Uniqueness Artistry Bechind J-Pop

October, 18, 2016

My liking for j-pop came when I got a little bored with American music scene. Music has a lot of influences, one of which is inspiring, motivating or rebellious movement. Let me touch on three factors of inspiration
 for example in the hippie era music was generally about love and getting wasted on drugs and alcohol. But you couldn't sing that you smoke pot. So many artists came up with decoy words so their songs would be played on the radio and wouldn't get into trouble with public. (usually law enforcement). With many levels of individualism a great artist can be labeled as a God. Coming up with new sounds and techniques many other artists try emulate their idols like these many lead guitarists from Kurt Cobain  to Jimmy Hendrix. Each musician from Beethoven to rock band Korn everything compliments each other. Foreign artists look up to American media for new ideas, or sampling sounds. I started to search for Japanese music after every other song in the radio was getting monotonous. I have clicked on YouTube music video of some group called perfume and with one single note, I was blown away. And bit by bit I was finding out more. Perfume became possibly number one favotite foreign acts ever. But first let me define j-pop meaning. J-pop is just pop/rock, and letter J stands for Japan. Listeners describes American, European or Latino music when described genre line (ex. European Techno or Canadian Rock). 

akb48

But this segment is about j-pop. Everyone on the planet is more or less familiar with AKB48 girl group. It's a group that has over one hundred members
 it consists performing artists between ages 12 and 19. These cute ladies perform almost every night at their own theater and compete among themselves who gained more fans and publicity, or achieved personal goal. Every year there is a graduation ceremony where a management congratulates them and these girls who left the group leave to pursue solo careers weather its in music or film. Every girl is awarded with some kind of special aword. AKB48 is more or less like American Idol or X-Factor.  I used to love American Idol and many people did. (after Nikky Minay technically ruined it). AKB's main target audience are mainly adult male
 the concept behind the group is express the joys of youth culture. Sadly with AKB48 fame, there are few controversies and comments from the public like with a "Heavy Rotation" music video for being way too sexual, I wouldn't blame them... they are so playful. In cetain sociaties there are many scales of what is appropiriate or not. And speaking of bad taste, when Miley Cirus turned eighteen, she really went of the rails attracting bad reputation. If someone would twerk half naked in high mannered society during live performance everyone would be embareesed. I mean, most of my friends parents and friends who lived through 1960s and through 1970s would probebly admit they listened to some ouragious songs like “Smoke On The Water” or “In The Desert With A Horse Without A Name". 

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But let's get back to j-pop. 

But I want to share few things about my favorite trio Perfume. Three girls from Hiroshima formed when they were only 12 years old. The name behind Perfume is that all three girls  had their last names tying to meaning fragrance, and Perfume was a nice fit. Three original members still going strong after more than 15 years.  Ayaka Nishiwaki, Yuka Kashino and Ayano Omoto. (Although Yuka Kawashima left the group for academic career before group made public debut). Their history is very unique and inspiring, their success did not spontaneously broke out over night. One of the very first singles was "Sweet Donuts” and “Monochrome Effect".  And with progression slowly they were getting some attention. Eventhough first recordings have not ben a hit.

In Tokyo they temporarily performed and promoted Akihabara with song titled “Akibalove” with Haruko Momoi. Perfume's  popularity was generally in their home town. but slowly they were tetting attention. Growing up isn't always easy, but the cute trio wanted to compose more mature sophisticated material and target more audiences.  Their very major debut was “Linear Motor Girl” and was considered first breakout hit, eventhough it was technically their sixth.

Meanwhile at Pixar Studios, Cars2 when was under the development and people in charge of the music development were trying to find a good song for the scene in Japan. And that's were "Polyrythym” came into the picture exposing them to international fame after the movie was released. Later in foloving months they signed with Universal Studios to market their music on global stage. Perfume is adored by millions of fans even though the songs are in their native language. Regardless you can find English translations
The songs, the beats and image is very different from American and European counterparts. With their techno-pop inspiration brings so much energy to the room.  Smooth melodies bring smiles and comfort to the heart.  Their joy on stage or televized evets and on CDs is so cheerful and full of color. And by far if I was asked my favorite Japanese artists or group, I would pick Perfume.

© E. P. Sendecki / EeroSendTheKey