Sunday Blog Roundup

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

Of all the bloggers I know about, crs is my favorite writer. I’ll admit there’s some bias in that estimation since she integrates an authoritative academic voice with the personal passion of an astute cultural observer. So it’s kind of like what I attempt, but more informed and rhetorically successful and not nearly as pedo-centric. She can be insightful, instructive, deeply opinionated… all with a writerly confidence and razor-sharp sense of humor that keeps me interested even when she chooses topics I wouldn’t otherwise care about. And when she does write about things near and dear to me, it’s Jpop blogging heaven.

This week crs has been blogging a great deal and most all of it is gold. My favorite is the post where she discusses how she thinks about music and the nature of music reviewing. It’s a bracingly challenging read, and worth everyone’s time and attention. If anything, I’d have liked to see her address more fully the other side of the equation: while I agree that a critic must be aware of biases and blind spots and make them an integral part of self-examination, the audience must also be reached and persuaded in order for criticism to be enjoyable, perhaps even useful. This is where “objectivity”, for lack of a better term, is crucial – the ability to lay down the groundwork for one’s belief so that the reader will not only understand where the critic is coming from but accept it as a valid set of premises by which to base an assessment of what’s being studied.

Each work of criticism creates a community within its readership that not only assess the biases of the critic, but also must buy into the basic premises of that bias to some degree – not agree or disagree (reading a critic you hate can be great fun, at times), but at least be able to hold those premises on a theoretical level. A body of critical work from a critic or a community of critics, then, has a shared set of standards defined by the critic(s) – that is, a measure of quality that isn’t objective in the scientific sense but does bestow on criticism a rhetoric of authority that’s akin to objectivity in its ability to persuade. Otherwise, the critic risks lapsing into solipsism – something crs never does, for example, not just because she’s aware of her biases and uses them well but also because she lays down all her arguments with rhetorical evidence that carries the weight of objectivity to the reader.

Speaking of which, crs does an incredible – and I mean incredible – job of examining Miyabi of Berryz Koubo in exactly this way. Her biases are evident and entertaining, but she also marshals an impressive array of proof on why Miyabi’s the privileged Berryz and where her weak points are. Transmiyabisation comes that much closer to being a reality on this site, as a result… crs also brings up a compelling point about the new PV being aimed solely at a male audience, a notion I’ll likely explore later this week. In a similarly intriguing, critically thoughtful piece, Sami of nitro.pop looks at various aspects of the current Jpop scene and finds herself hopeful of a resurgence in quality. Meanwhile, Marly Jane of Fashionable Sounds takes a look at Abe Natsumi’s new album and finds a confusion of impressions.

J-Pop CD Cover Art has two great Hinoi Team selections this week: one for the “Sticky, Tricky, and Bang” single and one for the Super Euro Party album. Meanwhile, Santos of Idolizing St. Anna finds out Koriki’s new partner is again underage and sexually precocious… Santos also attends the Girl’s Box concert this weekend which marks SweetS’ last concert performance. KagoFeet of Don’t touch my jpop! has a three-part tribute to SweetS – here’s parts one, two, and three.

On the Hello! Project front, Béné of Béné Blog finds the new Berryz PV “dark but sympathetic” while k2c of k2c Blog has joined the Mikitty Liberation Front. Unfortunately, I belong to the Front for Liberating Mikitty, so that makes him a splitter. Splitter! At Jpop Overclock, a download of Goto Maki’s recent Alo-Hello while at Stuck in a Pagoda with Motoko Aoyama, CJ Marsicano shows off his Mika Todd CD! Johnny of The Mind: My Own Personal Idea Factory has photo cards of Morning Musume and Abe Natsumi, the Nacchi ones annoying in their cutesiness – but that’s just me.

Your Opinion Doesn’t Count has a whole lot of Jpop goodness worth noting this week. There’s some Sowelu goodness, a question regarding Gackt’s hold on Japanese women, and some pics from the H!P Sports Festival. On their home turf, they cover the Japan Nite US Tour when it hit San Francisco. Last but not least, their J-Music Clip of the Week is none other than BoA.

At Subliminal Beats, Jordi considers five possibilities for Rip Slyme, even predicting an apocalypse (sort of) in one scenario. Thea of Made in Paradise takes note of AAA’s mistakes on a recent Music Fighter episode while bagofpeanuts of Koppie Dip!! is currently addicted to misono’s “VS”. ikimasshoi news considers if KAT-TUN has the most successful debut in Japanese musical history.

On the guilty pleasure front, Cute Cosplay Angels has a variety of Sweet Kiss pics for your viewing. Less guilty but still pleasing, Karakui has Yamada Yu’s recent CM. On the Go Go Yubari front, Miki of Deepest Thoughts reports Kuriyama Chiaki will be in an upcoming Tekken film. usagi of the usagi incidents has much love for Natalie Portman this week, including the V for Vendetta movie and Natalie’s recent gangsta rap. Hmm, Hugo Weaving in a Guy Fawkes mask and Adam Samberg as a Viking – has Natalie become a cosplay queen? On the jdorama front, Akiramike of the mighty HamsapSukebe faces the harsh truth about Isoyaka Sayama and 2nd House. And in a shocking turn of events, Go of jrocknyc has decided to move himself and his family to the United States!