The godfather of electronic rock Gary Numan recently released something like his 23rd album, Savage (Songs from a Broken World). Best known for international smash hit “Cars” which was the 5th biggest song of the year 1980 in Canada, he scored a slew of hits in the UK in the 1980s and has been active in the indie scene since. Gary has relocated to California with his wife and three daughters, and one of the latter (Persia) is showing promise as a singer, so he has featured her vocals in track “My Name Is Ruin” from the new album. Persia also appears in its music video. In his last few albums, Numan has shifted to a more industrial sound. Check out the aforementioned MV below.
Swedish singer and songwriter Jay-Jay Johanson released his 11th studio album in 2017, Bury the Hatchet. Jay-Jay is one of those gifted ones whose albums are all very good, and he has varied his style just enough to keep things interesting. He’s done trip-hop, electronica, EDM, film noir jazz, and his natural ability at crafting melancholia has helped him gain a significant fan base in France. He sounds like he has lots of fun creating, and he makes it seem so simple. Bury the Hatchet contains some haunting piano instrumentals, and a standout track may be “Rainbow” featuring Lucy Belle Guthrie, the daughter of The Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie. Below is the MV for the title-track.
Dutch recording artist Diana Wang recently released album Poem under new label Fu Music founded with Hong Kong hitmaker Kahlil Fong. Poem is an R&B Mandopop effort. It is currently the top Chinese language album at iTunes Taiwan. We have embedded the MV (currently at 2.6 million views) for the title track below. Watch for the appearance of a ring of fire in the desert!
The United Kingdom’s Jessie Ware is getting rave reviews for her newest album Glasshouse. Jessie has done pop, dance, and now she offers her take on the R&B genre succeeding brilliantly. Some media are now referring to her as Britain’s best kept secret. Below we’ve embedded the MV for track “Alone” off the album which will give you a taste.
With the new Taylor Swift album, one would expect her tracks to dominate the singles chart, but British sensibility has kicked in. English singer Rita Ora of London has topped UK iTunes with her new song “Anywhere”; its MV is past 10 million views. Rita rose to prominence in the jolly land with “How We Do (Party)” in 2012, a chart topper there. Her debut album was as successful on the charts. “Anywhere” falls into the dance pop category. Watch the video below.
Relatively new on the scene is nine-member South Korean girl group Twice. Song “Cheer Up” was a blockbuster hit last year; its MV is as of now at 223 million views. The K-Pop specialists have released new song “Likey” which has topped iTunes in a number of countries and territories. Its music video has been out for just over a week and is closing in on 50 million views. The MV was shot in its entirety in Vancouver, Canada. Have a look and listen below.
South Korean boy group BTS hit #3 in Canada and #7 in the United States with new album Love Yourself: 承 ‘Her’. The seven member collective debuted in 2013. This year, Forbes magazine ranked BTS the third biggest Korean music artist after girl group Twice and fellow boy group EXO. Below is the MV for track “DNA” which has as of this writing nearly 73 million views.
Nobody does melody based adult contemporary piano ballad love songs as well as the recording artists of greater China. Steadily growing in popularity over the years is Hong Kong’s Eason Chan. The man has released some 45 studio albums in both Cantonese and Mandarin since he began making music in 1996. Eason spent his formative years studying in England before returning home to launch his career. His latest offering comes in time for the Moon Festival, October 4 this year. The song is currently #2 at Hit FM. Watch the MV below.
Calogero is from Échirolles (near Grenoble) in southeast France. In the 90s, he formed a band with his brother called Les Charts before launching a solo career in Y2K. Calogero is a big deal scoring diamond and multiplatinum albums. He has not yet landed a #1 hit but has placed several in the French Top 10. His latest song “Je joue de la musique”, a pop-rock charmer with nice retro currents has made the Top 3. It heralds Calogero’s upcoming album Liberté Chérie. We embed a live performance below.
