Friday, March 22, 2013
Aira Mitsuki -- COSMiC CHOPPER
Before talking about today’s song, I decided to share a little funny and curious story about a lack of synchrony between the Japanese mainstream music market and some of the Western blogosphere interested in J-pop.
There was a time, back in 2008 and 2009, that a door full of possibilities was opened in the J-pop world. As Perfume became a national success with “Polyrhythm” (ポリリズム) and the album “GAME”, a lot of Western observers thought that some sort of “musical changes” were about to occur in Japan’s mainstream music, with more Technopop artists climbing high on the Oricon charts. As we see in retrospective, it didn’t happen. Perfume was the only act of its type that enjoyed mainstream success. Many artists that started their careers at those particular years were also very well known names in the Western J-pop blogosphere. But those artists, like Aira Mitsuki, saori@destiny, Sweet Vacation, Sawa and Mizca, had their careers fallen apart in 2010/2011, with very few material released since then. We can only say that Western observers were probably more excited about these artists than Japanese music buyers themselves.
As I’ve already said before, the success of the genre simply didn’t happen, and the “musical changes” that we were all waiting for was just a sweet dream. Things were changing, but not in the direction we thought they were. 2009, for example, is an important year in recent J-pop history because marks the first time that aidoru group AKB48 landed in No. 1 on the weekly Oricon charts with the single “RIVER”, and not because Technopop became an important mainstream musical genre. In that sense, the Technopop hype that took over Western Japanese music lovers in 2008 and 2009 was a very singular phenomenon that I kindly keep in my mind. The reason is simple: as I was some years away from the J-pop world at the time, this Technopop scene was “THE THING” to look for when I returned to it. Maybe it was not even a real fad, but I felt as if it was.
Little stories apart, I’m going to talk about “COSMiC CHOPPER”, a song from “electropop idol” Aira Mitsuki. The song was the second b-side of Aira’s fourth official single “Sayonara TECHNOPOLiS” (サヨナラ TECHNOPOLiS), released in January 2009.
“COSMiC CHOPPER” can be roughly described as a funk/disco-influenced electropop song. The bassline is very prominent with lots of slapping, and the disco “synths-trying-to-be-strings” samples used during the chorus just adds to the whole spacey vibe of the song. Aira’s heavily processed vocals works very well in this case too.
All in all, “COSMiC CHOPPER” ended as one of my favorite songs from 2009. I remember that when it was released, I kind of wished it was a Perfume song, because it sounded THAT good. But I can live with it being an Aira Mitsuki song. To be honest with her, though, she had a lot of great songs. Unfortunately, they never reached the success she deserved. Maybe Aira was not that charismatic, or most of her songs were not poppy enough. I can’t really find an answer.
As I’ve already said, “COSMiC CHOPPER” was released as a b-side in the “Sayonara TECHNOPOLiS” single, released in January 2009. The single reached #27 on the Oricon chart (source: generasia), but I couldn’t find the number of copies sold. As for lyrics and music, they were made by TO-WEST. And the whole single was produced by Terukado Onishi (大西輝門), Aira's main producer.