Reporting Live: J☆Dee’Z’s “Daisuki” Single Promo Event at Tower Records Sakae (May 22, 2015)

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J☆Dee’Z has become the newest addition to the list of Japanese groups that I like. When I first watched their new single’s music video, I really like them because they are enjoying performing a lot in everything they do and it shows. Also, they are pretty talented too!

Formed in 2010 when the company DANCE STYLE KIDS were looking for a new dance team for their public relations, J☆Dee’Z first started with five Generation Z-ers; Meik, MOMOKA, Nono, AO, and Moe. The group’s concept was simple; be sexy and wild while being backup dancers for popular artists like BoA and Mai Kuraki.

The group experienced a little setback a year later when Moe decided to leave the group when she successfully passed the audition to be a trainee for AKB48. AO would also leave the group in 2012 when she became a backup dancer for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu while making a major debut with the group TEMPURA KIDZ. But, that didn’t stop J☆Dee’Z as their manager decided to add a member from the dance school Dance Studio TRAX, ami, before AO’s departure.

The girls became regular guests on the Sunday morning show “Pokemon Get☆TV”. They released a collaboration single with the show, titled “Pokemon de Odorou”, on July 23, 2014. The title song was used as the first and second endings for the show “Pokemon XY”. They made their debut two months later with the single “Beasty Girls/Let the music flow”.

To promote their second single “Daisuki”, the group decided to do various promotional events around Japan. One of their stops was at Tower Records in Sakae, Nagoya. How I found out about this information was on the store’s website. I was randomly browsing on the site one day and noticed that they were making an appearance on May 22. I asked myself “Who are these girls?” as I searched Youtube for their music after spotting their names on Tower Record’s website. Once I found the music video for “Daisuki”, I decided that I wanted to go the event and support these girls.

However, getting to the event was a bit tricky. I arrived in Sakae early enough to have time to chill at the local Starbucks while charging my phone. Once it reached fifteen minutes before show time, I began to head to the event location, entrusting that Google Maps would take me to the right direction.

However, it didn’t.

Welllll, it led me to the place in a roundabout way that caused me to get lost and waste twenty minutes trying to find the location. If I only followed the maps at the subway station… Also, I didn’t read the event page correctly and decided to go the store on the eighth floor first than the actual location (the event space on the first floor). I barely made it to the event, arriving when they sang their last song. 😦

I don’t really know the set list because I arrived late and no one has even posted it anywhere. The only song that I was able to see them perform was their new song. After that, the girls went off to the “green room” to take a break while the staff got the stage area ready for the second part of the event. I decided to buy a single so I could take a picture with the girls.

After buying a single, I jumped into the line. It wasn’t really long, which make waiting less frustrating because I didn’t have to wait for a long. The girls came out soon after and said a few words to start the event.

The photo above is the result of the said event. After handing my phone to the staff, I quickly jumped in the center. I said a couple of words like “Oh, you guys are so cool and cute”, “I found you guys out on the website”, and “I really enjoyed the live”. The girls said thanks and we chatted a bit. The girls even wished me a Happy Birthday because I said I was all dolled-up because it was my birthday the day after. I swear ami couldn’t stop looking at me because she kept on smiling and saying how pretty I was. But, in truth, her makeup and everything about her style made her prettier than me.

J☆Dee’Z is still a new group that is slowly getting some attention. The girls are really cute, they seem like they are having fun, talented at dancing, and don’t have really bad singing voices. I feel like this group is the Tiny Tim (from “The Christmas Carol”) of dance/singing/idol groups in Japan. Their fanbase is small and they are so young. However, they are full of determination and spirit that might make them brighter stars in the future.

Check out their music video for “Daisuki” here:

Did you know “Daisuki” is a cover of the same-titled song by Okamura Yasuiyuki. Released in 1988, the song\s PV has Okamura obsessing over girls, a woman who has a chocolate bar, and big blueberry.

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“Dreaming of You”: A Star That Keeps On Shining Brilliantly

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(I wanted to write this article on July 18th, the exact date when “Dreaming of You” was released. But, I caught a cold and had to hold off writing until it was gone. Sorry for the delay.)

