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  #441  
Old 28th August 2019, 12:09 PM
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Well, it's a matter of taste, right? They wouldn't be touring domes if all their songs were bad.
That's a logic that does not apply to japanese idols by any means. SMAP did only bad songs with the worst vocals ever. The production quality of AKB48 is also horrible. The appeal lies soley within the idols themselves - they could sell trash if they wanted to.

edit: I'm listening to AKB48, but at least I know it's all bad. It's a guilty pleasure. But people who say EXILE/AKB songs are good must be tone deaf. EXILE is cirngy as hell most off the time too.

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  #442  
Old 28th August 2019, 12:16 PM
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Lol, what?
The bashing of other artists and idols in here is really bad.
Nobody of you can possibly know why somebody is popular or why somebody listens to an artist. I don't like idols much, I mostly don't even know their individual names, but they do have some great songs here and there with great production value.
You can also say the same vice versa - people just listening to other artists, cause they love the artist, not the music.
It is all about taste.
The most popular female idol group right now is Nogizaka46 actually, especially popular with the female youth, and they do touch some deeper themes with their lyrics.
You can find the results of regular surveys what's popular with the youth on Baidu e.g.

I agree with you guys that trends are cyclic and it's going to change again on a broader scale in some time, but just because you don't like what's popular right now doesn't mean it's bad.
And Kenshi Yonezu is absolutely huge right now over there, everything he touches turns into gold.
( I do think personally he's boring as well, just like Aimyon, but it's simply not my taste, just like Ed Sheeran and Billie Eilish here in the West - which are imo very similar artists. I'd agree that cultural "regression", for the lack of a better word, is actually visible worldwide, not only in Japan).
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  #443  
Old 28th August 2019, 05:19 PM
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^ It certainly doesn’t mean it’s good either. JPOP is predominately trashy. Most of them are just making very generic pop music. In Japan selling music like crazy doesn’t mean you’ve produced something that’s actually good. Heck you don’t even have to know how to sing properly...


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Well, it's a matter of taste, right? They wouldn't be touring domes if all their songs were bad.
Yeah I was talking from my own perspective. The way the EXILE songs sound is too cringe worthy for me. The way they sing, the awful RnB-ish tunes with notions of folk remind me of Balkan turbo folk which I despise.
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  #444  
Old 28th August 2019, 07:05 PM
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I disagree about the quality of the sound. It's not my taste, but it's average at least. I think all these artists release a very safe sound, that it's competent, but sometimes generic. But it doesn't imply it's badly done, it's just formulaic and made by standards.
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  #445  
Old 28th August 2019, 07:50 PM
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^Pretty much this. I prefer my popstars to sound a little less safe.
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  #446  
Old 28th August 2019, 11:06 PM
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yeah, it's more the formula behind it that makes most songs flat.
All publications about idols talk about poor vocal qualities and a mostly throw-away sounds. It has nothing to do with bashing an artist and I personally don't have to, I just don't listen to it.
But it is oblivious to say that the most of what these big idol-acts do is quality music, you just have to be aware of that. Groups like SMAP and AKB48 are even marketed that way. Their rather limited abilities should ease the connection and make them "relatable". It's not about the music, as I said, it's about the humans who perform it and it is all very different from someone who makes and produces his own visions like Ayumi for example, who also is an idol at the end of the day.
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  #447  
Old 28th August 2019, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by thinkingoutloud89 View Post
That's a logic that does not apply to japanese idols by any means. SMAP did only bad songs with the worst vocals ever. The production quality of AKB48 is also horrible. The appeal lies soley within the idols themselves - they could sell trash if they wanted to.

edit: I'm listening to AKB48, but at least I know it's all bad. It's a guilty pleasure. But people who say EXILE/AKB songs are good must be tone deaf. EXILE is cirngy as hell most off the time too.
EXILE is not an idol group, it's a boy band meets dance group. It has 2 main vocalists, sometimes they add 2 more from EXILE THE SECOND, but the rest are dancers. Takahiro is not a very good singer (mostly because they make him sing way too high for him, so you can tell it's hard for him), but Atsushi is exceptional, he sings like on CD, huge talent. People from all over the world work for LDH, their production is very HQ. I don't enjoy many songs EXILE make, but there are a lot of I like and I'm not ashamed to list them, because they do sound great: Rising Sun, I Wish For You, BOW & ARROWS, EXILE PRIDE -こんな世界を愛するため-, No Limit, NEW HORIZON, AMAZING WORLD, Heads or Tails. I prefer their upbeat, dance songs.
It's not correct to compare them to AKB48, who has tons of singing girls who can be easily replaced. I do agree that the looks are very important and LDH uses some "idol tricks" to make money - like making the singers star in movies and TV shows.
Anyway LDH treats people they audition for new bands very seriously, they train them for a very long time. If you sound live like Ayu, you won't make the cut.

