How has your 2013 been?
It’s certainly been an interesting year. I’ve discovered new bands, made my festival debut and organised my own events (not as many as I wanted but it was more than 0). My Neo Kei New Year resolution will be more sharing, whether that’s passing on my musical discoveries as I make them, creating new mixes or organising events. Learning should be a life long experience and I want to make hearing new music and learning more about Japanese culture part of my everyday life.
I’m having a quiet New Years celebration at home. But, if I was hosting / attending a party, I’d find a way of sneaking these songs in before the clock strikes 12 and the NYC ball drops. These are some of my best discoveries of the year, old favourites and all round great party tracks;
This was a song I discovered in March for the first Neo Kei night. I already knew of AI, as she did a couple of collaborative songs on Namie Amuro’s 2011 album Checkmate. Although it might have a slow/classical start, the tempo starts building and has the great rises and falls that will keep you moving on the floor.
ONE OK ROCK – The Beginning
Although this was released in 2012, this was another of my 2013 discoveries. One of my sources for news is JAME, and this band kept on cropping up a lot. I heard the music before I saw the visuals, which is always a good idea to avoid misconceptions. When I saw the start of this PV my first thoughts were ‘they look more heavy metal than I would have guessed). But that’s one of the great things with Japanese music, you can never judge the music by the musician. A goth-looking heavy make up boys could write very gently melodic indie music, and the sweet looking pop group could be playing heavy metal.
And speaking of a sweet looking pop group …
Morning Musume – One. Two. Three.
One of the powerhouse idol groups of Japan. This has been stuck in my head a lot more than I should admit! A good pop song is a good song I’ve always thought. And whilst their videos can be a bit promiscuous (one reason for the male fans), their lyrics can be quite sweet. The opening lyrics to this one are “Instead of a 100 million dollar nightscape, Instead of a 10 carat diamond, I just want you to stay by my side”. Anyways, just have a boogie to this one!
Utada Hikaru – Passion
Yes this isn’t a new song. But I loved Hiki before I properly knew who she was (thanks to a little Square Enix/Disney collaboration) and although she’s gone into hiatus and has had personal tragedy this year, I hope she will record another theme song for the game series.
MIYAVI – Ahead of the Light
MIYAVI was one of those artists that I didn’t relate to at first. I knew how influential he is from when he was in Dué le Quartz, but his solo work was too heavy, growly vocals, and struggling to find the melody. When there’s so many other bands to listen to, I couldn’t justify listening to a whole album. But this year I heard this latest material I heard his guitar skills and heard a much funkier sound. I would replay STRONG so much, but I thought I’d share a more recent and electro heavy song for the New Year.
sakanaction – Music
This was a song that came out of nowhere for me. I can’t remember exactly how I can across it, I guess it was when I was researching songs for a Neo Kei set. It may seem a gentle quiet song, but when you pay attention to the layers and hear now it builds, it’s just a brilliant song, and it sounds even better with a full sound system. I’m hoping to get the album very soon.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – PONPONPON
And finally, have a listen to KPP’s biggest hit, with nearly 59 million views. Can you do the para para routine?
Be Genki throughout 2014!