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INTEREST: L'Arc en Ciel's Hyde Expresses Frustration at the State of Japan's Hit Music Charts


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FtKaru



Joined: 05 Jan 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:10 pm Reply with quote
Unless he's talking specifically about OSTs (which rarely chart afaik), isn't "anime music" really just normal music but featured in OP/ED/Insert Songs? I guess lyrically it can rely on the show, but it usually doesn't stray from an artist's normal work. "Idol music" also doesn't really tell me anything other than it's associated with idols. I guess there is the impression that "idol music" is all of this samey sounding Jpop songs sung by a number groups, which is definitely true to an extent, but there are a large variety of different styles among them if you actually look. You won't see anyone drawing parallels between Walkure and Aqours. It's more of an issue that it's hard to distinguish between entire group voices when you have 4+ people singing simultaneously in a lot of songs.

It would be nice to have more variety in the charts, but these kinds of issues are the case just about anywhere. You'll find just as many people complaining in the US that the same pop artists are dominating the charts constantly. I'm just glad to see people still willing to support artists they like, even if I don't care for the music myself.


Last edited by FtKaru on Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SHD



Joined: 05 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:10 pm Reply with quote
kiminobokuwa wrote:
I feel like this dude is whining that his song is no better than anime songs.

You're talking about a guy whose main band has a very respectable number of #1 hits... L'Arc-en-Ciel is not some random no-name band, when they were active (actually active instead of whatever it is that they're doing nowadays) their singles and albums regularly topped charts and stayed there for a very long time. It's that in the last ~5-10 years or so the overall music trends have changed and in a direction that he doesn't appreciate.

In a way I get where he's coming from. It's easy to say that "back in my day it was all better" but when it comes to music, I definitely think that popular Japanese music (including rock) used to be more varied, instead of the completely cookie-cutter idol stuff and anisong that we have now. (Not that there wasn't cookie-cutter pop stuff back then, not at all, but if you looked at the charts, it didn't dominate this much. And as for anisongs, I mean I enjoy a lot of say, UtaPri songs, but it gets one thinking to always see any given release of them in the Oricon top 10.) Nowadays if you want something good and creative in Japanese music you can't really find it on the charts, which is I guess the same as everywhere else, but back then it didn't use to be like this, not so much.

Kalessin wrote:
I find the fact that someone from L'Arc en Ciel is saying this particularly funny, because I've found that the songs that they do for an anime tend to be truly awesome, whereas I don't like most of their other music.

They don't really do stuff for an anime, though. As with most artists, they make songs and then their label gets an anime OP deal for promotion. Personally I love most of their music, especially the '90s-early '00s songs are really awesome.

By the way, there's a mistranslation in the article. Here's the original in Japanese from the source link:
Quote:
質問:日本の音楽シーンに不満を感じている部分はどんなところですか?
hydeさんの答え:チャートがアニメやアイドルばかりなのが悔しい。悪いとかじゃなくて、もっと他の人もがんばらないといけないと感じる。海外の人が見たら異様なチャートだな感じると思う。それが日本の文化なんだろうけど、もっと融合するなり、変えて行きたい。

He says:
"It's annoying that the chart is nothing but anime and idol music. I'm not saying it's necessarily bad, it just makes me feel that everyone else needs to work harder." (Also I'm not sure I'd translate kuyashii as "annoying" here, but whatever.)
Basically he just says that it's kind of a shame and he wishes there was more variety.

Also I don't think he's wrong when he says foreigners would think Japanese music charts are weird. How often are current American music charts dominated by music by poppy cutesy girl idol groups and boybands, and music from cartoons for nerds? Very Happy (I mean sure, Love Live is a monster of a franchise, but that's pretty much the exception to the rule.)


Last edited by SHD on Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Agent355



Joined: 12 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:21 pm Reply with quote
Kalessin wrote:
I find the fact that someone from L'Arc en Ciel is saying this particularly funny, because I've found that the songs that they do for an anime tend to be truly awesome, whereas I don't like most of their other music.

