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Stefani Tee
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10 Japanese Must-Hear Albums

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Ryusei

Ok yes I am aware that I am most-likely wasting my time with this but whatever maybe some people are looking for some new music to listen to. And if that's the case, YOU came to the right thread.  + I like making stuff like this lol

Bookmark it and come back to it, whatever. And if you heard something you like and want some more recs/information, go ahead and HMU.

Give them a chance. IMO they can easily hold up to the best of "western" music. 

These 10 albums were chosen out of personal preference and out of some different genres and I made sure they are available on Spotify and Apple music.

Anyways enjoy (in no particular order): 

1. Ayumi Hamasaki - Duty (2000)

Genre: Pop

AyumiHamasaki-Duty.jpg 

Ayumi Hamasaki is also known as the empress of J-Pop as the best-selling female solo-artist of all time in Japan with over 50 million records sold. She is also known for writing all of her lyrics without any co-writers (which is the case for the vast majority of her discography) She was discovered by avex CEO Max Matsuura  first rejecting his offer to become a singer under his label because she didn't know who he was and finding him to be shady. He persisted over a long time and finally convinced her. Matsuura payed for her to take voice lessons in New York which she rarely attended to go shopping instead. While in New York Matsuura and Hamasaki exchanged letters which led Matsuura to suggest to Hamasaki to try writing her own lyrics since she seemed to have a  remarkable talent for expressing her feelings. She recorded her first single "Poker Face" (yes really) in 1998.

it was honestly hard to choose just one album out of her giant and amazing discography (17 studio albums and 4 mini albums just to name the regular releases) but this one is often referred to as an absolute masterpiece. It was her 3rd studio album and sold 2.9 million copies in Japan alone. 

Personal favorites: Duty, Vogue, Far Away

Listen:

Music Videos:

Spoiler

 

  (this is a trilogy and only has these short version music videos)

More info: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Duty

2. Koda Kumi  - Best ~Second Session~ (2006)

Genre: R&B/Pop (if you're looking for sex jams this is it)

BestSecondSessionCDOnlyKodaKumi.jpg 

Koda Kumi is also referred to as "The queen of live" (self-proclaimed but I agree) and one of the most successful female solo artists of all time in Japan. She became popular thanks to her "ero-kakkoii" (erotic/sexy and cool) image which was something nobody had really touched in japanese music previously.

The name may suggest that this is a best-of album but it only technically is. From December '05 to February '06 she released a new (physical!) single every week leading to this album which includes all of these tracks. It sold 1.8 million copies in Japan alone.

Personal favorites: you, Love goes like..., Candy, Ima Sugu Hoshii (track 12) 

Listen:

 Music Videos:

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More info: https://www.generasia.com/wiki/Best_~Second_Session~ 

3. Suiyoubi No Campanella - Zipangu (2016)

Genre: Electronic/Experimental, Vocal/Rap

A1oJXgBxtSL._SL1500_.jpg 

Suiyoubi No Campanella (Also known as Wednesday Campanella) is a 3-member group consisting of Vocal and visual KOM_I (pronounced as Komuai), music producer hidefumi kenmochi and director Dir.F.  They gained attention for their unique music videos and sound.

A lesser known act but really cool nonetheless, I remember being mindblown because this music was like nothing I had ever heard before. + The cover art is gorgeous.

Personal favorites: Ra, Medusa, Shakushain

Listen: 

Music Videos: 

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Perfume - JPN (2011)

Genre: Electro-Pop

Perfume-JPN-regular-.jpg 

Perfume is a 3-member group consisting of members A~chan, Kashiyuka and Nocchi. They are known for their extremely synchronized dancing and cool electro-pop sound which since their major-label debut is entirely produced by Japanese producer Yasutaka Nakata who also writes all the songs' lyrics. They have also become known to use cutting-edge technology during live performances and concerts, which makes them a very popular live act despite them lip-syncing most of the time. This doesn't take anything away from their amazing shows though (as I have experienced first hand) and they know how to engage and hype up a crowd with their lovable personalities. They are also famous for their flawless legs (random but true lol). 

JPN is their 3rd major studio album (4th total) (their very first indie single was released in 2002!) and I had a hard time choosing one of their albums but this one seemed very representative of their sound. 

