You Can’t Watch Namie on an iPod…

Filed in Cult of Pop 1.0

I don’t have an iPod and frankly don’t want one… As cool as it is, it’s only good for listening to a whole bunch of songs. There’s nothing to stare at, if I so desired, and for me Jpop is as much about a visual experience as a musical one. Whether or not that discounts the musical value of Jpop, I don’t really care. That said, I’m not likely to enjoy a Jpop PV if it’s merely eyecandy…

I have an iPaq and, along with all the usual Palm-related stuff, I keep between fifty and sixty Jpop PVs in WMV format on an SD disk. Up to now it’s been mostly Hello! Project groups, all of SweetS’ PVs, and some other favorites… (I do have a handful of MP3s, but only because there’s no PVs for these gems: Onanie Machine’s punk medley of Morning Musume’s hits, Morning Musume’s “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari 2”, and the should-have-been-a-single “Into the Daylight” by SweetS.)

I add and subtract a song or two when something new catches my fancy, and every couple months I get tired of my playlist (something that won’t happen with an iPod, I know) and change things around more drastically. Most recently, I cleared out some Momusu, Halcali, and Koda Kumi for Melon Kinenbi, Zone, and Dream (three-person Dream, not the current version). Tonight I’m feeling antsy again and am putting in a whole batch of songs I’m not too familiar with but want to hear (and watch) for the next few weeks.

And for some reason, I was in an Avex diva kind of mood. A couple of older Koda Kumi tracks, two Hinoi Asuka singles (which is definitely eyecandy bubblegum – but what the heck), a Coco d’Or performance of “Paper Moon”, and six Amuro Namie PVs.

Coco d’Or is going to be a new favorite for me. It’s the nom-de-jazz for Hiro of Speed, who’s just an absolute darling to look at but makes generically R&B Avex tracks as far as I’m concerned. Maybe I didn’t give songs like “Treasure” enough of a chance, but it doesn’t help that her PVs are so serious and diva-dramatic. Coco d’Or is Hiro when she sings jazz standards in English – her voice is nasally, her pronunciation isn’t quite on (and sometimes way way off), the production is not particularly inspired… but it works somehow. She’s earnest, often playful, and can get completely into these songs… I listened to the Coco album over the weekend and enjoyed it a great deal – the opening track, “Misty,” is a gem – and wanted something on my iPaq. I’ll probably load a couple of MP3s along with the “Paper Moon” live, now that I think of it.

As for Amuro Namie… I actually haven’t listened to much of her at all, but a couple of things stick with me. First, I saw a live performance of “Alarm” last year that was stunningly good – I liked the song, the dance moves, the attitude. But I wasn’t in a diva mood at the time, and in the grander scheme of things it looked like Namie could be piled up with other R&B divas like Hamasaki Ayumi, BoA, and Koda Kumi. (Koda Kumi would surprise me, however, by going all Christine Aguilera and becoming a spectacle of sexual excess in her PVs. That said, “Shake It” is one of the catchiest, slinkiest songs I’ve heard in Jpop and remains a favorite to this day.)

Second, I’ve heard SweetS’ Aya compared – in looks and voice – to Amuro, a sort of mini-me Namie. And since SweetS is the non-H!P be-all and end-all of my Jpop universe, the curiosity has been there a while.

Recently, somebody put up most all of Amuro’s PVs on a bit torrent site I frequent, and I was intrigued enough by Amuro that I figured I’d put several of her recent PVs on the iPaq and see if I can learn to love them. This tactic worked previously for Dream (old three-person Dream, not – oh, never mind) and Melon Kinenbi, so Amuro’s just the next step forward in expanding my Jpop horizons.

And now that I think of it, I want some Akina and Folder 5 on my iPaq as well. It’s been a long while since Akina’s last single, so that’d be cool.

My iPaq’s going from Hello! Project-dominated to an unsteady balance between H!P and Avex. So goes the expanded horizons…