[Part Two] From The Boys of JE

December 7, 2008 at 5:02 pm (Arashi, Hey! Say! JUMP, Kanjani∞, KAT-TUN, KinKi Kids, NEWS, SMAP, Tackey & Tsubasa, Tegomasu, TOKIO, V6) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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Without a doubt, the “Kings of JE” title belong to Hey! Say! JUMP. I have fallen for these boys and am amazed at how far they’ve come since their debut single in 2007. These guys have released three singles this year and each single got better and better. Dreams come true was a very catchy and upbeat pop number that really showed the boys’ personality and made it an enjoyable listen. After that, the boys really impressed me with Your Seed / 冒険ライダー. It was with Your Seed, that I really got hooked on this group as they showed that mature sound that they do so well with. Even 冒険ライダー featured a slightly mature sound while still having that regular boyband feel. It was a perfect single and I couldn’t have asked for any better. But then they released 真夜中のシャドーボーイ and I fell in love all over again. The song featured a Spanish twist to bring out the boys mature side yet again (I think it should be manditory for all JE groups to have a Spanish influenced song since it always goes well). Along with falling in love with the music, I fell in love with the members of the group. Yamada is my absolute favorite and I’m glad he’s been the center of attention. He’s a good singer, great actor and is really hot. Yabu is my favorite BEST member and he’s extremely sexy. Thanks to both Sensei wa Erai! and Scrap Teacher, I’ve fallen for Nakajima and Daiki as well and I look forward to seeing more episodes of Scrap Teacher with them. Chinen and Takaki have considerably grown on me as well. Basically, Hey! Say! JUMP has done everything right this year except for one thing…AN ALBUM! If JE does not give them an album soon, I will go crazy so here’s to hoping we get an album in the first three months of January…

Coming in second for the “Kings of JE” is one of my favorite boybands, NEWS. The boys have released three heat1singles and one album this year, having their ups and downs. The boys’ first release of the year was with 太陽のナミダ, an absolutely fantastic dance song with Spanish and Arabian influences that sounds absolutely fantastic. Two of the B-sides on that single (バンビーナ and Lady Spider) also helped me fall for these guys, particularly Lady Spider. It is these types of songs that NEWS shines at so they really should continue exploring them. They followed up with SUMMER TIME, a sweet and cute summery number with that fun pop atomsphere that is perfect for that time of year. Once again, two B-sides (EASY COME, EASY GO and Liar) hooked me onto the single. Then came Happy Birthday, which was the weakest single from this era but still a nice enjoyable song. GAME of LOVE, which was the second B-side, was very strong and could have been the A-side. Then the album came and that’s why these boys don’t win the title of “Kings of JE.” After the amazing album, pacific, I was hoping that this album would be just as good, if not better. Unfortunately, this album was filled with forgetttable songs that just made me so disappointed. The one amazing new standout number was ケセナイ, sung courtesy of the man to your right, Tegoshi (Ryo and Shige were there too but it was Tegoshi leading). He definitely wins the “Prince of NEWS” title because he’s done everything right this year. He’s brought killer vocals to each song and he has looked since day one of this year until now (and before of course). I absolutely love Tegoshi and he’s one of my favorite members (alongside Massu) so it’s no surprise that he would deliver. Also the boys brought a concert DVD, which was absolutely entrancing. Certain performances such as SHOCK ME vs Devil or Angel. 愛のマタドール and ゴメンネ ジュリエット really made the DVD a perfect watch because the boys really bring the heat (i.e. see Yamapi perform his solo song…it’s…wow). I hope the boys are able to deliver strong material next year but I don’t doubt them. All the singles leading up to the album were fantastic so I’m hoping next time around, they put a little more effort into making the album as varied as the singles. On a related note, Tegoshi and Massu teamed up again as Tegomass and released their third single, 相合傘, which is a beautiful ballad about being unable to tell your feelings to the one you love while sharing an umbrella. It was an adorable single and I’m glad that they did this, which leaves me ready for an album from them next year.

ohnoWell I’m sure people will diasagree with this position but I give Arashi third place for “Kings of JE.” They’ve have been some very busy boys this year, releasing four singles and an album, which makes them the most active releasers of the year in Johnny’s Entertainment. They released Step and Go in February and that was my first taste of these guys and it caught my attention. It’s definitely the type of song that gets stuck in your head. Then they released Dream”A”live, an album packed with enjoyable uptempo numbers to keep the listener moving. It was pretty enjoyable and I would crown it “Johnny’s Entertainment Album Of The Year” (even though that may not be much of a prize seeing as only NEWS, SMAP and KAT-TUN were released an album besides Arashi but they get it nonetheless). But it was One Love, which really made me interested in these guys. This song is absolutely fantastic and is definitely the best song they have released thus far. It’s so pretty that it could even make me cry. Following was truth / 風の向こうへ, which everyone seemed to eat up. Honestly though, I didn’t really see what was so fantastic about it. Luckily Beautiful days was a step up and stood out to me. If you want proof that people love Arashi, just look at the sales. They have absolutely smashed the charts and stomped people out from the top spots. I was really surprised but I congratulate them and hope their success continues. My favorite member is without a doubt Ohno. The first thing I noticed about his him was his face and how it kind of had a sadness to it, at least to me anyway. I think he’s a good leader and look forward to see him grow and sing in the future.

