Hikaru Utada performs "Sakura nagashi" live for the first time

Hikaru Utada - Sakura nagashi | Random J Pop

Hiklaru Utada's performances of songs from Fantôme hasn't been doing the album favours. Because they're making me like live renditions more than the studio album versions. I stupidly thought that a live performance of "Sakura nagashi" wasn't going to give me anything more that the song hadn't already given me, only to come out the other side with my edges scraped.

Music video: Lady Gaga - Perfect illusion

Lady Gaga - Perfect illusion | Random J Pop

The music video for "Perfect illusion" does what it said it would on the tin. The image of Gaga atop a crowd swinging a microphone, Gaga's performance of the song in some grotty British pub, Lady Gaga on the "Perfect illusion" single cover - they are all the music video in some form. So the music video itself wasn't much of a surprise visually.

Hikaru Utada's performs "Hanataba wo kimi ni" live and snatches her own wig

Hikaru Utada - Hanataba wo kimi ni | Random J Pop

Of all of the songs that Hikaru Utada has released / recorded post "Sakura nagashi", "Hanataba wo kimi ni" is my least favourite. But it grows on me more and more each day.

I never hated "Hanataba wo kimi ni", but I never loved it. The music video did a lot to give me a new appreciation for the song, and Hikaru's debut performance of it does the same; in large part due to her sounding so much better singing the song live than she does on the studio recording.

Hikaru Utada performs "Tomodachi" on Japanese national television and becomes Queen of the gays

Hikaru Utada featuring Nariaki Obukuro (Live @ NHK Songs) | Random J Pop

Fantôme is the album that keeps on giving ya'll. From the surprise that a new album from Hikaru Utada was even in existence, to it featuring way more bops that we ever thought, to the collaborations, to the subject matter. Hikaru won't let Fantôme rest until our scalps are as clean as Piccolo's from Dragon Ball Z.

When the track listing for the album was revealed, no one really had anything to say about "Tomodachi". Why would we? We all know that the word 'Tomodachi' is Japanese for 'Friend'. But Hikaru Utada shocked the nation and the Hikki fandom by opening up about the perspective from which the song was written. The song itself is about unrequited love. No big deal. However, "Tomodachi" is written from the perspective a gay falling for their friend. Now, I have questions.
  • Is Hikaru Utada a low key lesbian?
  • Is the song written about Kyoko Fukuda catching feelings for Hikaru?
  • Where Francesco's ass at!?

Review: Perfume's gallery experience

Perfume: A gallery experience (supported by the Rhizomatiks) | Random J Pop

Perfume held what they called a 'Gallery experience' for their London based fans, as a form of penance for there being no European leg of the Cosmic explorer tour or a hint of a World tour 4th. I cussed this out the second it was announced, but I ride for Perfume, so of course I was always going to go.

I went into this exhibition salty and not expecting much. But even I wasn't prepared for how dry this gallery experience was going to be.

Music video: The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk - Starboy

The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk - Starboy | Random J Pop

It's been barely a hot minute since The Weeknd hit the charts with "I can't feel my face", but he's back with a brand new single titled "Starboy", which features co-production and guest featured breathing from the illusive duo Daft Punk.

The song picks up from where the likes of Beauty behind the madness' "I can't feel my face" and "In the night" left off, with an 80s heavy gloss of production and a general vibe not unlike that of Michael Jackson. The Weeknd also debuts his lockless look and shows us what we'd get if Kylo Ren were a Christian Jedi with a penchant for a murderous 2-step.

Music video: Hikaru Utada featuring Sheena Ringo - Nijikan dake no vacance

Hikaru Utada featuring Sheena Ringo - Nijina dake no vacance | Random J Pop

Ever since news broke that Hikaru Utada was making a return to the land of J-Pop to shit on careers, it's been a case of one surprise after another. One of the biggest being that Hikaru Utada has 3 guest features on her album, one of which is none other than Sheena Ringo.

Now, this is not some random collaboration or one artist trying to cash in on the success of another. This is a collaboration born of mutual respect for artistry. Hikaru Utada and Sheena Ringo have spoken highly of one another for many years. Hikaru citing Sheena as one of her influences and Sheena being a fan for Hikaru's; having covered "Letters" for Utada Hikaru no Uta and "Traveling" during one of her stage performances.

There are many parallels between Hikaru and Sheena. Both are well known for their song writing talents and their heavy involvement in the arrangements and production of their songs. As well as the integrity and honesty of their music being paramount over the commercial success.

So this union is a long time coming, and what a glorious one it is.

Single review: Lady Gaga - Perfect illusion

Review: Lady Gaga - Perfect illusion | Random J Pop

With every album Lady Gaga puts out, her lead singles get simpler, more stripped down. We went from "Just dance" to "Bad romance" to "Born this way" to "Applause". And now there is "Perfect illusion". This is the grittiest song that Lady Gaga has done and it feels regressive with the intent of being progressive. You could imagine Lady Gaga performing this song way before she was Lady Gaga. Here you just have Stefani Germanotta. This is part of the charm of "Perfect illusion", but the issue here is that when you strip away the illusion of Lady Gaga, Stefani ain't bringing it.

Single art & tracklisting: Namie Amuro - Dear diary / Fighter

Namie Amuro - Dear diary / Fighter | Random J Pop

Namie Amuro will be releasing a double A-side single on October 29th, "Dear diary" and "Fighter" - which act as the theme and insert songs respectively to the new Death note movie Death Note: Light up the NEW world.

Just when you thought Hikaru Utada's comeback in September was enough to put Ayumi Hamasaki on ice, Namie prepares to come through in October and send Ayu off like a curling stone.

Music video: Hikaru Utada - Hanataba wo kimi ni

Hikaru Utada - Hanataba wo kimi ni | Random J Pop

"Hanataba wo kimi ni" receiving a music video was a nice surprise for fans. Not only did it mark the first appearance of Hikaru Utada in a music video since 2010, following her 2012 ("Sakura nagashi") and early 2016 ("Manatsu no tooriame") music videos not featuring her at all, but it also breathed new life into the song.

Deconstructed: Hikaru Utada's Fantôme album cover

Deconstructed: Hikaru Utada's Fantôme album cover | Random J Pop

I originally wrote this as part of my post disclosing the name, cover and track list of Hikaru Utada's 6th studio album, but decided to separate it, as it was going into way more detail. I also wrote this before Hikaru had done an interview confirming the links between her Fantôme album and her mother. But I will share this with you anyway. Seeing many of your comments on my initial Fantôme post, it seems that everybody is talking about the album cover and what it truly means. So let's discuss this together.

Album art & tracklist: Hikaru Utada - Fantôme

Hikaru Utada - Fantôme | Random J Pop

Truly looking to put lesser, struggling J-Pop stars out of their misery, Hikaru Utada has finally revealed the official title, tracklist, album cover and errthang for her 6th Japanese studio album.

Fantôme is the title of Hikaru Utada's upcoming album and it bucks several long standing trends of Hikaru's before we've even heard the album in full.

Fantôme is French for 'Ghost', making this Hikaru Utada's first album to not feature an English title. As we know, Hikaru has dabbled with non-English / non-Japanese song titles before, with "Hymne à l'amour (Ai no anthem)" and "Mi muero", but never has this extended to an album title.

Hikaru Utada is literally give you an album and nothing else. Ain't no Limited DVD edition of this album with videos, nothing. You can cop the CD version with 11 tracks or download the damn thing through a digital store and that's that.