Asian Music Appreciation

I mentioned in my introductory thread that I enjoy Asian music (P.S. I never received any marriage proposals, ya teases, and the squid was surprisingly gentle.), and always sort of intended on bringing the subject up as I really enjoy chatting about artists and music that I like. Unfortunately, I tend to like a crazy mix of stuff, and most people I know don’t end up enjoying most of what I do, so it’s a struggle to find people with similar musical taste.

So, I thought I would share a smattering of the things I enjoy, complete with customary youtube-age for sampling. I buy a crazy amount of music, it’s probably my biggest ‘extra’ expenditure, and when I have the money to spare, I generally end up buying music.

So, for people who have never heard a Japanese pop song or a Korean ballad, you might find something you never thought you’d like. For anyone already familiar, you might be surprised at some of the names I throw out. Prepare for a journey across a boatload of genres and languages.

I first got into Japanese music through both anime (which I was a casual fan of) and my sister’s husband, who is Japanese, and thus had a library of stuff for me to listen to. Thanks to the internet, I have been able to expand my taste and collection pretty far, eventually spreading out to include Korean, Cantonese, and Mandarin music among other things.

Please note that I am not any sort of music professional, nor am I fluent in any of these Asian languages. I just really enjoy their music. Genres tend to be really subjective to me because I love a lot of things, so if I classify something as ‘pop’ or ‘rock’ and you don’t agree with my classification, feel free to let me know. Also, though I’m linking youtube videos, I’m not really recommending the videos so much as the music. I’m a little neutral on music vids.

All links go to either youtube or Wikipedia for information on bands/artists.

X Japan was the first real Japanese band I ever heard. While they were pioneers for the visual kei movement, and that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, their musical style reminded me quite a bit of the gritty, hard ‘monster’ rock and especially ballads of the 70s and 80s that I enjoy.

Impressions: If you enjoy Guns’n’Roses ‘November Rain’, you’d probably enjoy almost any of X Japan’s well-known ballads. Some tend to be a little cookie-cutterish and similar in sound, but I enjoy them anyway. Their ‘fast’ songs (IE the non-ballads) IMHO are a mix of pop and rock. Please note that their ballads tend to be crazily long, 8-12 minutes on average. Though they are a Japanese band, many of their lyrics are at least partially in English, and are fairly angsty and melodramatic.

Recommendations: Endless Rain (Ballad), Say Anything (Ballad), Kurenai, Rusty Nail. Also try: Longing, Tears, Silent Jealousy, Dahlia.

Moving along…

My brother-in-law is a big fan of Southern All Stars, and I picked up enjoyment of a lot of their music from him. I’m not giving tons of info, since you can read the Wikipedia article for that stuff, but they’ve done nearly every genre of music I can think of over several decades.

Impressions: There is something for everyone in this band, I really believe. If you like swing or big-band sound, they have songs with that flavor. They have pop, they have light rock, they have blues, and they’re just overall incredibly catchy and enjoyable to listen to. A lot of their better stuff is, unfortunately, not available on YouTube.

Recommendations: Blue Heaven (Ballad), Hotel Pacific (Live), BOHBO No.5. A lot of the videos I’d like to share, I can’t look up right now due to lack of Japanese support on this computer, but also try: Manatsu no Kajitsu, Namida no Kiss, Erotica Seven, No No Birdy, Katte ni Sinbad, Ai no Kotodama, Tsunami, or seriously pretty much anything else, really.

Now that I’ve put up some male stuff, I’ll hop over to some females.

Moriyama Ryoko is mostly a folk/jazz singer according to sources, though I’ve heard more folk than jazz. If that might be your cup of tea, I highly recommend Nada Sousou, which is performed in somewhat of a more Okinawan traditional style. I also recommend the same song sung by Natsukawa Rimi, who sings beautifully in a Pop-Ryukyuan style. For something a little more folk-ish by Natsukawa Rimi, you can try Shimauta.

Because there just isn’t enough room to describe everything I like, I’ll run off a list of particular songs/artists I enjoy. Feel free to poke around. There’s a lot of different things!

I could go on listing forever, but that would take up way too much time and space. Since I’ve covered Japan, I’ll tackle Korea.

