But this post is about singers and albums and stuff. Music. Asian music.Stefanie Sun Yan Zi
OK, like, Stefanie Sun Yan Zi's new album 'Stefanie'? It is the best album of hers since Yanzi, which was her previous best album (in my opinion). It's just so amazingly awesome. It's her best album since Yanzi, which was her previous best album, in my opinion. She still has yet to do any individual song as powerful and brilliant as "Leave Me Alone", but that's like aiko's "Hikaru no sasu ashimoto" -- like the Ultimate Song, and how can you ever have more than one Ultimate Song. Not surprisingly, both of those songs are from early in the artists' careers, before they had mad producing and management to mask their true talent.
But back to the new album. See, in the albums in between Yanzi and Stefanie, seems like they were trying to make sure they fit her music into the classifications of mainstream. But isn't her most popular song ever "Wo yao de xing fu", which sounds like nothing you've ever heard before. It might not be, but as far as I can tell that song won more awards than anything else she's done, and it deserved it, it's a brilliant song.
This latest album very much reminds me of Yanzi. There's some good introspective angst, and some fun upbeat stuff, but the song I can't stop listening to is called "Zhong" according to some kind person who was willing to romanize the track titles. It sounds like something that might happen walking around Istanbul or Athens. It's all middle-eastern-mediterranean (a word I can't spell) and fun. And it makes me want baklava.
There's a big mix of music styles, and each one lets her voice shine through, something I really thought was sorta lacking on "Leave" and "Kite" especially.
Look it's a really good album. I'm making a soundtrack A SECRET SOUNDTRACK! (ok maybe I should stop yelling when I talk about secrets) and I'm going to upload it later and so you can hear it, and it will have some Sun Yanzi songs on it, so you can see how great a singer she is.
Gackt and Hyde
While I'm fangirling singers, let me just say that the other night when we went to the jazz club, we spent like an hour or something talking about nothing but how hott L'arc~en~ciel is, and how hott Gackt is. Really I think Hyde is much hotter than Gackt, especially in the movie when he's got the blonde hair. But you know what? L'arc's music isn't all that, and neither is Gackt's. In fact, I don't think there's a single Gackt song I like. There's some L'arc songs I like pretty well, but I'm not like, all mad W0000! when they come out with a new album. They're cool, yeah, but not 'all that'.
I wish Porno Graffitti was mad hott, because then more people might pay attention to their greatness. Okano Akihito is probably the best male vocalist evar. I'm sure I'm being silly, but he's just so great and at this time I love them so much that I can't think of who else might be a better singer. Hirai Ken might be, but that's completely different style of music anyway (but if Hirai Ken sings like that to you, you are obliged to fall in love with him). There's not a single Porno Graffitti song I don't like. Well, I'm sure I haven't heard all their songs ever, so there might be one, but I haven't heard it. I have like 40 or something of their songs, maybe, I dunno, I get confused. But I like them all!
Did you know Aiko did a cute cover of Apollo on All Night Nippon? Yes. I have a recording of that. It's hella cute. There will be an Aiko discussion later in this post! I didn't even know that was a Porno Graffitti song, because she did mad covers of all sorts of songs, just her and her piano. Can't keep all those straight. Well, I know NOW, that I'm a huge PG fan, but before, I didn't know.
They use a lot of words that I don't know, because I'm not really very good in Japanese, so I don't know if their lyrics generally make sense or if they're all Duran Duran 'the reflex is an only child' garbage. But I don't care, because it sounds GOOD. I know what the lyrics in "Eien no Tomodachi" are, but that's not Porno Graffitti, that's fairlife, just happens to have Okano singing, so I love that song to pieces. It's absolutely adorable and will be part of the soundtrack I'm making, oh yes.
I was trying to determine what is my favorite song from the ones I know, and so I put all of 'em in a playlist and I go "Ooh, it has to be one of these songs with the horn section." and then I get to the next song and I go "oh no, it has to be one of these songs with the acoustic sound!" and then I get to another song and I go "Oh no it has to be one of these rock-type songs!" and then I get to another song and go "Oh no it has to be one of these love songs!" and it goes on like that through the entire PG playlist.
