In my opinion JPop Music has a really unique sound that is different to North American pop. While pop music in the US is definitely upbeat and happy, I find that JPop really pushes that to the extreme. The female singers/bands in particular sing in a very high key, and it’s almost impossible not to smile when you hear it! If you are a music fan you should definitely check out some JPop.
Best Headphones Under $100
I always find that I have the best music listening experience when I use headphones, I guess you can just really immerse yourself in the music and notice all of the details. Those little earbuds that come with your iPhone are fine, but if you are a true audiophile I definitely recommend investing in a good quality pair of headphones or earbuds. You don’t even have to spend a ton of money, Bestgear.org has a good list of quality headphones for less than $100. With some good headphones you will notice way more detail in the music, it will change your life!
My JPop Recommendations
Here are some of my favourite singers and groups as well as their top hits:
Ugh, Utada Hikaru is one of those people who is just insanely talented. And beautiful. And her music is in Kingdom Hearts. And…well you get the picture I kind of idolize her! She started writing lyrics and music from an early age. First Love, her first Japanese debut was released in 1998 and she has been dominating the Japanese music charts ever since. This song was a major success and is still popular 17 years after it’s release (because it is like, super good). Her songs are a slower pace usually, and she doesn’t sing in the super high voice that the Japanese girl groups favour. Some of her other popular songs include Heart Station, Sakura Drops.
Akihabara, also referred to as AKB48, is a Japanese girl band that started with a total of 48 members (it’s actually a lot more now). No, that is not a typo! AKB48 is insanely popular, and although their music is super cheesy and there is no way they actually need that many people in the group I agree that their music is very catchy! Heavy Rotation is one of the most popular songs of theirs, it is a total ear worm. Let’s Become Cherry Blossom Trees is another famous song by them, this one is a bit more chill and relaxing to listen to. Kind of like looking at sakura trees!
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
I just love her story (and obviously her kawaii style!), she started as a fashion blogger and ended up a pop star! She was really into Harajuku fashion, and started as a model for a few magazines and events. She later met the producer of one of her favourite electronic music groups who encouraged her to pursue music. Some of her most popular songs are PONPONPON, Ninja Re Bang Bang, and Tsukematsukeru. PONPONPON is a super catchy song which is popular in karaoke and taiko. If you are like J-pop with electronic sound, then you are going to love Ninja Re Bang Bang. Tsukematsukeru is probably her most popular song, and the music video is so cool!
Bump of Chicken
Switching gears from JPop to JRock, Bump of Chicken is another name worth mentioning in any list of popular JMusic groups. This rock band is made up of four members from Chiba. I think the meaning behind their admittedly unusual name is really cute, basically it means ‘attack from a weak creature (a chicken)’, or ‘ineffectual protest’ in another sense. Japan can be a really strict culture, and for them music was a way of expressing individuality and uniqueness. Some of their top songs are Colony, Karma, Aria and Star Gazing.
I love Kuda Kumi, she has a husky voice and a really unique sound in the JPop landscape, she sings mostly R&B style songs. Some of the most popular songs sung by her include 1000 Words, Real Emotion, Moon Crying and You. Plus her music was featured in Final Fantasy X-2 and I love that game, you get to play as a pop idol!
Arashi is a popular JPop boy band, although they have been around since 1999 and might not qualify as ‘boys’ anymore! If you’ve ever watched Japanese TV you may have heard one of their songs, they are often used for the opening themes for TV shows or animes, for example they have been featured on Hana Yori Dango and even Japanese TV coverage of the Olympic Games in Rio. The songs of this band are catchy, family friendly and wonderful for road trips. Some of their best known songs include Monster, Love So Sweet, and Power of the Paradise.