I’m a sucker for ballads, and I find myself fairly enthralled by Shin Seung Hun (Also seen spelled Shin Seung Hoon). He has produced music in both Korean and Japanese, as it’s become fairly popular for Korean artists to cross-over into Japan. He’s earned the nickname ‘King of Ballads’ and holds his title fairly well. I don’t know how to properly romanize most of the Korean titles for his songs that I enjoy, so I’ll simply link to his youtube search. ‘I Believe’ is one of his most well-known songs, and ‘Lady’ is very heart-wrenching, also.

This video is one of my favorites. Also look for one usually titled ‘After Goodbye’ or ‘After Saying Goodbye’.

After Shin Seung Hun comes Sung Si Kyung, who I absolutely adore. His voice is very soothing, and he also does primarily ballads, though he occasionally branches out into more pop-ish fare. He also speaks/sings nearly flawless English, and does a lot of covers of American music.

If you’d like to hear him in Korean, you can try one of his most popular songs, generally translated as On the Street. If you’d prefer his English covers, and there are lots, you can try Mandy, Desperado, or ‘Lately’ as a solo or a duet (with Park Hyo Shin).

And I’ve actually run out of time before getting to any of the Mandarin/Cantonese music that I like, but if anyone actually shows interest, I’d be happy to list it at some future time.

I know there’s an awful lot of links in this post, but I don’t think I’ve broken any rules (everything is public youtube links for sampling only), and if there’s something amiss I’m sure a helpful moderator will gently nudge me about it. :slight_smile:

I love Japanese music.

One of my favourite bands is the brilliant green. Actually, next to the Beatles, who win out for simply being known to me longer, they’re the band I most consistently list as my favourite. I’m no good at describing them. They’re fairly eclectic rock, evidencing a lot of influences…a smattering of their songs would better describe them than I could:

Stand By Me the single before their most recent. (And the better of the two. I like Ash Like Snow’s ‘b-side’ better than ALS itself.)

Ai no Ai no Hoshi (which I hadn’t even realized had a video until now).

Call My Name is one of my favourites - though I prefer the English version.

A live performance - it doesn’t do Tommy’s voice justice, to be sure, but she’s great to watch.

Sadly, neither of my favourites - Funny Girlfriend and Running So High - seems to be there, even in slideshow/amv/album cover with music form.

Tommy’s two solo projects, Tommy february[sup]6[/sup] and Tommy heavenly[sup]6[/sup] are also mad brilliant, though different from what she does with buriguri, or each other. Tommy february is very 80s-pop inspired, while Tommy heavenly’s got more of a rock feel…a bit of pop-punk influence.

MaGic in youR Eyes by Tommy february (yes, that’s the proper capitalization). It’s a very good demonstration of the Tommy february persona - the video and song both.

Lollipop Candy :heart:BAD​:heart: Girl is my favourite heavenly song, though it doesn’t give the greatest indication of her sound. The long version involves both heavenly and february. (Long story…)

I’m also fond of Polysics who are…also hard to describe. (Yes, I suck at describing music.) The Wiki article describes them thusly:

I My Me Mine is my favourite by them. Warning…it will either annoy the everloving fuck out of you or get stuck in your head until doomsday. Or both.

On the VK front, I’m fond of MALICE MIZER, and to a lesser extent Gackt’s post MM stuff. (Also, Gackt is the weirdest mofo…) I’m mostly fond of the Gackt era, though my favourite songs are Klaha era… Go fig.

Beast of Blood being my favourite.

I’m also very fond of several Hello! Project groups. Not bothering to link any favourites, to minimize mockery. >_>


I haven’t heard much of The Brilliant Green, but I am familiar with Tommy’s solo ‘February’ project, which I liked, since I’m kind of an 80s music dork.

‘Candy Pop in Love’ was stuck in my head for days, arggggggggggg! SO. CATCHY. BRAIN. MELTED.

MALICE MIZER was one of my first bands also, very closely after X JAPAN. Not a big fan of Tetsu, though I do like one or two tracks on the Memoire album. Merveilles was their best release, IMHO, and the Gackt-era was the best for them, experimentally. Gekka no Yasokyoku, Bel Air, Illuminati, Ma Cherie, etc are all good songs of theirs. I really DID NOT like Klaha at first, but then I realized that the reason I didn’t like him was because he was trying too hard to be like Gackt. He did much better when he stopped that. I really liked him in ‘Garnet’. I also liked a few of the songs on his solo CDs, which he put out after MALICE MIZER broke up. ‘Nostal Lab’ was a weird mix, and ‘Marchen’ was a fairly good single.

