Recess ~紅白ヴァージョン

While we await for the official Dinner show report from the VAMP gang that attended Akina’s dinner and Countdown show (I can’t wait), I thought it might be good to highlight some of my favourite performances at this year’s 紅白 from what I can view from Youtube. Like many, I felt that it lost its charm since the 80s, but this year was surprisingly stronger than the last few (since 2002, which was the last time I enjoyed the program). To be fair, I haven’t watched many of the others in its entirety, but from what I saw from Youtube for this year’s, they have mostly chosen the right song for the singers. Here are some of my favourites:

 (1) Dedication to Danny Bunny

I am not a fan of 大塚愛 because she has a rather nasal and high pitched voice, but this performance has my vote for my favourite this year because it is so colourful. The song is basically nonsence but it is FUN FUN FUN, and she sang it very well. Look out for the background dancers. This is very much in the vein of what Danny likes, so it is specially dedicated to him.

 

(2) Dreams Come True 

Considering that her husband died a couple of months back and this is her first performance since, it must have been very difficult for her. Moving …

 

(3) アンジェラ・アキ Angela Aki

Special points go to Angela for her "bo-chap" (I no care) attitude when it comes to dressing up (or down in her case). For the second year in a row, she wears a sports jersey. Extra points for consistency, albeit a little boring. Brings a smile to my face though. She is absolute proof that talent does triumph over hype. An energetic performance.

 
(4) 絢香

Many fans were puzzled when it was revealed that she will be singing 「Peace Loving People」 because it was an album song, and her most famous song in 2007 was a collaboration with コブクロ called 「Winding Road」. NHK did not disappoint and 絢香 showed off her powerful vocals in a double performance. Here is two separate videos because the one that is combined is not allowed to be embedded.

(5) コブクロ

This year’s biggest act コブクロ with their hit song 「蕾」. A wonderful harmony of voices

(6) 秋川雅史

Last year’s best performance and discovery, proving that his charm was not a fluke the first time round, he is flawless here once again.

 

(7) 平井堅

Looking more handsome than I have ever seen him, here  is 平井堅 attempting another difficult song. Care to try this at Karaoke next time, Kenanthony?

(8) 中村

This year’s surprise entry, 中村中 is actually a man, but it is hard to tell from her vocals, and only at the end does she reveal more of her true identity. She is a true diva from the costume down to the performance. Am I the only one who thinks that it is great that someone is making an effort to help 紅白 regain some old fashioned glamour. Especially for DJ Suzy …

 

(9) 中島美嘉

I don’t follow the J-Pop scene as much as I used to in the 80s, and 中島美嘉 is one of the few singers whose music I enjoy from this new batch of singers. Though she is more famous for her ballads, she proves here and during last year’s performance that she can handle uptempo numbers too … live … not pre-recorded. Gothic Beauty here and definitely lends to her nickname "The Ghost" that Danny and Kenji give her.

 

(10) BoA 

Proving that she is Korea’s best export in Japan and that she can deliver ballads too is BoA. Giving a much quieter performance here than in her previous years, she shows that she is not a bad singer.

 

This is by no means, my Top 10, but definitely some of the better performances I have seen. There are still many performances that have not been uploaded, but these are proof that it is a marked improvement from last year’s. the ratings have improved slightly too, and some comments is that the song list is correct. I was a little worried about all the 紅白ヴァージョン but it has proved to be a blessing in disguise. I am a little biased too because I am not a big fan of 白組, so I didn’t bother to click on many on the male performances. 徳川英明 is good but I wish it was 小林明子 singing it. It’s just eerie that he’s singing "I’m just a woman …" His performance last year was much better and I hope that he will sing 「Rainy Blue」 if he gets invited next time.

The worst performance award so far goes to our "Recycle" queen 浜崎あゆみ, and she earns this nickname from me because her stupid big dress is the same every year and her songs all sound so similar. Can someone please tell me the difference between this and 「Voyage」, 「Dearest」,  「Secret」 and all her other ballads. She is shockingly bad here, a very tired and uninspired performance. I wonder how she is going to move from this to her Countdown show? Can someone also tell me how can she be the Queen of J-Pop if we judge just by statistics. She may be hardworking and clever, but she is rather boring in my opinion. Watch out for the high pitched cat like greeting that she gives out every year after each performance. The difference this year is that she doesn’t even bother to smile. Maybe she was a little embarassed by her performance.

 

dannybunny

Akina fanboy since 14. Still undecided which are his top ten favourite Akina tracks as it's mission impossible. Digs "Everlasting Love" a whole lot more than the average Akina fan.

