What Song Inspires You To Get Energize?

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(Disclaimer: This post is not an affiliation post. It’s just me talking about an app I like.)

It’s the afternoon. You glance at the clock and groan: It’s only 2 pm. You have three more hours till you clock out from your daily 9-5 job. But, you are tired from that after-lunch fatigue. You ponder, should you eat sweets (the sugar can energize you) or make a cup of coffee? Although these choices sound like a nice idea, they might not be the best one.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicI have recently been using an app called The Fabulous. I have been using it for two weeks already and enjoy it so far. Fabulous is designed for the user to do a variety of goals during the day. From the moment when you wake up to the second before you drift into dreamland, there is some sort of activity that you have to do. Doing these activities will help create a better you. Some of the tasks are drinking water and eating healthy yet meaningful meals. One of the actions is exercising throughout the day. This is something I think that I’m not good at. I cannot run (I hate running actually) and I don’t have room in my tiny apartment for big equipment.

I was in a pickle: What would be the right exercise for me?

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The Soothing Sound of “Sekai no Yakusoku” Will Calm Down Your Busy Day

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My nine-day “staycation” started last Friday at 6 pm. Many around Japan went overseas, did various activities around the country, or visited loved ones. Yet, I decided to do a “staycation”. Yes, it seems boring: me staying inside my apartment and surroundings for about a week. But, I love it since I could stay in bed for long periods of time, read various materials, be minimalistic, and deep clean.

That Friday, I pondered on what should I do on the first night of freedom: Should I do something or go to bed early so I could start my vacation off right by waking extra early on Saturday? Continuing to think about, I checked the TV Guide to see what was going to be the movie of the night. And by chance, it was going to be one of my favorites.

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Drift Away to an Island Paradise with Anri’s “Windy Summer”

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Summer has finally begun here in Japan. “Umi no Hi” Sea Day is the unofficial start of summer as the rainy season is over and it’s time to enjoy the sun. But, unlike the photo above, Japanese summer is nothing like a tropical paradise. We have reached the dog days of summer! Today’s temperature was 40°C (100°F) with humidity levels hanging around 80%. It ‘s a perfect day to hide indoors and dream about a cool tropical paradise with Anri’s “Windy Summer” under the air conditioner.

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Help Improve ☆ai love music☆ and Win a Chance for a Free CD!

Happy July 1st to everyone around the world! Can’t you believe that we are already halfway done with 2018? It’s unbelievable!

Can you do me a favor and fill out a questionnaire about the site. I always try to bring exciting and engaging content to this blog, but I need some feedback to make this site even more exceptional. Your opinion does indeed matter as I will read everyone’s answers and implement them in the blog! (You can fill it out in English or native language, whatever is best for you)

The link to the questionnaire is:

https://goo.gl/forms/tHUGAIxFfmPGUhps1

When you fill out the survey, don’t forget to enter your email address! I will give five lucky readers a CD of their choice.

Thank you very much!

 

Vaporwave: A Genre That Goes Forward by Moving Backwards

Neon lights accent the various billboards and signs around the city. Hits from the likes of Chicago, Lionel Ritchie, and Steve Winwood softly streaming from multiple speakers all around with electric guitars blazing, a drum kit faintly pulsing, and an electronic keyboard acting as the leading performer in the piece. As you continue walking, you detect the passing smell of a woman’s perfume, was that the scent of Calvin Kline’s Obsession or perhaps, it was Yves Saint’s Laurent Opium?

It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since these sights, smells, and sounds from the heart of the 80s were part of our lifestyles. Once the 90s brought in grunge rock, modern fashion, and less dramatic design styles, it was expected that we would ultimately forget the 80s or have our children grumble how old-fashion and tedious that decade was. That isn’t the case with Vaporwave: a new genre that has brought back the sounds and feel of a retro decade.

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ATSUSHI from EXILE Covers a Recent Classic With Sincere Effort

This spring has brought out a handful of new releases as well as different takes on older hits. One such example is ATSUSHI (from EXILE)’s take on Bruno Mars’ debut song “The Way You Are”.

ATSUSHI is one of the current leading vocalists in the megahit boy group EXILE here in Japan. He got his start in 2001 when Hiro, a veteran performer who rose to fame in the early 1990s as a member of ZOO, asked him to join the newly formed group named J Soul Brothers. HIRO’s invitation came after seeing ATSUSHI’s audition on the legendary audition show ASAYAN. J Soul Brothers would later be renamed as EXILE with ATSUSHI penning lyrics for a lot of their hit tunes. Heard of “EXILE PRIDE (Konna Sekai wo Ai Suru Tame)”? “Rising Sun”? How about “Yasashii Hikari”? Yeah, those are a few of the many songs he wrote lyrics for.

The vocalist later went on to release his debut single in 2011, entitled “Itsuka Kitto…”. Being a vocalist AND a songwriter wasn’t enough for ATSUSHI. He also created groups like Deep, first as a member then as the producer. He later formed Red Diamond Dogs, which serves as his backing band whenever he goes on tour. In 2017, he announced that his activities in EXILE would  so he could focus more on international activities

That is where we come full circle with his latest release. Of course, he isn’t the only one in the EXILE tribe to be releasing covers of famous Western hits. GENERATIONS (from Exile Tribe) released a Best-Of album early this year that contained best hits (in two languages: Japanese and English) and covers, which one was the Jackson Sisters’ “I Believe in Miracles”

The covers that were performed by GENERATIONS and ATSUSHI have a similar issue: the lack of energy. I dislike the GENERATIONS’ cover of “I Believe in Miracles” and the reason why is that it sounds so boring. It’s like the main singer didn’t put enough soul. And instead, sounding like he was asleep when recording the song. That is the same for ATSUSHI’s cover of “The Way You Are”. Don’t get me wrong, ATSUSHI is a talented vocalist as well as a musician. But, this cover sounds so lackluster and boring. Like, there is no energy in the vocals, no feelings nor soul.