Gackt is the battiest bat in the belfry. I love him for it, really. Back when I didn’t have a lot of music to choose from, I was the biggest fan of his stuff. I literally owned every CD he released up until the Love Letter single, which I actually never even opened. It’s still sitting in my room, in my CD tower. sheepish Nobody’s helping by indulging his ego like crazy. I mean, having him play Genesis in Dirge of Cerberus?! CASTING HIM AS KENSHIN IN FUURINKAZAN?! It’s like giving a kid a free unlimited spree in a candy store. I have to admire how he works himself half to death on tour, though. Ouch.

:smiley: Hello!Project. Oh, Tsunku, you are biggest pimp in the universe, I swear to God. I’m partial to Ayaya myself, and Kago Ai before she got ostracized. I’m okay with a bunch of H!P stuff. Just don’t mention Johnny’s, or I might have to run away crying.

Oh, god, Kago.

The whole saga of her suspension and firing was such a glorious trainwreck. I mean, I feel sorry for the poor girl over it, but… The final firing was something.

And so agreed on Gackt.

To combine the two points, have you ever seen the clip of Kago & Gackt on a fake date? I think it’s from Hello! Morning, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s just so hilariously awkward (more specifically, HE is).

Of course, mentioning ‘Kago’ and ‘date’ together makes me have to listen to Minimoni Kazoe no Uta ~date version~ (Go ahead…mock me. They’re fun, darnit.)

Re: Kago’s firing: Serious business, that. I felt bad for her, too.

There is an awfully bad version of Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ performed by Goto Maki, with Tsunku. I think it was done live at a concert. It’s painful.

And yes, I’ve seen the ‘date’ with Kago and Gackt. It was hilarious, how uncomfortable Gackt was throughout the whole thing. Kago was so little back then!

Speaking of Gackt, have you ever seen him on Utaban, I think it was? He had some crazy conversations there with the hosts about making curry and buying meat, accidentally brushing his teeth with face cleanser, and fun with a ‘crotch-splitting device’. He’s pretty entertaining to watch on talk shows. I haven’t seen any in several years, but back when I was watching them, he had some rather amusing appearances on the Domoto Kyoudai show, too.

Weren’t she, though? She still is in my mind, actually - I really don’t like W, and was only vaguely aware of the actual membership of Momusu outside of my favourite subgroups, so she and Tsuji are always Aibon and Nono to me. The fact that I can’t think of her as not 14-15 years old just makes the whole situation around the firing feel that much weirder. (‘He was HOW old? Oh, wait, she was 19, wasn’t she?’)

Oh, jesus, yes. The stuff about calling his friends days ahead of time when making chili is now the first thing I think of when I think of Gackt.

That and his horrible dancing.

Then comes ‘boy, he’s pretty’. But mostly ‘good gods, he’s weird’.

I was never much for W either, so yeah. She’s still ‘Little Kago!’ to me, too. I sort of felt the same. “She’s so tiny and cute, how could they fire he–. Oh. She’s 19? When did that happen?!”

Gackt, crazy, yes. But normal is boring. I do have to say the whole S.K.I.N. project with Gackt and Yoshiki and Sugizo and whatshisfacetheothermember (Oh, right. Miyavi.) scares the bejesus ouf of me, though. That’s like putting together an insanity milkshake. They’re all nuts. Well, I don’t know enough about Sugizo to say whether he’s nuts or not, but by virtue of teaming up with the other three, he is now officially crazy by association.

P.S. I won’t laugh at you for Minimoni if you won’t laugh at me for this.

I don’t much like most of the music posted here, but one of the few “asian” songs I love is Art of Life by X Japan. I was surprised that it wasn’t mentioned in the OP, but maybe she just hasn’t heard it, so here’s the obligatory youtube link.

Yes, this, exactly. :smiley:

That song’s catchy - it’s actually driven the medley of I My Me Mine, Beast of Blood and Kazoe no Uta that had been in my head out*. And the video is wonderfully odd. So no laughing from this side. And I got your back if anyone else choses to laugh! Fans of silly manufactured idol groups unite!

  • Yeah, speaking of odd, having those songs blending together is mighty strange. … Catchy though.

Mojo Pin, I love Art of Life, but I wasn’t sure if most people would be able to commit to nearly a half-hour of listening for just one song :D, so I left it out. There’s a shorter radio edit, but if you’re going to listen to Art of Life, listening to a truncated version feels like such a gyp. Thanks for mentioning it!