Sorry for the late update, but here's the promised big rotation!track 01: ZE- UnicornLanguage
This is the second time I've put up ZE, and I still haven't found out anything about them. My proficiency in the inability to read/speak/write Korean astounds even me. I imagine Unicorn
being played at those high school prom thingies, and the single song even those goth kids might want to dance to. (Unless there's Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance) Images of couples come to mind whenever I hear this, getting out to the dance floor, dancing cheek to cheek (How Fred Astaire). If you're into slow rock ballads, this one's quite good.
And hey, if anyone can give me information on ZE, like the names of the band members, etc. etc., you can request a song or two. ^^ Download: hereBuy:
Sorry, Annyoung.com doesn't seem to stock it.track 02: ART-SCHOOL- Butterfly KissLanguage
Okay, this is like the nth time that I've put ART-SCHOOL up. But hey, it's good for you. Butterfly Kiss
holds a special place in my ART-SCHOOL collection, as it was what got me hooked on ART-SCHOOL in the first place. Don't be fooled by the name; this is one of those songs that'll look great in your alternative Jrock mp3 collection beside your Quruli and Suneo Hair. Unlike many ART-SCHOOL songs, this actually sounds different from the usual headbanging angstangstangst that the band's better known for. It starts out light, then Riki Kinoshita starts singing, and the singing's unlike Fiona Apple Girl or Winona Ryder Android: he doesn't rock out and scream his pain; he tames his raw vocals into something more polished. This is a good thing. I especially love it when he sings out "Tonight, tonight." Download: here Buy: Boys Don't Crytrack 03: Epik High- Swan SongLanguage
If there's one reason to love Epik High, it's because of Tablo. Since he lived in the States for a while and studied at
Stanford (!), Epik High has some of the most grammatically-correct and properly-uttered English lyrics ever written in Korea. And of course, they come up with catchy songs.Swan Song
is yet another slow R&B/rap song from Epik High. Nothing groundbreaking, but worth it if you're an Epik High fan.Download: here
|| OfficialBuy: Swan Songstrack 04: Ellegarden- Funny BunnyLanguage
ELLEGARDEN is a quartet with Takeshi Hosomi on vocals, Shinichi Ubukata on guitar, Yuichi Takada on bass, and Hirotaka Takahashi on drums. They were formed in Chiba, in 1998. They released their first album, ELLEGARDEN, in 2001.
Song sound familiar? If you're a Pillows fan, then you're right. While I enjoy ELLEGARDEN's Japanese work, I tend to stay away from their English songs, since they tend to sound like the Western counterparts they're trying to imitate. This song, taken from the 2004 Pillows tribute, is an updated, rockier version of the original. I prefer the Pillows' version better, which for me had more oomph, but ELLEGARDEN's attempt isn't bad either. Download: here
|| Info OfficialBuy: Synchronized Rockerstrack 05: Eun Ji Won- Night OwlLanguage
Eun Ji Won used to rap for the group Sechskies, but went solo in 2001 when they disbanded. He also pursued an acting career on the side, starring in the movie High School Girl Gets Married
, which I enjoyed immensely. Night Owl
is a fun rap song made for parties, with a beat that reminds me of both Usher and Nelly. Download: hereBuy: Vol 4: The Second Roundtrack 06: TAKE- Butterfly GraveLanguage
TAKE is a quartet made up of leader, rapper and subvocalist Kim Dowan, rapper Nathan Lee Seung-hyun, lead vocalist Shin Seung-hee, and lead vocalist Jang Sung-jae. For reasons that I cannot translate, the fifth member, Lee Min-hyuk, left TAKE and pursued an acting career, starring as Song Seung Hoon's friend in the hit Korean movie, He Was Cool.
