This long song is all spacious live drums and nice deep buzzing basslines. Female vocals wash through the mix. It’s immersive and just great if you like that sort of thing. And I like that sort of thing.

This tune is from the game soundtrack for Katamari Forever. I don’t have time to play games (imagine me thumping the table and shouting “I don’t have time to play games!”) but I’d like to listen to more Japanese game soundtracks.

Source: Japanator Radio 105

This very catchy track, heard on KEXP, has me singing “In the na! In the na-a-a-a!” all day long. My 2-year-old son was following me around asking me “What does in the na mean?” I wasn’t able to give him a satisfactory explanation. Was it something to do with the mysterious Cafe NA, down the road from where I used to live in Tokyo? Almost certainly not.

Source: KEXP Song of the Day

A lovely! perky melody with shuffling drums, strummed guitar and dual female vocalists (actually it sounds like the same multitracked singer). So far so predictable. But a couple of minutes in, things get odd with a fairground waltz rhythm and a pervading melancholy air. Then gradually, as a bird tweets, the original melody hesitantly reappears before a fun finale.

Source: Japanator Radio 103

This sounds like a quirky chiptune pop song, played at approximately double speed. It makes hyperactive seem comatose. Zac, the Japanator Radio presenter, called it insane. He’s probably right, but it’s good insane, not bad insane.

Source: Japanator Radio 103

The usual vocals layered over a better-than-usual rhythm. Initially it’s slow, half the speed of the usual frantic Perfume beat. In parts it shuffles into a dub rhythm, sounding a lot like Dubstar (one of my favourite pop bands). Later on the beat heats up, as opera themes and jungle animal noises spice things up. It’s pretty interesting to listen to, even though it’s more Perfume than Omodaka.

Source: Japanator Radio 103

A thoroughly modern folk song that sounds as if it could have been written anytime in the last thousand years or so. Beautiful and haunting, it takes me off to another place.

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This is very easy on the ear without quite being easy listening. It builds quietly to almost-crescendos a few times, but stays quiet and pleasant enough to remind me of Jose Gonzales(?) and even Jack Johnson. (I have heard JJ’s soundtrack to Curious George about a hundred times as that DVD is a family favourite.) Near the end there’s a tiny amount of tastefully-deployed drums and electric guitar, just to add some salt to the stew. Very nice indeed.

Source: Japanator Radio 101

A Flower White is a hypnotically folky piece with a nagging guitar line running throughout. It combines beautifully with Nancy Elizabeth’s clear yet artless vocal. Jim from On the Wire called it a “kind of ’90s goth metal ballad”, and I would agree apart from the metal part. From Yokota’s album “Mother”.

Source: On the Wire, 20 June 2009

Clean and jaunty electronic pop with an uplifting chorus that asks, “why don’t you believe that pop will save the world?” I do believe, I do! And this song is a good argument. Well, the chorus is, anyway — the verses fail to soar to the same stratospheric heights. It’s the autotune — I love the autotune as much as the next autotune lover, but it’s overused in the verses here. But then the chorus comes again, the sun comes out, and that cute phonetic english makes me smile again.

Source: Japanator Radio 99