15 thoughts on “Recess ~紅白ヴァージョン

  1. Ai Otsuka… lol. I as well never really bothered with her because of her voice and cutesy image, though I now suppose she doesn’t sound so bad when she’s accompanied with such a fun and funky song. Her "PONPONPONPONPONPONPONPON!" song was also pretty outrageously goofy. 😛

    Although I respect Angela’s idea for her image, I do think she pushes it a bit too far. I mean her releases’ cover art is just getting laughable with all the simplistic repetition (soon people won’t be able to recoginse which release is which LOL?). The same kinda goes for her PVs, though it could also be a budget issue. Even if she’s determined to have the focus on her singing and playing the piano, I think it could be brought to a higher level with some more stylish directing. Though actually, now I’m not sure why I even began bitching about PVs because I usually don’t even bother watching almost any PVs at all lol (ah now I get it, is this the Angela-logic!? lol). But at the end of the day she’s still great! 😛

    Oh I’ve really become interested in Ataru Nakamura recently! Her voice so quirky with her female to male register switches and her music is also quite refreshing among the usual Japanese synth pop. I hope people don’t get too caught up on her sexuality and reject her only because of that as I think she has a lot more depth to offer than a lot of other J-Pop stars could ever hope to have. Casual listeners seem to only care about that song performed there and nothing else. 😦

    I would have preferred to have Nakashima perform Eien no Uta instead of LIFE. LIFE does better live, but it’s still a bit of a too typical pop song for Nakashima to sing in my opinion.

    I have to agree that Ayumi’s huge dresses are becoming an annoying cliché. Together When… is sadly quite the typical Ayumi-ballad in my opinion as well. Currently, there’s some despair among Hamasaki’s fans as she just recently announced that she has become completely deaf in her left ear, which has now lead to speculation on to why she has sounded so off tune in her recent live performances.

    I remember hearing 秋川雅史 among some commercial but never got to listening to him, but he does sound really convincing here!

    I’ll probably convert to a Kobukuro fan as well after seeing their name spammed everywhere on the Charts all the time and now finally realising why hehe.

    *sigh* It would be sooo fun to see Akina here performing something like Hana yo Odore. 😦

  2. Thanks Jamez for posting the clips. Wait, is Nakamura Ataru a man or a woman!? I am confused. She sounds better than most female vocal!?

  3. Hi Jamez,

    Thanks for reporting.

    蕾」by コブクロ is my favorite 2007 JPOP songs. I love the Jdrama Tokyo Tower a lot as well. Whenever I listen to this song, it reminds me of the serie and bring back lots of memory and emotion.

  4. I must say what annoy me more than sing for new JPOP and some of other asian singer is their HANDS movement. I used to love Miwa Yoshida but her hand movement annoy me to death.

    I guess I have to blame Mariah Carey for this.

  5. You are all most welcome. I had a lot of fun scouting and viewing them, so I thought it would be nice to share

    Thanks to MG for your delicious comments. I don’t know the "PONPONPON" song you are talking about, but "Peach" was her bigger single, so I was a little disappointed with NHK’s choice of "Chu-Lip" until I saw the performance.

    Like you, I don’t watch any PVs unless they are Akina’s and 9 out of 10 times, I’m disappointed, maybe because my expectations are higher. Looks like I didn’t learn my lesson after "Apasionado". 😉

    I guess Angela is striving for uniformity, which is a quite common term for Marketing. Her Marketing team might advise her that this is the way to gain "global recognition", but they forgot to mention that the audience might get bored. Still Angela doesn’t have to worry because her fans are not as fickle minded as those of the younger pop idols who want fancy artwork all the time. Does that include us? LOL.

    中村中 is originally born a man. I am not sure if she has gone through a sex change but that is exactly beside the point because like you say, she is better than most female singers. She is definitely coming up the ranks after her performance here. Many reviewers rank her amongst their favourites for the evening. It will remain to see if this will translate into commercial success because this is one of the gauges that NHK uses to invite singers, and more importantly record companies to keep them. 乱火 has been introducing her to Danny and Kenji during their Japanese trip, so she is definitely gaining popularity. As for the gender issue, it is definitely an attraction, and if true music lovers can give her a chance even out of curiosity, they might end up liking her.

    I didn’t have too much an impression of 「永遠の詩」. It’s chart performance was also more disappointing, so 「Life」 became the natural choice. Some fans were gunning for 「Glamorous Sky」, but I think she said that last year’s performance was the last she would ever appear as Nana. That is probably until the third sequel, if there is one, is shown.