It's hilarious! Why is he insulting his & his band's work, the very songs that brought his band the biggest period of its international popularity? I like many of their anisongs ("Lost Heaven" from Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa, "Shine" from Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit), but more importantly, so do a lot of other people. Doing a little Googling, I found this gem, an article from Forbes in 2012 titled L'arc en Ciel, the Richest Rock Band You've Never Heard Of
They were the first Japanese band to head Madison Square Garden! That's an amazing achievement! I doubt they would have been able to do it if it weren't for the ubiquity of "Ready, Steady Can't Hold Me Back...", though
.
But I also learned that Hyde is 47 years old and L'arc en Ciel was formed way back in 1991, so I don't blame him for being a bit tired of anisongs and not caring for idols.
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#sukkar



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:24 pm Reply with quote
I think one of the things a few people are missing when he refers to "anime songs" is that he probably isn't talking about all music used in anime. If there's a mainstream artist whose song is used in an anime, chances are the show had little to no influence on the song and it's simply a promotional deal. (there was/is even a specific block of prime time shows in Japan whose ED/OP songs were promotional deals with Sony Japan)

I imagine he's referring to anison music. Anisons are much more niche than your typical mainstream song. The lyrics are often inspired by the show itself, usually better understood by someone watching the show than someone listening to the song on their own. Modern anison often come from labels like Lantis and 5pb. Records.

The idol thing has been prevalent in Japanese music for decades - you had Morning Musume and the abundance of Johnnys Entertainment groups doing their thing. Anison being better sellers is more of a recent thing and fans in general can inflate a single or albums sales by buying multiple copies to get handshake tickets and whatnot. (top 10 singles of any given year for like, the past decade, are usually going to be a handful of Arashi (Johnnys) or AKB singles)

Quote:
I doubt they would have been able to do it if it weren't for the ubiquity of "Ready, Steady Can't Hold Me Back...", though


Yeah I don't buy that for a moment. They had been a band for over 20 years by that point and had countless #1 singles and albums. The anime fans that buy their stuff probably do prop up their sales a bit, but this is likely just the stuff related to anime. The Garden show they did was more likely caused by the rising exposure the internet has brought as well as a more vocal Asian-American population.


Last edited by #sukkar on Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:28 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Stuart Smith



Joined: 13 Jan 2013
Posts: 1298
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:24 pm Reply with quote
Shiflan wrote:
I find this rather confusing to be honest. Justin has mentioned in a previous column that the majority of Japanese DON'T listen to anime music, and that the Oricon charts were consistently dominated by boy bands and highly promoted acts--the equivalents of Justin Bieber or Britney Spears in the US.


"Anime music" is incredibly vague. I would assume Justin said that about character songs, but OP and ED songs are huge in Japan. Unlike here, anime songs are usually done by real artists, as opposed to an in-house studio or singer. Heck, I associate B'z, Mai Kuraki, and Garnet Crow more with Detective Conan than anything else considering the amount of songs they performed for that series, and their works make #1 on the chart quite often.

There's no accounting for taste though, because my two favorite opening themes just so happen to be the two worst ranking ones (tear drops, and Greed)

-Stuart Smith
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SHD



Joined: 05 Apr 2015
Posts: 556
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:32 pm Reply with quote
#sukkar wrote:
I think one of the things a few people are missing when he refers to "anime songs" is that he probably isn't talking about all music used in anime. If there's a mainstream artist whose song is used in an anime, chances are the show had little to no influence on the song and it's simply a promotional deal. (there was/is even a specific block of prime time shows in Japan whose ED/OP songs were promotional deals with Sony Japan)

I imagine he's referring to anison music. Anisons are much more niche than your typical mainstream song. The lyrics are often inspired by the show itself, usually better understood by someone watching the show than someone listening to the song on their own. Modern anison often come from labels like Lantis and 5pb. Records.

The idol thing has been prevalent in Japanese music for decades - you had Morning Musume and the abundance of Johnnys Entertainment groups doing their thing. Anison being better sellers is more of a recent thing and fans in general can inflate a single or albums sales by buying multiple copies to get handshake tickets and whatnot. (top 10 singles of any given year for like, the past decade, are usually going to be a handful of Arashi (Johnnys) or AKB singles)

^Yep, exactly. He means anisongs, not the kind of anime OP/ED songs that were added as record label promotion deals.

Agent355 wrote:
It's hilarious! Why is he insulting his & his band's work, the very songs that brought his band the biggest period of its international popularity? I like many of their anisongs ("Lost Heaven" from Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa, "Shine" from Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit), but more importantly, so do a lot of other people.

Look above... He's not talking about songs that were applied to anime. L'Arc-en-Ciel (or B'z or Glay or hell Buck-Tick...) never wrote songs for anime, they just wrote songs that ended up getting used in anime. This is very different than anisongs, which is what he's talking about, and which are specifically written for anime and performed by seiyuu or artists who often don't really do other sort of work.

