Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

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Hey Y’all

2010年 8月 5日

Hi everyone! Aoliwa here.

As you’ve probably noticed, Koweizhi and I have been rather absent lately. We just got back from a Taiwanese American camp and we’ve got lots of stuff.

  • Jpop releases by: YUI, Kanon Wakeshima, Nana Mizuki, VAMPS, alan, Ayumi Hamasaki, JASMINE, Namie Amuro
  • Kpop releases by: C.N. Blue (discography), BoA, and SHINee
  • Editorials: Kpop vs. Jpop (II), Summer of Tek
  • Live reviews: D’espairsRay, Dir en grey (we get to meet them :D)
  • New Polls
  • Aoliwa’s playlists for EVERYTHING

Also Koweizhi and I are doing some recording in the next couple of days so we might post that as well. Look forward to it!!

Much 愛、

Aoliwa

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Poll Results: Your favorite Asian snack food!

2010年 7月 11日

No more Pocky left!! Oh no!

Well this week’s poll results were certainly competitive. I wanted to wait until someone broke the tie between Pocky and Instant Noodles!

Here are the results

Answer Votes
Pocky 19- 28%
Instant Noodle 18- 26%
Green Tea, Mango, or Red Bean Ice Cream 7- 10%
Hi-Chews 6- 9%
Any kind of dried fish or fish cracker 5- 7%
Pineapple, Strawberry, etc Cakes 5- 7%
Ramune Soda 2- 3%
Wasabi Peas 2- 3%
Rice Crackers 2- 3%
Dorayaki 2- 3%

My personal favorites are Hi-Chews (green apple flavor), Pineapple Cakes, and Green Tea Ice Cream ❤

I also am a fan of Ramune Soda and Instant Noodle and Pocky. I was surprised that people voted for dried fish/fish crackers. I’m not a huge fan of them, but sometimes the mood calls for it!

Anyway, yay for Asian food! It’s so yummy. What are everyone’s favorite dishes?

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Artist in Residence: C.N. Blue

2010年 6月 26日

After some recommendations from our beloved Tsuki no Ai readers, Aoliwa decided to check out Jrock/Krock band, C.N. Blue! I recently listened to their first Japanese single, The Way, and fell in love with the music. I’ll be reviewing their entire discography in the next couple of weeks, so keep on the look out. Also, I haven’t forgotten about Ayaka, and I’ll resume reviewing her music once I finish C.N. Blue’s. After some careful consideration, I felt that the “Artist in Residence” feature on Tsuki no Ai should really be used to promote new or underrated artists. Of course Koweizhi and I will work on discographies on the side, but we hope everyone will embrace this slight change.

Also, perhaps why I’m so stricken with C.N.Blue fever is because I have the same exact birthday as once of the members :D. Which one?

~Aoliwa

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Poll Results: Battle of the Boy Bands

2010年 6月 21日

In accordance with last poll’s survey on female groups, I’ve added the male counterpart. Honestly I was kind of surprised at the results. Let’s start with the Kpop boys.

Well I’m not too versed on male kpop groups… sure I know who’s who and all that, but not too familiar with the music. Big Bang and Epik High battled it out for a while, but the winner is clear… epic win for Epik High!

Epik High- 13 votes, 43%
Big Bang- 6 votes, 20%
SS501- 5 votes, 17%
2PM/2AM/One Day- 4 votes, 13%
Super Junior- 2 votes, 7%
MBLAQ+B2ST/BEAST- 0 votes =[

Since I’m basically only familiar with 2PM and a little bit of SS501 I guess I’d have to vote for them. I’m not too into Big Bang’s style though. Heh I kind of wanted someone to vote for MBLAQ because they’re Rain’s brainchild, but whatever. Good job Epik High!

So it takes a Korean band to win for the Japanese? (heh I would have voted for them too.) These results were astonishing…

Tohoshinki- 22 f*ing votes, 76%
KAT-TUN- 3 votes, 10%
Arashi- ”
NEWS- 1 vote, 3%
Hey! Say! JUMP + w-inds.- 0 votes =[

I really didn’t expect them to win by that big of a margin. Although they are on hiatus right now, I look forward to each of the member’s future endeavors.

So, was there a band or group that should have been on the ballot for “Best of the Best”?
Also, since I’m not too familiar with Kpop boy bands, what are each bands best songs?

