Saturday, December 31, 2011

Most Shocking/Disappointing/WTF Asian Music Moments of 2011

It doesn't seem like many scandalous things have been happening in the jrock world, so this year I decided to include a couple jpop and kpop excerpts. Perhaps this is a good thing that the dark cloud over jrock is slowly turning white (or at least light gray). But nothing will top the tragedy Japan had to face on 3/11 and I hope that 2012 will turn things around for the nation.

QUAFF disbanding
Last year, this band made the list with the news of all the members leaving, excluding leader Makito, and a new set of members joined shortly after. Without any new releases, the band dissolved once again. Perhaps Makito is in a bit of bad luck, but I hope things turn around for him and the other former members as well. On the other hand, congratulations to Shingo on his marriage and Makito on his engagement!

Aoi and Ryouhei Reunite
It was announced at the end of 2010 that these former Ayabie members would be reuniting for a little side project. I was looking forward to this collaboration considering I was fan of Ayabie from the beginning when Ryouhei was leader and Aoi's voice wasn't quite up to par as it is now. They made their first single and PV release this year, then started doing a few lives together. I hope both Aoi and Ryouhei continue to work together more, but I want them to continue focusing on their main projects as well.

D's Double American Appearance
It started in Texas where Babel Entertainment announced that they were bringing D, along with Blood Stain Child, to the oldest anime convention in North America called A-Kon. Fans were super excited, especially southern jrock fans. What was more surprising was when the band was returning in the same year for California's PMX. I hope D isn't sick of the U.S. and that they return in the future for another amazing show.

DOREMIdan disbanding
I haven't been following this band very closely, but when I did pay attention, I was not disappointed, especially their last album. It was recently announced that the band will be breaking up on their 10th anniversary. I hope everyone makes the best out of this celebration and departure and I wish the members luck in the future.

chariots Reboot
This was announced recently on the LiveJournal community under_code. It's a bit of "controversial" topic it seems, but it looks like the disbandment of chariots has been put off and the revival is starting in 2012. Some fans are worried that Rin will suffer from this revival and they are also concerned about Riku's well being with the whole situation. I suppose we'll wait and see what comes of this restart.

Kibum and Alexander's Dismissal
U-KISS was having a little trouble making a name for themselves, but they finally stuck out with "Man Man Ha Hi". They continued to get better and better and they were loved internationally. Unfortunately, the company didn't believe Kibum and Alexander were putting enough talent into the U-KISS pot, so they made an excuse for their departure which was clearly a lie. Kibum and Alexander spoke out about the situation. I'm not completely sure what Kibum is up to nowadays, but Alexander is returning to the music scene with a collaborative and solo work.

Jui Going Solo
After the disbandment of Vidoll, it was announced that their precious vocalist would "be the next Gackt". I thought the comment was laughable, but overall I was concerned for Jui's well being since Hizumi left/took a break from the music scene due to similar reasons Vidoll was on hiatus...vocal issues. When Jui debuted, I was disappointed with the results. I still remain a Jui fan, but I'm hoping that he rests his voice for bigger and better things in his solo endeavors.

Big Bang Scandals
All eyes were on this kpop group and their anticipated comeback. Too bad the mini-album fell short of talent, in my opinion. Somehow fans ate it up and even welcomed the new version of the release that included two new songs and a solo track from Daesung. If you're like me and consider their latest release a start of their downfall, then we can proceed to Daesung's car accident. Fortunately, he wasn't arrested for the incident, but all activities for him were put on hold for him to reflect. As the year went on, the group continued to be involved in advertisement activities and the like as a foursome, but G-Dragon got caught in some drug trouble. This little situation postponed the debut of G-Dragon and T.O.P's duo promotions in Japan. Nonetheless, the group moved on and they have recently announced that they would be making a comeback as five in 2012.

D'espairsRay disbanding
There was so much sorrow hovering over the band between their tour getting cut short and the announcement that Hizumi's voice was in danger. The band made a safe move by taking a hiatus. I believe Hizumi underwent surgery while the other members busied themselves with various projects. It was saddening when they decided to disband completely as opposed to waiting around until Hizumi recovered. Nonetheless, Hizumi opened an online design shop by the name of umbrella, Zero and Tsukasa became part of THE MICRO HEAD 4N'S, and Karyu joined Angelo (along with ex-Vidoll guitarist Giru).

