Ms.OOJA – Who Are You

Ms.OOJA’s beautiful voice came to my attention earlier this year, when Deezer Flow (which I find superior to Spotify’s own algorithm) recommended “Who Are You” to me. I’ve found many underrated gems this way. She’s also done covers of classic city-pop songs such as Midnight Pretenders and Plastic Love, but I believe her original songs make the power in her voice truly shine.

Ms.OOJA, whose real name is not publicised, is known as a “Late Blooming Diva” in Japan, making her singing debut at the age of 28. She recently had her 40th birthday debut on the 26th of September.

The funny part is I never sought out the MV for this song until earlier this month, but I had a mental image of what it would look like. And the dance is nearly spot-on!

Kanji, romaji, and an English translation follow beneath the cut, as usual.

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Dorian – summer rich feat. 一十三十一

I first encountered Dorian’s body of work through a bootleg remix by tabakpons on Soundcloud that encorporated “like a wave” as the backing track to a different J-Pop song. Since then, I’ve been enamoured with his brand of nu disco and downtempo electronic music.

It’s difficult to find information on Dorian himself due to how common his stage name is, but it’s easier to find the tracks from his “Studio Vacation EP”. “summer rich” has a beautifully done music video with chaotic moments from Dorian himself, that has cemented it as a song I revisit every time I need a quick pick-me-up.

Just as difficult as finding information on Dorian is finding lyrics to the songs he produces. It’s for this reason that I wanted to make this post – a user named にゃんこ posted these lyrics into the comment section of the above video, but I wanted to romanise it to make it easier for non-Japanese speakers to sing along to a song that makes you want to take a cruise.

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荒川宗一郎 – ESCAPE

I originally posted this to a few private servers belonging to friends, but figured it was too good not to share to this blog.

I found Sou Arakawa’s music as a recommendation on Deezer, my music streaming service of choice.
I could have sworn this was a song from the 80s because of the city pop feel. Sou Arakawa is a very underrated singer-songwriter, in my opinion. Searching for him using his romanised name doesn’t yield that many results either, which is really sad. You’ll have more luck with 荒川宗一郎 — if you base it only on Spotify/Deezer his activity seems to stop at 2016 but he is still making music!

The lyrics for ESCAPE in particular are very beautiful. Lyrics follow under the cut!

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Makoto feat. Angela Johnson – Keep Me Down

With WordPress changing the interface for making posts, it took me a while to figure out how to embed YouTube videos. I’ve loved this song since Makoto first released it, but I couldn’t figure out the lyrics very well. Listening to a live rendition by Deeizm did help fill in the gaps, so I finally present to you a close-to-accurate (will verify once I own a physical copy of Souled Out) version of the lyrics (just because I can’t be 100% sure.)

Lyrics follow under the cut!

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Towa Tei feat. Lina Ohta – A.O.R.

No fancy primer this time. I love Towa Tei’s music and while there are many Japanese lyric sites that do have the lyrics to this song, the way that the Russian parts are parsed are… not to my liking. If I did not dabble in some Russian back in the day, it would have been nearly impossible for me to transcribe. Below the cut, you can find the lyrics in both Cyrillic and romanised forms:

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Makoto – Sending Back Your Love (feat. Pete Simpson)

Even if I don’t post enough about it here, I love drum ‘n bass and liquid funk way too much. I’m especially partial to artists I’ve been a fan of Makoto for a couple of years; Souled Out was the first album of his that I listened to, though I also enjoyed his other releases such as Believe In My Soul and Producer 08 (and who can forget the classics “Golden Girl” and “Wave”?) Ever since his collaboration album with A-Sides, I was anticipating another solo album of his.

I was only able to listen to Salvation as recently as last week, even if I knew about the album for a few months now, largely because I was too engrossed with listening to 80’s Japanese pop and older drum and bass. Makoto does not fail to deliver; there are many good songs in this album. While I still consider “Winds of Change” as the best song from “Salvation” (it’s like going on a musical journey, just listen to it), I prefer the lyrics of “Sending Back Your Love”. It’s also easier to listen to if you need a quick perk-up.

Lyrics follow under the cut, as usual!
(EDIT 2021.02.19: I’ve edited the lyrics; these should reflect the album version now.)

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NONA REEVES – Sweet Survivor

Though I enjoy the music of NONA REEVES (including “Love Together” and their cover of “Doyoubi no Koibito”, of course,) this is the first time I’ve been very hooked on a particular song of theirs.

As I type this, their album 「MISSION」has not been released yet, but two singles from the release, “Sweet Survivor” and “O-V-E-R-H-E-A-T” are available for digital download on the Japanese iTunes store. As I said on a comment in the short version of the PV, if “Sweet Survivor” is an indication of the sound and quality of the rest of the album, this may become my favourite NONA REEVES release.

As usual, lyrics follow under the cut! There may be more errors than usual because I have no other sources to verify my transcription. I would appreciate any corrections.

EDIT: Linked to the full version of the MV + made a few corrections for the lyrics.

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If there are two genres I have an enduring love of, they’re jazz and disco (drum and bass is tied with disco, in this regard.) Or anything that is influenced by the two. No wonder I was in a Jamiroquai loop up to last week. Suchmos came up on my YouTube recommended videos list, and I knew that I had to check their music out. The first song from the group that I listened to was STAY TUNE, and then I came across PINKVIBES.

Needless to say, I’m hooked.

While I did notice that a lot of Suchmos’ lyrics have Gratitious Engrish of standard J-pop fare, they do not distract me too much from my appreciation of the melody and the rest of the composition. (The way he pronounces “deny” bothers me a bit, but it’s understandable.) I mean, we’re not talking about Tatsurou Yamashita here (who my mother consistently mistakes for an American singer on his English covers.) If you want to see the lyrics for this song, they’re under the cut!

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