Japanese Artists I Have Been Loving 2020
Growing up, I would try and listen to Japanese as much as I could; it was a good way to try and understand the language a bit more. Furthermore, I always found Japanese songs powerful because of their lyrics. There is just something about the way the Japanese language flows to a melody. Also, the lyrics are often like poetry, it is quite hard to directly translate some of them into English as they lose their nuances and meaning.
Yet, in the past I would listen to random songs rather than dedicate myself to certain artists. Living in Japan alongside having Spotify have for sure helped me to not only expand my music taste but find new Japanese artists who I can support for the long run. So today, I have curated a list of five Japanese artists I have fallen in love with and my favourite songs.
Official Hige Dandism is a Japanese pop band who formed in 2012 and consists of four members. In recent months, they have taken over the charts in Japan and have won 'Song of the Year' twice with their song Pretender.
イエスタデイ (Yesterday) is a song very close to my heart and is definitely my all time favourite on this list. It may have even become one of my favourite songs ever. It's one of those songs that instantly teleports me back to a certain place and time. I remember walking and waiting in the rain, listening to this song on one particular day in Tokyo. I think it will forever remind me of a certain time in my life and those type of songs are very special. It's emotional yet uplifting. The lyrics speak to me on a personal level. This for me is the song of my whole year abroad in Japan. On top of this, the music video for this song is absolutely stunning as well so you should for sure check it out.
It was actually Pretender that got me hooked to this 4-man band. I remember going to a cafe/bar in Shin-Okubo with my friends and one of the members of staff put this song up on the big screen on blast for the whole place to appreciate, I'm so glad he did. The music video itself is probably my favourite of Official髭男dism; I mean just look at the location and the aesthetics. The lyrics are sweet and are centred around a broken romance, I think everyone can relate to this sort of experience at least one time in their life.
Official髭男dism are here to stay. If you haven't listened to their album 'Traveler', I urge you to go and listen as soon as you can.
Addition: after picking these two songs, I have also recently had their song 'Parabola', a 2020 release, constantly on repeat.
緑黄色社会 (Ryokuoushoku Shakai)
Ryokuoshoku Shakai is a Japanese pop band consisting of 4 members who were originally classmates. They have been highly successful, selling out in their Japan tour back in 2017.
Shout Baby is a song actually came up as a Spotify recommendation, pressing play was a good move on my part. Lead vocalist Nagaya Haruko has just the most beautiful soft yet powerful voice. I didn't realise but this song is actually used in the ending for the anime Boku no Hero Academia, which is actually an anime I'm currently watching. I think it would be so fitting to listen to when admiring beautiful scenery or watching the sunset as its emotional tone makes everything seem so surreal and movie-like.
Mela! is a song that truly helped me through the hardest parts of March and April. It's the upbeat sound that makes you want to dance in contrast to its relatable lyrics that makes it so impactful. It's one of those songs that can instantly lift your mood right from the first second and it is a great power walking song. Anytime you need to get through any Tokyo underground station through rush hour, this is definitely the song you need to put on. The music video is pretty cool as well, an animation telling 'the story of that Wolf' and depicting Tokyo in a very colourful and quirky way.
Mrs. GREEN APPLE
This 5 member Japanese rock band originally from Tokyo came to the scene in 2015. They have performed the ending songs for various animes including Yu-Gi-Oh!, this probably explains why I have grown to like them so much because I loved listening to anime openings growing up even if I didn't watch much anime itself.
The music video to this song is utterly stunning. It captures the most beautiful moments of youth and growing up. It brings back so much nostalgia for me of summers spent in Japan. The lyrics are simply gorgeous. There isn't much else to say, it's a great upbeat song which will instantly put a smile on your face.
This song to me just sounds so 'quirky', I don't know how to describe it in a better way. It kind of has Two Door Cinema Vibes to me, especially the style of the video. I just enjoy the catchy melody and fun sound, I think it's the perfect song to put you in a good mood.
King Gnu is made up of four members and was formed in 2015, Their sound is a mix of alternative rock, nu jazz and jpop, an interesting combination if you ask me.
It's the lyrics to this song that I love the most....
I had this song on repeat back in March when everything around me was rapidly changing. I find the lead vocalist and his voice so soothing, I just love the style of this song, especially the transition from the opening to the first chorus. It's a great song to put on for those lazing about days.
This Japanese rock duo was formed in 2017. What is so cool about this group is that it consisted of Suis, a female vocalist and N-buna a former vocaloid music producer. Apparently the duo do not hold many concerts and keep their identities and faces hidden.
First of all, can we just appreciate the aesthetic of Yorushika's music videos. The mix of animation and live action in the video for ただ君に晴れ is utterly stunning. The lyrics for this song are pretty relatable as well given it is about growing up.
だから僕は音楽を辞めた (That's Why I Gave Up On Music) is for sure my favourite song by this musical duo. This particular video's imagery is so reminiscent of summer days in Japan and brings to life the feelings of an unrequited love. Once again the animation is utterly stunning and feels like it is a short anime film. Both of these songs by Yorushika really feel like they are filled with love, passion and true human emotion.