It was a close call for third place but ultimately I gave it to Arashi. So fourth place (but still really close to taking kenthird) is V6. The guys’ first single of the year was 蝶, which immediately caught my eye. Well it wasn’t so much the title track as the second B-side, SHOW ME, that made me fall for these guys. SHOW ME is amazing and fantastic, definitely worth being an A-side. It’s the real reason that I came to follow these guys music. However all the songs on that single were fantastic, including the two other B-sides (Keep a Chance and Twlight emotion). 蝶 was a great title track, taking on Spanish sounds to push the instrumentation over the edge. VIBES, a DVD single, was released soon after and it was kind of like a mini album since there were so many new tracks. VOLTAGE, サンキュー! ミュージック! and DIVE were the three standout songs on this single and definitely kept the group’s momentum of strong songs. Next they released LIGHT IN YOUR HEART / Swing!, which was a very catchy single worth listening to. I didn’t really get to know these guys very well but I’ve chosen my favorite member, who we can take a look at to our right. Let’s take a big thanks to Raid at Raid My Mini Bar for pointing out Ken Miyake to me. There is a picture of him on the website (a random picture in a group appears at the top) and that’s how I got introduced this very hot guy. I tried to find that picture but to no avail. I hope these boys will be putting out an album soon so I can see just how talented these boys are and I hope they continue to deliver hot uptempo tunes.

kokiIt was also hard to choose who would get the 5th spot for “Kings of JE” but I chose to give it to KAT-TUN. With three singles and one album under their belt for the year, KAT-TUN definitely had their share of releases. Let’s be honest, T∀BOO is the reason that these boys got this spot. They’ve released LIPS, DON’T U EVER STOP and White X’mas but none of those songs could hold a candle to that amazingness that is T∀BOO. It’s a sleek and sexy number that is not only one of the best opening tracks of the year but one of the best opening tracks ever. It is addictive and worth the listen if you haven’t heard it. QUEEN OF THE PIRATES was a nice album although a little too focused on rock and not strong enough ballads. Keep the faith was a strong follow up to the introductory track and was another album highlight. Who is my favorite member of KAT-TUN? Tanaka Koki of course. He always stands out to be when I watch their PVs and his voice catches my ear when I hear their songs. Plus he has such a different look from the rest of his bandmates, it’s hard not to see him. Even though the singles could have been a little stronger and a little more aggressive, I would say KAT-TUN did a good job this year with their releases and I’m excited to see what they bring next year. Also their tour DVD comes out next year and I’ll be waiting to see T∀BOO  live.

The rest of the groups I’ll be counting down did not release very much in comparison to their counterparts so I’ll just tackey1review them as one paragraph. 6th place goes to Kinki Kids, who actually only released one single. But what a single it was…Both Secret Code, the title track, and the B-sides made me really fond of these guys. It’s such a shame that they only released one single because I was looking forward to hearing more. While Secret Code takes on the cool jazzy route, strategie uses Spanish influences with Fu Fu Fu and ビターショコラ following the jazz suit. Plus I found out about Domoto Koichi, who is hot beyond belief. Up next is Tackey & Tsubasa, who take 7th place. Much like Kinki Kids, they only released one single but it was pretty good. 恋詩 – コイウタ- was really pretty so it was worth the listen while PROGRESS was a nice uptempo number. The 8th spot goes to SMAP, who released two enjoyable singles: そのまま / White Message and この瞬間, きっと夢じゃない. These guys have some really nice voices so I’m glad I was introduced to them. They also released an album entitled super.modern.artistic.performance, which I haven’t gotten around to listening to but I will soon. Kanjani∞ comes in 9th, mostly for Wahaha. That single was pretty catchy although not the most memorable song I could have hoped for. This group is just okay for me so I hope they release some material to really make me like them because I think that it’s just their style / image that just doesn’t suit me very well. Finally 10th place is TOKIO, who only released one single, 雨傘 / あきれるくらい僕らは願おう. It was nice although it didn’t really catch my attention like the other groups. I hope that these groups (Kinki Kids in particular) will be more active next year so I can really experience what they’re like.

Johnny’s Entertainment certainly has the talent to back up their big name. Many people associate JE with boys who rely on looks rather than talent but that is absolutely not true. Of course these boys have the looks but they have extreme talent to match. Hey! Say! JUMP brought some amazing material this year, winning them title of Kings of Johnny’s Entertainment 2008. NEWS and Arashi also brought some very nice material and had NEWS made a stronger album, they might have taken the crown. Arashi had a very big year as the most releasing group of JE so I wonder what next year will have in store for them, seeing as it is their 10th anniversary. The other groups all had their own special touch even if some weren’t very active. I look forward to seeing what Johnny Kitagawa plans for in 2009…it better be an album from Hey! Say! JUMP at the beginning or I will be pissed.