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Poll: Best Female Groups (Kpop and Jpop)

2010年 6月 7日

Ok so this time on Tsuki no Ai we wanted to know who the queen bitches of music were in Korean and Japan. Personally I thought the Korean candidates were a lot stronger than the Japanese ones. While Japan has had a surge of new, strong female groups it still lags behind the veteran market of Korea. Let’s see who came out on top.

Jpop

awww how pretty

Perfume- 10 votes, 40%
Stereopony- 5 votes, 20%
Buono!- 4 votes, 16%
SCANDAL- 3 votes, 12%
Morning Musume- 2 votes, 8%
C-ute- 0 votes, no love for these girls.

Kpop


4minute- 9 votes, 35%
f(x)- 6 votes, 23%
2NE1- 4 votes, 15%
SNSD- 4 votes, 15%
T-ara- 2 votes, 8 %
Wonder Girls- 1 vote, 4%

Yay Perfume! I would have voted for those girls too. I was a bit stuck on Kpop results… I would have voted for 4minute or f(x) or even T-ara. Bleh 4 votes for SNSD? Now that I’m reviewing Kpop you all will probably hear me bantering on about my hatred for those #%(#$@(!&… heh sorry for those who like them, but I just can’t get over the Dream Concert controversy lol. I’m surprised Wonder Girls didn’t get more votes o_O

Is there anyone that you felt should have been on the poll? Speak up!

Anyway, bet you can all guess the theme for the new poll….

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Kpop vs. Jpop: The Epic, Part I

2010年 6月 5日

As you all have probably realized Tsuki no Ai has begun featuring Kpop artists on the blog. There are a number of reasons for this addition. First, I am trying to learn Korean (along with Mandarin and Japanese) as part of my major for East Asian Studies. I’d like to attain complete fluency in all three languages so I can have the freedom of living in most places in East Asia (heh Vietnamese will have to come later). Listening to Japanese music has been instrumental in my progression of the language because it helped me become accustomed to its sound and nuances. I’m trying to recreate that same affect with Korean music. Secondly, I want to warm up to more Asian cultures, aside from my Japanese “comfort zone.” Even though I’ll be reviewing Korean from now on (in addition to Japanese and perhaps the occasional Chinese), my heart still belongs with Japanese music. Why is that? Well that’s an issue I want to explore in my first ever EDITORIAL (zomg yaaaaay O(≧∇≦)O). Let’s get started.

The Lyrics

The first major distinction between Kpop and Jpop lies in the lyrical content of a song. While there are exceptions in each case, let’s take a look at two “typical” songs (English translations). I tried to choose upbeat songs from two artists (after all it wouldn’t be fair to choose an upbeat song for one and ballad for the other).

Ayumi Hamaski- excerpt from “Rule”

I don’t want to be imposed on
By the same old stupid Rules
Let’s start first, you and me
By breaking the Rules

Since the moment my strength turned into tenderness
And my tenderness turned into strength
I have nothing to fear any more
I’m feeling so

4minute- MUZIK

Let’s move within the rhythm that’s drawing us in
Let’s move within the non-stop raining music
I like the music, like, like, like the music
Listen to my song, not that boring beat

More sexier and tastier, I like it, I like it
Add more booty and do it more stylish, I like it, I like it
Now let’s fire it up with me, party tonight

Noticeably difference right? Now of course there are exceptions… you will find slutty lyrics from Koda Kumi and touching lyrics from Younha. However, what I’m trying to focus on is the general trend of lyrics. Jpop tends to focus on life- love, pain, parties, depression, childhood, parents, a journey, being sexy, happiness, anxiety, nervousness, etc. etc. Kpop’s sphere, while it can embody all of those I just listed, usually encompasses sexiness, parties, and love. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me a good slutty song, but I do like a little variety in my music. Now you most certainly can find deep Korean lyrics (especially in the ballads), but here I’m just trying to distinguish between upbeat songs.  I’m not trying to stereotype either Kpop or Jpop, I’m just noting some observations I’ve made by listening to all sorts of Asian music for 5+ years.