    I am sorry to hear about Ayu. I just caught the news on the Taiwanese media. I certainly hope it is not a gimmick to seek sympathy because her music really needs a lot of improvement if she wants to impress.

    コブクロ definitely sparkled with a great song and performance. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the series 「東京タワー」 as much as Patrick and 乱火 did. I found it too long and the lead actor irritating. The Okan was good but she was a little too old to play her younger years. The saving grace was the theme song. It’s not bad, but not very good as well.

    I watched Dreams Come True first performance on 紅白 last night and 吉田美和 was close but did not execute the "window wiping" gestures that Mariah made famous. I guess everyone is doing it now, and I don’t mind Mariah, so I didn’t really care. Maybe it does help. Why don’t you try it, Patrick? 😉

  6. Oh those Enka artists were quite nice! Nice warm feeling. 🙂

    And Akiko Wada also sounds nice once again.

    I really hope they would post Ayaka Hirahara’s performance of Jupiter, though I do hate it when an artist gets stuck with only one song that people want to hear. But then again it does have that undeniable classic melody. I suppose it was also chosen there to promote her forthcoming best album Jupiter ~Hirahara Ayaka Best~. Just sad that she needs to use that title to get noticed. I think she is such a promising young talent. Her 2006 live concert video was probably one of the most beautiful I’ve ever watched. 😥

    Another person I was somewhat looking forward to seeing was Gackt (although his new-found nasal singing annoys me), but his performance of RETURNER ~Yami no Shuuen~ is such a melodrama-fest in my eyes. I’ve never really enjoyed his attempts to fuse his acting and music together.

    Oh and here’s the Ponpon song 😉

  7. there are so much to be said here! Tks to Jamez for putting up such a comprehensive review of the kouhaku 2007!

    my 2 cents worth on:

    i) Dreams Come True
    This is their second TV performance since the passing away of Miwa’s husband. Prior to Kouhaku, it was on Musicstation Super Live 2007 that they performed the same song, アイシテルのサイン. Again, the first phrase "ちゃんとあなたにつたわってるかな?” was definitely a very touching phrase for Miwa to sing! (Translated "Have the message (I love you) been passed to you?!"
    Nevertheless, DCT remains to be truthful to their music, moving many hearts!

    ii)コブクロ – 蕾
    Definitely a great hit this year, with the wonderful TV series and movie. 日本レコード大賞!

    iii)中村中
    I first heard this song "友達の詩”@ 岩崎宏美’s live, which she included in her NATURAL album. Following that, I found the original composer in her version (中村中)and she takes it to greater heights. I think what is impressive here is that she is truthfully singing out her feelings and forbidden love for the fellow band membmer (which the song was based on her own true love story).This alone outshines many other performances in the same show.

    As for other singers,
    倖田來未 dress reminds me of Anita Mui…
    浜崎あゆみ- I actually like this song, but unfortunately it was not performed well, due to the rumoured reasons mentioned…I hope it is not true…
    和田アキ子ー great performance, but i agree with Jamez…maybe something is lacking…more emotions?!
    石川さゆりー Although this song is also over-performed, it still remains as a gem in many japanese and also, さゆり again delivers it very well as usual.

    Back to our main subject in this blog, when will 明菜 attend 紅白 again!? not another 14年ぶり pls! But again, considering the countdown DS this year, should akina continue this trend…then it will further minimize her possibility of attending 紅白…we’ll see if a great hit this year will bring her back on the show!

  8. whoa, just look at the length of the comments here! when was the last time we saw that much action?

    just wanted to add that Ataru’s sexuality is what sells. if he was a full fledge he or she, i think i’d care less.

    also after watching the disaster that is Leah Dizon, i realise how she dances, looks, and sings like a totally different person than in her MVs. trash.

    Wada Akiko – nice song, but definitely sung too many times. but Akina tops her with Kazarijya. hahaha. i’ve heard it so many times i now hate it.

    i enjoyed the Chu-Lip performance on subsequent viewings. thanks Jamez!

    Noriyuki – i love the guy but he looks so bloated what happened!? i think it’s cos of the tie he stuffed in his jacket. and he did the same thing when he changed his outfit.

    Ayumi – re her deafness in one ear – the skeptic in me reckons it’s an excuse for her to sing offkey for her recent and future performances.

    Nakashima – she looks like Chen Xiu Huan (Yidi) in our Singapore drama series Fei Yue Ying He!!! and she really sings like a ghost! enjoyed it tho.