Last edited by Chris85; 28th August 2019 at 11:53 PM.
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  #448  
Old 29th August 2019, 12:01 AM
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^They don't care about exile or akb48, they just hatin' cause they sell more than whatever ayu is doing. (BTW by they I mean people who hate when other artists that do better than ayumi) there are plently of examples outthere of this happening since ayumi's diminish.

At the end of the day ayumi is not doin' anything superior than the other POP ARISTS are doin' specially when it's crystal clear they are puttin' a lot of work on their videos, singles, promotions, concerts etc etc.
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  #449  
Old 29th August 2019, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by thinkingoutloud89 View Post
yeah, it's more the formula behind it that makes most songs flat.
All publications about idols talk about poor vocal qualities and a mostly throw-away sounds. It has nothing to do with bashing an artist and I personally don't have to, I just don't listen to it.
But it is oblivious to say that the most of what these big idol-acts do is quality music, you just have to be aware of that. Groups like SMAP and AKB48 are even marketed that way. Their rather limited abilities should ease the connection and make them "relatable". It's not about the music, as I said, it's about the humans who perform it and it is all very different from someone who makes and produces his own visions like Ayumi for example, who also is an idol at the end of the day.
I do have a problem that you throw all idols together, cause there are different idols and groups out there who make different music (edgier groups like Keyakizaka46, avex' BiSH or even Babymetal come to my mind, who have greatly produced music and are successful, the LDH groups like EXILE and Co., too and also Perfume). Some even use the same producers as the popular K-Pop acts that were mentioned (Namie Amuro e.g. as well and she is often considered more of an Idol btw. in Japan when I read articles and comments). So no, I strongly disagree, it's not about poor quality. The idol industry is not one-dimensional and is changing as well with trends in sounds. You just don't know cause as you said you don't even listen or know. Other points like a certain image are just as important, that's true.
The idol industry does have other severe problems though.
And it's all about relation for pretty much every artist - didn`t Ayu became big because people could relate so much to her as the girl next door and her lyrics?
And about the vocals in general - a lot of people in Japan like high-pitched female voices, it is seen as beautiful, young and cute, for women. Which is why even Ayu sang higher in her earlier career than she actually really could, same for a bunch of idols. Heck, there are a lot of women talking higher because of that.
The big difference between artists and idols probably is that idols are made by others, following stricter rules of what to put out and how to be, and artists shape themselves. Though the lines can be blurred.
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Last edited by Corvina; 29th August 2019 at 07:25 AM.
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  #450  
Old 29th August 2019, 06:19 AM
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Through all this discussion not one person brought up Wednesday Campanella’s music and their front singer, and I’m shook.
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  #451  
Old 29th August 2019, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Corvina View Post
I do have a problem that you throw all idols together, cause there are different idols and groups out there who make different music (edgier groups like Keyakizaka46, avex' BiSH or even Babymetal come to my mind, who have greatly produced music and are successful, the LDH groups like EXILE and Co., too and also Perfume). Some even use the same producers as the popular K-Pop acts that were mentioned (Namie Amuro e.g. as well and she is often considered more of an Idol btw. in Japan when I read articles and comments). So no, I strongly disagree, it's not about poor quality. The idol industry is not one-dimensional and is changing as well with trends in sounds. You just don't know cause as you said you don't even listen or know. Other points like a certain image are just as important, that's true.
The idol industry does have other severe problems though.
And it's all about relation for pretty much every artist - didn`t Ayu became big because people could relate so much to her as the girl next door and her lyrics?
And about the vocals in general - a lot of people in Japan like high-pitched female voices, it is seen as beautiful, young and cute, for women. Which is why even Ayu sang higher in her earlier career than she actually really could, same for a bunch of idols. Heck, there are a lot of women talking higher because of that.
The big difference between artists and idols probably is that idols are made by others, following stricter rules of what to put out and how to be, and artists shape themselves. Though the lines can be blurred.
This is actually all very true. My issue with idol groups is that I like seeing the artist personality through their releases, even if it's a calculated one, and usually idols (as their western equivalents) don't put big personalities in their work as a way for the listener to project themselves on what they are listening (what is also true to popstars that aren't idols, just to a lesser extent).