The Music

Now let’s focus on the instrumentation of each group. The vast majority of Kpop is sexy synth, aggressive hip hop, bubblegum pop, or moving ballads. Rarely are real, tangible instruments regularly used (with the exception of Younha, the TRAX and a few others). Japanese music on the other hand is much more diverse. We have acoustic goddesses like YUI, synth queens like Koda Kumi, pop mavens like Namie Amuro, techno bitches like Ami Suzuki, rock demons like OLIVIA… the list goes on endlessly. Japan suffered from a relatively stale music environment for quite a few years until X Japan (then just X) surfaced in the 80s. Now I’m not even concerning myself with Jrock here… purely Jpop. If I were to included Jrock into this mix the list of musical styles would expand enormously. The reason I won’t include Jrock right now is because there really isn’t a “Krock” scene to speak of. Yes there have been a few successful rock bands in Korea, but the charts speak for themselves. Korea wants pop, not rock. Now perhaps I’m not being totally fair here. The Japanese music market has had decades of history. Japan has had ample time to produce well-rounded artists of all different genres. Korean music hasn’t  been around as long (in terms of mass marketing), so it’s natural that the market is more limited. It’s not to say that Korea can’t produce talented artists, because it certainly can, it’s just that most of these artists belong within one or two genres.

Also of importance is song length. It is very rare to find a Korean song over 4 minutes long- even if it’s a ballad. In Japan it’s not unusual to see a ballad go for 5 or 6 minutes… X JAPAN’s epic, “Life of Art” rocks out for 30 minutes (ok yeah that’s rock, but you get the point). Personally I don’t think that you can make a well developed ballad in under 4 minutes… even upbeat songs need time for exposition, development, and recapitulation. Yeah Kpop songs are infectious, catchy, and dance-friendly, they’re just not long enough for my tastes. Often I find myself listening to a song and loving it but then feeling like “wait… it’s over already?” Now there are long songs that drag on, but for the most part the longer Japanese songs are well constructed.

The Vocalists
Here’s the trickiest category of them all- the singers that make it all happen. Koreans *tend* to have deeper, richer voices than their Japanese counterparts. This is especially true when it comes to male vocalists. I’m going to go right out and say it- Korean male singers a bit better. Sorry Japan =/. But here’s the thing… they know how to do vibrato, they’ve got pretty good intonation, they can phrase well. While Japanese men can certainly do all of those things, the tendency (particularly with JE boys) is to have a more nasal-y and higher-pitched sound. Japan has a much more difficult time promoting male artists that aren’t from Johnny’s Entertainment. I adore KAT-TUN and Arashi, but when you’ve got JE backing you up there’s no way in hell you aren’t going to chart well on the Oricon. Now we do get a breath of fresh air with Yuya Matsushita, who has done a superb job in the solo male department. Now you might say that JUNE and K have great voices… but remember, they’re KOREAN.

Now let’s talk about the girls. For the most part I’ll give this award to Japan (not including the travesty of H!P vocalists). There’s a lot of diversity in terms of vocal style for Japanese women… you’ve got everything from Rie fu’s soft spoken voice to Koda Kumi’s raspy vocals. Now Korean ladies can sure belt it out… my favorites being LENA PARK (phenomenal voice), Ivy (though I wish she’d do more ballads), and SeeYa’s Lee Boram and Kim Yeonji. Now I do think that Korea has a larger stock of female rappers, but I don’t think you can compete with Japanese veterans like SOULHEAD.

So this concludes the Kpop vs. Jpop Epic Part I! This was my first shot at an editorial so if you have comments or suggestions please, please, please let me know. Coming up next: international appeal, style, promotion, groups, triple threats, and more.

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Poll: Prom King and Queen

2010年 5月 27日

So we had a little bit of a “prom court” on Tsuki no Ai. I thought it would be fun to host a shallow popularity contest, so here are the results.

Queen

Namie Amuro- 9 votes, 41%
BENI- 3 votes, 14%
Kanon Wakeshima- 3 votes, 14%
YUI- 2 votes 9%
Yuna Ito- ”
Ami Suzuki- ”
Ai Otsuka- 1 vote, 5%

I figured Namie would win… after all, she is the REAL queen of J-pop! I think I would vote for Kanon… she is releasing a new album this July!!

Now for King results… I was pretty surprised with this outcome actually…

King
Hero (DBSK)- 10 votes, 48%
HYDE (L’arc~en~Ciel)- 4 votes, 19%
Ruki (the GazettE)- 2 votes, 10%
Keita Tachibana (w-inds.)- 2 votes, 10%
Gackt- 1 vote, 5%
Jun Matsumoto- ”
Yuya Matsushita- Lex (okay I’m guessing on this, but I’m pretty sure it was he)
K- 0 votes =[

I did not expect Hero to win at all… didn’t expect there to be that many DBSK fan(girls) that read my blog. THEY’RE JUST ON HIATUS THEY’RE JUST ON HIATUS. I thought HYDE would win, even though he’s a bit old for prom king  =p. I would have voted for Ruki… there’s my boy!

So… that was fun. In the meantime be sure to vote in the new poll and check out our formspring!