    Hitoto Yo – E.T COME HOME. that last look on her face was so fun to watch. i think she made contact.

    Wat – Eiji Wentz needs to lose that bird nest up there. Teppe is growing on me. did i mention my stalker looks like Wentz? kekekeke.

    Koda Kumi – i kinda like her a wee wee bit more after seeing her performance. i like her covered up.

    Kobukuro – their songs are great, and i tried very hard to love them cos my best friend Shaz is totally crazy over the duo now. but somehow i remain unmoved.

    DCT – and you and you and you… thank you, and you…. thank you… ooooh hoooo wooo hoooo…

    Kobayashi – that performance went very well with my Italian Herb Roasted Chicken i must say.

    Gackt – amazing presentation. but i was a bit scared.

    Ken Hirai – oh damn yes – chio very sexy!! he’s the only skinny guy in the world that turns me on.

    thanks Jamez for the wonderful post!!!

  9. I love your honesty and great sense of humour, Danny. Nothing feels complete without a dose of you. 😉

    I’m also waiting for Jerry’s and Kenji’s comment too because I can’t wait to hear how they feel? I haven’t watched the entire program, so I am excited for my copy to arrive.

    It is funny how some described Leah Dizon as skanky. I don’t think it goes as far as that, but it was a dismal performance which banked totally on her looks (not that I find her attractive to start off with). I think poise is so much more important.

    I don’t dislike Kazari as much as you, but she does like to sing it, and it’s one of those songs that she smiles while singing, which is really rare. Her performance was ranked fourth in a recent poll on a Japanese blog for memorable performance, so fans did like it. I hope that she will have another strong single but I’d like her to perform a "紅白ヴァージョン" too, so that her segment will be longer. Kazari was just way too short, leaving us wanting more.

    Noriyuki has always looked a little cartoonish and comical, so him looking a little bloated didn’t affect me too much. He is a very good singer and songwriter, and one of those few male singers whom I enjoy.

    I’ll give you one good reason to like コブクロ and you will like this. In this week’s Oricon Album Chart, コブクロ’s new album tops the chart for the second week, stopping (I stress again), preventing Ayu’s latest album 「Guilty」 from charting at No. 1, which will be her first not to achieve the No. 1 ranking, if コブクロ continues to sell well, which I expect so because of their 紅白 performance.

    I empathise with Ayu’s condition but like you, am skeptical and cynical. After all, her songs are mostly unimpressive and she currently ties with Akina for holding the record of No. 1s in consecutive years. I just don’t wanting this condition to allow her to reign any more. ;-P

    I don’t mind Koda Kumi and the funny thing is that even though she is the J-Pop Queen at the moment, her singles do not sell well. It is only her albums. She is a better singer than many others, but how long can she bank on her skin? Till the day she fades like Yoshie and have to release "Art" Pictorial Books? What does Kenji think?

  10. woot. so many comments. i have not watched the whole show yet. so cannot say much. BUT after watching the youtube ones, here’s my trash. lol

    Ataru Nakamura – She is good sia in terms of the costume and the performance. The song Tomodachi no Uta is the number 1 loop in my itunes for now. I’m turning into a negi. lol. all thanks for Ranbi-san’s introduction. Have to agree with Danny that it’s wat her sexuality in the past tat made me notice her.

    Wada Akiko – My number 2 loop song after the fantastic night of playing her remixes on the way back in the limo. love it. ^^ PS I LOVE Kazarijya. LOL

    槇原敬之 – i loved his song after Dan played it every morning before we head out for shopping in Japan. Very good performance, BUT there was a slight offkey and vocal burst in the admist of the song. Overall a genki song. =)

    Ayumi – Disaster! I cringe/cover my ear/look elsewhere whenever she tries to hit the notes.. TOTALLY OFFKEY. tsk tsk tsk. with regards to her deafness, i empathise her if its real. it really sad to be deaf, somemore she is a singer… BUT if down the road, they release some news saying she recovers, i will pui chao nua and she will lose all respect as a singer.

    Mika Nakashima – nice performance and GREAT SONG! lookwise, she is really like a GHOST FULLSTOP. ^^ stop those hantu hand signals and try standing straight for a sec. bad posture.

    WaT – i love Wentz. He needs to have a nice and good haircut! same with Dan. Teppei is getting my attention nowadays… lol

    Koda Kumi. NO MATTER HOW MANY HATS SHE WEAR. I DUN LIKE HER. TRASHY FULLSTOP. still dun understand why so many ppl STILL continues to buy her album.. sighz.