One of the most influential musical icons of the 1990s was the Texan-born “Queen of Tejano Music” Selena. Since her debut with her band in the late 1980s, Selena was celebrated in Texas and Mexico as she made history as the first female to top the charts in a male-domineering musical genre. Sadly, it wasn’t until her death in 1995 that her legacy gained worldwide attention.

Growing up in the Washington DC metropolitan area, I didn’t really know who Selena was until the radio stations started to play songs from “Dreaming of You”. I have a fuzzy memory of how I first listened to the same-titled song. My mom always love to listen to the radio whenever she took us to places. I remember listening to the song on a hot summer day and had kept on thinking that it was simply magical. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I reconnected with the song and rest of Selena’s discography.

“Dreaming of You” is a pinnacle album as it celebrates two parts of her career. One part is from the formation of Selena y Dinos during Selena’s childhood to her winning a Grammy in 1994. This was arduous period as the band had to find their sparkle, audience, and, most importantly, voice. I remember watching the movie Selena and thinking how tough it was for Selena y Los Dinos when faced with disappointing audience numbers at performances, bias viewpoints, or failed business avenues. But, Selena never gave up as she was an innovator that solved problems instead of running away from them.

By 1989, Selena y Los Dinos scored a major record label deal with EMI Latin. This deal came into fruition after Jose Behar thought he found the next Gloria Estaban after watching Selena at the 1989 Tejano Awards. However, it also shelved her dream of recording English songs as EMI Records executives at the time thought that a “Mexican American woman could [never] have “crossover potential””[1]. Instead, she released her self-titled Spanish major debut album to the Latin music market in the fall of 1989.

Perhaps, having Selena make an English music debut in 1989 was an untimely idea. During the time when “Selena” was released, the singer was just getting popular all around Mexico and Texas. However, it probably wasn’t enough to sway the execs to see that she was ready for an English debut. Also, I wonder if the EMI execs wanted to test the waters by having her release Spanish material first. Yes, she did previously released a handful of independent records years earlier. However, now armed with a major record label that could promote her music more, it could have been a risky venture if the record label and Selena did not try out the Latin music market first.

Or, the EMI execs weren’t thinking straight back then.

Whatever the case may have been, Selena didn’t give up her dreams by working hard on any material she had a chance to work on. She was given a bit artistic freedom when creating albums with her family. One example is “Enamorada de Ti”, where she gave her listeners the first taste of her dream of being an international superstar by releasing a song that was so different from her regular genre. “Enamorada de Ti” is described as a freestyle song with hip-hop roots. The idea for the song came after her father,  Abraham Quintanilla, Jr., wanted to write a modern-day song to pursue EMI execs for a crossover deal if, according to Behar, they had a chance to see her perform. It is unknown if they actually came to see her. Nevertheless, “Enamorada de Ti” is a wonderful song that showcases Selena’s powerful potential.

During 1989 to 1994, Selena’s main musical focus was Tejano. Selena and her band made awesome songs like “La Carcacha”, “Como La Flor”, “Amor Prohibido”. “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”, and my favorite “Baila Esta Cumbia”.

I think a turning point in Selena’s career was winning a Grammy for her 1993 live album “Selena Live!”. Winning this award prove to the music execs and the world that she was ready for a crossover. It was also an indicator that she was ready to try something different. Even though Selena would never completely abandon her Tejano roots, I think she wanted to try something that was more her yet popular in the world: pop music.  And, her father began to feel the same way. He began to look for lyricists and composers who knew the music industry well and could get along with her musical direction after getting a green light by EMI Records to produce a crossover album.

After many months of carefully searching, Selena and her father found the people who they wanted to work. Leaving no time to waste, Selena recorded her first song, “If I Could Fall in Love” on December 1994. She then recorded “Dreaming of You”, which was a song that Selena handpick for the album as it represented her perfectly. She went on to record “Captive Heart”, “God’s Child (Baila Conmigo)”, “I’m Getting Used to You”, before her unfortunate death on March 31st, 1995.

