New & Noteworthy J-pop of the Week (October 8, 2023)

  • All, Music

New and Noteworthy J-popIn connection with my desire to fully keep up with the J-pop industry, I’m planning to do a weekly round-up of any new releases that have caught my ear. Some of these may have been covered on the blog already, but my hope is that this will become a one-stop shop for anyone interested in what’s new in J-pop.

With that in mind, here’s where you come in: I’m one person with one set of musical preferences, so please embed any other new J-pop tracks you’ve enjoyed in the comments so we can get a fuller spectrum each week.

*And just like I do with my reviews, I’ll wait until full versions of songs are available before posting them in this round-up. This will mostly apply to Johnny’s groups, who still limit the majority of their YouTube uploads to shorter, edited versions.

2023 Index: Feb 1 – Feb 18 // Feb 19 – 25 // Feb 26 – Mar 3 // Mar 4 – Mar 10 // Mar 11 – Mar 18 // Mar 19 – Mar 25 // Mar 26 – Apr 1 // Apr 2 – Apr 8 // Apr 9 – Apr 15 // Apr 16 – Apr 22 // Apr 23 – Apr 29 // Apr 30 – May 6 // May 7 – May 13 // May 14 – May 20 // May 21 – May 27 // May 29 – Jun 3 // Jun 4 – Jun 10 // Jun 11 – Jun 17 // Jun 18 – Jun 24 // Jun 25 – Jul 1 // Jul 2 – Jul 8 // Jul 9 – Jul 15 // Jul 16 – Jul 22 // Jul 23 – Jul 29 // Jul 30 – Aug 5 // Aug 6 – Aug 12 // Aug 13 – Aug 19 // Aug 20 – Aug 26 // Aug 27 – Sep 2 // Sep 3 – Sep 9 // Sep 10 – Sep 16 // Sep 17 – Sep 23 // Sep 24 – Sep 30

THIS WEEK: Oct 1 – Oct 7

aespa – Zoom Zoom

If you like aespa’s Korean output, you’ll enjoy this too! It’s a pretty exciting track that only falters when it borrows too heavily from K-pop’s structural tropes (that damn second verse!!).

CNBLUE – Synchronize

CNBLUE’s Japanese output sometimes sneaks past me, but I really like this track. Its driving energy is nice to hear.

Eiko – Dreamer

I don’t particularly like this track, but the musical drama that it’s from (Paripi Komei) is really fun so far.

Karin Miyamoto – Lonely Bus

Such a fun throwback! Only J-pop can deliver this specific kind of nostalgia.

Kid Phenomenon – Existence

This is much stronger than their debut. I wish the verses had more punch, but the chorus is great.

Kroi – Hyper

Well, this is funky as hell! I’m loving the rap/alt-rock hybrid.

Lead – Billionaire (song of the week!)

I haven’t really loved a song by Lead in awhile, but this was instant for me. It’s such a fantastic shot of big, bombastic pop energy. It’s very much my thing, and an easy pick for song of the week.

Madkid – Sin

I’m intrigued by Madkid and I really like the sound of this. It’s a nice blend of rock and EDM influences.

Morning Musume ’23 – Suggoi FEVER! (song of the week!)

This is my favorite Morning Musume single in years. It’s got everything I love about them: big energy, plenty of silliness and brassy disco drive. Speaking of disco, the song’s demented male vocal may be the most authentically “disco” move any pop act has made during the genre’s recent resurgence. It’s perfect for Halloween, but it’s also perfect for any time! It’s another easy song of the week.

One N’ Only – My Love

What’s with all the nostalgia this week? This is such a classic, quintessential idol track. It’s hard not to love it.

Queen Bee – Zero Ichi (song of the week!)

I’m so obsessed with Queen Bee and Avu-chan. This new single is excellent (as expected!) and it better get a music video. I love when they lean further into explosive rock sounds. This is my third  (very obvious) song of the week!

Reiko – Butterfly

SKY-HI is just debuting new artists every week, isn’t he?

Sakurazaka46 – Mamoribito

Sadly, this is not nearly as strong or memorable as last week’s release. I’m sure it’ll grow on me, though.

SennaRin – S9aiR (song of the week!)

Another total banger from SennaRin. The chorus absolutely explodes, unleashing funky electro alongside her smooth, confident vocals. This is my fourth song of the week and might just be her best yet.

TiU – Just Something Beautiful

I really like his voice and there’s something pleasing about the song’s focus on great melody. It’s not groundbreaking, but I can see myself listening to this often.

Vaundy – Todome No Ichigeki (ft. Cory Wong)

This is just really pleasant.

UPSTART – Wilder (ft. Hiro)

This is a cool, grungy rock track that further confirms my need to check out My First Story’s music. The vocal is great.

This week’s old favorite:

Shuji to Akira (Kame To Yamapi) – Seishun Amigo (2005)

One of the biggest hits of the 2000’s and the theme to one of my all-time favorite dramas, Seishun Amigo is a classic every J-pop fan should know. Forgive the weird third-party YouTube upload. I’m surprised the song is up there at all, actually!

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