    Angela Aki – Good and energetic performance. Talented gal. love her! ^^

    小林幸子 – like Kimura, i opened my eyes like a lil kid when she did the BIG COSTUME CHANGE! haha. woot.

    石川さゆり – All hail to the Queen of Enka! *bow

    コブクロ – Great duo, great song, great lyrics, great friendship between the 2 guys… but like dan, no matter how much i force myself to listen to the song, i’m still unmoved.

  11. Add to Ataru, i’m in awe how he can hit all the female octave and the voice is nice and not irritating/scary. really like a gal. *clap

  12. Hi JAMEz,

    Thanx for the clips.
    Only view some tho

    In my opinion—

    i do agreed HIDEAKI TOKUNAGA should not had sung that song-tho its a MEGA hit in the 80s…like i told you before i cant stand it when he sang that part—“i’m just a WOMAN…” the WOMAN should be sung in falsetto.
    Still dont understand why is his 3 VOCALIST albums selling so well in the ORICON CHART?
    I would prefer him to sing “KAGAYAKI NAGARA” or “KOWA RE GA KE NO RADIO” or “JIGA II” if he is back next year.[all 3 are my favourite TOKUNAGA songs].

    Ai, Kumi & Ayumi…to me, all same catagory…image, marketing, sell sell sell…sing? eh…..

    Angela AKI…most casual turnout on stage -very “angmo” attitude-…with a American Football Jersey. Daring?…disrespectful? its her image. but it work for her & sells.
    I believed if ZARD is performing, she will be just as casual…come to ZARD later…sob***
    i think next year she will wear a AMERICAN FLAG to the show. typical Angmo patriotism. But kudos to her for being a great songwriter.

    DCT—always like MIWA’s vocal & still will…powerful, full of soul & SOLID. Touching. One of the BEST VOCAL in JAPAN all these years.

    KOBUKURO—one of the BEST to emerged from J-pop in recent years.
    Fantastic songs, melody & harmony.
    Enjoy TOKYO TOWER the movie…sorry JAMEz, the lead actor is my favourite japanese actor—ODAGIRI JOE—he is always so COOL & STYLO—really an ICON. Also japanese actress-MATSU TAKAKO…both getting married soon to different people.

    MIKA—she wil only performed all those songs from NANA if she is NANA again…tho my favourite is GLAMOROUS SKY…written by HYDE from L’arc en Ciel. much better than the other song by TAKURO of GLAY for NANA 2. I LIKE her as NANA more than she herself. NANA is so Coool. Great acting.
    Another GREAT VOCALIST in recent years.

    AYAKA-great VOCAL & song.

    ATARU-beautiful & great performance…sex sells. She is interesting. More woman than woman.

    NORIYUKI-new recording label, fresh starts…what a way to start for a new year. talented songwriter.

    GACKT-THE PRINCE CHARMING PRETENDER-singing sucks. He should just remain in the ANIME-MANGA world.

    HIRAI KEN—i am not a big fan…

    MOST touching moments-besides DCT MIWA, is the ZARD tribute on the show.
    She had been invited many times …but declined as she does not appear on TV or anywhere.
    I had always love ZARD—she is mysterious & had never performed LIVE or even on TV -yet still so popular. She only did LIVE concerts til recent years before her departure.
    She is a TALENTED LYRICIST who writes inspiring songs to many JAPANESE…tho she is ill, she is still optimistic & strong…listen to her last single “GLAMOROUS MIND”.
    I find her very beautiful although she is always casually dressed…little make-up, no gimmick.
    I am still very sad that she is dead…she will be in my heart…together with Yutaka Ozaki. Both super talented people who i adore.

    AKINA should release a ALBUM of recent J-pop HITS…or a challenge of all MALE Songs. It will be very fresh of how she sounds like…

  13. WHat i meant is an ALBUM of RECENT MALE ARTISTES HITS from late 90s-2000s.
    I would like that tho.
    Compare ORIGINAL to COVERED.
    ALso, in my view, latest HITS might have more resonance among fans as it still rings in their mind.

    eg-Hideaki Tokunaga’s vocalist series was very successful i guessed he had a good selection of songs—including quite recent HITs like—TIME GOES BY by ELT, CAN WE CELEBRATE by AMURO, PRIDE by IMAI MIKI & the very popular NAMIDA SOU SOUetc.
    I bought the VOCALISTs series out of curiosity coz i lenjoyed the above songs i mentioned-& was wondering how it would sound if sung by him…of course not all are well-sang.

    Nonethless, whatever AKINA release, it will be in my buying list.

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