Also, as for L'Arc-en-Ciel, their songs ended up being used in anime because they were crazy popular. (The one exception probably being Blurry Eyes which was their first major label single, but that's just an insanely catchy little song.) They didn't need anime to get where they were. As for international fame, sure, anime probably helped with that, but during that time JRock was also very popular on its own, and a lot of people who weren't really into anime were into these bands just for their music.
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gabuhaha



Joined: 01 Mar 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:19 pm Reply with quote
SHD wrote:

Agent355 wrote:
It's hilarious! Why is he insulting his & his band's work, the very songs that brought his band the biggest period of its international popularity?...
They were the first Japanese band to head Madison Square Garden! That's an amazing achievement! I doubt they would have been able to do it if it weren't for the ubiquity of "Ready, Steady Can't Hold Me Back...", though


Also, as for L'Arc-en-Ciel, their songs ended up being used in anime because they were crazy popular. (The one exception probably being Blurry Eyes which was their first major label single, but that's just an insanely catchy little song.) They didn't need anime to get where they were. As for international fame, sure, anime probably helped with that, but during that time JRock was also very popular on its own, and a lot of people who weren't really into anime were into these bands just for their music.


Yes, during the period L'arc was really active, Jrock was almost as popular in the west as anime itself was. "Ready, steady, go" certainly heightened their popularity but it's not what led to that popularity to begin with. It had just been released when they came to Otakon 2004. See animenewsnetwork.com/convention/2004/otakon/17. There were a ton of people that went to Otakon specifically to see L'arc (myself included).
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ChrissyC



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Posts: 442
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:26 pm Reply with quote
Many music charts all around the world usually share the similar genre that`s on top and it boils down to pop music. Pop music is essentially supposed to be feel good and extremely accessible, considering all the views pop songs get worldwide from many different regions, my conclusion is that pop is always on the top.

On more relation to the anisong part, I believe most users here are getting it right when they say Hyde isn`t necessarily saying every song used for anime rather the ones directly influenced and built for an anime that he has an issue with.

On the note with directly being created for an anime that can get muddy as well because there are songs that are made by individuals like Ryo who obviously are making songs directly for an anime ("Everlasting Guilty Crown" & "Kabaneri Of The Iron Fortress") but are major label artist or even L`Arc~en~ciel`s song "Daybreak`s Bell" that correlates way too much with Gundam 00 (considering the lyrics about flying, war, and etc).


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Kalessin



Joined: 15 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:27 pm Reply with quote
SHD wrote:
Look above... He's not talking about songs that were applied to anime. L'Arc-en-Ciel (or B'z or Glay or hell Buck-Tick...) never wrote songs for anime, they just wrote songs that ended up getting used in anime. This is very different than anisongs, which is what he's talking about, and which are specifically written for anime and performed by seiyuu or artists who often don't really do other sort of work.


There are some very good songs that are done specifically for anime, but usually, they're not as good as the stuff that's not - at least, I sure don't think so. It's often good and enjoyable, but the best stuff always comes from the folks who actually release albums separately from anime (whether there are anime-related songs on there or not and whether the artist is also a voice actor or not). I can certainly understand being annoyed if songs sung by voice actors specifically for anime series keep topping the chart - particularly when most of those voice actors don't sing professionally separately from their work for anime. That sort of thing could feel a bit like amateurs kept beating out the professionals, even if that's not exactly what's happening. So, if that's what he's complaining about, it makes a lot of sense.

But the charts are supposed to be based on actual sales, so they should at least represent what folks are actually paying for. So, either more folks really like those songs even though many would think that they're worse, or they're just more willing to pay for them. If that's what people like, then that's what people like, but it's sad if folks aren't actually buying music anymore, and I know that that's been a problem with folks in the US on some level, so it probably is in Japan as well - though they seem to have a much stronger CD market there than we do here at this point - if nothing else, because they do less in terms of downloadable releases.
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H. Guderian



Joined: 29 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:39 pm Reply with quote
yes, which is what I've been saying. its long been no secret that the BD industry in Japan is almost entirely otaku-financed. Music CDs were once massively consumed, but now they're bundled with anime discs, and many fans buy them out of loyalty to the artist.

The mainstream has shied away, allowing a much smaller subculture to gain far more traction. Either get the mainstream to buy CDs against or those charts are only gonna get filled with even more loyalty products.
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D00dleB0Y



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:08 pm Reply with quote
I agree with him. It's hard not to.
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Lady Multi



Joined: 11 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:45 pm Reply with quote
The deal is these anime intro/outro songs that usually hit the charts are what and can introduce people to the music by the artist.

