Category Archive: J-Pop CD Reviews

Aug 12 2013

Dreams Come True – Love Central (Review)


RETRO REVIEW Dreams Come True Love Central Review by David Cirone 2010’s Love Central feels more playful and experimental than the stellar Do You Dreams Come True? (released a year-and-a-half earlier), but these are musicians who love working with other musicians, so experimentation isn’t surprising. The collage-style of the album artwork is perfectly suited to …

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Jul 21 2013

Namie Amuro – FEEL (Review)


Namie Amuro FEEL Review by David Cirone FEEL is a strategically-engineered album, slickly produced and aimed squarely at the dance floor. But there’s a generic quality to most of these tracks, as if they were pulled off the rack at the dance-mix clearing house. The simplistic English lyrics don’t help either. “Alive” opens the heavy-dub …

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Feb 18 2013

Super Sonico – Covers (Review)


Super Sonico Covers Review by David Cirone Nitroplus spokesgirl and mascot Super Sonico surprised the hell out of me when she covered Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for last year’s Top 50 Oricon release “Love & Peace II Plus”. It looks like the bug has bitten her again, because she’s returned with a 4-track CD …

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Jan 21 2013

BABYMETAL – Ijime, Dame, Zettai (Review)


BABYMETAL Ijime, Dame, Zettai Review by David Cirone Listening to the CD release of BABYMETAL’s major-label debut single was instantly familiar, since I’d been replaying the mind-blowing video from the title track for weeks. An epic choir, deep-chord metal riffs, and the perfect vocal synchronicity of the three young vocalists have already made “Ijime, Dame, …

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Jan 20 2013

Angela Aki – Life (Review)


Angela Aki Life Review by Jen Wang Life, Angela Aki’s fourth album, was released a year and half after her Oricon chart topper, Answer. This is the second time she has produced an album on her own, and the result reveals her growth as a musician and songwriter. The first track, “Ai no Kisetsu”, is …

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Jan 16 2013

FUDANJUKU – Jinsei Wahaha! (Review)


FUDANJUKU Jinsei Wahaha! Review by David Cirone FUDANJUKU’s new single “Jinsei Wahaha!” is the high-energy theme for the soccer anime Ginga e Kickoff! The title track of the 3-song single has a powerhouse chorus and comes with some cool dance moves in the PV (courtesy of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “PONPONPON” choreographer air:man). Coupling track “Yuki …

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Jan 08 2013

Miu Sakamoto – I’m yours! (Review)


Miu Sakamoto I’m yours! Review by Nhu Nguyen Miu Sakamoto may not be as widely known as her famous musician parents, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Akiko Yano, but she is equally talented. On her new seventh album I’m yours!, she teams up with the producer of her fifth and sixth album, Dave Liang, of the electronic …

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Jan 01 2013

Mika Nakashima – Hatsukoi (Review)


Mika Nakashima Hatsukoi Review by David Cirone “Hatsukoi,” the opening theme from the new Japanese film Kyou, Koi wo Hajimemasu, is a great showcase for Nakashima’s earthy voice. Her adult style has always set her apart from the kawaii-dominated J-Pop scene, and she’s at her best with well-constructed ballads like this. “Kioku” follows in a …

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Dec 14 2012

Mio Soul – Review + Interview (2012)


Mio Soul Interview by Jen Wang November 17th, 2011 (originally published on Tokyo-born songwriter Mio Soul makes her debut with In My Skin. The EP contains the heavy drum beats and smooth melodies of contemporary R&B with flavors of pop, dance, and jazz. Simple yet candid, the lyrics are in English, except for the …

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Nov 28 2012



FUDANJUKU OTOKO Review by David Cirone From “Kaze Ikki’s” opening chorus of “FUDAN-DAN-DAN-DAN-FUDANJUKU!” the group’s blend of strength and femininity is spot-on. On their new album OTOKO, FUDANJUKU has got the balance right. No longer performing as ultra-kawaii-unit Nakano Fujoshi Sisters, the blending of masculine appearance and feminine voice has come together much more naturally. …

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