Ayumi Hamasaki's marriage
I'm not really a fan of Ayumi, but she is a big icon in Japanese pop music. When the news came out earlier this year about her marriage to Austrian actor Manuel Schwarz, fans were surprised. Perhaps non-fans who know about her were surprised like I was. I wish their marriage all the best and that their love lasts forever.

DELUHI disbanding
Things were looking up and up for the j-indies band. They just released three consecutive singles and "The farthest" showed a great emotional strength within the band's music that no one has ever witnessed before. Unfortunately, Aggy was pulling out and the other members felt they couldn't continue without the original four, which I respect them for. In the end, Sujk closed out the year by releasing a solo album, Arkhelist, which the other members had a part of.

Koda Kumi & BACK-ON's KENJIO3 Tie the Knot
This month Koda Kumi and BACK-ON's guitarist and vocalist KENJIO3 announced that they would be getting married in the near future. Their message of love for each was posted online for the fans to admire and further support this union. Then the rumor came up that the pop goddess may be hiding a little secret. Unfortunately, a "friend" of Koda's discussed the situation on a tabloid pressuring her to release a confirmation that she is indeed pregnant. Honestly, this is the first marriage in the Asian music industry that I'm seriously approving of. I wish them all the best and that the pregnancy goes smoothly.

Taiji's Passing
Former X Japan bassist had a lot of things going on in the music industry. It was reported he was on a plane with his assistant or manager, but was arrested when a violent incident occurred on the plane. While being held, he passed on. It's still unclear whether his death was an accident or not, but nonetheless, my condolences go out to his family and friends.

Isshi Passes Away
Last year's list included the "demise" of PS Company's beloved Neo Japanesque band Kagrra,. Isshi later announced that he would be starting a solo project by the name of shiki∞project~志鬼陰謀~ and some time later Naoki and Shin formed PLAYERS under PSC. It was some time after the release of shiki∞project~志鬼陰謀~'s first release and the eve of the release of his first album that the vocalist passed on. Isshi's legacy and voice will continue to live on.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 15 Things I'm Excited About in the Music Industry

15. Aoi & Ryouhei incl. Ayabie Megamasso's First Album
They reunited at the end of last year and they released their first single, Monochrome. In February, brace yourselves for their first album release. I'm really looking forward to this. Seeing them together live with the brightest smiles on their faces warms my heart. I know with their matured skills from their old Ayabie days will definitely show.

14. Big Bang's Comeback as Five
If it was obvious, I wasn't completely satisfied with their 2011 "comeback", but all drama aside. I'm really looking forward to these so-called compositions they've been working on during their "reflection" period. I don't really care about their Japanese compilation that just got released nor do I care about GD&TOP's debut in Japan either. I'm sick of recycled half assed songs. I'm ready for the new stuff, so bring it!

13. TOUCH's Comeback
Ever since these rookies' debut, I've been craving more. They gave me Too Hot 2 Handle which was fine and dandy, especially since they lost a member and everything. So, I saw that it was confirmed that they will be coming back on the scene in January and I'm looking forward to seeing how much these boys have grown. Please show Boyfriend, MYNAME, and Teen Top that you've got talent!

12. BORN's First PSC Album
If you were fortunate enough to see my rant about how I feel about BORN and PS Company, then you know I haven't been completely happy with their transition. Now, I haven't gotten around to reviewing ProudiA here, but it was the first time I heard the BORN I fell in love with before PSC came into their lives. I'll go into more detail when the time comes. With that, it gives me a little hope that the band hasn't lost their touch and maybe they'll be rebellious by breaking out of the GazettE mold that, I believe, PSC is trying to put them in.

11. New Music From SAN E
If you look back, I promoted this new addition to JYP Entertainment and since his debut EP, Everybody Ready?, there has been a bit of silence. Sure, he made a new music video, was featured in Wonder Girls' comeback album, and created the most awesome song on RH-, but no sign of a single, album, or anything. C'mon, San E, stop teasing us~ We're ready for more!

10. Miryo's Solo Album
I love Brown Eyed Girls and I love the direction they've been going lately, especially with their comeback album, Sixth Sense. One of my favorite members is Miryo. She's fierce in appearance and delivery, a killer combination. Now it's about damn time that they decided to give her the spotlight. After the flood of Narsha and Ga-in's overwhelming solo talent sweeping the world, the fierce rapper will be coming out with her own thing for 2012. I'm very curious how this is going to turn out.