Honestly, I'm not very big on ballads, but I was hooked on Butterfly Grave
from the first listen. They actually sound like a boy group put together not because of their good looks (or not just because of their good looks
), but because they can really sing. I like how their voices blend, high and low mixing together perfectly to make this swoony, bittersweet love song. And while TAKE does have rappers, this is a no-nonsense ballad. No rapping. Download.Download: hereBuy: To Girls (Single)track 07: Drunken Tiger- Return of the Tiger (Basement Mix)Language
It can be said that Drunken Tiger is one of the foundations of Korean rap/hiphop. In 1992, when Tiger JK was 18, Ice Cube released a song called Black Korea, which was about a Korean storekeeper shooting a 15 year-old black girl. In the song, Ice Cube called Koreans 'Oriental one-penny counting motherfuckers'. JK felt it his responsibility to break the stereotype.
While attending hiphop shows in South Central LA, JK met up with DJ Shine, and Drunken Tiger was established in 1997. They debuted in 1999 with Return of the Tiger
, which is a reference to JK's unsuccessful solo debut years earlier. Their earlier music videos were banned from television and certain restrictions put on them, but Drunken Tiger has persevered... I'm not exactly sure, though, but I think DJ Shine left? Correct me if I'm wrong.
How does this differ from the original? It has an additional minute and a half or so of DJ Shine and Tiger JK talking, so if you're able to understand Korean, then great. The beat's also slower. Download: here
|| Official USBuy:track 08: DJ Jinu- Flower Frog Lament (Remix)Language
Trance and electronica fascinate me. And I'm a big-ish fan of the Eastronika compilations, which is a compilation of electronica from both Korea and Japan.Flower Frog Lament
is a pretty strange piece, starting with someone who sounds like Ned Gerblansky from South Park (the guy with the voicebox), then random people making random noises, doowop style. It's so bloody catchy that you must give it a listen. It sounds like stuff I'd play at art exhibits, or during casual parties. Download: here
|| OfficialBuy: Eastronika Episode 1track 09: Rene Liu- Hou Niao (Migratory Bird)Language
Apart from being an accomplished singer, Rene Liu is also an actress, and has starred in three popular HK movies: 20, 30, 40 (which I've been meaning to watch for quite some time now), Double Vision (with Tony Leung), and A World Without Thieves (with the still-snoggable Andy Lau). To date, I have seen none of her movies.
This song can be found on the OST (which Mayday composed. How I heart them.) for the Taiwanese movie Hou Niao
, or Migratory Bird, which Rene Liu starred in. Mayday also did a version of Hou Niao with Glay, and whose version I like depends on the mood I'm in, because I like both. A LOT. Mayday's rendition seems sharper, and of course, has Ashin's passionate wildman vocals. Mayday's is definitely rockier, while Rene's is more mellow. It's nice to hear the contrast between the heavy instruments and Rene's soft voice. Download: here
|| OfficialBuy: Migratory Bird OSTtrack 10: hide- Pink SpiderLanguage
hide, or Hideto Matsumoto, was known as Gibson in primary school, because he almost always carried his first guitar (a Gibson) around, playing KISS songs, which he would later say influenced his songs. He is also a certified beautician, having attended cosmetology and fashion school. He was also a blood and bone marrow donor, and involved in various medical aid foundations.
This version of Pink Spider
(the last single he released before he died) is live, but I don't know what concert it's from. It's classic hide, so if you're new to Jrock or want to get into it, this is a good start. Download: hereBuy: Ja Zootrack 11: Teriyaki Boyz- Beef or ChickenLanguage
Teriyaki Boyz is a collaborative effort (side project?) from some of the most talented rappers in the J-music scene. Members are Verbal from m-flo, Ilmari and Ryo-Z from Rip Slyme, Wise from Apesounds, and Nigo, founder of Apesounds and a global fashion icon and fashion designer for Bathing Ape. Their Beastie Boys-produced debut, Beef or Chicken, also features rapper Pharell from rap duo N.E.R.D.Beef or Chicken
is a catchy rap song, with the very-m-flo-style inserting random English phrases into Japanese lyrics. Towards the end, the members start ordering food. Bet you can't guess what they want. Download: here
|| Official 2Buy: Beef or Chickentrack 12: ART-SCHOOL- Forget the SwanLanguage
This must be the second or third time I'm professing my love for ART-SCHOOL. Off their newest album, Paradise Lost (is Riki-kun channeling Milton these days?), Forget the Swan
is another raw, headbanging song from the group. Although most ART-SCHOOL songs seem to sound alike these days. I wonder if they'll try experimenting with electronica anytime soon? Download: here
|| OfficialBuy: PARADISE LOSTtrack 13: Clazziquai- Cat BossaLanguage
Clazziquai's so popular these days, so I decided to rotate a few of their lesser-known songs. Cat Bossa
is a soft, languid bossa nova piece done with Christine (or Horan? Correct me if I'm wrong) on vocals. The lyrics are odd, "Gently brushing myself/Get up and pet me/Get up and feed me with healthy food"
. It's an amusing little ditty that I imagine to be used in commercials that show picture-perfect housewives in their spotless houses. Download: here
|| OfficialBuy: Vol. 1: Instant Pigtrack 14: Atsushi Sakurai- Yellow PigLanguage
Atsushi Sakurai, while better known for his vocal work with his 20something year-old band BUCK-TICK, isn't bad solo. Which is why he has earned the right to have a picture of himself tacked up on my closet with him grabbing his crotch.