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7 Comments

  1. angelofdevotion said,

    Nice article!
    I really agree that people often judge JE by their looks and dont even try to look out at their talents. HSJ is very very fresh and you can the feeling that they will be following senpai-tachi’s footsteps. I really respect how they are trying so so hard, and they did it really well. Young, talented and awesome.

    NEWS is my fave band, I totally adore Tegoshi to the day I die because his voice is just so good. I love Kesenai too! The other songs are alright, but I prefer the Pacific album to the color album. (I like the other singles though. Summertime, weeeek and Taiyou no Namida are awesome)

    ARASHI goes to my next fave band after NEWS! Everytime I am bored, I just watched their variety shows and feel a meaning to life again. (Which means, it keeps me entertained)

    KAT-TUN is great, I like their catchy songs, but I just have one mini problem I hope I don;t get penalized for mentioning it. Jin’s attitude towards his band. He seems a bit annoyed, and irritated by something these days, and makes the atmosphere of the band unlike the happy moments before when he went to US. But Overall for me, KT is great in making catchy songs, I like their X-mas song too, Kame looks totally gorgeous there.

    I think HSJ will be a rising star in 2009 for sure. My bet is on Yamada. He seems to be the second Yamapi to me! I just have that feeling when i see chibi Pi!
    Will look forward to your next analysis of the boys!

  2. amaiyume said,

    yeah, the automatic association with JE boys is that they’re pretty boys who can’t sing. But they can definitely sing so they should give them a chance and try to put their judgements aside. Hey! Say! JUMP have really taken on a mature sound and they pull it off so well so I’m looking forward to what they bring.

    And yeah I agree with you about NEWS. pacific is much better than color. Kesenai is beautiful though and Tegoshi brings the song to life with gorgeous vocals. Gorgeous song…like the one new jewel on the album. Otherwise, it’s the single songs that really shine here.

    Arashi is pretty good. One Love was friggin fantastic so they should be proud of that. Step and Go was pretty catchy too. I wanna see them switch it up and maybe give a good dance song or something. Ya know?

    KAT-TUN is good at delivering rock songs but I wanna see them shine in other areas. TABOO was absolutely HOT so they can definitely do it but it’s a matter of them being consistent. I suppose we’ll see when they release some new material…

    I agree!!!!! Hey! Say! JUMP has been rising in popularity while most other groups have been declining (excluding Arashi of course) so they’ll be shining in 2009…of course if we have an ALBUM *hint hint.*

    Wow, our tastes are really similar!!!!

  3. Karen said,

    “KAT-TUN is great, I like their catchy songs, but I just have one mini problem I hope I don;t get penalized for mentioning it. Jin’s attitude towards his band. He seems a bit annoyed, and irritated by something these days, and makes the atmosphere of the band unlike the happy moments before when he went to US. But Overall for me, KT is great in making catchy songs, I like their X-mas song too, Kame looks totally gorgeous there. ” – you’re not the only 1 who felt the same way . I seen their latest pics that were posted on the LJ communities & he’s like the sore thumb in that he doesn’t smile while the rest do :S

    Even Ueda’s smiling more these few days but at least Akanishi was in a much better mood in the latest HEYx3 , Utaban & also in the making of White X’mas . The factory skits that the guys did in the making of are hilarious & so funny

  4. kaori. said,

    1. ARASHI – look at their sales
    2. KAT-TUN – look at their sales.
    3. HSJ – look at their sales.
    4. NEWS – look at their sales. =/

  5. amaiyume said,

    lol, I know!
    Then again, Arashi gets good tie-ins while everyone else not so much. Disregarding sales, Hey! Say! JUMP did the best musically I think.
    Arashi has released a buttload but it wasn’t the strongest out of everyone. But One Love was amazing XD

    I think everyone needs to be pulling in better tie-ins. But I guess Arashi gets first priority when one of the members is actually IN the drama…

  6. kaori. said,

    D:
    They all get pretty good tie-ins!

    NEWS had an entire product campaign behind them for Happy Birthday, a clothing line for SUMMER TIME and a feature film for Taiyou no Namida! HSJ had a film for YS / BR, a drama for MnSB and volleyball tournament tie-ins for the other two singles.

    Arashi isn’t first priority in anything really. They all get pretty equal tie-ins…

  7. amaiyume said,

    Well from what I’ve seen, the doramas seem to pull in the best sales for singles. So it’s true NEWS got a lot of tie-ins but I felt like more drama tie-ins would have been better. Of course just because it’s a drama, it doesn’t mean the single will automatically sell well but I feel like it does up the chances.

    Hey! Say! JUMP got some good tie-ins, I can agree with that 🙂

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