9. Clazzi's Album
So, I'm a new fan, if that wasn't obvious when I posted Clazzi's music video for "How We Feel" with 2AM's Seulong. I really enjoyed the song and the video was very intriguing. When his collaboration with Sunny Hill and MYK was up on YouTube, my interest in him grew and grew even more when I watched EatYourKimchi's interview I was confident that I needed to keep an eye on this guy in 2012.

8. New Music From 2NISE
You guys are totally killing me with all this talent and waiting! This lovely R&B trio debuted at the beginning of 2010 with "She Said" featuring Jewelry's Baby J and it was very catchy. On top of that, the music video for it was very creative and caused a discussion among fans on what it was about. They finally popped back up in October with "Say That" and *swoons*. When are you guys going to release an album or something!?

7. SE7EN's Japanese Comeback
Yeah, yeah he had a comeback with the whole "Digital Bounce" blahblahblah, but there hasn't been anything else after that. I finally see some sort of activity this month with the announcement that he'll be making a comeback in the Land of the Rising Sun and "Angel" has been released to the public. Now I must say, when I got into SE7EN's music, I did enjoy his Japanese material and I'm really hoping he won't cop out like everyone else has been doing in the kpop world by re-releasing kpop songs in Japanese. Please break the cycle and blow us away with your talent like I know you can~

6. Zwei's "Inanna no Mita Yume" Single
Every month of silence makes me worry that these ladies will split, but when I see Twitter pictures of them having fun or working in the studio, my heart skips a beat. It's been forever since they've released an album as well as a decent PV, but I've been content with what I can get even though this single is for an anime. I hope they will have more releasing activities because I really miss hearing from them.

5. Black Gene For the Next Scene's Debut
So, Vidoll disband, sad times. Jui got a solo gig and might be "the next Gackt". Hm, that's interesting. Shun's retiring from music. What ashame, he was a good guitarist. Giru joined Angelo. That's great~ Rame has a new band. Fuck yeah! I'm sorry, but all the news I've heard about the other members have been well and good, but ever since I saw this little goodie for their debut single, I about abused the poor replay button. This...dear I say...may be better than Vidoll! Either way, I am totally looking forward to this.

4. SUNZOO's Debut
Korean rap royalty are slowly making their appearance with Tasha's "Get In", some previews of what to come with SUNZOO, and their performance in Las Vegas, I don't know if the world could handle what this group is going to release fully. Either way, I'm looking forward to it and I'm positive that the fans will not be disappointed with what these guys have to offer.

3. BLACK LINE's Debut
You know I was sad when Dio - distraught overlord disbanded, but it seemed like the members were keeping themselves busy somehow, excluding the retired Kei. Although, VII-Sense has been silent lately release-wise and Remming might disband, but I'm really hoping things turn around for both of them. Nonetheless, BLACK LINE have been posting every now and then on their YouTube account. They even updated their site with a new look, but there's one thing that's missing. They haven't released a single song! Stop teasing us, guys, and bring on the music.

2. -OZ- Coming to Texas
I know, I know, I've been waiting for years to see Ayabie live, but that was when they were a five member group with good music and a lolita as their fearless leader. I'm not completely displeased with AYABIE making an appearance at A-Kon 23, but it seems a bit of an odd match with -OZ-. Now if it was DEATHBIE, I'd be all for it! Who knows, they might surprise us, but this post is reserve for my excitement toward -OZ- making their first step on American soil and it's going to be in Texas, baby!

1. 12012's Comeback
I must admit I was afraid these guys were going to disband after Yuusuke left, but when the countdown ended, the site changed to a new and evolved 12012. They have become perhaps darker and maybe influenced from their Under Code past. To top it all off was this graphic preview brought in the introduction of this rebirth. Yeah, I'm totally looking forward to getting my socks rocked off.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Curse of the Golden Flower

Starring: Yun-Fat Chow, Li Gong, & Jay Chou
Directed by: Yimou Zhang
Language: Mandarin
Rating: R
Running Time: 114 minutes

When I used to work, I kept seeing this movie on the shelf and procrastinated on checking it out. Fortunately for me, an awesome friend (and my personal movie guru) surprised me with this Chinese periodic piece.