If Hell had an orchestra and a choir plus a few DJs and turntables, and they all got together to do a song, the result would be Yellow Pig
. It sounds like some very restrained Japanese death metal. Or something Hades would probably keep on full blast in the underworld. Or something those pyramid slavedrivers blasted from their Egyptian boomboxes. ... Yeah. Download: hereBuy: Ai no Wakuseitrack 15: Hitomi Shimatani- PapillionLanguage
Like Jessica Simpson
borrowed the beat from John Cougar Mellencamp's classic Jack and Diane
, Hitomi Shimatani does the same with Janet Jackson's popular Doesn't Really Matter
, even singing the 'baby baby' lines in the original.
I actually like this song very much. It doesn't stray from the original much, save for the lyrics, which are, of course, in Japanese, and different. It's catchy, it's danceable. But best of all, it's recommended. Papillion means 'butterfly' in French, so it fits in the theme! ^__^Download: hereBuy: Delicious! The Best of Hitomi Shimatanitrack 16: Mr. Children- Strange ChameleonLanguage
Like The Pillows, Mr. Children is a Japanese music institution, having been around for almost as long as the former. Vocal work comes from Kazutoshi Sakurai, who also does guitar duty, Suzuki Hideya does drums, Nakagawa Keisuke, bass, and Tahara Kenichi, guitar. Fans of The Pillows tend to like Mr. Children because their style, feel, and sound are similar.Strange Chameleon
is a six-minute rock spectacle, flaunting Sakurai's rockstar abilities. I actually like the cover better than the original.Download: here
|| Official InfoBuy: Synchronized Rockerstrack 17: Park Ki Young- ButterflyLanguage
This took a long time to find. It was requested on Pops in Seoul, and while I tried requesting for it on other Kpop music comms/sites, I didn't get any results. So when I finally found it, I played it to death.
While I probably say this of most my songs, I love Butterfly
. It starts off with PKY's soft voice and acoustic guitar, then it builds up to the chorus, and then just explodes into an amazing pop-rock song. PKY's vocals are just mind-blowing, she can hit 'em high, she can hit 'em low. (I will never say that ever
again.) Her voice here reminds me of Ayako Nakanomori's of NAKANOMORI BAND (whose poprockness I also heart). Must-download! You really should. *goes off to look for more PKY*Download: hereBuy: Vol. 5: Be Natural
Feel free to check out previous rotations as well; I'm sure they're still active. If the link to the song you want is dead, just comment and I'll do my best to reup it for you as soon as possible. ^^VOTE FOR THE NEXT THEME!
(1) Oh, the things that you say...
(2) Come Sail Away
(3) Super Colorful!
(4) Girls, Girls, Girls
Okay, so I took the names from songs. :P Cast your votes before JANUARY 26, 2006
. If you're going to comment anyway, might as well vote, right? P.S. Does anyone watch Paradise Kiss? I am SO hooked on it. I heart the opening theme, I heart the ending theme. I also heart fansubs! I wish they'd release #5 soon. P.P.S. Who watches House? I just finished watching the first season and I still can't believe this is on Fox.