Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2016

It’s been a whirlwind year in the Japanese music industry. Influential singer/songwriter Utada Hikaru released her first album in eight years; Boom Boom Satellites released their final (gorgeous) record before the passing away of vocalist Kawashima Michiyuki; iconic boy band SMAP disbanded after a run of nearly three decades; and BABYMETAL took one step closer to world domination when they opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers on their UK tour. To nobody’s surprise, fan-favourite idol groups such as Arashi and AKB48 continued to top many of the charts, but they were far from the only fare on offer in 2016. Continue reading

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Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2014

So many new albums, so little time. Each year I seem to listen to more than I did the previous one, and whether this year has been a poorer one for Japanese music or whether I’m simply continuing to become pickier, there’s a lot more in my discard pile this time around. Still, that doesn’t mean 2014 has been bereft of good music; as with the last two years, six albums managed to stand out from the rest – albeit every single one of them from a female artist or band. Continue reading