J-Pop Summit- Tokyo Girls Style [live]

In a year filled with overseas and abroad idol activities, J-Pop Summit emerges as a major event. This year’s festival offered some top tier talent from the Japanese Idol world: Tokyo Girls’ Style, Itano Tomomi, Yanakiku, and Una. Even though Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Tanaka Reina’s LoVendoR topped the bill last year, I passed on attending the festival (which I regret). As soon as J-Pop Summit announced Tokyo Girls’ Style as a musical guest I knew my attendance was mandatory. Having followed the group since their debut single “Kirari“, I consider the group of girls to be among the most talented idol acts around. (My reviews of the last five singles- Jujika, Partition Love, Chiisana Kiseki, Get the Star, and Unmei are linked at the end of of this article). San Francisco is only 7 hours from Los Angeles by car, and I am currently on vacation. Why not make a grand adventure?

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Tokyo Girls’ Style “Jujika” [PV]

When it comes to visual imagery, there isn’t anything more disturbing than the sight of girls in white dresses chained by black shackles. In this case, a Catholic church serves to imprison the members of Tokyo Girls’ Style. Not far in the background of the ensnared girls waits an imposing figure in black wearing a black Minotaur mask. Tokyo Girls’ Style seep these creepy images into our skulls within the first seconds of their 16th single “Jujika”. While the rest of the PV serves up the same dark imagery, the song returns the girls to a familiar sound.

Don’t pet that. It’s CREEPY.

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Tokyo Girls’ Style – “Partition Love” [PV]

Continuing my look at Tokyo Girls’ Style is “Partition Love”. This single actually shook me up a bit and told me to start paying attention to the group again. Hopefully by now, it’s obvious that I’m trying to get all of these singles reviewed by the time Tokyo Girls’ Style perform at J Pop Summit in San Francisco this weekend. If you are in the area, come and see them! It will be free, and they are guaranteed to be great!

Let’s start by looking at the space between them, like there was a … partition?

Koide Yusuke from the band Base Ball Bear wrote and composed “Partition Love”. Koide does not stray too far from the musical style of the group, nor does he forsake the musical motif heard in many of Tokyo Girls’ Style’s releases. In a nicely conceived verse, short one-measure phrases play a strictly regulated rhythm against a palm-muted guitar. The combination of rhythms convincingly mimics the heartbeat and labored words of an infatuated young girl. The composition really comes alive in the chorus where Koide writes wonderfully long melodic lines punctuated with the unsettling “Nee, Sensei” line. It’s a real joy to have a song where the melodies are stretched to their limit. “Partition Love’s” chorus works especially well when contrasted with the terseness verses. I think the song feels like the protracted, hurried ramblings of young love finally composing itself into a rehearsed and lyrical confession.
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Tokyo Girls’ Style – “Chiisana Kiseki” [PV]

Continuing my series on Tokyo Girls’ Style, today we have the November 22, 2013 release “Chiisana Kiseki”. I know what you are thinking: Fall release, this must be dark and brooding. Actually, NOPE. I’m watching and writing about this PV in the summer, and it’s perfect.

“Chiisana Kiseki” makes a good case for simplicity in PVs. Like the previous PV, “Get the Star“, there aren’t any narrative threads, no goofy story (that’ll come later), and no crazy religious symbolism (also later). What we get is a refreshingly simple PV which is nothing more than a couple of dance shots intercut with solo close ups and a sweet group lip shot. From that description, I might as well be writing about a Hello! Project PV. Like most of Tokyo Girls’ Style products, the quality of the work really sets “Chiisana Kiseki” apart from other PVs.

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Tokyo Girls’ Style “Get the Star” [PV]

It’s a real failing of mine.  After following Tokyo Girls’ Style since their beginning I stopped paying them great attention.  Again, this was a mistake.  I’m not proud of this.  To make ammends, I’m spending the next few articles detailing the TGS singles released since my review of “Unmei“.  You won’t see anything too in-depth due to the nature of these articles (a makeup test, and late assignment).   But, you will get a chance to get yourself up to speed with Tokyo Girls’ Style before their live performances at J-Pop Summit 2014 in San Francisco next week, July 19 and 20.

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Beauty Shots

Some very artistic photographs of various idols were recently brought to my attention. These all come from the website Beauty News Tokyo. I don’t know anything about the website other than the pretty models they use! So are you ready?

We start with Super Girls’s Goto Aya. This looks to me like it was ripped from Akira. You know the part with all the stuffed animals?
 photo GotoAyaSuperGirls01_zps938f9265.jpg
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Tokyo Girls’ Style – “Unmei”

The latest offering from Tokyo Girls’ Style sees the girls pushing their way past adolescence.  Like most of their singles, we get a funky number with the distinctive TGS sound complete with wah guitars and a funky melodic synth bass.  The big news with this single is not the sound of it, but the look of the girls.  They are made up to look more mature than their actual ages.  And, shockingly, there are boys in this PV.   Continue reading

TGS Pic Spam

I may not want to admit it, but Tokyo Girls’ Style is growing up. Don’t get me wrong; they still look like babies. But, now they look like they are getting into their high school years. Considering they are all 15 and 16 year old girls, that should make sense.
I really like this photo set. The mood is nice and airy, and the girls bring out their best sides.
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Tokyo Girls’ Style much?

It’s been kind of slow the last couple of days here.  Actually, maybe a lot is happening, but I am unaware of it since I am going on vacation tomorrow.  This site will have sparing updates for a couple of weeks whilst I go on vacation tracking down a few Blur shows in England and Sweden.  You’re warned …  don’t give up on me yet!

Anyway, I thought I would just praise Tokyo Girls’ Style for a few moments.  I’ve been keeping track of them for a while now.  Their first single “Kirari” didn’t really do a whole lot for me … not my thing?  I enjoyed “Onnaji Kimochi” quite a bit since I’m a sucker for the cuteness.  Fit did not hit the shan until I saw Kodou no Himitsu.  This is probably the first time the girls reached their potential.  The song is more of the same sound that they established on their previous singles.  I like the instrumentation that they use, especially the sound of their bass.  What sets this single apart from the previous ones is the dark atmosphere that is cast with the costuming, color palette and lighting.  I never expect idol videos to just look dark the way this one does.  I love the costumes: dark and frilly with a hint of purple in the petticoat.  I even like the dance with it’s hurky jerky rhythms matching the musical rhythm.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCcEbye6wuU]

Next up from them way “LIMITED ADDICTION”.   Continue reading