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Headline

The Voice of Tokyo for over 50 Years

JAPAN’S NO.1 ENGLISH LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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Image by Anna Petek

Top New Songs from Japan: October 2022

By Kim Kahan

It’s that time of the month again for another best songs from Japan list. Time has flown since the last round-up. Maybe you were too busy planning a Halloween costume to stay abreast of new songs. Or possibly heading outside to make the most of the mild weather. Whatever the reason, Tokyo Weekender has your back.

Whether discovering a new artist, new genre, maybe even rediscovering an old favorite. we have rounded up the best new Japanese songs you may have missed from October.

We have beautiful balladry from Roth Bart Baron and Kaho Nakamura, addictive hi-NRG dance from Aisho Nakajima and sultry R’n’B from Shetonayui. And that’s not all.

 

Roth Bart Baron ft. Kaho Nakamura — “Howl at the Moon”

Roth Bart Baron is currently the solo project of singer-songwriter Masaya Mifune. He’s usually joined onstage by a revolving set of band members, often reaching 10 musicians at once.

Taken from Roth Bart Baron’s forthcoming album, Howl, “Howl at the Moon,” features voice actor and singer Kaho Nakamura on lead vocals. Like many of Mifune’s compositions, the song is an emotional trip into a highly-strung, elegant world.

Nakamura’s impressive vocal range glows across the track, from a hoarse murmur to an emotional wail. Sometimes, when a guest musician is invited into the fold, it can be hard to see what they add to the piece, yet Nakamura’s place is clear. She lifts the song to new levels, singing both solo and in harmony with Mifune. The result is a haunting double-vocal track, expertly encapsulating the title, “Howl at the Moon.”

 

Aisho Nakajima and Yohji Igarashi — “Luna”

Aisho Nakajima and Yohji Igarashi release their collaboration in the form of Nakajima’s ‘alter-ego,’ the badass “Luna.” It’s arguably his most accomplished song to date. The rolling bass and poppy vocals hint at a male artist ready to match female pop queens. Catchy EDM-esque beats and darks bass prowling across the track bring to mind the energy of early Lady Gaga or Ariana Grande.

“Luna” is peppered with numerous allusions to current pop and Gen Z culture including a homage to the teen comedy Bring it On: All or Nothing. A lyrical highlight is the sassy line, “All these straight people make me wanna act more gay.” The pace of the lyrics mimics the beat, speeding up or slowing down in accordance with the bass, a marvelous touch.

In under three minutes, Nakajima puts out a characteristically short song, yet we’re already addicted to the Luna character.

 

Peterparker69 — “Fallpoi”

The cloud-rap inspired “Fallpoi,” is Peterparker69’s first outing after the mayhem of “Flight to Mumbai.” No, we don’t know what ‘fallpoi’ means either, but the song is a melancholy trip through splattering pads and distorted vocals.

To call “Fallpoi” reminiscent of one-hit-wonder Owl City’s one hit “Fireflies” would be doing it somewhat of an injustice. But, with simplistic chord progression and Microsoft-starting bubble tones, the comparison is hard to resist.

Unlike the Owl City track, this one from the internet troll music duo is more complex. Padded textures with distorted cloud rap save “Fallpoi” from becoming “Firefly”-esque annoying. The genre may be simply a phase, yet if it withholds or if the duo can keep accumulating that experience by sustaining their output, the future is promising.

 

Shetonayui — “Image”

Jazz-R’n’B crossover singer and multi-instrumentalist, Shentonayui, released her fifth single “Image,” last month. It’s her first since “With” eight months ago. If the earlier track puts slick hi-hats at the forefront, “Image” is all about smooth chords with Shetonayui’s sultry voice on top.

A hint of swing and sweet piano licks glide across the song. It climaxes into a big band finish. This includes trumpets and a saxophone leading the singer into a red lipstick-wearing circus.

 

Week Dudus — “Super Player”

With lyrics that include the words “kill, kill, killing,” one could be forgiven for thinking “Super Player” is about gangsta culture and another young rapper attempting to big himself up. Yet, finding out that the new track from Week Dudus is actually about being a die-hard gamer makes it that much more likeable.

Week Dudus shows off his impressive flow across the track, rapping over a ’90s hip-hop inspired beat. In comparison to September’s “Yume no Naka,” which rode on the back of the hyper-rap popularized by the likes of Tohji, “Super Player” is a track with cross-generational appeal. A bass-heavy beat for ’90s kids and just enough distortion to get into the head of those from the noughties.

We’re very much enjoying this direction from Week Dudus and will be holding out for more like this.

 

Yoyou — “Tutumu”

Yoyou’s new release “Tutumu” shows the singer at her most vulnerable. She whispers slowly through the song, half-singing, half-ASMR, like a cross between Aphex Twin and The xx. Her voice, with minimal post-editing, is raw and sensual at times, alternating between slow singing and semi-spitting bars.

This variety makes “Tutumu” one of those songs that gets better with each listen.

Bonus Song:

Bed — “Michael Mann”

Bed, our new favorite band who bring the light back into the tried and tested world of rock music, released its latest single, “Michael Mann” last month.

Named after the director of classics such as Heat, one hopes that he’ll be able to listen to the track one day. According to the band, “Michael Mann” is best suited to a “scene from Miami Vice.”

Check out the best new albums from Japan released in October.

 


If you’re a Japan-based musician and are interested in featuring here, please send any forthcoming releases over to editor[at]tokyoweekender[dot]com and include the subject line: “FAO Music Editor.”

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