And this doesn't really have much to do with the production values of whatever they are releasing... TBH it's actually more usual for a non-idol to release rought in the edge stuff as a way to convey a certain feeling or effect. It's very unliked for an idol group ou soloist, even those who actually pretty much has enough power to control their own career like Namie, to release a track with an abrupt end, like Hikki's Take 5 or to go political to an extent that may alienate their fanbase like Ayu did sometimes.

In the end, it's a lot more about personal preferences than it is about quality.
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  #452  
Old 29th August 2019, 11:54 AM
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^ It certainly doesn’t mean it’s good either. JPOP is predominately trashy. Most of them are just making very generic pop music.
Idk today’s music in America is also pretty trashy (Cardi B ). It can be torturous to listen to.

Besides that, other music tends to follow a formulaic approach that’s very similar to each other. Nothing can really be deemed innovative.
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  #453  
Old 29th August 2019, 12:35 PM
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Idk today’s music in America is also pretty trashy (Cardi B ). It can be torturous to listen to.
Agree. Not to talk about reagetton trending all over the Latin market with all their trashy, human denigrating lyrics. I’d rather akbk62838 whatever or those Johnny groups to be popular here instead lol

Just to stay on topic, actually quite intrigued on what the next chapter of the tour has to offer
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  #454  
Old 29th August 2019, 01:04 PM
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Idk today’s music in America is also pretty trashy (Cardi B ). It can be torturous to listen to.

Besides that, other music tends to follow a formulaic approach that’s very similar to each other. Nothing can really be deemed innovative.
I completely agree. I don't understand how people can stand Nicki Minaj and Cardi B to be honest xD They make my ears bleed.
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  #455  
Old 29th August 2019, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by thinkingoutloud89 View Post
That's a logic that does not apply to japanese idols by any means. SMAP did only bad songs with the worst vocals ever. The production quality of AKB48 is also horrible. The appeal lies soley within the idols themselves - they could sell trash if they wanted to.
Well, that really is a matter of opinion though. SMAP actually has some very nice songs, especially from the 90s and only Nakai had a laughably bad voice (and he knew it). The rest were average with Kimutaku being above average. Early morning musume had some very, very nice songs as well (it helps that their producer was primarily a musician before all else), they also had personality to spare. They had personality in their looks, their voices, and many of them were genuinely funny. Go even further back to the 80s and idols like Akina Nakamori, Seiko Matsuda, and then further back to the 70s, Yamaguchi Momoe; all excellent with great song writing and voices and they were idols.

I agree, in general, about most idol groups today though. Bland, generic, no personality or creativity imo. Japan DID have a history though of very nice music from idol groups. That's why today is pretty frustrating.

If anyone ever has the opportunity to go back and watch old Music Station Super Lives, I highly recommend it. I've seen a few from the early and mid-90s and the crowds are like night and day compared to today. They felt more "free", if that's the right word. You can literally see the entire crowd head banging (yeah, actually head banging) to groups like Luna Sea and X-Japan, even B'z, and then next have tears in their eyes for a moving ballad by an idol. Compared to watching those shows today, it's like you can literally see Japan regressing back inside itself and shutting off emotionally it feels like. That was also generally my experience living in Japan as well - people in the 40-60 age bracket were actually generally more outgoing, spoke their minds and seemed to have an interest in all things western dating back to the time they were children, compared to most young people these days where it would be like pulling teeth to get them to express their actual thoughts and feelings. That's why I'm not so sure that the "cycle" this time is going to come back around. It's all generalizations, I know, and I can only speak from my own experience.

This is why Ayu is one of the few artists that endures for me; she still has that connection to music and live performance that seems to be lacking these days.

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Originally Posted by thinkingoutloud89 View Post
It's not about the music, as I said, it's about the humans who perform it and it is all very different from someone who makes and produces his own visions like Ayumi for example, who also is an idol at the end of the day.
So gotta disagree here. Ayumi does not fall into the category of idol. She did back before her Avex career though. Ayu was always referred to as an artist, not an idol post-Avex. Writing your own music, lyrics etc. means you are not an idol usually in Japan. By the western definition of idol, yes, she's an idol.

