (alongside w-inds. and some others).

Sunrise

is an upbeat earworm that definitely puts me in the mood for summer (or spring, at the very least). I really miss this fun urban sound in j-pop.


3. POWER GATE


Artist:

Nana Mizuki

Album:

MAGIC ATTRACTION
Spotify

Nana Mizuki is an exceptional musical artist and seiyuu, and I really wish I was better about keeping up with her releases over the years. She's also crazy prolific though. It's been really cool watching her explode in popularity from when I was a teenager to now. When I went to Japan a few years ago, I feel like I heard her music everywhere. While I've always liked

POWER GATE

, it was never one of my favorite songs by her until recently. I'm not exactly sure why! Obviously it's very catchy and uplifting. Maybe it's something that I never really vibed with much until recently? I've been listening to

POWER GATE

a lot over the past month or two and it always puts a smile on my face.

March 1 2020

1. Yasashisa ni tsutsumareta nara


Artist:

Yumi Arai

Album:

MISSLIM
YouTube | Spotify

Because new j-pop releases have been either sparse or not great, I've been listening to a lot of older j-pop (mainly city pop). Yumi Arai's music is really cozy and calming, this song in particular. I've been listening to it a lot on and off over the past few months and love the nostalgic feeling it has, and also how it kind of reminds me of The Carpenters. Then the other day I found out it was actually the ending song in Kiki's Delivery Service, which explains why it felt so nostalgic to me. I grew up watching it on VHS but have seen the Japanese version many times as well, so I'm surprised it took me this long to realize it was featured in the movie. Anyway, if you haven't heard this song before, please do yourself a favor and listen to it because it's absolutely beautiful.


2. 4:00A.M.


Artist:

Taeko Ohnuki

Album:

Mignonne
YouTube | Spotify

Speaking of city pop,

4:00A.M.

is such a sad bop. It popped up in my Spotify recommendations and I'm really glad I listened to it. It's somehow haunting while still having a very catchy melody. I recognized it as a sample that had been used in a song by Moe Shop, I believe. What I also found interesting is that the album cover clearly inspired this one Sailor Moon art that I remember seeing all over Geocities and Angelfire when I was a child. Seeing art inspired by album covers in general is one of my jams and I need more of it.


3. Aria


Artist:

Kalafina

Album:

Seventh Heaven
YouTube | Spotify

Let me start this out with the obligatory "RIP Kalafina." Yuki Kajiura has had so many projects over the years, and Kalafina was my second favorite next to See-Saw (who I will be talking about in the below song review), and it's such a shame they disbanded (along with the drama that came with it). Fate/Grand Order recently had a rerun of their Kara no Kyoukai event, which I hadn't seen before. But I immediately recognized the music in the event used as by Kalafina, their song

Aria

, which I hadn't paid much attention to before. It is beautiful though, and that is the reason why I wanted to feature it today, even though my favorite song by Kalafina has always been

oblivious

(their first song). Fun fact, according to Wikipedia, Kalafina was mainly formed to create songs for the Kara no Kyoukai movies.


4. Senya Ichiya


Artist:

See-Saw

Album:

Dream field
YouTube

Here's more Yuki Kajiura. As stated above, See-Saw is still my favorite project by her after all these years. I first heard her music with the song

canta per me

in Noir when I was... eleven years old, I think? Yikes. That makes me feel old. Anyway, I'm finally watching .hack//SIGN for the first time because I didn't have cable TV as a child, so I never got to watch it. I already know and love See-Saw's songs from that soundtrack, but I might like the music they did for .hack//Liminality more.

Senya Ichiya

is probably my favorite and I think it's definitely a standout track, both in terms of .hack soundtracks and on the album Dream field. It was also apparently used for a scene in SIGN but I don't think I've gotten up to that yet. Anyway, it's a really pretty song with an exceptional melody.

November 29 2019

1. ホテル Dubai


Artist:

CYBEREALITYライフ

Album:

v i r t u a l r e s o r t ™
YouTube | Spotify

Now that I'm working from home, I have a lot more freedom with what I listen to and I don't have to use headphones, thank God. I've been listening to a lot of vaporwave / mallsoft in the background because it helps keep me focused. It's also just comfy. This song in particular is especially cozy.


2. GET NAKED


Artist:

Koda Kumi

Album:

re(CORD)
YouTube | Spotify

Koda Kumi is a literal goddess who has been consistently quality music since her debut in 2003 and her newest album is no exception.

GET NAKED

is a bop for the ages. She's doing her very best with the $5 budget avex gives her for her album covers, PVs, etc. and still killing the game.