Personal favorites: Laser Beam (Track 2), Natural Ni Koishite (Track 4), Nee (Track 7), Voice, Fushizen Na Girl (Track 13)

Listen:

Music Videos:

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More info: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/JPN

5. Shiina Ringo - Shouso Strip (2000) (Official translation of the title is "Winning strip")

Genre: Rock

Shouso_strip.jpg 

Shiina Ringo first became famous thanks to her first album, released a year prior to this one and gained notoriety thanks to her music video for the song "honnou" which features her wearing a nurse outfit and licking a female patient. To this day Shiina is very successful and has since changed her sound to more of a rock/jazz fusion. She is also famous for her powerful yet nasal vocals.

This album is her 2nd studio album which won the japanese equivalent of "Album of the year" at the grammys. The album sold over 2.3 million copies in Japan alone. 

Personal favorites: Bathroom (Track 2), Gips (Track 4), Identity (Track 6), Crime and Punishment (Track 7), Honnou (Track 12)

Listen: (Fun Fact: The tracklist is symmetrical)

Music Videos:

Spoiler

 

 

 

More info: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Shouso_Strip

6. Miliyah - Liberty

Genre: Pop/R&B

Kato_Miliyah_-_LIBERTY_reg.jpg 

Miliyah aka Kato Miliyah gained popularity among Highschoolers in Japan first thanks to her relatable lyrics and later also thanks to her heartbreaking ballads. She is also well-known for using samples (such as Daft Punk's "one more time" on the single "Future Lover") 

On her 8th studio album she returns to her "J-urban" roots while also giving a modern twist to the songs. With a cohesive sound and a mix of her oldschool and current sound this is easily one of her best albums. (Personally her album TRUE LOVERS is my favorite but it's not on streaming)

Personal favorites: Future Lover, Tengoku no door, Megami no hikari, Memories

Listen:  

Music Videos:

Spoiler

https://www.bilibili.com/video/av3664404/  

Only one i could find, thanks sony music Japan...

More info: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Liberty_(Kato_Miliyah_album)

7. Back Number - Chandelier (2015)

Genre: Rock/Pop

back_number_-_Chandelier_RG.jpg 

Back Number is a 3-member Band  consisting of Vocalist/Guitarist Shimizu Iyori, Bassist Kojima Kazuya and Drummer Kurihara Hisashi. Their popularity pretty much took off with their very first single released in 2011 and they became extremely popular with their 2015 hit "Christmas song".  The band is known for vocalist Shimizu Iyori's emotional voice and their instantly recognizable musical style.

Chandelier is the band's 5th album and pretty much their breakthrough to a different level of popularity. 

Personal favorites: Siren (Track 2), Christmas song (Track 7), Tokyo no Yuuyake (Track 9)

Listen:

Music Videos:

Spoiler

Only short versions but whatever their music videos arent too exciting tbh lol but in case you wondered what they look like

 

 

 

 

More info: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Chandelier_(back_number)

8. DAOKO - Thank You Blue (2017)

Genre: Electronic/Hip-Hop/Pop 

daokothankyoubluereg.png 

DAOKO first started her career on Nico Nico Douga (Japanese video site like youtube) where she uploaded videos of herself rapping before being discovered by an indie label and signing to them in 2012. In 2015 she signed with a major label and started showing her face after graduating from high school. She became known for her flow and her sweet airy voice. These days she focuses more on singing than rapping though. Despite that she still has the occasional rap part in her songs. 

Thank You Blue is her 2nd Major and 5th total album. Many of the songs were singles and received music videos, such as the big hit "Uchiage Hanabi". The album also includes a second disc called "Charm Point" which includes an intro, one original song, a cover of Shiina Ringo's "Kabukicho no joou" and 4 re-arranged versions of previously released songs. 

Personal favorites: Samishii Kamisama (Track 4), ShibuyaK, Bang!, Daisuki (Track 7)

Listen: 

Music Videos:

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More info: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Thank_You_Blue

9. JUJU - What You Want (2015)

Genre: Pop/Jazz

JUJU_-_WHAT_YOU_WANT.jpg 

JUJU  wanted to become a Jazz singer since she was 12 (no kidding lmao) but became famous through ballads she was releasing between 2006 and 2010 and finally releasing her first Jazz album in 2011. In newer albums she has ventured beyond Jazz and ballads and fused Pop, Jazz and R&B on Ballads as well as more upbeat songs. She is known for her smooth vocals as well as her long legs and love for high heels (she even released a book about her shoe collection)

What You Want is JUJU's 6th album and she is showing herself more upbeat than ever before on this album with summer bop Playback or Jazz bop Amai Wana while not forgetting her signature ballad sound. 

