K & J-Pop Fans: Looking for Strong, Big-Voiced Female Pop Stars, Aretha & Janis Style

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contie this is a really weird thread

dayo, Monday, 16 April 2012 16:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

okay. no offense intended. was spurred by my realization that the big, raw "soul" voice on boredoms' pop tatari wasn't a woman (something i'd assumed for years). was a disappointment, and it made me start wondering where those voices were in japanese pop. maybe they just don't exist, i dunno.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 16:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

Beth Ditto's another template for the singing and personal style I'm talking about.

It may be worth noting this comment by nabisco in the Pick Only One: Magnetic Fields Thread:

You say you don't hear depth of emotion or anguish in Merritt's songs, but that's not what you mean -- what you mean is that you don't hear conventional modern expressions of emotion or anguish, right? You don't hear the vigorous modern singing tricks (scream, grunt, wail) that currently signify "emotion" and "anguish." ...And here we get into the whole Merritt-and-racism debate, because what's the underlying thing here? Merritt's writing kinda deliberately eschews a lot of the things black/soul singing has brought into modern pop.

― nabisco (nabisco), Friday, June 16, 2006 4:09 PM (5 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Mention that not to suggest racism, but perhaps a lack of strong influence from gospel, soul and R&B. Like, maybe the qualities I'm describing are present, but not in the ways I'm used to hearing them.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 16:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

Was also spurred by occasionally lurking in J/K pop threads and being surprised by just how heavily they skew towards what in the US is labeled "teen pop": cute young people in chastely sexy outfits singing poignant or energetic songs in a manner that doesn't suggest much personal agency. There's a lot of that in the US, UK and Europe, too, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, but I was curious about female-fronted Asian pop that reflects other types of feminine ideals. I'm looking for ths, more than anything else, as a counter to the ubiquity, in America, of passive teengirl-as-Japanese-fantasy-object stuff like the video dayo posted in the Tupac hologram thread.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 17:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

You lost me.

abcfsk, Monday, 16 April 2012 17:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

pretty sure nobody in America knows who/what hatsune miku is

dayo, Monday, 16 April 2012 17:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

not exactly gospel or soul but...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/01/22/korean-hip-hop-k-hop-goes-global.html#comments

his wife, solo hip-hop artist Tasha Reid (née Yoon Mi-rae). The Texas-born Reid ended up in Korea as a child during her father’s Army posting, and she explored the country’s nascent hip-hop scene in underground clubs. Now, she says, “if I were to check the singles chart, at least 90 percent of [Korean] songs are R&B-influenced.”

curmudgeon, Monday, 16 April 2012 17:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

perhaps not - i certainly don't - but she's a familiar example of a manga/anime-derived ideal that's quite common in the US. few young americans will be unfamiliar with images of this general type:

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 17:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

that's an xpost to dayo

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 17:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

people in America expect J-Pop stars to literally be anime characters?

dayo, Monday, 16 April 2012 17:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

not exactly gospel or soul but...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/01/22/korean-hip-hop-k-hop-goes-global.html#comments

yeah, this begins to tilt slightly in the direction of the music i'm imagining (which may not really exist). i wouldn't call it a terribly strong combination of high-octane vocals and self-assertion, and there's more than a little irony in the message, but i liked the song quite a bit. probably helps that they made it easy for me by singing the chorus in english.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 17:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

people in America expect J-Pop stars to literally be anime characters?

no, but i think there's often an expectation that they will satisfy some of the same demands that hatsune miku plays to: cheerful and attractive girl-women in chastely sexy outfits, a romantic ideal of youth and "cuteness". same things that many/most american teenpop stars appeal to.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 17:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

hate to break it to you but hatsune miku is not a real person, dude. it doesn't exist.

dayo, Monday, 16 April 2012 17:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

i know that. not sure what you're getting at? cartoon characters can appeal to the same basic desires that real people do.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 17:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

...

dayo, Monday, 16 April 2012 17:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

"when people think of sexy and alluring american movie stars, they think of... the cartoon character jasmine from aladdin"

dayo, Monday, 16 April 2012 17:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

A friend of mine asked me once if I knew of any Japanese singers with really great voices and was kind of surprised to realize that I could hardly think of one. I can think of a lot of charming ones or a lot of very distinctive voices but "great" vocalists from Japan seem pretty sparse. Jun Togawa strikes me as the one diva-type personality whose voice can really command a song, but it's still got that typical Japanese high-pitched shrillness to it that puts it miles away from Tina Turner

you can expect punches, kicks and even worse (frogbs), Monday, 16 April 2012 17:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

america doesn't seem to have as strongly established a tradition of animated or cartoon teengirls as pop fantasy objects. like i said, i'm looking for alternatives to "passive teengirl-as-Japanese-fantasy-object stuff." using a cartoon character as an example draws attention to the "fantasy" aspect, but i'm not super-attached to the example. it just happened to be one that came up earlier this morning.

like, i might use winx club as an example of the way images of idealized femininity are marketed to tween girls in america, but they're not really comparable to hatsune miku because they seem to appeal exclusively to a young female audience.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 18:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

again, xp to dayo

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 18:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

again, try Jun Togawa

you can expect punches, kicks and even worse (frogbs), Monday, 16 April 2012 18:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

contie, the basic assumption you have is that liking japanese anime/manga = liking j-pop. hatsune miku happens to be the one area where the two genres intersect. you're being sloppy with your reasoning here, contie, by using it as a stand-in for some weird notions you have about Japan or America's expectations about Japan.

dayo, Monday, 16 April 2012 18:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

oh, and my earlier response to curmudgeon concerned 2NE1's "ugly" song & video

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 18:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

you're being sloppy with your reasoning here, contie, by using it as a stand-in for some weird notions you have about Japan or America's expectations about Japan.