Turkish teen singer Aleyna Tilki slayed as a featured artist in Emrah Karaduman’s “Cevapsız Çınlama”, the music video of which has surpassed 300 million views. Aleyna now returns to the top of the charts with her brand-new song “Sen Olsan Bari”. MV embedded below.
Juliette Armanet grew up in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, a medium sized city in northeastern France, before moving to the Parisian suburbs when she was 16. She studied theater and literature, and as a journalist made some documentaries. Juliette has returned to the songwriting she enjoyed as a teenager and has released her debut album, Petite Amie. The opening track “L’amour en solitaire” is both melancholy (few capture such a mood in music as well as the French) and merry. Armanet has been compared to Véronique Sanson.
British band Coldplay dropped EP Kaleidoscope which is currently a best-seller around the globe. In Y2K, Coldplay, a new band, broke into the British Top 40 with “Shiver” from debut album Parachutes, while “Yellow” and piano ballad “Trouble”, making the Top 10, exported the group’s success into the land down under. Canada reacted strongly to “In My Place” (#2) off second album A Rush of Blood to the Head. The United States took forever to warm up to the band; “Clocks” finally did it in the Republic, though only making the Top 30. “Speed of Sound” from third album X&Y became Coldplay’s first Top 10 in the U.S.
New EP Kaleidoscope opens with “All I Can Think About Is You” which presents a euphoric wall of sound that is completely mesmerizing. The group falters a bit on “Miracles”. The funky track starts off well, but when featured artist Big Sean begins rapping, the song is ruined. It would do British artists credit if they refused to succumb to American thinking that everything needs to be urbanized. Things improve on atmospheric “Aliens”. The live version of “Something Just Like This” from Tokyo betters the original. Kaleidoscope ends with the very nicely done “Hypnotised”. The EP is a welcome complement to previous LP A Head Full of Dreams. It is estimated that Coldplay has sold more than 80 million records worldwide.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Henry Lau learned piano to level 10 and won the gold medal for violin from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also studied various forms of dance. South Korea’s SM Entertainment held auditions in Toronto in 2006, and Henry was one of only two people of 3,000 chosen. Relocating to Korea, he became a member of popular singing group Super Junior-M. In addition to Mandarin Chinese and his native English, he became fluent in Korean. And now, with 3.3 million Twitter followers, he is championing the K-pop genre as a soloist. He is as talented as they come. Henry recently released new song “I’m Good”. We embed the MV below.
Mondo Grosso is Italian for big world and is the stage name of Japanese DJ and record producer Shinichi Osawa. Crafting a variety of EDM flavours over the years – acid jazz, house, etc. – the sound on his newly released album, Reborn Again and Always Starting New, is an excursion off the beaten path to more creative concoctions. Grosso is regarded as one of the country’s best DJs. The new album, his first under the Mondo Grosso moniker, is selling well in the land of the red sun, in the iTunes Top 5, with a couple of tracks that are particularly popular: “Labyrinth” featuring the vocal talents of Hikari Mitsushima and “Planet Tantra” featuring Aska (Asuka) Saito of girl group Nogizaka46. We have embedded the MV for the former below.
Posted in Japan
- Tagged Aska Saito, ラビリンス, 齋藤飛鳥, Hikari Mitsushima, Labyrinth, Mondo Grosso, Planet Tantra, Reborn Again and Always Starting New, Shinichi Osawa, 大沢 伸一, 惑星タントラ, 満島ひかり, 何度でも新しく生まれる
It’s time to talk J-Pop. The world’s second largest music market is seeing a number of new artists release some delicious tracks. Akina (California), Anna (New Zealand), Lil’ Fang (Tokyo), and Mikako (Fukuoka) are all-girl group FAKY. Around since only 2013 and releasing a debut album the following year, the girls recently dropped a smoking hot EDM track called “Someday We’ll Know” off new EP Unwrapped. The MV, embedded below, is interesting as it starts off at night and bright daytime hits halfway through. FAKY is good at incorporating international styles of music into J-Pop making for a culturally rich sound.