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NICOLE: FIRST ROMANCE

26 January, 2015 - 15:28
NICOLE: FIRST ROMANCE
Release Date: 
11/20/14
Label: 
CJ E&M
Nicole, formerly of KARA, now signed with B2M Entertainment, makes her solo debut with this EP, First Romance. And what an EP it is!

Nicole, formerly of KARA, now signed with B2M Entertainment, makes her solo debut with this EP, First Romance. And what an EP it is! She worked with producers Sweetune, who did an exquisite job here. Seriously, this EP is about as flawless as they come.

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4TE: READY TO CONQUER THE WORLD OF J-POP

18 January, 2015 - 11:20
4TE: READY TO CONQUER THE WORLD OF J-POP
Release Date: 
1/4/14
Label: 
4TE
4TE are a non-Japanese J-Pop group who are ready to take the world by storm with their fantastic new double A-side MORE / 一歩ずつ. Not only do we have a review of the single, we are also quite pleased to bring you an exclusive interview with the group!

review and interview by Michael McCarthy

Before we get to our interview with J-Pop's future stars 4TE, I wanted to present a review of their wonderful double A-side MORE / 一歩ずつ...

4TE — pronounced Forte/for-tay — is a red hot new Japanese pop group based out of the U.S. and if there’s any justice in this world they will obtain a major label deal for Japan and become the J-Pop megastars they deserve to be. Because, let me tell you, their debut double A-side single is fantastic, both songs plenty capable of rising to the top of the J-Pop charts.

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SUNNY HILL: 지우다 [Here I Am]

16 January, 2015 - 09:55
SUNNY HILL: 지우다 [Here I Am]
Release Date: 
11/27/14
Label: 
LOEN TREE
"Here I Am" will sweep you off your feet. Or make you swoon.

Wow... "Here I Am" will sweep you off your feet. Or make you swoon. Or maybe you'll have an allergic reaction. But it will definitely have an effect on you. It's only 3m38s, but it still feels entirely epic. It's easily Sunny Hill's best single to date. Easily.

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U-KISS: SWEETIE

8 January, 2015 - 09:52
U-KISS: SWEETIE
Release Date: 
12/17/14
Label: 
avex
"Sweetie" is U-KISS's 10th Japanese single, but Yes Asia indicates that they worked on it with their Korean creative team.

"Sweetie" is U-KISS's 10th Japanese single, but Yes Asia indicates that they worked on it with their Korean creative team. (So, I suppose there will inevitably be a Korean version in the not so distant future.) In any case, it's a lush, very well-produced and heartfelt ballad that finds the guys at the top of their game, delivering super smooth, emotive vocals. The sort of slow song you want to slow dance to with your own sweetie. To my ears, it's more of an R&B song than a J-Pop song, but suffice to say it's in Japanese regardless of whether or not you'd agree with me on that point.

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CAPSULE: FEEL AGAIN

5 January, 2015 - 10:39
CAPSULE: FEEL AGAIN
Release Date: 
2/18/15
Label: 
Warner Music Japan
"Feel Again" is the first digital single to be released from capsule's highly anticipated new album Wave Runner, which will be released on February 15th, 2015.

"Feel Again" is the first digital single to be released from capsule's highly anticipated new album Wave Runner, which will be released on February 15th, 2015.

As always, the versatile duo consists of singer Toshiko Koshijima and multi-instrumentalist producer Yasutaka Nakata (Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Perfume) and they've certainly hit the proverbial jackpot here, delivering a killer new single that hits you in the gut with some of their most monstrous beats ever. And it's just as likely to be a hit in the clubs as it is on J-Pop radio.

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T-ARA FEAT. CHOPSTICK BROTHERS: LITTLE APPLE

31 December, 2014 - 11:09
T-ARA FEAT. CHOPSTICK BROTHERS: LITTLE APPLE
Release Date: 
11/23/14
Label: 
코어콘텐츠미디어
According to allkpop.com, T-ARA's collaboration with Chopstick Brothers has almost reached 8 million views on the Chinese video site Youku. If that's not enough to move you to listen to it then perhaps my review will persuade you.

According to allkpop.com, T-ARA's collaboration with Chopstick Brothers has almost reached 8 million views on the Chinese video site Youku. (It's received nearly 3 million views since it landed on Youtube in the U.S..) They also report that it initially received 2 million views in 12 hours. With that many listeners, it's got to be good, right? Well, not necessarily, but it turns out it's fabulous. 3 minutes and 33 seconds of pure pop bliss!

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TEEN TOP: Teen Top 눈사탕 [Snow Kiss]

23 December, 2014 - 10:41
TEEN TOP: Teen Top 눈사탕 [Snow Kiss]
Release Date: 
12/15/14
Label: 
Loen Entertainment
You know your K-Pop holiday season would be lacking without a Christmas-themed release from the guys of TEEN TOP... And we're in for a treat because they're all brand new songs, not lame Christmas covers.