It was the eve of the Chong Yang Festival in the Imperial Palace and the Emperor has returned from his military conquests with his second son and general, Prince Jai, to celebrate. Behind the walls of the palace, many secrets are held. The Empress and her stepson, the Crown Prince Wan, have been having an illicit affair, but Prince Wan is secretly involved with the Imperial Doctor's daughter, Jiang Chan. Prince Wan and Jiang have been planning to escape the palace and live out their love freely. Meanwhile, the innocent Prince Jai worries about his mother's health as she continues to take medicine for her illness. Unfortunately, the medicine has been poisoned for days by the Emperor causing her health to deteriorate. Prince Yu, the last piece of the family puzzle, is stuck in the shadows of the drama and perhaps there's a fire burning inside him to change the way things are done.

I'm rather weary when it comes to period movies, but I really enjoyed this one. There was so much drama going on for such an upstanding family like they were normal people. The relationships, secrets, action, and betrayal kept the story interesting, different, and entertaining. As the movie progressed, my worries that this movie could possibly be boring gradually faded away and I was very grateful. There were a couple things that really stood out for me.

First off, which should be a given while watching the movie, the stunning visuals. From the costumes to the set, my eyes were completely overwhelmed by how amazingly detailed and beautiful every piece was. I couldn't imagine how long it took for them to dress up each character, style their hair, and apply their make up to something natural, but glowing. Then the scenery was just as fabulous as the costumes. The lighting matched the mood of the scene and it really captured the time period as well as the status of this royal family. I'll definitely have to go back in the extras to see how they pieced all those intricate designs together.

Second, I would like to commend the actor choices for this movie. All the characters were very convincing and you definitely had an opinion on how you felt about each one of them no matter how big or small the role was. They kept the story going smoothly as well as keep the audience's attention into wanting to know what's going to happen next and how secrets will be revealed as well as how that character is going to react to that new piece of scandalous information. Most of all, I'm so happy that the Empress wasn't a push over. She was a very admirable character and I truly felt sorry for her and the rest of the family. Lastly, I would like to add that the action sequences are pretty awesome too.

Obviously, this movie was a pleasant surprise and I definitely recommend this one for those who enjoy a good period piece set in China. It has a great story, stunning visuals, and believable acting. If you're a fan of movies like House of Flying Daggers, Hero, and the like, then this is worth your time.

Rating: 4/5

If there's something you want me to review, check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top 5 Recommended Music Videos

"Criminal" by Britney Spears
I'm not really a Britney fan, but sometimes her music just hangs around my mind from radio overplay. When I looked up the video, I was actually impressed with the visuals (and also surprised there was an age restriction on it and not on Gaga's god awful "Marry the Night"). Anyway, it's pretty much a very simple storyline and has that stupid repeat ending word thing that Brit's been doing lately. Nonetheless, I'll give props for the bullet love scene and a decent song.

"Amaryllis" by Para:noir
It's amazing what you can do with shaky camera work, some grainy effects, and an empty warehouse. For once, I don't mean that sarcastically. This is a band I've been trying to put out there for their amazing talent and their newest PV shows how much they've grown since the beginning without losing their signature sound. Sure there's nothing extremely eye catching visually, but the energy and music makes up for the budget.

"CRISIS" by Acid Black Cherry
Yes, more ABC, leave me alone. They've been releasing things like crazy, so it's hard to resist! This song has an upbeat feel that was captured from their "20th Century Boys" PV which is great. Someone pointed out that this is an ode to GLAY, L'Arc~en~Ciel, and T.M. Revolution. They also snuck a little geek in there if you can spot it. The PV is simple, but fun to watch and listen to.

"Love Me Back" by Koda Kumi
Are you feeling the Kumi fever? Everyone else is. lol No, no, I'm not posting this because of the great news about her and Kenjio3 tying the knot and starting a family. I'm posting this because the song is super catchy, fun and the PV is pure sexy. I also wanted to post this with the last batch of recs, but I ran out of space. Guess there's a reason for everything. Congrats guys!

"Sunrise" by The Cataracs feat. DEV
In celebration of a semester completed (or exams), this was a great song to pop up these past few days. It's a simple collage of vacation memories between these individuals and their friends or whatever. It's a nice little party song that's easy to get into. Also, congrats to DEV on the birth of her baby girl!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Promo: Rose Noire

|Official Site|

Louie and Jill studied at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and later joined together to create an entrancing fusion of two different music styles. With a elegant, gothic appearance and a classical, electronic sound, Rose Noire was born and joined Darkest Labyrinth.

