For Dream!

June 1, 2008

MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2008: Part Two

Carrying on from pondering how a “Best Album Award” fits in to VMAs, let’s move on to some of the more unusual awards. I suspect it’s less to do with the video here and more to do with the overall package.

Best buzzAsia from Japan: AI, “I’ll Remember You”

I thought this was a “one to watch” kind of award. There are a lot of people I would consider giving this to Aoyama Thelma, Jero…but AI has been around for ages so I don’t know what the award means. I have to say, I don’t like the song or the video. AI’s voice and musical sound is different to just about everybody else in the Japanese charts. Perhaps, as a Westerner, I don’t appreciate that fully. However, I just can’t find an aspect of her voice that marks her apart from countless other R’n’B singers. The video itself reminds me of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”. It’s simple, not particularly memorable. The more I write, the more I think that this was a mistake on MTV’s part. AI is deserving of recognition but perhaps this award shoudn’t have been for her and this song certainly not the one to single out.

Best buzzAsia from Korea: Cherry Filter, “Feel It”

Token Korean award? With the Japanese one above included to try and make it seem less so? MTV is based in Japan so obviously Japanese artists will dominate the VMAs. Perhaps this is an attempt at inclusion. Or maybe at expansion. Who knows? Who cares? Probably Cherry Filter are happy enough. I believe the Korean music industry is the hardest to break into. It’s dominated by former trainees of SM, YG etc whether they remained with their companies or not. Epik High are the only really noticeable exception. Cherry Filter have been knocking about for a while now though, and their sound is rather unique. I really like this video, certainly more so than I do the song. Neither of them are good representatives of the Korean music scene…wistful thinking on somebody’s part!

Best buzzAsia from Taiwan:Andy Lau, “One”

Now, this just strikes me as being lazy. Think of the most famous Chinese singer around: Andy Lau. Pick a place for the award to reference: Taiwan. Does Andy Lau come from Taiwan? No. Does anyone seem to care? Hell no! I love Andy but why do we always see Chinese-language music dumped into the same category. This award doesn’t even have the dubious benefit of a generalisation. It’s not as though Taiwan has any shortage of talented singers, both Jay Chou and Jolin Tsai released albums since the last VMAs. Are they not famous enough? Or maybe somebody just didn’t bother doing their research. I didn’t talk about the song because I couldn’t find a clip of the video (that comment about research is coming back to bite me now). If anyone can provide a link please let me know!

Best Karaoke Song:EXILE, “Toki no Kakera”

Bloody hell, who have EXILE been sleeping with? Another coveted award won and another one I don’t think they deserve. I suppose karaoke choices are so subjective though. Personally I prefer something a bit faster, with lyrics that WON’T send the room to sleep. Can I suggest Otsuka Ai “Peach”, Arashi “Step and Go” or KAT-TUN “Lips”? “Toki no Kakera” isn’t a bad song, but it’s karaoke for cowards.

MTV Video Vanguard Award:Mariah Carey

Go away Mariah. This is an Asian entertainment blog. I have no obligation to you whatsoever. Convenient timing though, what with your new album out…

MTV Rock the World Award:Kobayashi Takeshi & Sakurai Kazutoshi

This is important. Not interesting in an entertainment-gossip way, but important nonetheless. The pair are among the most famous of Japan’s musicians – a producer and the frontman of Mr. Children respectively. Together they founded the AP Bank, which provides funding for environmentally-friendly causes. This is MTV’s “Bono” award. Usually I dismiss this kind of award as a publicity stunt to make MTV look good but if it brings more attention to the AP Bank, then I can’t fault it. Read more about the bank and what they do here: http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1663317_1663322_1669926,00.html

Red Hot Award: INFINITY16

New to me. I’m finding it a little bit hard to get my head around their music. So far I like “Itsumademo Merry Christmas” but that’s it. I’d like to hear from anybody who likes (or dislikes them). You can get some of their videos on Youtube. The seem to be recommended by MTV…is that a good thing? Check out their fabulous homepage here: http://www.infinity16sound.com/index.html

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May 24, 2008

Oricon Single Chart 21/5/08: Prisoner of Johnnies…

…well, a girl can dream can’t she?!?!

The big shock in this weeks Oricon charts is that Utada Hikaru’s much vaunted single “Prisoner of Love” (ohmigodthebstsongeva!!!!!11!1onelol) FAILED to make the number one spot on its release. Instead, the gold medal went to those cheeky paedo-bait from the Jimusho – Hey! Say! JUMP!

They top the list with “Dreams Come True”, while their senpais KAT-TUN are still going strong with “DON’T U EVER STOP”. A good week for Johnny to be sure.

Full list:

1. Hey! Say! JUMP – Dreams come true
2. Utada Hikaru – Prisoner of Love
3. Otsuka Ai -Rocket Sneaker/OnexTime

4. KAT-TUN – DON’T U EVER STOP
5. The Cro-Magnons – Right Beat
6. Takeuchi Mariya – Shiawase no Monosashi/Ureshikute Samishii Hi (Your Wedding Day)
7. Micro – Odore
8. 9mm Parabellum Bullet – Supernova/Wanderland
9. Sakai Masaaki – Wasure Mono/Saike na heart
10. Aqua Timez – Niji

It’s Times Like This That I Really Wish I Lived In Japan…

…for the concerts, if nothing else.

This year saw the marking of Avex’s 20th anniversary. As Japan’s biggest record company, you would expect some sort of massive showcase…and you’d be right.

This year’s a-nation line-up is hotter than ever. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area, you have your choice of artists including TRF, Every Little Thing, Koda Kumi, Otsuka Ai, Suzuki Ami, DBSK and AAA. Doing significantly fewer dates are EXILE, SEAMO and mihimaru GT. All concerts take place in July and August.

Of course, the big question is where on Earth is Hamasaki Ayumi? She may not be Avex’s brightest star anymore but she’s still their biggest name. In fact, with the exception of DBSK, she’s their their most bankable ticket-seller. So why isn’t she involved?

Although this is pure specualtion on my part, I suspect her health might be the reason. I don’t think any of us will forget Kohaku 07 in a hurry. There may be concerns over her abilty to carry off such a tour successfully. Now, I’m not really a fan of Ayu, but I can’t deny that she’s the ultimate professional. I think she could handle the strain. It’s what she does. If Avex don’t want to risk damaging her ears any more, that’s one thing. However, if they don’t want to risk their brand at her expense…they’re making a big mistake. One way or another, I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this…

Ticket info can be got at the official site (Japanese):

http://a-nation.net/index.html

Now excuse me while I just DIE from envy….!

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