August 17 2019

1. Doll eyes-Theme of CAMMY-


Artist:

Capcom Sound Team

Album:

Street Fighter Zero 3 Original Soundtrack
YouTube | Spotify

I've been in a bit of a Street Fighter mood lately and came across

Doll eyes-Theme of CAMMY-

the other day on Twitter after not hearing it for like 10 years. Well it still slaps. Cammy is probably my favorite character of all time because she's cute, cool, and a cat lover. I'm thinking of maybe doing a cosplay of her based off of Kylie Minogue's portrayal in the Street Fighter II live-action movie, to represent two of my favorite queens.


2. Live to Tell


Artist:

Madonna

Album:

True Blue
YouTube | Spotify

A true Madge classic. I watched her Confessions on a Dancefloor tour a few months ago and not only was it an amazing tour, but her performance of

Live to Tell

is so beautiful and haunting. Plus the media lost its shit since she was edgy and went up on a cross. The song in general is pretty chilling, but her performance really solidified it as one of my top 5 Madge songs. I've been in a real mood for her music lately so

Live to Tell

has consistently been on repeat. I linked to her performance at the Confessions tour on YouTube so you should totally give it a watch if you haven't already!

August 13 2019

1. Fxxk Boyz Get Money


Artist:

FAR EAST MENTION MANNEQUINS (FEMM)

Album:

FEMM-Isation
YouTube | Spotify

There is absolutely NO reason why this song wouldn't have smashed on the US charts. It's an absolute bop and FEMM really could have been an international hit, but as usual, avex trax has no idea how to promote any of their artists from the past few years. It's a shame. Everything about

Fxxk Boyz Get Money

is iconic, from the lyrics ("Go back to mommy and your Fisher Price toys") and the video (twerking in PVC lolita outfits). Honestly, a timeless classic.

June 2 2019

1. Julien


Artist:

Carly Rae Jepsen

Album:

Dedicated
YouTube | Spotify

My queen Carly Rae Jepsen finally came out with a new album a few weeks ago and honestly I'm still processing how amazing it is. I love that it has a more mature feel than Emotion, but still feels very much CRJ. As much as I love Emotion and really think it's one of the best pop albums out there, I'm glad that she is doing something a little different now.

Julien

has been stuck in my head all the time lately.


2. HOT HOT


Artist:

Koda Kumi

Album:

DNA
Spotify

While some of my favorite j-pop acts have either stopped making (good) music or have just completely disappeared, I feel like Kuu keeps getting better and better. I really loved both AND and DNA, as well as the DNA Tour. (I haven't gotten to watch the AND one yet.) She has been so creative lately and continues to be a phenomenal performer.

HOT HOT

is an amazing newer song by Kuu, and quickly climbed its way into my top 5 favorite songs by her. It's super fun and really blends both her older and newer musical styles.


3. Take Me As I Am


Artist:

Rina Sawayama

Album:

RINA
YouTube | Spotify

Rina Sawayama is really out here doing the Lord's work and making bops with that classic 90's/early 2000's pop sound. In particular,

Take Me As I Am

sounds like it could have come straight off the Britney album. Other highlights by her are

Cherry

and

Cyber Stockholm Syndrome

. I think Rina's music and image is going in a really interesting direction and I'm super glad she's starting to get some mainstream recognition.


4. Cut To The Feeling


Artist:

Carly Rae Jepsen

Album:

Cut To The Feeling
YouTube | Spotify

Happy Pride Month!!!

May 12, 2019

1. Nemurenu Yoru wa Kimi no Sei


Artist:

MISIA

Album:

KISS IN THE SKY
YouTube | Spotify

I'm seeing MISIA in concert tonight! She's holding a small concert in NYC, which I think is a bit below her level, but I'm excited. Especially since PUFFY is opening for her. I've only casually listened to a few MISIA songs here and there since I got into j-pop, but she's a queen with an amazing voice.

Nemurenu Yoru wa Kimi no Sei

is such a pretty ballad and I hope she performs it tonight.


2. Feathery Wings


Artist:

Voltaire

Album:

Almost Human
YouTube | Spotify

Almost Human was one of my favorite albums in high school and it still holds up in my opinion. I was just relistening to it again for the millionth time the other day (instead of listening to new music) and

Feathery Wings

gets me every time. It's honestly really hard not to cry whenever I listen to it because the lyrics are so powerful. Almost Human is also just a really fantastic concept album revolving around Lucifer's fall from grace, with a well-balanced mix of songs. Voltaire's been in the business for a long time and he's always been great at balancing both heavy and lighthearted songs, especially since he has a good sense of humor.


