Written By: Weslee
Welcome to back to another installment of Weslee’s J-Music Recommendation! These are purely based on my personal opinion, so you may or may not agree with them, but please be polite in the comments. These posts will be a compilation of my top 5 picks from anything that’s caught my eye, along with them are the song information, links, and music videos! J-Music is not only limited to J-Pop, so there will be a variety of genres within the Japanese music spectrum. Please enjoy Weslee’s Top Five!
I’m mixing it up a bit this time around with old favorites (2000-2009) I had on my music library that popped up, I hope these songs might give some of you nostalgia!
Artist: Mika Nakashima (中島 美嘉)
Media (Drama): Ryūsei no Kizuna (流星の絆)
Official Site: Mika Nakashima
Thoughts: Although this song is not as old (2008), it still has an impact on me even now, Nakashima’s voice upon my first time hearing it back then with her debut in 2003, I was awe-struck by her voice– which can be a smooth baritone or become light and airy easily. This song is one of my favorites from her, and is one of those “lazy days” tunes in my opinion, the overall tempo not too high and low, but at a constant beat that is just natural to me.
Music Video (short version):
Title: Kimagure Romantic (気まぐれロマンティック)
Artist: Ikimonogakari (いきものがかり)
Album (Single): Kimagure Romantic (気まぐれロマンティック)
Official Site: Ikimonogakari
Thoughts: I’m a huge fan of Ikimonogakari, they’ve been covering a portion of some top anime song opening and endings throughout the years, including Bleach and Naruto. Kimagure Romantic (2008) is energetic and adorable, I loved the integration of classic 2D video-game graphics and continuously changing background in the music video. The cheerful tune in this song always has me smiling and makes me think of a slice-of-life manga or anime being enjoyed while this song plays along.
Kimagure Romantic (Labeled #15 on playlist)
Artist: Tamaki Nami (玉置成実)
Official Site: Tamaki Nami
Thoughts: All I have to say is Tamaki Nami is a staple for the era of disco and pop for J-Music, even now. Her voice is unique and while she has sung for several anime openings, I went ahead and chose Heroine, because it’s one of my close favorites that I used to play every day– in fact I remember first discovering Tamaki Nami and downloading all her songs into my music library way back when I still had my old desktop computer, which was a good 7-8 years ago!! This song is from 2007-2008, along with multiple other singles and albums she has put out.
Title: Houki Boshi (ほうき星)
Artist: Younha (ユンナ)
Album (Single): Go! Younha
Media (Anime ED): Bleach ED 3
Official Site: Younha
Thoughts: An absolute classic from one of my all-time favorite series, this song gives me the absolute nostalgia feel for me. I adore this song and really, it’s such a classic and it’s such an upbeat tune I can’t resist putting it on here. Younha is an incredibly talented female artist who sings in both Korean and Japanese! This song came out in 2005, and it’s been 11 years since my first time hearing it, and it definitely brings back a lot of good memories with the series itself.
Title: Only Human
Artist: K (Kang Yoon-sung)
Album: Beyond the Sea
Media (Drama): 1 Litre no Namida (1リットルの涙)
Official Site: K
Thoughts: It should be no surprise that I included another Korean song artist into this list since I love K-music as well– but this song goes far beyond my love for both Japanese and Korean singers; Only Human has been a song I’ve had in my music playlist for a very long time, and by listening to K’s voice I think you might understand why. The notes in this song are subtle but powerful, and way K manages to hit the perfect pitch at every turn is so graceful and soothing. I am in love with this song and had to include it in this list, as it was included in his debut album Beyond the Sea in the 2005.
Music Video (Live Performance):
Title: Step and Go
Artist: Arashi (嵐)
Album (Single): Step and Go
Official Site: Arashi
Thoughts: If you know the classic 2000s J-Music top hits, then you definitely know Arashi is going to be on there without a doubt. I love Arashi and their pop songs since the beginning, Step and Go (2008) being one of my top favorites of all time. This was a close tie with Nami Tamaki‘s Heroine, but I just had to include Arashi for old time’s sake. In the last music recommendation I mentioned I don’t really listen to J-Pop boy bands– well, Arashi was one if not the only one I actually listen to on a normal basis and follow. You have to love the bubbly and energetic buzz you get from listening to their songs, Step and Go especially, I always end up singing along while listening.
I hope everyone enjoyed the media I have listed, and prepare for another round of music picks next time! Comment on what you liked about the songs, or even recommend ones that I might try out! And please support the artists by purchasing their songs through their official websites.