Even if it is a combination of previously released and new tracks, “Dreaming of You” is a timeless, well-written album that demonstrates Selena’s talented voice. It also starts a new chapter in Selena’s life as she wanted to cross over into the international music scene while trying out a new sound. It gave us a glimpse of what future had in store for Selena’s musical experiences. I just wished it showed more of, what Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News wrote, her “bubbly, effervescent personality, the chica-del-barrio charm”.[2]

“Dreaming of You” is a magical yet timeless soft pop song. One of the best parts is the chorus because it showcasesSelena;s powerful vocals. Another favorite part is the bridge, it’s so mysterious yet mystical as Selena is singing, speaking Spanish, and instrumentation’s sound is deep with a soft guitar, a conga, a drum kit, and a bass synthesizer.

“Donde Quiera Que Estes” is a sexy duet between Selena and Barrio Boyzz that I absolute love. The chemistry between Selena and the boys is dynamic, making the song oh so delicious. Plus, it’s new Jack Swing…


References:

[1]  “Dreaming of You (album).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Jan. 2006. Web. 20 July 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreaming_of_You_(album)&gt;

[2] Mario, Tarradell. “New Album Hints At What Might Have Been Selena.” The Dallas Morning News 28 July 1995. Print. <https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=uPhTAAAAIBAJ&sjid=UI0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=3757,5994881&dq=dreaming+of+you+selena&hl=en> 

Reporting Live: ZOLA’s Mini-Album “LOOP” Promotional Event at Nagoya Kintetsu Passe (May 16, 2015)

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After I saw Otome Shinto at their promotional event for the single “Kimi to Piikan☆NATSU Sengenn!! “, I decided to stick around for another promotional event that the boyband ZOLA was having.

You are probably asking, who is ZOLA?

That is what I am asking myself too. There isn’t a lot of information about them on the web, According to the Victor Entertainment site, ZOLA was started in 2014 as the “ZOLA Project”, a Yamaha vocaloid project that employed three male models-turned-singers. Nanokkusu, Maui, and Tokito released their first single, “Tokyo Generation / BORDERLESS”, in the summer of that year. Some time after that release, DJ 3G joined the group as ZOLA changed concepts, ditching the vocaloid, pop sound for a more urban, club boy band feel.

The event I went to was to promote their new mini-album “Loop”, which they co-released with another band, DOKUMO BOYS!&GIRLS!. Truthfully, I never heard of either band before this event. When I was leaving the Otomo Shinto event, I looked at the store’s event schedule and saw that they were having another event a two hours later. So, I just wandered around Kintetsu Passe and read some Harlequin Books in Japanese at the book store to pass the time. Trust me, I was a bit bored.

I went back to Tower Records around six-thirty to see how would the staff let people into the event space. The event staff came onto the small stage shortly after and started to let anyone who pre-ordered the album into the area first.  It wasn’t until about fifteen minutes later that they let everybody else in. However, there wasn’t a lot of people at the event, so finding a great spot to see the guys was a breeze. I was about four rows back from the stage, surrounded by a lot of teenage or young adult girls.

ZOLA came onto the stage at around seven o’clock. They sang three songs, including their new song “Join Us!” (じょいなす!) while doing a little conversation with other and the audience once in a while. Though the live was short, the members seemed to have fun as they were joking off, singing, and performing. I enjoyed the live a lot because of the energy they had. It was so delightful.

I have to say that, from watching the event, my favorite member of the group has to be Tokito (時人). He is a pretty good rapper and seems like a fun person to be around. When he was doing his self-introduction, he was slamming those lyrics down smoothly and with such passion. I love this guy.

If you like boybands, especially the pretty K-Pop ones, then you must check out ZOLA. Their sound is pretty much the same as any group from Johnny’s or Korea. But, “Join Us!” (じょいなす!) is a pretty catchy song with mediocre vocals, a fantastic rap section, and an upbeat chorus that you can celebrate summer with. You should also try to see one of their lives (they will be at Otodama Sea Studio near Yokohama this summer) because they have such lovable, fun personalities.

Add Some “Salt & Pepper” by Marie Serneholt to Your Life

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Did you know that food lyrics always spice up a song? The producers behind “Salt & Pepper” knew it when they helped Marie Serneholt to release it.

Many may recognize the name Marie Serneholt from her youthful days as a member of the Swedish band A*Teens. The group formed in 1998 with Serneholt and three other teens had hopes that they could be the new millennium’s ABBA. They started off by purely covering ABBA hits like “Mamma Mia”, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”, and “Dancing Queen”. A*Teens didn’t start releasing original material until 2001 when they released the Gold-certified album “Teen Spirit”.

