Home > Release Date: 2009, Release Date: 2010, Release Date: 2011 > 2011 is sounding pretty good.

2011 is sounding pretty good.

Over at aramatheydidnt@LiveJournal, kimivalkyrie has posted the iTunes Japan Sound of 2011 list, along with videos for songs by each of the artist on the playlist.

This is a pretty good list, and you are only doing yourself a disfavor by not giving it a try. But for those of you more iffy, here’s a quick rundown.

androp‘s MirrorDance starts with some snappy beats and guitar strums, brings in a quick round of light synth, and then we only head up from there. It’s uplifting in a easy listening meets rock way with club rearing its head in the bridges. Think of it like ORANGE RANGE and UVERworld’s more synthesized offerings, but not nearly as rough.

From cinema staff is GATE, ballad rock-pop with some pretty sweet vocals. It starts out strong and the video is full of intense guitar playing, but when vocalist Iida Mizuki starts on the mic things slow down to match with his singing.

The song from [Champagne] is titled Rocknrolla! That in itself should tell you plenty. In case it doesn’t, it’s a fun rock song with purely English lyrics. Still need a comparison? BEAT CRUSADERS without the heavy Engrish accent, a less rough voice (though I know, that was part of the fun of BEAT CRUSADERS), and without the pixelated face printouts as masks.

Sekai no Owari has a very ominous name – literally, World’s End. Their song title, Tenshi to Akuma, isn’t much better (Angel and Devil). And then you listen to the song (light pop-rock with piano), listen to the lyrics (comparing the greys of the world to the black-and-white we learn as children), and you realize that perhaps it’s more hopeful. Vocalist Fukase Satoshi has a childish drawl to his voice that emphasizes this, and the music is just as pure.

Sonodaband gives us SoulRiver_2010, and at first, I was at a loss to describe them for you because there are no vocals. Then I realized that I love this track and it’s perfect without the vocals. Combining classical strings (violin and cello) with electric ones (guitar and bass), and adding drums and a keyboard for beat and added melody gives us this funky and beautiful track. I kind of want to say if you like what Kanno Yoko produced in the late 90’s, you’ll enjoy this, but that might be a disservice to both parties.

On the iTunes page, Tameoka Sonomi is compared to Furuchi Toko and May J. (There’s your comparison.) When you listen to movin’on, you’ll probably agree on the May J comparison, at least, and perhaps add Kato Miliyah to the list. movin’on starts out slow with only a piano and Tameoka’s strong but soothing voice, but quickly gains ground. While movin’on was from her first album, when she releases her second album on February 23rd, you at least have this guarantee of a strong addition to Japanese female R&B.

TEE‘s Change My Life is a fast-paced celebratory piece makes me think of Def Tech or Hilcrhyme. But that’s probably because I haven’t listened to much Japanese Reggae. The song that’s actually on the playlist is Denwa wo Dakishimete (RADIO EDIT), but all YouTube has to offer is a 30-second preview that shows a light ballad with slight reggae influences.

NIKIIE‘s song being titled Shunkashuutou (a live performance on YouTube) is a bit amusing to me only because I looked up Hilcrhyme’s slower songs for the above blurb, and one of them is similarly titled. That said, this Shunkashuutou is a pop piece that starts slow and becomes dramatically upbeat when the chorus hits. NIKIIE (pronounced like “Nicky”) is a singer-songwriter who plays the piano and has a voice that is less whiny than YUI’s, not as likely to lull you to sleep as Rie fu’s, and may be a substitute for those of you missing Ayaka (though not as husky).

We’re nearing the end here, with Violent is Savanna and their song AWAIRO SAKURA CHIRU. Signed to avex, it should not come to you as much surprise that singer Seika has vocals of the whiny persuasion. If you get past that opening chorus, though, it’s not too bad a pop-rock piece, fairly gentle in the stanzas and never really hitting the same level of nasal whine as in the opening again. Either that or I got used to it.

The last one on the list is back number, whose song Shiawase not only is on the list, but debuted on iTunes. Unfortunately, a preview is nowhere to be found on the Internet, so kimivalkyrie hunted down stay with me as a sample instead. The latter is a rock-pop ballad showcasing vocalist Kiyomizu Iori(?) and some grungy guitars. Having tried other songs (Haru wo Uta ni Shite and Nishifuji Kouen), I think I can say he sounds pretty nice when soft (like in Haru wo Uta ni Shite), but the slight whine in Kiyomizu’s voice seems to be an apt part of the band’s music.

And there you have it – iTunes Japan Sound of 2011. What strikes you, what doesn’t? Love them all? Hate them all? Just want Johnny’s? (…I don’t quite know what to say to those of you in the latter category.) Feel free to leave a comment – or better yet, go to the original post on arama and thank kimivalkyrie for sharing the joy.

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