I'm not particularly fond of Kiwamu, but lately he has had a great ear for talent. Although, this duo has been placed in the back burner, they have managed to leave a mark in a few places with their first album, Apocalypse. They have also made their first appearance in the U.S. earlier this year at Zenkaikon V. I'm looking forward to seeing Louie and Jill grow stronger and make a lasting impression like their labelmates.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top 5 Recommended Music Videos

"Chou" by Acid Black Cherry
Reviving that seductive lounge club sound, the band brings back everything fans love about them and more. The storyline is intriguing, especially with the forbidden romantic twist, but it doesn't take away from the smooth yet upbeat melody. Yasu's voice remains flawless and the bass is simply lovely as it leads the guitars along throughout the song.

Before I comment on the flawlessness, I must warn you that this PV contains loads of graphic content. If you're in anyway squeakmish, please refrain from watching. So...I've been abusing the replay button for the preview of this PV and I about spazzed all over the place when the full version was posted. This. Is. AMAZING! This is up there with "Muddy Cult" and Jin growling like a sexy beast...makes it even more epic along with their always entrancing guitar solos. I'm hoping to be promoting them hard in 2013 to make a guest appearance at Oni-Con.

"Lunatic" by Daesung
I was happy to learn that Daesung finally got a MV for himself, but it seems as though fans are complaining about the quality. Honestly, I was too engrossed with how great the song was and the fact that Daesung was making a strong comeback. This MV proves that the man is diverse and he has the strongest voice in Big Bang. Don't even try to disprove that either XP For me, it reminded me of Moon Hee Jun, which made me uber excited. As for the visuals, I enjoyed the contrast from the usual Big Bang solo products. It's raw, dark, artistic, and unique which makes it seem more genuine and deep. Honestly, I don't think I would mind if he went in this musical direction with a hint of "Baby Don't Cry", because that song is just as emotionally powerful and beautiful.

"Breeze Out" by Meisa Kuroki
If it was possible for a woman to be fiercely sexy, badass, and have a great vocal range, they would call her Meisa Kuroki. Now there have been a few recent things I haven't been extremely excited about pertaining her, but this PV gives me hope that her attitude and musical style will revive everything I love about this exotic lady. She shows off different sides of herself throughout the PV, from innovative to tough, but sexy to refine model, but reminds us that she's a great dancer and can still hit those high notes.

"Tsukema tsukeru" by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
I recently promoted this Yasutaka creation and I'm excited to see the release of her newest PV. It's not as catchy as "PONPONPON", but it's still ridiculously cute and shows off more of Kyary's love for eyes (or eyelashes as it seems). The costume and set design are very intriguing and imaginative just like her debut PV. Best part of the whole PV...the lion dancers!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quick Music Review

Brown Eyed Girls - SIXTH SENSE (2011, South Korea) Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Sixth Sense, Hot Shot, Lovemotion

After "Abracadabra", the girls have finally made a comeback to end the year. "Swing It Shorty (Intro)" brings us into a retro jazz lounge club vibe with amazing vocal presentation to seduce us into the album. "Sixth Sense" was the promo piece for this album. It opens with a strong instrumental presentation and fierce vocal delivery. "Hot Shot" was apparently also used for promotional purposes. It brings back that smooth jazz lounge club sound with a little sass. "La Bohème" takes some elements from the previous track, but slows and minimalizes it. It almost sounds like those light hearted inspirational Michael Jackson pieces. "불편한 진실" slows the album down to a beautiful ballad that incorporates deep emotional vocal delivery tied in with accordion. "Lovemotion" brings back the elements I loved about Sound.G. "Countdown (Interlude)" is a strong vocal interlude that brings us back to those "Dream Girls" era. "Vendetta" has powerful horns and equally fierce vocals. It's definitely a different direction for the girls. Too bad it reminds me of something Wonder Girls should be doing, but whatever. The album closes out with an instrumental of "Sixth Sense". Overall, I thought this was a decent comeback for the girls, but I think they could've been just a little stronger.

