I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

BLU-SWING -- Flash

Last night, I had dinner with an old friend of mine and his wife. All three of us are pretty diligent foodies but the friend and I also have an affinity with Japanese pop music. So we were talking a little on how the Oricon yearly charts over the past few years have been dominated by the alphabet aidoru groups with a little representation by either Arashi or Exile. As much as we sometimes wish that some variety would return to the charts in terms of individual singers and genres, we also mused that because of the charts being filled with so much aidoru, perhaps music fans have started to search for alternate sources of melodic enjoyment with these bands starting to come into the fore. My friend has found some hitherto unknown acts in Japan and I have as well. I guess in a way, Newton's Third Law of Motion has been enacted.

In the last several weeks, I've come across acts such as microstar and Lamp thanks to YouTube and commenter tips. Not that such bands have suddenly started their careers. These folks have been around for many years but I've only made their acquaintance very recently and I guess it may have been my curiosity for something new that has made these discoveries all the happier for me.

Another band that has not only piqued my curiosity but has garnered interest enough for me to want to get their material is BLU-SWING. According to their website, the band released their first major album in 2008, "Revision" and cover the genres of City Pop, Club Jazz and Hip-Hop. BLU-SWING has keyboardist Yusuke Nakamura(中村祐介), bassist Shinji Hasuike(蓮池真治), guitarist Show Kojima(小島翔), drummer Tomoaki 'Bhutan' Miyamoto(宮本“ブータン”知聡)and vocalist Yuri Tanaka(田中裕梨).

"Flash" is the title track from their 2015 album. Man, do I like the smooth running of this song and the arrangement had me thinking of some of that wonderful Misia and bird soul from the beginning of this century. I think Tokyo nighttime drives have become even more attractive. Wouldn't it be nice for an urban contemporary song with some good groove to crack the Oricon Top 10 for the year someday?


  1. I've only recently encountered Blu-Swing's "Sunset" from 2013. The combination of the heavy groove, horn runs, tinkly piano and appealing vocals hit the right spot for me:

    I'm curious as to how you would classify that song genre-wise ...

    - roelm

    1. Hi, roelm.

      I was actually thinking of doing an article on "Sunset" fairly soon....and I was also knocking my head on how I would categorize it. Is it jazz, City Pop, R&B, some new form? What do you think? Should it even be categorized?

      In any case, it's good stuff!

    2. Hi J-Canuck,

      I actually submitted it to the citypop subreddit since it sounded close enough but I'm definitely uncertain about the genre. It sounds jazzy except that the groove does not quite fit. To me it has some affinities to a Chic song "I Want Your Love" (1978):

      - roelm

    3. Hi, roelm.

      Perhaps a lot of BLU-SWING's material may be in this gray zone? I listened to their "RAIN" ( Again, wonderful but hazy on the genre: I hear some jazz, pop, bossa nova, etc.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.