However, the group broke up in 2004 after their greatest album hit stores. The band slowly parted ways as each member wanted to pursue their own careers. Furthermore, their last original album, “New Arrivals”, had slow sales and promotions for it was cancelled as their label went bankrupt. This gave Serneholt a chance to take a break and enjoy a life she couldn’t have while in A*Teens.

The break didn’t last long as Serneholt began to appear as a model in various magazines and host various shows a little while after. During this time, she wanted to make a pop album with songwriter Jörgen Elofsson, who wrote countless hits like Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy”. Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This”, and Namie Amuro’s “make it happen (feat. AFTERSCHOOL)”. The duo created their own sublabel Planet Six, a part of SonyBMG, so they could work without any disruptions. The fruit of their labor came in the spring of 2006 when Serneholt released her first solo album, “Enjoy the Ride”. The album was solid at first, reaching #9 on the Swedish charts. But, quickly vanished from the charts soon after.

Serneholt later went on to appear on Melodifestivalen, a Swedish music competition that would help to decided Sweden’s entry for Eurovision. She made her first appearance in 2009 with the song “Disconnect Me” and later in 2012 with the song “Salt & Pepper”: Although she didn’t pass the wildcard stage in 2009, Serneholt made better progress three years later when she reached the semifinals.

“Salt & Pepper” starts off very upbeat with the backup vocals, who sound like they are from Britney Spear’s songs, heralding the song’s title in a rhythm pattern full of possible eighth-notes. Marie Serneholt then joins in by singing the first verse with robust mezzo-soprano voice. While her vocals aren’t exceptional or diva-quality, they are very pleasant to the ears with a clear, crisp tone. Because of this, it’s when moments like the pre-chorus (“My hearts goes Boom-boom-boom”) and the chorus that makes the song enjoyment.The digital alternation of the voice is also adequate as they create a type of edginess in her vocals.

As for the musical side, the instrumentation doesn’t cause any inconveniences for the song or Serneholt. The song reminds me of big band music but with a modern twist. The song’s backbone comes from a firm trombone timbre that is supported by a up-stand bass and acoustic guitars. On top of those, the main instruments are an articulated tambourine with a synthesizer that goes from a 60s’ sound to a deep, electronica one.

The lyrics are  generic in the sense that the theme is too common in a lot of pop songs. But, the use of allusions is not. The song is about a girl, who might be as pure as “salt”, being attracted to a bad boy, who is characterized as “pepper”.  Spice allegories are used throughout, especially in the song, to convey the girl’s feelings for the boy. The lyrics are not as appeasing as the vocals and instrumentation as they are repetitive and really basic. Nothing really special.

This song is filled with memorable moments with it’s instrumentation, lyrics, and vocals. Even though it came in at #6 at the 2012 Melodifestivalen, “Salt & Pepper” is a notable, enjoyable song that you can listen at anytime. It might make you wanna break out into a little song and dance from time to time.

Music Reactions: Boogie Woogie with AKB48, coming Halloween 2015!

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It is never too early to start Halloween, right? I remember that recently in America, Halloween products have started to show up around the end of July or early August along with back to school supplies. Apparently AKB48 wanted everyone to get in the Halloween mood early like Americans by performing their new song “Halloween Night” on a special music program last night.

I always had a love/hate relationship with AKB48. Ever since their debut with “Sakura no Hanabiratachi” in 2006, I have said that I hated this super idol group because of various reasons. I, like many fans, have compared AKB48 with my favorite group Morning Musume. a lot and said I could only be a fan of one group. I really loved the girls in Morning Musume. and thought they were more talented (in terms of singing, personality, dancing, cuteness, and others) than AKB48. I still listened to the 48 family as I downloaded some of their more popular singles. Over time, my hard heart soften as I began to like some of their songs like “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”, “RIVER” (which had my former favorite member Tomomi Itano), and “Dear my teacher” (What can I say? I am attracted to Akimoto Yasushi’s weird lyrics somehow).