HyunA - Bubble Pop! (2011, South Korea) Rating: 1.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Follow Me

You're probably wondering why the heck I'm reviewing HyunA's mini album if I dislike her so much. Well, the only reason I listened to it is because I wanted the last track featuring Dok2 and if I can find an mp3 version with ZICO, I would have that too. Nonetheless, I figured I might as well listen to everything else and throw a review out there for you HyunA fans. *rolls eyes* Now in the beginning I had no real opinion about HyunA. I like 4Minute and I enjoyed "Change", even though the lyrics made no sense whatsoever, but whatever. Anyway, "Attention (Intro)" gave me a little hope, but the rap or whatever was a bit weak and seemed a bit weird in places with the music. "A Bitter Day" is a slow song featuring the vocal talents of G.NA and Yong Junhyung. It has some interesting vocal work with singing, rapping, and beautiful piano work. Then there's "Bubble Pop!"...the song that made me dislike her, at least one reason. It's a very...bubbly song, I suppose. Let's just move on. "Downtown" is an electro-hop song with Jeon Jiyoon. The music is decent, but the vocals are not the best and the chorus is too...simple. Now for the reason I bothered with this mini, "Follow Me" featuring Dok2! Honestly, I don't think HyunA is that great of a "rapper" or whatever, but her delivery in this track seems more natural and convincing. Of course, Dok2 makes it all better! Even ZICO did a decent job teaming up with the 4Minute beauty.

Zoro - POLICE (2011, Japan) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: POLICE, more, 109

I was curious how this band was going to fair after half of their members left, but they decided to be a duo and keep their electronic love going strong. "POLICE" brings back the essence of fun, electronic sounds that were represented in "KITSUNE" and "HOUSE OF MADPEAK". The PV is pretty badass and capsule influenced. There's minimal vocals, but what is presented doesn't take away from the song. "more" keeps the autotune, but brings in more instrumentation with clear guitar, bass, and drums. It's a slightly slower song, but still rather upbeat. "109" is very electronic base. It's quite speedy and has some great guitar work that makes you feel like you're trapped in a bizarre, psychedelic video game. Great recovery, guys!

DEATHBIE - Senketsu no MARIYA (2011, Japan) Rating: 4.5/5
Favorite Tracks: 鮮血のMARIYA, もうヘドバンなんてしないなんて言わないよ絶対, la gueule de bois

I was a little nervous to listen to this single, because I haven't been overly impressed with AYABIE. I mostly got lured to this due to the image of the band, my history with them, and BLOOD STAIN CHILD'S Sophia's promotions of it on Facebook, because she's featured in the PV. "鮮血のMARIYA" starts off pretty haunting with basic piano and then a band build up with generic visual kei hype screaming. Soon Yumehito's vocals kicked in and...whoa! Was not expecting such a change. It reminded me of this other j-indies band I have yet to place, but when it comes to me I'll post it or something. Anyway, the song's pretty fast and a great introduction to those not familiar with this alternate version. "もうヘドバンなんてしないなんて言わないよ絶対" shows a more aggressive side to the band with fast pace instrumentals. It's still bothering me what band they remind me of. Something about "la gueule de bois" hooked me hard. The musical arrangement and vocals are just amazing~ And how the music trails at the end made me crave more. Definitely preferring DEATHBIE over AYABIE after that track. "コトリノサエズリ" closes out the single with more haunting elements of darkness and powerful guitar and drum ties. The vocals still remain powerful and I'm convinced that AYABIE should go away so they can focus on more DEATHBIE stuff. It's just better.

YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz - THE END OF THE DAY (2011, Japan) Rating: 5/5
Favorite Tracks: THE END OF THE DAY, Mind Forest YFC Edition

Everyone knows that crazy Gackt kid...I mean man child...I know. So, he gathered some musicians from some places and snagged FACT's vocalist to create one of the most interesting projects of the year. Of course, somehow through Gackt's golden touch, the band was pretty cool. "THE END OF THE DAY" gave us a wonderful introduction to what this band was about. It has a catchy melody and a great collaboration of vocals between Jon and Gackt. Who would've thunkit? I must admit, this song gets stuck in your head quite easily. So, they brought back a classic Gackt solo track and made it...extra epic! "MIND FOREST YFC EDITION" features a great orchestral intro and stuck with the original musical arrangement, altering it only slightly. The lyrics...are in English. Omg! And Jon's voice with Gackt's. Omg! Then then...the acoustic detour with Gackt singing before the song ends. Omg! *dies* Yeah...I promise I'm not a Gackt fangirl, but sometimes he blows my mind and I forget how great of an artist he truly is. The rest of the single features various versions of both tracks that take out Gackt, Jon, or both of their vocals out completely. In the end, may I have more YFC, please?

