Sunday Blog Roundup: A Very Quote-worthy Week

Filed in American Wota 1.0

Great writing often transcends subject matter. While I have a distinct fondness for Japanse girlpop – okay, underage Japanese girlpop – there’ve been new blogs about aspects of Japanese music that I don’t care about but which are so well-written that I’m sucked in and riveted, sentence by sentence, idea by idea. And in the case of the newly-launched !ricebox, it isn’t even about Japanese pop music – rather, it’s about Korean boy bands. Here’s a choice line which helped me fall in love with this blog, with its first (and so far, only) major entry, on a documentary series about the formation of Korean boy band Big Bang:

Conflating authenticity for street cred without nailing either, the documentary captures the six trainees in charismatic poses that range from braggart to tearful to playful.

I don’t know about you, but the sheer aesthetics of this sentence sends shivers down my spine, it’s a complex weave of statement, analysis, and razor-modulated snark that comes across effortlessly. Beyond that, the informative and entertaining manner that the Korean pop industry is discussed – and to some extent, Korean media in general – is positively fascinating to armchair ethnographers such as myself. And yeah, I know… this sounds a lot like the work of my favorite Asian music blogger of all time. And I think it’s that person, but there’s no confirmation so I’ll just leave it at that.

Over at Irresponsible Pictures, Pata does an excellent analysis of a recent news article describing an apparent generation gap among fans of geek / pop culture. He and I seem to have had similar experiences, what with VHS fansub services (I loved Tomadachi and their Marmalade Boy subs) and witnessing the debut of Mixxzine (I still have my CD of the Graduation game they sold in those early issues!). It’s a nifty paradigmatic shift, and Pata places it all in the proper perspective with a quote from economist John Maynard Keyes. Continuing this stream of great writing – one filled with passion and verve – Aural Candy pleads “Spare Our Wallets!”, exasperated by labels that sell multiple versions of limited edition releases. I can’t resist quoting these wonderful passages:

I’m one of those suckers who like to purchase the limited editions of releases because of the bonus material and that nice exclusive feeling. While I’m perfectly aware that I’m being taken advantage of, I still cannot help myself. “Here I am, please exploit me to your heart’s content.”

But, when the labels really start to capitalize on this (irrational) fan psychology by releasing TWO versions of the limited edition, I just can’t take it anymore and must blow my fuse.

Aural Candy writes this while taking note of a SID release coming in three different versions, something also noted by Gail of the impressive Himitsu. Aural Candy also looks at a couple of L’Arc en Ciel splinter projects – sharing a Creature Creature PV and reviewing Ken’s single “Speed – as well as takes a fashion turn, looking at the visual evolution of Kagrra from outlandish VK pretty boys (complete with ribbons) to… um… something not so pretty or outlandish. And no ribbons. Aural Candy also looks at Dir en Grey at the Family Values Tour, which Go of the venerable jrocknyc attends after some difficulty making arrangements,then gives readers a teaser of what he saw there, as he’ll be writing an article for Purple Sky. Go also announces the name of Dir en Grey’s next single, offering a pungent one-liner in assessment and reviews the latest release from Galneryus.

Gail of Himitsu also has a new listing of upcoming J-pop releases, while Zaeleus of Luna Tech offers his monthly listing of upcoming Hello! Project releases. Skawt of jankenpyon! has news of some upcoming Jpop calendars and I could see myself buying two or three, as well… (A Morning Musume calendar is now conceivable, with the line-up down to eight.)

Also on the Hello! Project front, Madara of Madara Blog celebrates one year as a Morning Musume fan, explaining in his usual detailed fashion how it has renewed his interest in pop music. I found his inclusion of his daughter’s comment – “Your life didn’t change, you just found something new to obsess over” – quite amusing, since sometimes I feel the same way about my own interest in Jpop. The most touching part is how he continues to be frustrated at the lack of interest of those around him in the genius of the Hello! Project. Well, it takes a special insight to enjoy Tsunku world, and not everyone is gifted with such vision… Switch-On! News passes along the information that Kumai Yurina will be featured in the next Hello! Pro Hour. Be still my heart! And while I’ve been seeing some highly creative subtitles recently – it makes me feel like a pony! – Yossittelua has taken the idea to the fumetti format with a very entertaining comic strip about Yossi and Rika.

Channel-Ai’s leader, eyn, does a review of the blog itself on its one year anniversary. It’s a fascinating read both as a blogger and as a reader, with insights on the tools and creative vision that make Channel-Ai such a distinctive and ejoyable place. Meanwhile, the group blog’s three most prolific contributors all continue to give us great reads. Leanne of Channel-Ai isn’t as thrilled with Nakashima Mika’s newest single as she wishes to be, Rinoa is very enthused by Shimatani Hitomi’s new single but less so with Suzuki Ami’s latest, while Lainay takes a quick look Def. Diva’s “Let’s Go Rakuten Eagles!”. Extra points for using the words “Def. Diva” and “pimp” in the same review, though unfortunately not in the context I wanted.