I actually haven't listened to many new songs for quite a long long while so I haven't gotten anything new. All my songs came from finding the artist through anime intro/outro
...but then again... an even larger deal of them? They came from the seemingly lost art of AMVs on Youtube. I found sooo much music from Amvs back many years ago and found SOO many great artists. I pretty much used that as a radio to find sounds I loved...but all the artists got really protective of copyright and stuff so I stopped finding new people and songs so I stopped getting new songs.

And for the longest time, a lot of Japanese artists weren't available on iTunes or Amazon.. I mean NOW they are but, they used to be so very very few it was ridiculous.

I understand what his concern is. But ...really, the people who will look at the chart already knows of Japan. The people who are going to judge it Japan on culture and stuff are already biased people who don't understand (trust me, I work with some; they won't even listen to me when I try to explain things to them... old stereotypes.....)
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Alabaster Spectrum



Joined: 02 Sep 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:53 pm Reply with quote
http://www.oricon.co.jp/rank/js/d/2016-09-12/

He's not wrong though, on a given day you can expect to see the charts thoroughly dominated by some combination of 48 and Johnny's groups as well as whatever anime idol group is getting a release that week like u's, Aqours, Walkure, iDOLISH7, [email protected] etc. About the most variety you get over there anymore is when they import a K-Pop groups music. Maybe he should take it up with his record label though as they are just as at fault for pushing that sort of stuff as anybody. It's grown really one dimensional in Asia.

kiminobokuwa wrote:
I feel like this dude is whining that his song is no better than anime songs. Besides, who cares? If anime songs r making the top stop he just has to try harder. And if the fact that anime music is making the top spot even if we know that not everyone even likes anime then that means that there's something for everyone to enjoy within the genre. So, in all he has to suck it up.


I don't think that's it nor is it a matter of trying harder. Anime song artist x could try there ass off like they never have in their life and put out their magnum opus and it still probably wouldn't sell even close to as much as Walkure (Macross), [email protected] or Aqours song x with an event ticket or something like that. There's a pretty huge sales gap between some of these that is entirely based on branding. I mean take for example when Aqours goes from just being formed and handpicked from a bunch of industry rookies a year ago to anisong chart topper (Some of their earlier albums are already nearing gold certification) just because it's part of the School Idol Project. I don't necessarily think that's a matter of them just "trying" that much harder than people that have been at it for years.
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grooven



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:19 pm Reply with quote
I can get his gripe with idol songs, but anime songs are diverse and can sound amazing. Plenty are done with lots of talented, hard working people.
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omiya



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:22 pm Reply with quote
Kalessin wrote:
There are some very good songs that are done specifically for anime, but usually, they're not as good as the stuff that's not - at least, I sure don't think so. It's often good and enjoyable, but the best stuff always comes from the folks who actually release albums separately from anime (whether there are anime-related songs on there or not and whether the artist is also a voice actor or not). I can certainly understand being annoyed if songs sung by voice actors specifically for anime series keep topping the chart - particularly when most of those voice actors don't sing professionally separately from their work for anime. That sort of thing could feel a bit like amateurs kept beating out the professionals, even if that's not exactly what's happening. So, if that's what he's complaining about, it makes a lot of sense.


Probably some more specifics are needed.

I would say that more effort gets put into anime OP/ED/INS songs (that aren't purely voice actors who aren't also singers in their own right) than Japanese pop songs in general.

For those who are both singers and voice actors / actresses, I don't think that anyone would say that Nana Mizuki isn't as good as any Japanese non-anison artist.

Many anison and non-anison artists sing songs that are composed by the Elements Garden collective, so there is some equality of songwriting there.

Of anison artists who write their own songs, Chiaki Ishikawa started out in See-Saw with Yuki Kajiura, and her solo efforts (mainly but not only anison) while not chart-topping have been top class. Atsuko and Katsu of Angela have been putting out brillant songs for anime for several years and Atsuko's operatic voice is also as good as any Japanese artist.

The group Fhana started out as an independent act, but have gone on to make some of the best recent anime songs.

The anison labels King Records, Lantis, Flying Dog, 5pb and other labels like NBC Universal (e.g. with Maon Kurosaki) and Sony Music Entertainment (e.g. with Kalafina) all have artists that are the equal or better than pop artists in Japan in general as far as I can see.

Good songs come from anison and other artists, whether they'll chart or not is another matter.
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