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“Halloween Night” features one of my favorite members Rino Sashihara. I think I like her a lot because she is a huge fan of other idol groups, especially Hello! Project, and wants to create harmony and love between groups unlike some fans out there who want to start the “whose is better” wars. Furthermore, I think I might start to like Minami Takahashi, gorgeous Yuki Kashiwagi, Sakura Miyawaki, and unique Sayaka Yamamoto after watching yesterday’s live performance because they had the best costumes and performance style.

According to this tweet, this new song is supposed to be a sequel to the 2013 mega popular hit “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”. Both songs feature Rino as lead singer (as she won the fan’s hearts in the AKB fan elections this year and in 2013) and a 70s-style disco sound. Heck, when I first listened to “Halloween Night”, I wrote on my Facebook that “the 1970s just called and wants its disco music back, Japan”. You can hear it from the high-pitched guitar scale runs in the introductions, the musical break with the chorus, and the chopped rhythms. The song reminds me a lot of Earth, Wind, and Fire and/or Donna Summers while the musical break’s backup chorus reminds me of 90’s Jpop.

Many fans on the internet think that “Halloween Night” reminds them of the song “Boku no Sensei wa Fever” from the 70s drama “Necchuu Jidai”. I could hear a bit of a resemblance as both songs shared the same rhythms in the first few measures. However, after that, “Boku no Sensei wa Fever” and “Halloween Night” are totally different songs with different melodies. “Boku no Sensei wa Fever” is more of a disco song with Japanese melodies incorporated in it. I feel like “Halloween Night” is an American disco song with whoever composed the song getting inspired more by Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Even though “Halloween Night” is a great song, I don’t think it will live up to the expectation of “Koisuru Fortune Cookie”. It lacks the “oomph”, the super positive lyrics, catchy melodies, and memorable dance moves that the 2013 mega hit had. Despite this, I still love “Halloween Night” and it’s becoming one of my new favorites as I play this song repeatedly. Maybe the studio version will be even more awesome? Who knows? For now, let’s enjoy this version of “Halloween Night”:

(You can see pictures of all the costumes here at AKB48 Wrap Up.)

The Chain: Ten Great Fleetwood Mac Moments. Happy Birthday to Mick Fleetwood, 68 Today.

Another childhood favorite. I always loves how diverse with its talent yet simple with the songs that Fleetwood Mac can be.

Courtney's Sound World

1.  Fleetwood Mac ‘The Chain’

(from the album Rumours, 1977).

2.  Fleetwood Mac ‘Rhiannon’

(from the album Fleetwood Mac, 1975).

3.  Fleetwood Mac ‘Everywhere’

(from the album Tango in the Night, 1987).

4.  Fleetwood Mac ‘Don’t Stop’

(from the album Rumours, 1977).

5.  Fleetwood Mac ‘Sara’

(from the album Tusk, 1979).

6.  Fleetwood Mac ‘Little Lies’

(from the album Tango in the Night, 1987).

7.  Fleetwood Mac ‘Go Your Own Way’

(from the album Rumours, 1977).

8.  Fleetwood Mac ‘Landslide’

(from the album Fleetwood Mac, 1975).

9.  Fleetwood Mac ‘Big Love’

(from the album Tango in the Night, 1987).

10. Fleetwood Mac ‘Dreams’

(from the album Rumours, 1977).

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New Segment: New Discoveries with []

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Since today we celebrated ☆ai love music☆’s 50th blog post, I want to announce a new segment as we continue to celebrate.☆ai love music☆ already has a few already like the weekly flashback music post, Live Report, Music Rewind, A Blast from the Past, and Musical Reactions. But now, I want to add a new segment!

Drumroll please!

It’s “New Discoveries with []”!!

Wait, what is with the []s? That is a mystery because “New Discoveries with []” will feature new music and even interview from artists around the world. That’s right, we will hopefully interview artists as we featured their music here. I hoping it’s weekly but we see how often we can write this segment based who emails me. Sounds cool?

Original, cover, vocals, instrumentals, dance, pop, rap! You name it, we will cover it!

If you want to be featured on this site, please send a request at ailovemusic89@gmail.com. If you want me to interview you, please tell me that in the email. Interviews can happen via Skype or email (however, email might work best for both parties) If not, please send me a brief introduction about yourself and the songs you want to introduce. Please don’t forgot to send the songs you want me to feature.

Let’s Discover Music Together!