photo by Mutsumi Okazaki
Every two months, the Glow’s resident indie expert Mutsumi Okazaki chooses some of her favourite new tracks. Here are her five top Japanese indie tunes from March and April 2021.
I’ve been waiting for new music from Gen Hoshino this year. His new track is a straightforward love song named “Fushigi” [Mystery]. Hoshino is quoted as saying he "wanted to create a song that would be suitable for tears and kissing scenes," and “Fushigi” is exactly that – a mysterious love song that suits any situation, sunny or rainy, happy or sad, regardless of gender, age or predicament. It’s great to hear a love song where you can imagine a specific situation, but “Fushigi” is the opposite. Depending on the listener, it affirms the diversity of love and can be received in so many different ways. For me, it truly sums up Gen Hoshino.
The new coronavirus strain is still spreading in Japan. I live alone in Tokyo, but I can't go out as much as I'd like and it's very difficult for me. “Sakaeta machi no” [In a prosperous city] begins with Ayano Kaneko singing "I can't go anywhere this year.” With her shows having been cancelled and postponed, I’m sure she must be feeling the same frustration that I am. But when I hear Kaneko’s honest and life-sized music, I feel strangely inspired to do my best. I’ll continue to listen to “Sakaeta machi no” for decades to come.
In Japan, March is student graduation season. To mark the time of year, singer-songwriter Fujii Kaze released a song called “Tabiji” [Journey], a warm track that gently supports its listeners’ journey through life. The music video, showing Kaze in his hometown of Satoshō, Okayama with a film camera, takes a closer look at his charm. “Tabiji” assures me that, while there’s a lot to come in life, we’ll all be ok.
I didn’t expect Takako Matsu to rap! I was very surprised when she appeared on “Presence I”. Matsu is the Japanese actor and singer that dubbed the Japanese version of Elsa in the Disney movie Frozen – far from the image of a rapper.
So I can’t help but be delighted that she’s collaborating with STUTS, a trackmaker active in both Japan and abroad, and KID FRESINO, a rapper and DJ. Matsu sang “Let It Go”, the theme song of Frozen, but here you can enjoy her a little differently.
Two-and-a-half years since his last album Heisei, singer-songwriter Yuta Orisaka has released a new mini-album of five songs titled Morning Glory. Among the songs on this new release, "Hari no Ana" [Hole of the Needle] is a very interesting song for its different lyrics and tune.
It's the most light-hearted song on the album, but the lyrics describe the hardships and earnestness of life. I think the best ways to enjoy Yuta Orisaka’s songs are to enjoy their rhythms, but also to read the lyrics carefully and find your own interpretation.