The Golden Age of J-POP - Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai
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  #1  
Old 12th May 2021, 08:56 PM
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The Golden Age of J-POP

OK, so the exact years may be up to personal interpretation and preference, but generally speaking I feel like the mid/late-90's to mid-2000's was the Golden Age of J-POP. Music made a lot of money, even less popular acts could sell 300K+ copies of things, and there were so many good acts in the market.

I was going through some old hard-drives and listening to various music I had saved over the years and it struck me how much of it is probably relatively unknown to younger fans or newer fans of J-POP, even songs from what were relatively big acts at the time. So it had me inspired to share some of my favorites from the vault from time to time.

So without further ado, here is my first offering:

Misia - BACK BLOCKS


I feel like Misia has had so many great, popular songs - but in my mind she's always lumped into a more ballad-y space - probably because of the monster success of Everything. Released in 2002, BACK BLOCKS was on the cusp of the emerging urban sounds in J-POP. She has such powerful vocals in this song, and at the same time it's so catchy and uplifting.

I'll try to add songs as often as possible, but I hope others contribute some of their favorites too! I've been feeling super nostalgic for all the good options we had during that time period.
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Old 12th May 2021, 09:12 PM
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And I'll do a two-for today, since it's the first day.

Hitoto Yo - Morai-naki


Released as her debut single in 2002, Morai-Naki made her an instant star. I remember hearing this song and being so taken with her voice - there are parts of it that are so J-POP, but also a polish and beauty that is unique in its own right. She beautifully melds pop music with an enka-ish undertone. Her whole debut album was a breath of fresh air, though I admit I kind of fell off board with her with subsequent albums.
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Old 13th May 2021, 08:18 PM
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Bonnie Pink - Tonight, The Night


There are so many good Bonnie Pink songs from the first decade of her career. Released in 2003, Tonight, the Night was her 12th single and was moderately successful. It's just a fun, happy song with nice disco/psychodelic undertones.
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Old 1st June 2021, 05:20 AM
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We are on her forum. Ayumi hamasaki ❤️

@voltron ayu debuted around that time. Coincidence!? I think not!!!
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Old 1st June 2021, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicious n Bold View Post
We are on her forum. Ayumi hamasaki ❤️

@voltron ayu debuted around that time. Coincidence!? I think not!!!
Haha, of course! But we're all familiar with Ayu's music. I think the time surrounding her ascent to fame was a great period in history, and there was so much space for all sorts of artists - even less popular artists were able to sell a lot. Musically, there were Western influences, but it was still very much a unique J-POP sound. So my goal here is really to just highlight artists and songs, some more or less popular, that newer fans of J-POP may not have heard of.

In the early 2000's, the members of SPEED were all pursuing solo careers. Hiro was obviously the most successful, as she's typically the most loved. But for me, Eriko Imai has always been the star. Her first solo album, My Place, released in 2001 was such a good moment in time. My favorite single from the album was "Set Me Free!" - the third single.

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Old 13th July 2022, 02:59 PM
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Great thread (and major nostalgia trip)!

I became an Ayu fan in April of 2003 and that also became the year I started exploring some other J-pop. Some other classic oldies:







While there may be some stylistic differences there is a definite common sound to a lot of J-pop of this area (and I have a major soft spot for it).
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Old 20th July 2022, 01:01 PM
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Forgot a whole bunch of things, no doubt. The other was reminded of this, SO good:



Also, Judy And Mary was such an iconic band (though not within the J-pop style of the songs above, perhaps?), and I really loved YUKI's first solo album Prismic with this banger among other things:



(Also, while outside of the golden age, she released a REALLY good single in 2012, Play Ball / Sakamichi No Melody.)

Also, Maaya Sakamoto had some really pretty songs, like this one:



Also, UA recorded some of her best material in this era (Sun is my favourite UA album) but is definitely much more unconventional.

Oh, and let's not forget Shiina Ringo - late 90s/early 00s means Muzai Moratorium - Shouso Strip - KZK - what a streak!
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Old 20th July 2022, 01:18 PM
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Ayu was really popular way back in the early 2000s… her commercials were playing in Singapore television at that time.. I guess people who didn’t cared about JPOP will end up knowing her too. Other acts like Do as infinity, Every little thing as also heard of.
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Old 20th July 2022, 11:12 PM
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Since this thread has been revived, I'm going to throw Rina Aiuchi in the mix with two of my favorites from her. They're of a similar styling, so no surprise that I like them both.

Deep Freeze


Overshine
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xdjzer
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  #10  
Old 20th July 2022, 11:18 PM
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Ooh, yes, good call! I love Friend, such a good song!
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Old 22nd July 2022, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltron View Post
Since this thread has been revived, I'm going to throw Rina Aiuchi in the mix with two of my favorites from her. They're of a similar styling, so no surprise that I like them both.

Deep Freeze


Overshine
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xdjzer

Thanks for sharing. i m listening now..
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  #12  
Old 27th July 2022, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sxesven View Post
Great thread (and major nostalgia trip)!

I became an Ayu fan in April of 2003 and that also became the year I started exploring some other J-pop. Some other classic oldies:



While there may be some stylistic differences there is a definite common sound to a lot of J-pop of this area (and I have a major soft spot for it).

OOh, just the other day I was listening to Get wild and reason. So good! I think her version of get wild is the best.



I also love a lot of songs from this era, too many rpobably.


Also don't forget Morning musume! I don't want to say anything negative about other idol groups that may have appeared later, but H!P's music was really a lot more interesting, charismatic and not to mentioned crazier than the alternatives.

How many can you sing along to?


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Old 28th July 2022, 07:28 PM
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Ha, nice, I never listened to any MoMuSu (Strawberry Pie was a bit of a cult hit in some circles I was in though) but I really loved Maki Goto's thing with SWEET BLACK. Especially with... and Plastic Lover are REALLY good.



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Old 28th July 2022, 09:41 PM
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And damn, I cannot believe I have not posted this yet!


This was literally my favourite track EVER for years (and it's only that I've not given this position any explicit thought ever since this took the throne that I'd hesitate to say it is still my singular favourite track of all time by anyone ever across any genre). Funny in a sense because most of her material does little for me, but this track is sooooooooooooooooo devastatingly good.
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Old 29th July 2022, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sxesven View Post
Ha, nice, I never listened to any MoMuSu (Strawberry Pie was a bit of a cult hit in some circles I was in though) but I really loved Maki Goto's thing with SWEET BLACK. Especially with... and Plastic Lover are REALLY good.
Yeah, that was good stuff, but it never took off sadly. My favorite from that era is Queen Bee even if it's really cheesy. I guess, it's not really a part of the golden age of j-pop either

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Old 30th July 2022, 04:37 AM
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Queeen beeeeeeeee~!!
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Old 30th July 2022, 10:15 AM
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Queen Bee is awesome too, the whole mini-album is cool of course!

Whatever happened to that Bigga Raiji guy? I found his Insta the other day but he hasn't posted anything since 2014.
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Old 1st August 2022, 04:08 AM
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I thought Maki Goto would be a 2nd Koda Kumi, she was sexy, nice visuals, nice songs and voice. Too bad she wan't that popular
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Old 1st August 2022, 12:37 PM
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I guess MoMuSu was insanely popular of course, but solo she never reached legendary level, I guess.
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Old 1st August 2022, 01:47 PM
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Girls of idol groups going solo have never been as successful as their group counterparts, unfortunately. I've seen that too many times with 48G (AKB48 and sister groups) girls, whether doing so concurrently while being an active member of the group or graduated from the group and on their own.
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