Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bands I Have Seen Live//

Abingdon Boys School
Alice Nine
Aural Vampire
exist trace
the GazettE
Hangry & Angry
Jack Rose
Moi Dix Mois
Plastic Tree
the Underneath
Toshihiko Takamizawa
X Japan

I'm a wee bit spoiled (^_^)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Downloading Music Is Okay//

     A couple weeks ago I witnessed someone on my twitter feed criticizing people for uploading one of LM.C’s new videos on Youtube.  She even insinuated that they were hurting the industry/hurting the fan base.  How?  I am not one of those of those people who becomes defensive out of ignorance, so rather I am just writing now to offer a counterpoint.

     The most obvious reason why she would say that is this assumption that the record companies and all parties involved will lose money since now there will be no reason to buy the Limited Edition.  Yes, for only $10-$20 more you two can own the exact same CD with a different case and a DVD that contains both the music video and the making-of video!  Some bands, like Plastic Tree, actually make these editions worthwhile by including live concert footage, but generally the case and the DVD are the only difference.  Unless they were obsessed with a specific song why then would a casual listener purchase it?  To fans, it is little more than a status symbol, and I should know, every Alice Nine CD and DVD I own is as elite as they can be. 

     This I suppose all falls under the classic and wearisome argument of file-sharing.  Some in the industry support it.  Others do not.  My viewpoint of file-sharing is this: You download mp3s to discover new music.  If you like it, you buy it.  I personally am much more likely to buy an album I have already heard because if I have not heard it previously, I feel that the purchase is too risky and decline it without ever giving it the chance.  I promise too that unlike a lot of people, my claim is true; my Japanese music collection is worth so much I have thought about using it as collateral for a loan.  If a company expects me to even consider buying a product, I demand they let me sample it first.  The pitiful thing is the actual artists don’t seem to mind at all.  When meeting a Japanese artist you find that they don’t care that you have not bought the latest single; they are too overjoyed that you know who they are.

     My biggest problem with the Youtube issue is that I am in America; how can someone argue a lack of profitability when they are not even attempting to market outside of Japan?  Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  Opportunity.  Much of the young fanbase was introduced to Japanese music through the internet which has expanded the scene here in America more than I ever thought possible.  Downloading music is sometimes the only we can get our hands on it.  These arguments against media share have some significance in Japan, but no clout here.  It is not as if they are unaware of blocking IPs from regions they do not like.  Youtube, 2chan, and many Japanese MMOs have essentially told me, “Silly foreigner, this content is for us”.  If they want to shield Japanese fans from the desire (peer pressure) to view content without paying, then just block Japanese IPs.

     I really feel that, given the circumstances, it is unfair for these record companies to feel as if anything else can be expected of us.  Japanese CDs are expensive enough as it is, but on top of it we have to pay the necessary expensive shipping costs.  Even over-privileged teenagers from middle-class families can only order so much with their disposable incomes.  The difference in price between a new American CD and a new Japanese CD is normally 200-300%.  This is really what everything boils down to: price control.  It is a way to keep CDs selling at the very same price in Japan.  It is my belief that Japanese companies recognize that if they were export their goods on a grand-scale, at a price greater than world market price,   they would face downward pressure.  As there is no way, at least with CDs that I know of, to prevent residents of Japan from listening to a CD distributed in a different country, they cannot prevent them from choosing to purchase the CDs which now reflect the world market’s price.  Although what I just wrote may seem like some conspiracy theory, it is a real world strategy.  That is why we have region codes for DVDs, to prevent a group in one region from watching a movie sold in another region at a different price.  If you cannot connect the dots, it means those CD/DVDs whose sales you are negatively impacting by watching a music video on Youtube, you can’t watch anyway without a DVD player capable of reading the Region 2 code. 

     It is undeniable, in my mind at least, that a foreigner uploading a Japanese music video on Youtube, for other foreigners to watch, is of absolutely no real consequence to the Japanese music industry.  In fact, I actually wonder if they are not wasting more money by sending a cease-and-desist notice within hours of a video’s upload, than they would be by following my suggestion to block Japanese IP addresses.  I often wonder if Japan’s value of homogeny plays a role in this.  Either way, my demand to the Japanese music industry is this: give us distribution or give us our Youtube videos.    