3. Shuffle


Artist:

Masami Okui

Album:

Shuffle
YouTube

I've been rewatching a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! (specifically Battle City) because it's really great to have on in the background when I'm grinding in Fate/Grand Order or doing my nails. Back in the day, it was difficult to find the original, unedited Japanese version anywhere. I didn't get to watch it until I was in middle school and found a bootleg DVD with the Awful Hong Kong Subs at GameStop one day.

Shuffle

was the opening song on the episodes I watched and it still remains my favorite song from the entire series. It just slaps.


4. Mona Lisa (Demo Version)


Artist:

Britney Spears

Album:

Original Doll
YouTube

So this song comes with a bit of a long story. BuzzFeed summarizes it way better than I ever could. But basically,

Mona Lisa

is a song that Britney wrote that was supposed to go on an album that never happened, called the Original Doll. She leaked this demo on a radio station a long time ago and it's almost eerie how perfectly it seems to predict her breakdown. You can also really see how great her vocals are here.

Mona Lisa

did eventually get an official studio recording, but it was very watered down and some of the lyrics were changed. Britney sounds like she's whispering for most of the final version, and those crazy notes she hit in the bridge were nowhere to be found. It's a very mysterious song and I really wonder how much pop music could have changed if Original Doll had been released.

May 5, 2019

1. LEGEND


Artist:

Mika Nakashima

Album:

MUSIC
YouTube | Spotify

Mika was one of the first j-pop artists I really got into, mainly because of her role in the NANA live-action movie and her song GLAMOROUS SKY.

LEGEND

was a song I always enjoyed, but I didn't come to truly appreciate it until a few years ago. I really feel like it's one of her best ballads and the lyrics are so beautiful too.


2. Technopolis


Artist:

Yellow Magic Orchestra

Album:

YMO GO HOME!
YouTube | Spotify

I honestly don't know much about YMO, but

Technopolis

is a complete bop. I've been trying to get more into them, especially Ryuichi Sakamoto is a musical genius, but I'm not really sure where to start with their discography. Anyway, this song is amazing and totally deserves a listen.


3. Miracle Worker


Artist:

Perfume

Album:

COSMIC EXPLORER
YouTube | Spotify

My friends and I were rewatching the COSMIC EXPLORER tour recently (even though we all saw it live a few years ago) and it reminded me how much I like

Miracle Worker

. I usually don't care for Perfume's cutesier songs, but I feel like this one definitely got a little overshadowed by some of the other amazing songs on the album,


4. Hyperballad


Artist:

Björk

Album:

Post
YouTube | Spotify

I've loved Björk since high school and it makes me kind of sad that I don't listen to her as much anymore. She kind of lost me at Biophilia, pulled me in again with Vulnicura, and then lost me again at Utopia (which I think I still need to give a little more time).

Hyperballad

came on while I was driving the other day and it just made me think about what an incredible song it is. It has so many layers and is so relatable in a way that I think many people don't feel comfortable discussing.

April 28, 2019

1. no more words


Artist:

Ayumi Hamasaki

Album:

I am...
YouTube | Spotify

Ayu is my absolute favorite artist of all time, so I had to put one of her songs here first. I've pretty much overplayed most of her discography at this point (except for TROUBLE), but I've been listening to

no more words

more often than usual. Although it was one of my first songs by her, it was never one of my favorites. It really is an amazing song though, and I think I just miss her calm, ethereal ballads.


2. YEBISU (Yung Bae Edit)


Artist:

Yung Bae & Macross 82-99

Album:

Bae
YouTube | Spotify

My very first future funk song! Fun fact, I discovered future funk for the first time about a year and a half ago while looking for Sailor Moon playlists on Spotify. I was completely shook to find a genre that sampled 80s j-pop songs and Sailor Moon sound clips.

YEBISU

was the first future funk song I heard and it continues to be my favorite! Everything about it is so comfy.


3. Scary


Artist:

Britney Spears

Album:

Femme Fatale
YouTube

Of course I had to put my bae Britney here too. She's been going through a tough time the past few months so I really hope she's okay. I'm proud of her for taking control of her mental health though. Anyway,

Scary

is a complete and underrated banger. It was a bonus track that only appeared on the Japanese release of Femme Fatale, which is a shame because it fucking slaps. Songs like these really make me think that Britney just saves all of her best songs for bonus tracks.


4. Dancing With My Fingers


Artist:

MIYAVI vs Daichi Miura

Album:

SAMURAI SESSIONS vol.2
YouTube | Spotify

So I saw MIYAVI at an anime convention last week and he really slapped that guitar. He has such an incredible amount of energy and love for what he does. I never really listened to him that much before, but I always enjoyed his personality, back when he used to record videos of him at his computer chair being a complete spazz. I really love the direction his music has been going in lately and

Dancing With My Fingers

is probably one of the catchiest songs ever.