You know your K-Pop holiday season would be lacking without a Christmas-themed release from the guys of TEEN TOP... And we're in for a treat because they're all brand new songs, not lame Christmas covers. Not that all Christmas covers are lame. But does the world really need 7000 versions of "Silent Night" or "O Holy Night"? (The guy who wrote "O Holy Night" wasn't even Christian. On the contrary, he was an atheist.

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CLARA: HAPPY HAPPY SONG (CHRISTMAS VERSION)

22 December, 2014 - 10:59
CLARA: HAPPY HAPPY SONG (CHRISTMAS VERSION)
Happy, Happy... Christmas style!

After coming across this version and buying it on iTunes, I looked to see if iTunes had an original version of "Happy Happy Song," since this one is designated as a "Christmas version," which would seem to imply that there's another version out there somewhere. But, it turns out, they do not have another version. Maybe the original version is forthcoming and she's just releasing the Christmas version first to give people some exposure to it. In any case, this version is, in fact, a happy, happy song.

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1SAGAIN & JU BORA: ENDLESS WINTER

19 December, 2014 - 15:52
1SAGAIN & JU BORA: ENDLESS WINTER
Release Date: 
12/12
Label: 
Unknown
I couldn't find a Wiki page in English about 1sAgain but a Luminosity page about Ju Bora states that she frequently collaborates with him. So, I'm assuming 1sAgain is the one who's doing the rapping, since that voice sounds male, and Ju Bora is doing the singing since that voice sounds female.

Well, I couldn't find a link for this on iTunes. And I couldn't find a translation either. But the song is out there, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find. Maybe it's even on Spotify. In any case, 1sagain & Ju Bora have concocted a lovely song here. The relatively down-tempo beats split the difference between R&B and K-Pop; suffice to say it's in Korean. And this one is *totally* in Korean. I didn't notice a single word in English. They don't even sing/say/rap the title of the song.

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PIUS: GIVE LOVE ON CHRISTMAS DAY

19 December, 2014 - 09:28
PIUS: GIVE LOVE ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Release Date: 
12/4/14
Label: 
PIUS Records
An incredible Christmas song -- in English -- from soulful K-Popper PIUS.

K-Pop soul singer Pius has given us a Christmas song this year -- and it's in English. It's gorgeous, too. If you like harmonizing, you have to give this one a listen. It's right up there with The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows." Layers and layers of vocals. I think he had a whole chorus of guys backing him because there are parts when you can hear the different voices. But mostly their voices blend together in perfect harmony.

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Crayon Pop, K-Much, Bob Girls, & Zan Zan: 2014 Chrome Family - A Very Special Christmas

18 December, 2014 - 14:09
Crayon Pop, K-Much, Bob Girls, & Zan Zan: 2014 Chrome Family - A Very Special Christmas
Release Date: 
12/2/14
Label: 
Chrome Family
Crayon Pop + Christmas = bliss

The name of this single isn't A Very Special Christmas, apparently that's the title of an album or EP that Chrome Family label artists are releasing songs for. I don't know why they'd release the tracks one song at a time, but then Korean labels often release movie soundtracks in parts, so I suppose it's not surprising.

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LEO IEIRI: SILLY

16 December, 2014 - 10:15
LEO IEIRI: SILLY
Release Date: 
11/19/14
Label: 
Victor Entertainment
You have to admire Leo Ieiri. If for nothing else then for the fact that she writes all of her own songs. Also, she manages to put out new music as regularly as the bulk of J-Pop artists who have other people writing songs for them. That takes real creativity and effort.

You have to admire Leo Ieiri. If for nothing else then for the fact that she writes all of her own songs. Also, she manages to put out new music as regularly as the bulk of J-Pop artists who have other people writing songs for them. That takes real creativity and effort.

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THE BARBERETTES: Carol: Hun Hun Christmas

10 December, 2014 - 11:34
THE BARBERETTES: Carol: Hun Hun Christmas
Release Date: 
12/9/14
Label: 
Sony Music
If you're a fan of '60's pop music and you like Christmas music, this EP will have you jumping with joy.

To be totally honest, I'd never heard of The Barberettes before randomly coming across this EP, which caught my eye because it's called Christmas and I'm quite the sucker for Christmas music. Well, it did not disappoint, all four tunes being charmers.

Here's a little info about the trio from their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheBarberettesKorea)...

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Nendoroid Kokomi Shiina and Chloe Lemaire from Girlfriend BETA due in June 2015!

9 December, 2014 - 15:13
GFB nendos in June!

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MEG: THANK YOU, MAMA

9 December, 2014 - 13:35
MEG: THANK YOU, MAMA
Release Date: 
10/29/14
Label: 
XQMN
It's a pretty ballad and ballad junkies are sure to love it. But I just didn't find it very catchy, unlike almost everything else Meg has ever done.

[I meant to post this review a month ago but forgot about it. My bad. Sorry.]

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Meg brings the world "Thank you Mama" (that's how she writes it). Which might just be the very first Thanksgiving song.

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