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Alice Nine - Heart of Gold Pv//

Because I don't normally have internet access until noon, I rarely get to watch their live show on Nico Nico Douga, but I just found out that they debuted their new video on this month's episode.  I personally love it.  It's at least 100x better than Blue Flame.  Shou's outfit, however, looks like something a 60 year-old woman would purchase from my shop.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is Kumi's new PV really that bad?//

I recently read, what I will address as a rumor, that one of Kumi Koda's latest music videos is so risque that it will be banned from television.  I call this a rumor because WHAT THE HELL HAVE THEY NOT SEEN HER MUSIC VIDEOS?  After seeing so many shots of her vagina, I just can't bring myself to believe that "KO-SO-KO-SO" goes above beyond, and so I'm going to countdown what I think are the *tries not to use the word "skankiest"* most mature videos of her repertoire.  These will be ranked by video content only, as the lyrics of some might have an unfair advantage and the lyrics of others are just plain retarded and provide no premise for her dancing around in her underwear.

#10 - Feel
Now this video I honestly don't mind.  In my opinion, it's more sensual than sexual, which gets a pass in my book.  Unfortunately, odd numbered lists frighten me so we needed a #10.

#9 - Crazy 4 U
We're getting somewhere here.  Dance a little closely to some random girls in your panties.  Unzip the catsuit to show some breast.  Alright, but it seems a little 90s.

#8 - Hot Stuff
You actually took the time to choreograph unzipping some guy's pants?

#7 - Selfish
Dancing in panties - check.  Oh, riding a guy?  Alright, I see where we're heading...wait, you just ended the video by shoving some guy's head in your crotch?

#6 - But
This video is so ridiculous, but that's what you get for kissing and grinding with some chicks (who really don't seem all that into you).

#5 - Taboo
Here I'm a little pissed I had to put something so intentional on the list, but I can't help it; the whole simulated oral sex just doesn't work for me.

#4 - 今すぐ欲しい/Ima sugu hoshii
I'm used to her writhing around in her panties, but the eye-fucking in this video just makes me uncomfortable.

#3 - D.D.D.
You touched your vagina on camera.

#2 - Juicy
This is where riding a guy's cock becomes the new dance craze.

#1 - Shake It
I give up.  This is skankier than my high school ever was.

I do have to hand it to her; Kumi has tamed down the past few years.  I actually wonder if it has had anything to do with her radio scandal from 2008.  If anyone remembers, she made a joke about women's uteri rotting in their 30s and avex hastily shoved her career in the closet.  I really do like her, enough to own a few of her albums *note own, not downloaded off Jpopsuki*.  She has a beautiful voice and in the end what matters.  Although I do not agree with it, she's the original koakuma, trying to balance out the image of a cute idol with that of a dirty dirty woman.  Because of her history though, I really do have to question if her upcoming video is really as terrible as it is made out to be.  I think the only way to top anything she has ever done is to actually condense those videos into one.  It is not like they have ever harmed anyone before.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Conspiracy behind Taiji's death//

Last night my boyfriend referred me to an interesting blog post by Daisuke from THE SOUND BEE, concerning the recent death of Taiji.  It is quite curious and could possibly make anyone consider the circumstances a little more.  While I will not express my opinions, I can completely understand why Daisuke and his team are searching for more answers.

Here's a link to the original blog post followed by my translation.

I keep thinking there’s no way, no way it’s suicide.

It might be true that he acted violently, but the issue is that he acted violently on the plane, not to mention restricting him from foreign soil. There's no question about that.

But, setting that aside.

When my staff participated in X Japan’s lives with Taiji, they were acting as management.

And so the question is who is his management now.
This has become the current issue.

I was told by my staff that Taiji was in Saipan, but the next day
Conflicting information had emerged
When it was reported he was in serious condition.
How’s that?

My staff got mail from him saying he was alright.

That’s correct, mail from his own terminal .
So my staff told me he’s alive and well, not to worry.
Now my staff is now moving to reveal the truth.

What’s weird is the current subject of a female manager.

Because he has various staff, anyone could have mailed as him.
Who could it be?
Taiji's blog was deleted from his computer.
Who could it be?

It appears as if the full picture is something that can’t be seen.

Why were they bringing his estranged relatives, but stopping his current fiancé? 
Why is it so hard to extradite him if his remains are cremated? 

What’s wrong with having an autopsy? 
Besides it seems like he killed himself in police custody on that island.