I appreciate ATSUSHI’s sincere efforts in trying to cover a Bruno Mars’ song. Furthermore, even to go as far to penning the Japanese lyrics himself. There are no snags with his translation of the songs. And, his approach of trying to convey the original message in his native language is pretty sincere. There is also no problem with his musicality or his skills. But, if he had to record this song over again, I would suggest that ATSUSHI put more soul/heart and feelings into the vocals (and more of what makes him, vocals and musicianship). Bring some “oomph” and life to the song while making it your own.

Here is the music video for the original version by Bruno Mars:

Revisiting an Oldie From a New Generation

Many have categorized oldies as songs that have a particular flair to them and have something memorable. Spice Girl’s “Wannabe”, Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”, and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” are a few songs that qualify as oldies.

Japan has a plenitude of oldies too. Each decade presents a distinct set of tunes and genres that capture the attention of many. But sometimes, an oldie might be considered “too old” by the newer generations as the musical arrangement or even the vocals are outdated. That leaves one question: How can people today enjoy a very popular oldie from an earlier decade like the 1970s? The answer is simple, just reinvent it with today’s sounds and fresh faces.

That isImage and video hosting by TinyPic what exactly Pink Babies is all about. Called the sister group of the legendary idol duo Pink Lady from the 1970s, Pink Babies cover a lot of lovely tunes from the duo and the 70s. Pink Babies formed in 2013 with several girls. The lineup has changed over the years, as one of the members pointed out to me on Sunday during the handshake event, as the current roster has ten girls. These girls cover popular tunes as well as unknown stuff from albums and b-sides.

Pink Babies released their first cover single, “Nagisa no Sinbad”, in the summer of 2015, first at Jan Expo and then at Tokyo Idol Festival. I actually picked up a copy that was signed by Aina at TIF. The group continues to release singles at least once a year while performing at small festivals and venues within Tokyo.

The group went around to various cities in Japan to perform and hold events at various malls to celebrate the release of their second single. One of the spots they visited was the Parco Shopping Mall in the heart of Nagoya’s shopping district. The event had three parts: a mini-live, handshakes, and then photo ops. To participate in the latter two activities, you had to buy their new single beforehand or on the day.

As it was mall event, the stage area was pretty small. The crowd was pretty small too as around 30 people showed up for the mini-live. A small percentage of the group were people who were passing by. These lives are a bit up-close and personal as the distance between the stage and the crowd are a few meters. Heck, I had a great view from my spot despite the speakers being in the way as I was a couple of meters away.

The mini-live started on time with the girls performing these songs:Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  1. SOS
  2. MC
  3. Dou ni mo Tomaranai (Rio O., Chinatsu, Aina, Sara)
  4. Kuruwasetai no (Mayu, Rio S., Kotono, Saho, Yui)
  5. Hoshi Kara Kita Futari (Mayu, Aina, Yui, Sara, Chinatsu)
  6. Catch Lip (Kotono, Saho, Rio O., Rio S., Yukari)
  7. MC
  8. Southpaw
  9. MC
  10. UFO

Pink Babies are pretty good in terms of being an idol group. They have mediocre vocals but have an array of girls that have their own appeal. However, my only concern about the group is “how” they perform each song. Even though Pink Lady had unforgettable performances, the group did have outfits and dance movements that were considered maybe too risque. They frequently showcased their legs (and body) as they wore tight spandex outfits with very short skirts or no bottoms. Pink Lady also had dance movements that center around their legs.

I don’t know iImage and video hosting by TinyPicf it was a positive or a negative for the duo as they were 18 years old when Mie and Kei started to perform. However, I wasn’t delighted when I first saw Pink Babies performing such songs at the Tokyo Idol Festival two years ago. I felt like the stuff they were performing was a bit too much or risqué for these girls. The group was then composed of girls between 12-16 years old, singing and dancing almost like their big sisters some forty years ago. I just felt weirded out seeing such young girls publically performing dances that were more suitable for late high school to college girls. But, that is the nature of the Japanese idol industry and the argument about “what dances, outfits, and songs are too much for idols” could be saved for another day. I am just relieved after seeing the mini-live on Sunday that the group has mellowed out and matured a bit where singing and performing Pink Lady songs wouldn’t be bothersome.

The handshake was after the mini-live. You could shake hands and have a 30-second conversation with each member if you bought a CD. I felt like I had more time with each girl compared to past events with other idol groups as I could talk about many things with the members. When the handshake event finished, then it was time for a photo-op. Depending on how many CDs you bought, you could get a picture with a member. Or, you would play a game where someone would pull out a slip of paper that contained one of various photo-op Image and video hosting by TinyPicoptions. The options were: a two-shot or three-shot miniature Polaroid, a 30-second minute video with your favorite member, a group shot with all the members, and etc. I took my chances and picked from the box. I got a chance to take a miniature Polaroid with two of the members. So, I picked Nagoya native Rio O (or Ohrio) and Chinatsu (because she told me her favorite princess is Belle, just like mine).

Like I said before, Pink Babies isn’t a horrible group. They are worth checking out if you like to listen to covers of oldies, if you a fan of Pink Lady or old Jpop tunes, and/or like idol groups. I love them and have learned much more about Pink Lady’s songs, especially my new favorite song “Catch Lip”, from this cute group.

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