Santos of Idolizing St. Anna is back in top form as her writes quite candidly – and poignantly, I’ll admit – about going to his first Bon Bon Blanco handshake event in a year and a half. The main lesson I got out of it, though, is: Hand out all the little bouquets to the other members of the group first, and then give your favorite idol of the group the ginormous bouquet that will make the others jealous afterwards. Santos also goes to see AAA at LaQua, where the stage is apparently too small for the eight members’ usual dance and acrobatics and introduces us to the wonders of the well-endowed pairs of the well-endowed pair Ooparts. Missing her laptop a great deal, pengie is nonetheless able to write about favorite lyrics from Hamasaki Ayumi. At Kakko-ii.com, Zush does a write-up on Do As Infinity ands its members, a year after the group broke up. Béné of Béné Blog is excited about Harenchi Punch’s upcoming first album and gives a review of the preview tracks released. 74x has news about Uehara Takako’s new book as well as information about Jpop artists performing overseas, while Thea of Made in Paradise provides a nicely detailed review of the first two albums from Avex reggae dancehall artist Pang.

Tsuji Eriku, one of the magnificent bastards of Your Opinion Doesn’t Count, has a clip of his new favorite band Naughty John at Yoyogi Park. And the J-Music Clip of the Week is the dance version of Hinoi Team’s “Now and Forever”, courtesy of Langdon Alger. And in terms of eyecandy, the YODC crew provide plenty this week: Craig gives Tsuji Eriku a kawaii birthday wish, then Langdon Alger follows up with something more attuned to Tsuji Eriku’s needs. And as Cult of Pop had its constant influx of Saaya-seekers, YODC apparently has Maria Ozawa fans searching their site for her – and like Cult of Pop, YODC is happy enough to give the people what they want… sorta. And for those who want underage idols, a nice selection of Hinoi Team pictures from the Now and Forever cover shoot. On his own blog Major Exposure, Craig has to defend a Konno picture to his mother… and realizes the U15 bullet he ducked.

On the drama front, Akiramike of the mighty HamsapSukebe is very amused with the latest episodes of Kekkon Dekinai Otoko – then provides some very luscious shots of Otoko actress Mitsuya Yoko. Meanwhile, Tsuji Eriku recounts on Tuji no Uchi about taking a sick day and catching up on some Ueto Aya drama goodness. Meanwhile, nishi compares on her MySpace blog the differences between Taiyou no Uta the movie and Taiyou no Uta the TV drama. usagi of the usagi incidents continues her anime reviews at full force (with the occassional American TV show thrown into the mix), including this excellent review of the first four episodes of Last Exile. At JJ’s blog, a top ten list of favorite anime broken into two parts, here and here.

On a classic rock note – well, what I consider classic rock – CJ Marsicano of Stuck in a Pagoda with Motoko Aoyama reports that Dinosaur Jr’s gear was stolen. CJ also provides a highly amusing list of 39 Rules of Rock and Pop. I find it comforting – and a sure sign that we’re the same age – both CJ and I consider the Beastie Boys’ two-story-tall inflatable penis as the only acceptable large-scale prop. Older duffers than us would have probably championed Pink Floyd’s giant inflatable pig… Closing this week on a more personal note, CJ is asked a tough question – one I wouldn’t be able to answer myself, actually – that makes him think even more about American music.

Johnny of The Mind loves Jpop so much that he had stickers made stating this fact. I’d make up stickers of what I love, but do I really want to be beaten up by angry parents on the bus? nishi blogs on MySpace about Mike of Golf & Mike fame, noting, “it’s so not cool to be crushing on a kid that was almost born in a different decade than me”. Hm. Food for thought there, perhaps? Um…

And to close things off, two more quoteworthy entries from this week. WEBmikey reviews both Koda Kumi’s 4 Hot Wave CD-DVD and Morning Musume’s last two singles. He ends the latter with a nice sentiment: “As silly as the Jpop industry can sometimes be, I really think it’s great entertainment, and I appreciate all the energy (often inspiring to me) that goes into it!” Amen to that. At Made in Paradise, Thea fangrills over Chenyi and enthuses, “For fanboys, there are pretty girls. For fangirls, there are pretty boys. *sigh* I love pretty boys so much LOL.” Double amen to that! Well, not the last sentence. Not for me, at least. Not most of the time, anyway.

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One Response to “Sunday Blog Roundup: A Very Quote-worthy Week”
  1. CJ Marsicano says:

    Even though I remember the Pink Floyd Animals cover growing up, lately I associate their inflatable pig more with Peter Frampton in that Simpsons Lollapalooza episode.