I guess because the world’s so small that if you have authority it can be under your control

My management is going to collect information and stir to return his remains to the family

Because we can’t do a funeral like this 
Because something seems wrong what I want to say is 
Everyone raise your voices more and more and drag this female manager into the media 
I want mass communication to be mobilized to explain current affairs or to bring this investigation to an end

My staff said they can’t trust the news reports so easily.
Here it seems like his female manager is still breathing.

Anyhow, I know it’s a difficult thing because there’s the problem of being isolated from that country, but if it wasn’t suicide...

I…Taiji was a little messed up, but I [or he] hate the thought of suicide.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cover Song - Konya wa Boogie Back//

The funny thing about those who are just getting into the Japanese music scene is that they may not realize their new favorite song is just a cover.  More than likely if you were to mention the song's title to someone from Japan, that person would only associate it with the well-established original.  Because of this, I want to start showing some classic Jpop songs and their more modern versions.

Up first is Kenji Ozawa & Scha Dara Parrs's classic "今夜はブギーバック/Konya wa Boogie Back".  Originally released in 1993, it has been sung by everyone from Hikaru Utada to Sparta Locals.

And then Chakkamanz took hold of it

Then Dell Feat. Clock

More famously Kreva

Most recently TOKYO No.1 SOUL SET + HALCALI

So it goes to show that you may be giving due where it belongs.

Fan Wisdom//

It has been irritating me more and more lately, the attitudes or actions of the newer generation of Jrock fans.  I hate to promote myself as an elitist, but even I, who tamed my raging teenage hormones to the thought of some androgynous visual-kei singer on a regular basis, can see little connection between myself and younger fans.  For years now nothing more has annoyed me than someone half my age writing, "I miss Hide".  Really?  That's amazing to have such devotion in the womb.  I find that often these younger fans forget their place.  I really do not mean to say they belong in some lower social status, rather attempt to manipulate reason and reality.  The fact that I do not believe a girl from Wisconsin listened to Malice Mizer, when she was only three years-old, may just be a fault of my close-mindedness.  Whether I am to blame or not, it bothers me.

I was dragged to my first anime convention ever this year, to act as a personal translator so a friend could communicate with one of the guest Japanese bands.  My friend was not a fan, but sincerely enjoyed one of the member's previous bands.  This I respect.  When I went to the Q&A, I listened to dozens of teenagers exclaim their undying love for their favorite band.  This I do not respect.  The reason why is because I would bet my entire cd collection that no one in that room knew of the band, lest heard one of their songs until it was announced they would be performing (save for staff, of course).  The truth is, my friends, our convention is so small we get the Japanese equivalent of the local band to perform, despite what Tainted Reality tells you.  You should have probably realized it when you could only find a 100 hits off Google.  If not, then at the very least when they performed, right?  I forgot.  You only like them because they are Japanese.  I remember back in December leaving the GazettE's live at Tokyo Dome to be hounded by a legion of those local bands.  To even my surprise, a member from the band Luzmelt personally handed me a promotional flier and thanked me for being one of the few to accept it.  They performed at my hometown's convention less than a year before.  A friend of mine, a former staff member of the convention, informed me that they were paid $7000 for their time in the city.   Unfortunately for them, that $7000 also paid their airfare and hotel rooms.

My advice is this :
--Be honest to yourself and those around you.  By claiming to be something you are not, you are hiding yourself from what you could be.  Most people are going to see through your lies anyway.  My biggest pet peeve is when people claim to be a fan of an artist, but they only know a handful of songs all used in anime. 
--Share what you know and try to learn (continued from above).  People today have such a greater opportunity to learn about Japanese music than I did years ago.  By claiming to be the biggest fan of a band you hardly know anything about, you are killing your own learning opportunity.  If you have only recently been introduced to a band, ask to know more about them.
--Do not like anything for any reason other than it gives you pleasure.  Do not listen to a song because it is popular.  Do not listen to a song because a friend does.  Do not listen to a song simply because it belongs in a genre or its members are Japanese.  Listen because it means something to you.
--Remember that these artists are just as human as your or I, despite the fact most of them look like holograms.  Being so opposed to a band that you must bash them every opportunity you get is a waste of time.  If not for the fact they would be considered public figures, this could be considered harassment.  Likewise, declaring an artist your god and spending most of your time worshiping them might be a sign that your life's priorities might need a little more thought.