Personal favorites: Last Scene, Amai Wana, Playback, What You Want

Listen: 

Music Videos:

Spoiler

 The only 2 I could find once again a thank you to sony music japan

More info: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/What_You_Want_(JUJU_album)

10. FLOWER FLOWER - Mi () (Fruit) (2014)

Genre: Experimental Rock

FLOWER_FLOWER_-_Mi_DVD.jpg 

FLOWER FLOWER started as a secret side-project of the group's vocalist YUI. Tired of having to put out the same type of cute safe accoustic guitar music (which was very successful) she started to perform at open-mic nights under different names, one of them being FLOWER FLOWER in 2012. This all went on for months without her management knowing and before officially retiring the stage name YUI. She cited her official reasons for retirement as feeling depressed and burned out. She debuted the band officially in 2013 with the release of her their first digital single "Tsuki". 

Mi is FLOWER FLOWER's first album, having a completely different sound than what fans were used to from YUI until then. Personally I love the rawness of the sound of this album and the completely different sound. I'll post a video of YUI before for comparison into the music video spoiler. 

Personal favorites: Kamisama, Kuuki, Toumei Na Uta, Ohayo no Kiss Wo, Kimi No Koto

Listen:

  Music Videos:

Spoiler

There are no real music videos from this album so I'll post these 2 videos as these 2 songs were released as singles before the album dropped

 

 This is what her previous sound was like:

 

 

More info: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Mi_(FLOWER_FLOWER)

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk and Tag members who could be interested or give yourself a push to give something new a try. 

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moonboywow

Don't forget about the males. Like Miyavi, Buck tick, radwimps and sekai no owari 

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PaulR2345

I don’t usually listen to anything that isn’t in English but one time I was OBSESSED with DAOKO (Uchiagehanabi was my favorite :messga:). Surprised to see one of her albums on the list. 

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ClarenceCross

oh. i could be on this thread for HOURS. i'll put some albums in in a few hours :vegas:

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Aleks

I’ve been stanning Kumi since forever, but I have to say this one’s probably my favorite from her... I could listen to it on repeat tbh :giveup:

b05aab1dacfbe14e5c7a5f6eeda6305b3b82b775

Edited by Aleks
Hello, Konichiwa, Bonjour, Hola, Aloha, Guten Tag
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August3

Thanks for making this thread. I'm always interested in exploring new music. The only japanese music I have listened to so far is the music from Ryuichi Sakamoto. 

Edited by August3
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Glittertinks

Kumi is on the list so this list is absolutely valid. I even own the mentioned album on CD. I love the Japonesque album the most tho. 

I need to check a few other artists from here tho :vegas:

Edited by Glittertinks
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Ryusei
10 minutes ago, Glittertinks said:

Kumi is on the list so this list is absolutely valid. I even own the mentioned album on CD. I love the Japonesque album the most tho. 

I need to check a few other artists from here tho :vegas:

I love Japonesque as well. The tour was also a serve. 

53 minutes ago, PaulR2345 said:

I don’t usually listen to anything that isn’t in English but one time I was OBSESSED with DAOKO (Uchiagehanabi was my favorite :messga:). Surprised to see one of her albums on the list. 

I love her ever since someone introduced me to her and this album is one of my favorites so I included it haha. Didn't know wether to choose this or her self-titled though. Suisei and Kimi from self-titled alone would be worth it 

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Ryusei
7 minutes ago, moonboywow said:

Again, don't forget about the guys out there. 

There were some I considered but none of them are on streaming :selena:  I would have Rec'd Yamapi in a heartbeat

Edited by Ryusei

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moonboywow
2 minutes ago, Ryusei said:

There were some I considered but none of them are on streaming :selena:  I would have Rec'd Yamapi in a heartbeat

I found most of who I listen to on here. There are plenty on spotify. .

Flow, one ok rock, sadie, and uverworld. 

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Obman

Wednesday Campanella finally getting recognition! And Perfume is a beast live. I saw them in Dallas and even though the stage was small, they still managed to put on one heck of a show.

I think Utada's Fantome is also worth giving a listening to :vegas:

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