Last edited by SunshineSlayer; 29th August 2019 at 11:04 PM.
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  #456  
Old 30th August 2019, 03:54 AM
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Well, that really is a matter of opinion though. SMAP actually has some very nice songs, especially from the 90s and only Nakai had a laughably bad voice (and he knew it). The rest were average with Kimutaku being above average. Early morning musume had some very, very nice songs as well (it helps that their producer was primarily a musician before all else), they also had personality to spare. They had personality in their looks, their voices, and many of them were genuinely funny. Go even further back to the 80s and idols like Akina Nakamori, Seiko Matsuda, and then further back to the 70s, Yamaguchi Momoe; all excellent with great song writing and voices and they were idols.

I agree, in general, about most idol groups today though. Bland, generic, no personality or creativity imo. Japan DID have a history though of very nice music from idol groups. That's why today is pretty frustrating.

If anyone ever has the opportunity to go back and watch old Music Station Super Lives, I highly recommend it. I've seen a few from the early and mid-90s and the crowds are like night and day compared to today. They felt more "free", if that's the right word. You can literally see the entire crowd head banging (yeah, actually head banging) to groups like Luna Sea and X-Japan, even B'z, and then next have tears in their eyes for a moving ballad by an idol. Compared to watching those shows today, it's like you can literally see Japan regressing back inside itself and shutting off emotionally it feels like. That was also generally my experience living in Japan as well - people in the 40-60 age bracket were actually generally more outgoing, spoke their minds and seemed to have an interest in all things western dating back to the time they were children, compared to most young people these days where it would be like pulling teeth to get them to express their actual thoughts and feelings. That's why I'm not so sure that the "cycle" this time is going to come back around. It's all generalizations, I know, and I can only speak from my own experience.
I didn't know the audiences were more lively back them! I though it was all the "this is a spetacle so let's be quiet for the performer and audience" thing. Ayu being able to pump up her public on a level I just see anisong performers do in Japan is something that makes me love her lives.
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  #457  
Old 30th August 2019, 01:28 PM
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IMO music these days in general is repetitive, bland and lacking any deeper meaning/emotion.
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  #458  
Old 30th August 2019, 04:31 PM
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IMO music these days in general is repetitive, bland and lacking any deeper meaning/emotion.
It could also be that we’ve grown old and now everything new sounds shitty and we can’t appreciate it because it was meant for the younger generations to consume xD
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  #459  
Old 30th August 2019, 05:18 PM
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^ There is always the risk of that, haha. Though I've found new stuff to enjoy from other countries, so I'm not sure how big of a role that is actually playing.

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I didn't know the audiences were more lively back them! I though it was all the "this is a spectacle so let's be quiet for the performer and audience" thing. Ayu being able to pump up her public on a level I just see anisong performers do in Japan is something that makes me love her lives.
In general Japanese audiences are indeed more respectful and subdued, but they also did just seem to get into it and express themselves more early on.

I wasn't able to find that X-Japan performance on Youtube, so I went ahead and uploaded it myself. Not the best quality, but you get the picture. This is from the 1993 Music Station Super Live. I think the super lives are the best example because the audience is made up of fans of all the performing artists. X did get the biggest response of the night. Two things: You just don't see performances like this anymore imo and you don't see audience reactions like this. Really interesting to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC29k9QkKhs

Last edited by SunshineSlayer; 30th August 2019 at 05:24 PM.
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  #460  
Old 30th August 2019, 05:32 PM
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Thank you for uploading, it's indeed pretty interesting for Japanese audiences! Though Idk how much that is only because of X Japan's status in Japan.
Though I'd be a bit careful with generalizing like that in general, cause do you listen and attend so many lives from different peformers that you know how the audiences react?
In general concerts of artists have more fans and are livelier from my experience. E.g. Kuu and Black Pink concerts in Japans always have pretty wild reactions.
Though some are also very dead from what I've seen (like Daoko's tour...)
Not to forget the music market is much more segmented now which is also why reaching such a big status and popularity like X Japan is harder nowadays. Music Station and other music shows e.g. have dwindling ratings, Music Station was just pushed back an hour and it is the only prime time music show remaining.
And about your experience with regression of people expressing themselves in Japan - hm, I was living in Kansai for about a year in 2017 and my experience is a bit different, but Kansai people are usually a bit different anyway and it might not have been long enough.
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