With 2013 coming to an end, JpopAsia's staff has taken a look back upon the year and share what they think were the year's best in J-pop music.
: Akihisa Kondo is yet another hidden gem in the crowded Japanese pop scene. From melancholic tender ballads to bouncy dance tracks, "You &" is a whirlpool of creative, vibrant, playful and colorful tunes. Akihisa's distinctive voice, great musical arrangement and driving acoustic rhythms in each and every song makes this release a truly irresistible find. The album includes the chart-topper "Tete", an ending theme song for anime "Space Brothers, and previously released singles "Fleur" and "Rahen".
: Now this is a very interesting release. "World Wide Dempa" is like a breath of fresh air among the never-ending train of boring, cloned pop, or rather a very contemporary and daring breath. The album is a rich combination of sick sonic sounds and euphoric techno jam topped with out-of-this-world vocals. It also includes a cover of Beastie Boys' "Sabotage", which is not what you expect it to be. Aggressive, fun, over-the-top and unpredictable, it's a love it or hate it release, and we certainly love it!
: Kominami Yasuh first studio album,"Chimera", is a successful attempt to bring some hard rock, folk and slow upbeat tunes together. The album echoes some of Shiina Ringo's and Bjork's works, with a slightly dark and fantasy-like feel to it that is carried throughout the album. It includes 3 previously released singles along with 9 newly produced tracks. Combined with singer's unique vocals, "Chimera" is an explosion of dynamic, driving and at times lazy extravaganza.
: 2011 may have been Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's breakout year, but 2013 was the singer's year of growth. Her 2nd studio album, "Nanda Collection", seems to weave in and out of childhood and adulthood, with the singer attempting to find a balance between the two. Kyary proves that she can mature while still being the same multimedia queen that we've grown to love.
: Namie Amuro has a long, prolific career made possible by constantly evolving her sound. The singer expanded into Western-style electropop this year with her album "FEEL", producing a sound that no other major pop artist in Japan was touching. The result was one of the catchiest albums to be released this year. Amuro proved once again that she can remain trendy and relevant despite her many years in the industry.
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