If there's something you want me to review, check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Top 5 Recommended Music Videos

"Identité de la lune" by CHiAKi KURiYAMA
Brought under the wing of the legendary Shiina Ringo, it took me some time to adjust that this girl was a singer some time ago. I saw some people complaining that she's just imitating her mentor, but I believe she does have a decent voice, especially for an actress. I'm pretty sure you guys aren't strangers to the whole "you either sing or act" formula, you're bound to suck at one of them. Anyway, I really like this song. It's easy to listen to and the video is pretty simplistic, but clever at the same time.

"Rocket Dive" by Megamasso
Yes! More classic jrock songs being covered by the visual kei youngsters~ I don't care what anyone says, but I think Megamasso owned this song. It's playful, cute, and just as catchy and enjoyable as the original. The PV is pretty simple with vibrant colors, playful costumes, and natural band chemistry. If you're feeling sad today, check out this PV to put a smile back on your face.

"Huang di ~Yami ni umareta mukui~" by D
After seeing the preview to this PV, I was excited to see how this whole PV and song was going to play out. It mixes traditional Japanese elements with hard D rock; a wonderful combination. The costumes are...interesting. Asagi's would make a nice set of curtains XD; Nonetheless, their yakuza form is quite attractive. I think it's safe to say that this band is going in the right direction with their music.

"How We Feel" by CLAZZI feat. Seulong
Alright, I don't listen to Clazziquai nor 2AM, but the comical couple Simon and Martina pointed this video out. Simon practically praised it and that's huge! I think he's almost as critical as I am about kpop. Anyway, the song has a electronic, classic sound to it and the video is very neo-abstract artistic. CLAZZI's musical skills and Seulong's voice work very well, surprisingly.

"Trouble Maker" by Hyun Seung & HyunA
I came across this music video through LinzerDinzer's Facebook and I was a little hesitant to click, because...I really dislike HyunA. I have a very good reasons to, but they won't be explained here. Anyway, I clicked and I actually liked it, but I do have some "criticism" toward it. I wish HyunA wasn't apart of this song, especially with Hyun Seung. No fangirl reason either, just simply I dislike her and I love B2ST. Fortunately, Hyun Seung's voice is more powerful than her voice, so it masks it a lot during the chorus section. Then there's the music. I guess Infinite let the duo borrow their leftover beat, but it works. Oh, and don't forget the leftover Michael Jackson choreo too! I'm not hatin'. Nonetheless, the song's catchy and mellow and the video is quite entertaining, even though I gagged a little.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Boys Love vs. Schoolboy Crush (a.k.a Boys Love: The Movie)

It's been a while since I covered any boy love movies. I still enjoy them. I decided to re-watch Boys Love before watching the theatrical version. Some places label it as a sequel, but the stories are not connected in any way. Their biggest similarities is that the older main character is played by Yoshikazu Kotani and the younger man seduces him somehow. There's also some smaller details they share as well, such as the glasses character and his involvement with both characters and a rape scene that shifts the story greatly.

In Boys Love, Taishin Mamiya is a magazine editor interviewing a young student and model's artwork by the name of Noeru Kisaragi. Mamiya notices a piece that stands out from the others, but Noeru doesn't want to discuss it. After they're done, they go out to eat and Noeru seduces Mamiya during a restroom trip at the restaurant.

In Boys Love: The Movie (or Schoolboy Crush), Kairo Aoi is dealing with a break up with his girlfriend by paying Amakami Sora for sex one night. We learn that Aoi is a teacher at a private all boys school and Sora transfers in. Aoi struggles to keep their past hidden, but they're constantly on each other's minds.

Both stories are entertaining and done very well. Both movies are directed by Kōtarō Terauchi and has been turned into manga form. My main reason for watching this movie, two words: Saito Takumi. Also helped that the story sounded interesting as well for a shounen ai movie.

It's hard to pick which movie was better as they both share elements I really enjoyed. I liked how the director added in meaningful quotes from notable people to match the mood of the scene. The actor choices for each character were very well chosen and the story had the right amount of drama, even though the ending is a little open ended to the viewer's imagination. I also liked the contrast of the two stories as well. There's still a tension filled love triangle, tragedy, and believable emotion. Although, Boys Love: The Movie seemed almost straight from a manga, but it had as much substance as its counterpart. On the other hand, I disliked about the same details in both movies. They both have a bittersweet ending to them and, at times, I thought Noeru and Sora overreacted to certain things.

Once again, I think I'll leave this one to you readers. Which one did you prefer?