If you need a reccommendation, go with "Sister", it's their latest release and it's very very good, it's kindof bazouki sounding, although I'm sure I spelled that wrong. It's fun, sortof, in a "Hey you kids, get off my lawn!" kind of way. I can't esplain that, just the impression I get. I feel like I should get off Okano's lawn. (I would so stand on his lawn just to hear him shout at me to get off the lawn, too.) But if you don't want to get yelled at, lesse, I guess wait til the 10th which is when their next song is gonna be released, and I heard a bit of it, and it's well cute!! I like it already, but that's no surprise because really they have yet to do anything I *dis*like. It's called "Tasogare Romance", which is kindof interesting in that the Rip Slyme song that I like is called "Tasogare Surround". What is it with naming a song Tasogare + English Word?
Anyway, on the the Sony Music Porno Graffitti site
you can watch a clip of the new song with them talkin about it over it, but it's in some crappy format so the sound quality sucks, but you know, preview of new song yey :D
Well I can hardly have a post about music without mentioning Aiko, now can I. So I was listening to her latest single Hanakaze, and it's good and all, but really if it wasn't Aiko singing that song, I would be eh about it. She's just got the best voice of anyone ever in the history of singers. But they need to let her just do her thing, instead of trying to pop-infuse her songs. She can pop-infuse her own songs when she needs to. Seriously, Oyasuminasai? Talk about overproduced. You can barely hear her on that song. And Hanakaze, it's catchy and everything, but there's a severe lack of energy, just like most of her recent releases, because I know some asshole has her in the studio for like 8 hours on one song, because he wants it 'perfect'. But half of aiko's charm was the imperfectness in her garage band sound! And again, you can hardly hear her over the guitars and stuff, especially in the chorus. I was listening to "Boyfriend" earlier today, and it's so clear and raw, but still has a great arrangement featuring an eclectic instrumentation and unique sound. And she still manages to be the focus of attention. Whereas, in Hanakaze, it seems like the beat and the guitars are the focus of attention, and Aiko's just there to put some words to it so that we can sing along.
Luckily, her creativity hasn't been completely suppressed. I was comparing the albums "Akatsuki no Love Letter" and "Aki Soba ni Iruyo", and really Akatsuki is a better album, and that's good because it means she isn't like, dying as an artist or something. Most of Aki Soba is rather mediocre for Aiko standards (which are impossibly high, based on Chiisana Marui Koujitsu which I probably spelled wrong), and although one of my favorite aiko songs ever is on that album (Soredake), as a whole it is a bit lacking. So it's good that her latest album has some fresh new approaches to her original style; music that lets her voice shine through. I'm disappointed that Hanakaze doesn't do that.
But nothing will ever touch her indie stuff. And with the remakes (Rosie, Ano ko e, Ai Ai Gasa come to mind) I think she knows that, too. I'd be interested to hear what she'd do if she remade "Hikari no sasu ashimoto" or "Sasenaide".
Asian Kung-fu Generation
You know, for an uber-mainstream alternative rock band, I'm strangely drawn to AKFGs sound. They also have yet to make a song I don't like. Not that I'm all W00t! over all their songs like I am with Porno Graffitti, but I do like all their songs. And I think at first when one comes on "Oh I won't like this one," but then I do. I once described them as similar to The Pillows. I like AKFG better, though, which is just kindof odd for me. Kym said that FMA made "Rewrite" the last OP to compensate me for killing off all my favorite characters and then sucking terribly. Their latest single is better than Rewrite. I'm not mad fangirling them or anything, but I'm diggin it, and I'd buy more songs of theirs if they were reasonably priced and readily available in my area.
I'd buy all of Porno Graffitti's albums and singles. And as always, everything Aiko ever made, overproduced or not.
Other artists I am currently enjoying but not really enough to fangirl over, with the song I like in parentheses:
Hirai Ken (Hitomi o tojite)
Otsuka Ai (Daisuki da yo)
Bennie K (Sunrise)
Rip Slyme (Tasogare surround)
100s (Honeycom.ware or somthing like that - confusing song title.)
Hirahara Ayeka (Blessing)
And now, to uninstall/reinstall MSN IM so maybe I can chat with people. Jammin' with :
Porno Graffitti - Saboten