Lost in Translation: The Hottest New Western Releases in Japan


Every month Yahoo Japan chooses five new Western releases as their “must buy” picks — because evidently “buy” and “music” are two words that Japanese listeners still use together without adding “I can hardly remember when I used to.” Mysterious.

But what piques our interest even more: What Western music do the Japanese think is worth buying? After the jump, multilingual Flavorwire contributor Doug Schrashun is here to translate the scoop from Japan for the rest of us.

Brace yourselves — Christina Aguilera made the cut.

Irrasshaimase readers…

1. The Killers, Day and Age The story goes that they’re adored everywhere but at home, often for strange, cryptic reasons. “Now they’re being called ‘the representative band of American liberal arts’, and even approaching the level of England’s Coldplay.” Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

2. Pink, Funhouse “‘I may not be cute, but are you gonna say anything about it?’… With that kind of character’s sense of existence, the voice she unapologetically and powerfully raises up in song is as cool as ever.” Even the Japanese can’t make Pink sound interesting.

3. Christina Aguilera, Keeps Getting Better – A Decade of Hits “Not satisfied with being the assessment ‘if it’s a song it’s Aguilera’, she’s tried grandiose concept albums and dirty characters, and expanded her range of skills over the years. But if you listen to the novel electro route she takes on the title track to which the album is dedicated, you start looking forward more to the next ten years.” She’ll be working with Goldfrapp and Ladytron on her next album. Novel electro is right.

4. Sonny J, Disastro Here we see the inexplicable Japanese taste for British music that nobody else cares about. “A world view that brings forth the vision of a peaceful paradise, appearing in the midst of dazzling Avalanches and Go! Team style samples is the perfect fit for the dance floor.” Well, sounds better than Snow Patrol at least.

5. Andrew W.K., The Covers Japanese tastes are in many ways inexplicable — they still like Mr. Big, but they also had LCD Soundsystem on blast before Brooklyn even caught on. Andrew W.K. is a classic example of a star who should be bigger in the States making it big in Japan. Now he has released a J-Pop covers album “Normally if a Western artist went through this sort of plan, there would be more than a few fans who would gladly ignore it, but the compatibility of this artist’s character and song choice is often deeply interesting.” Indeed.