Homicidols Investigates: How soft are the iTunes J-Pop charts?

Congratulations to REBEL REBEL!  Their producer tweets:

Tweet by @richy259: REBEL REBEL's "ZUGZWANG" ranked 43rd in the iTunes Store (UK) "J-Pop Top Albums"!

Wow!  I love REBEL REBEL, nice to see them get some success!  Strange though, despite some efforts from this site, you don’t really see much chat about them from overseas idol fans.

And the iTunes Store?  Who still uses that?  Who purchases albums when you can get the choice from millions of songs on a cheap or free streaming subscription?

Well actually, I still do.  Not because of any altruistic desire to give those producing the music more money, although that’s a nice bonus, but because of the horrifying thought that the music I love may just disappear from the service one day.  You know what I’m talking about, BILLIE IDLE fans!  Plus I like to listen to all my music offline, along with a bunch of stuff that was never on streaming, idol and non-idol.

But hundreds of “Your Spotify Wrapped” tweets on my timeline every year shows that I am in a very small minority here in still using the iTunes store.  And the amount of J-Pop fans in the UK using the iTunes store must also be quite a small number.  I did buy that REBEL REBEL EP but given their relatively low profile it seems conceivable that I may be the only person in this country that did.  Is it possible that one sole purchase is enough these days to get something into the top 50?

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Homicidols Investigates: Osaka Shunkashuto

You may have seen the news that, for the first time in more than four years, Osaka Shunkashuto* is losing a member. That’s sad for them! But it also rekindled a thread of discussion in Team chat last week about Syukasyun, about whether they are in fact still good or are now boring. I thought this warranted investigation!

Background: I loved Osaka Shunkashuto. During that formative I-want-to-hear-it-all period, my first exposure to them was the incomparable “C’mon!”. Of course I wanted to hear a lot more from them after that. Sure, the indie work wasn’t all hits, but that era of the group, doing fun rock covers and channeling throwback R&B and soul in a way that nobody else was while old boss Soezimax helped them develop gripping video content, they felt undeniable and inevitable.

You know who else loves Osaka Shunkashuto? Chris does. I recall that some of our earliest interactions were about the group, including during the period that I believe began in earnest only after they signed with Avex but maybe during the time with Fujiyama Project, which is when the shade began. Not from Chris; oh no, the man is a true believer. From me, you see, and I feel like my increasing frustration with the group that really began around the “New Me” single and definitely peaked with the SSFW album was perhaps a little too pointed and vocal, for Chris would chastise me for it. He would also insist that no matter how much kvetching I did, SSFW was in fact good and fun.

Nonetheless, this argument was broached against last week, when Chris asserted (no, I will not give you context) that if only we/I would give Syukasyun another chance (now, at least two years since I wrote them off forever), then we/I would see the truth. That this was asserted in the context of allowing that yes, the case was undermined by recent-est work, only served to embolden my commitment to the assertion that SSFW is boring. However, being the kind and generous and extremely handsome Maniac that I am, I deigned to quite literally hear the two competing arguments as to whether Osaka Shunkashuto is boring and then render a flawless, beautiful verdict that cannot ever be questioned.

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