that may be, but like i said, it was a casually chosen example, based mostly on the fact that you'd just linked to it in another thread

fwiw, there aren't many examples of the iconic J/K-pop girl group or artist that i can think to reach for in speaking to an american audience. the audience for such stuff over here is still very much a niche market.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 18:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

frogs: watching a live clip of jun togawa's "punk mushi no onna". is great! just what i was looking for. ironic in that she seems to be directly subverting the "cute, pretty, passive" ideal in the performance.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 18:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

as for whatever "weird notions" may be in play, i won't try and pretend that my thinking here is totally coherent and without stain. nevertheless, my intent is not to critique J/K pop, but to expand my own understanding of it. and to the extent that i'm discussing stereotypes, i'm trying to get at the way that japanese pop culture is conventionally understood and marketed in america.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 18:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

that jun togawa clip, if anyone's interested:

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 18:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

listened to several other JT songs, from various stages in her (surprisingly varied) career. most were pretty great, but none as raw and challenging as the live "punk mushi no onna". moar!

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 19:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

In the Aliee vein:

In the "Tina Turner" vein:

hurricane weather (forapper), Monday, 16 April 2012 23:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

I keep misreading this thread and thinking its about some duet that k-lo and j-lo have just released

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Monday, 16 April 2012 23:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

damn, thanks forapper! there's the gospel/r&b influence i was talking about earlier.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Monday, 16 April 2012 23:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

listened to several other JT songs, from various stages in her (surprisingly varied) career. most were pretty great, but none as raw and challenging as the live "punk mushi no onna". moar!

she was also in Guernica and Yapoos (plus several one-off projects) - the audio from the video above sounds like a crappy version of her live album. here's something more typical:
=

another "punk music no onna", no regards for her vocal chords at all (much higher quality too)
=

great song off the first yapoos album

you can expect punches, kicks and even worse (frogbs), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 23:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm going to hate myself for posting this, my one answer to all Japanese music questions. Shiina Ringo doesn't have the vocal chops of the artists you mention (certainly not Aretha!).

The second song here comes to mind (starts around 3:35):

Season Sayonara

and this song spends some time in an area I think might be close to what you're looking for but maybe not:

Jusui Negai

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 19 April 2012 04:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

(Obviously SR spends a lot of time doing what you aren't looking for as well.)

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 19 April 2012 04:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

Blackout

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 19 April 2012 04:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

not a star, but the title reminded me of her
http://youtu.be/8_IAMVW7RQA?t=3m17s

also there's always one singer per idol group who has a strong voice. they don't get to use it too much.

blah blah blah, Thursday, 19 April 2012 08:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

try UA. she prob has a more cool & restrained approach to vocals in some breeezy sade/corinne drewery kinda way but can also rip the shit out of her chords sometimes

an earlier tune from mid 90s

and this one is a great collab w/ yamp kolt from last year

cock chirea, Thursday, 19 April 2012 09:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yr welcome!

Insooni's father was African-American military personnel, like (recently eliminated) kpopstar Lee Michelle:

And rapper T(Tasha):

Whale from W and Whale grew up outside Korea, I believe. There are some 100% Korean idol group members who are US-influenced, though... the ones I'm thinking of at the moment are guys but I'm sure there are some girls are well... aside from the 2NE1 girls (CL/Bom/Minji), Taeyeon from SNSD can pull off RnB vocals:

hurricane weather (forapper), Thursday, 19 April 2012 21:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wanna thanks everybody for contributing to this thread, despite the weird tone of the opening posts. Will check out these tubes this evening. <3<3<3 to all

yuppie bullshit chocolate blogbait (contenderizer), Thursday, 19 April 2012 21:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

According to marxy at neojaponisme, African-American "soul" vocals are more familiar in Japan due to the influence of the Japanese version of <i>Hair</i>:

http://neojaponisme.com/2007/12/18/easy-to-be-haado/

Here's a recording from Hair (African-American singers brought in for backing vocals on the chorus):

hurricane weather (forapper), Thursday, 19 April 2012 21:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

Superfly? although singer Shiho Ochi is a bit more Joss Stone than Aretha

zappi, Thursday, 19 April 2012 21:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

the basic assumption you have is that liking japanese anime/manga = liking j-pop.

Yeah, this is maybe an easy mistake to make but very wrongheaded. I generally don't care much for the former but love the latter.

Yuki isn't exactly what contenderizer's talking about here, but she definitely has one of the more distinctive voices in j-pop.

Utada Hikaru is another good one.

I have a lot of other favorites, but I can't think of many that stray from that general high-pitched range.

You Don't Throw Oranges On An Escalator (Deric W. Haircare), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 20:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

woah, timely revive. was thinking of this thread last night, sorry that i'd let it die. anyway, a bunch of great recommendations from two weeks ago. lee michelle is amazing, and i fucking LOVE that superfly track. it's exactly the kind of singing i was hoping to find when starting his thread, and i'm a sucker for 70s metal. also, been hearing about shiina ringo & tokyo jihen for years on ILM, but had never checked her/them out. great stuff. thanks again to all who responded.

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 20:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

the basic assumption you have is that liking japanese anime/manga = liking j-pop.

again, not to mutilate a dead horse, but hatsune miku was an example chosen for specific reasons and wasn't meant as a general exemplar of all j/k-pop. i do think she's an instructive example when talking about the way japanese & korean pop culture is often marketed and (mis-)understood in the US, but i don't wanna get distracted by an argument about that.

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 20:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

also like that yuki song a hell of a lot, and it does help answer my initial question, cuz she's got a bit of that joan jett, punk style, "fuck you" rasp and swagger (lol, despite the fact that she's basically offering herself to the listener, check the video)

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 20:42 (1 year ago) Permalink


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