Deconstructed: Hikaru Utada's Fantôme album cover

Deconstructed: Hikaru Utada's Fantôme album cover | Random J Pop

I originally wrote this as part of my post disclosing the name, cover and track list of Hikaru Utada's 6th studio album, but decided to separate it, as it was going into way more detail. I also wrote this before Hikaru had done an interview confirming the links between her Fantôme album and her mother. But I will share this with you anyway. Seeing many of your comments on my initial Fantôme post, it seems that everybody is talking about the album cover and what it truly means. So let's discuss this together.

Album art & tracklist: Hikaru Utada - Fantôme

Hikaru Utada - Fantôme | Random J Pop

Truly looking to put lesser, struggling J-Pop stars out of their misery, Hikaru Utada has finally revealed the official title, tracklist, album cover and errthang for her 6th Japanese studio album.

Fantôme is the title of Hikaru Utada's upcoming album and it bucks several long standing trends of Hikaru's before we've even heard the album in full.

Fantôme is French for 'Ghost', making this Hikaru Utada's first album to not feature an English title. As we know, Hikaru has dabbled with non-English / non-Japanese song titles before, with "Hymne à l'amour (Ai no anthem)" and "Mi muero", but never has this extended to an album title.

Hikaru Utada is literally give you an album and nothing else. Ain't no Limited DVD edition of this album with videos, nothing. You can cop the CD version with 11 tracks or download the damn thing through a digital store and that's that.

MTV VMA 2016: The performances

MTV VMA 2016: The performances | Random J Pop

This year's VMA's cemented that no matter how big a star you book for the night, the MTV VMAs just ain't what they used to be. The whole shebang is about as credible as the BET awards. It's just that MTV gets pumped more of that Viacom money for better venues, and the brand of MTV nets a wider spectrum of acts who bother to turn up and audiences who tune.

Whilst there were a bunch of performers on the night ranging from Future to Nick Jonas and that Halsey woman, they may as well have not bothered. The only performances that most cared about were those from Beyoncé, Rihanna and the once queen of the VMAs, Britney Spears. A title that Britney has not managed to keep, between her 2007 train wreck performance and her lacklustre stage shuffle this year.

We'll get to Britney's second rate performance in a moment. But first let's put some focus on the ladies who actually bothered to have their mics turned on and serve something. Anything.

Ayumi Hamasaki tries to do 'a Beyoncé' with her 17th studio album

Ayumi Hamasaki tries to do 'a Beyoncé' with her 17th studio album | Random J Pop

Ayumi Hamasaki's career continues to decline like the Japanese birth rate, but bless her, she's really trying. At least I think she is.

Ayu attempted to do what everybody now coins as 'a Beyoncé' by releasing her 17th studio album M(a)de in Japan digitally through music streaming service AWA without much warning.

Ayu made no secret of the fact she was recording a new album and openly shared lyrics to songs via social media. Also, Ayu releases albums annually. So it's never a case of if she'll release new music or even when. Because everybody knows it's coming. Ayu's releases themselves are not a surprise. They always drop in cycles and on cue. The biggest surprise would be her not releasing anything for 3 years straight.

Live show review: Beyoncé - Formation world tour

Beyoncé: Formation world tour (Photo credit: Andrew White) | Random J Pop

"[Bumblebee emoji]. We're going". That was how I found out that I was going to see Beyoncé at Wembley and that I'd be losing £120 of my money and a Sunday. My Sunday. A day on which I try to do as little as possible. Now I was going to have to travel all the way to Wembley to watch a woman thrash her weave for 2 hours and then get home close to midnight.

Beyoncé has been an artist I've followed since "No, no, no". But I've only ever seen her live once, on the Destiny fulfilled tour with her 2 back up singers Kelly and Michelle 'not the white Dawson's Creek one' Williams. But having kinda wished I'd gotten to see the Amazonian empress of lacefront island on her Mrs. Carter world tour, there was a part of me that genuinely didn't want to miss out this time around. And thankfully for me and my bank balance, I didn't regret it.

Music video: Namie Amuro - Hero


Namie was approached to deliver a theme for the national broadcasts of the Rio 2016 Olympics. But given the lyrics, this could also be Namie making a stake to be The queen of the Japanese LGBT community. The queen of the Japanese disability community. The queen of the Japanese homeless. She just be reaching out to everybody. If only Namie had featured a black person in the garden, a gay couple dancing in the water and a person in the wheelchair carrying the Olympic torch, she would have been the one.

The music video to the song has a really nice theme and Namie looks every bit the Aphrodite here. But the CGI is horrific. The garden scenes were the only scenes which looked good and were of high fidelity. Everything other scene looked like it was pulling those tricks that video games pull when they want to mask hardware shortcomings.  Lens flares, filters, blurring, overuse of particles. They really tried it. The water and fire scenes looked a mess.

The song feels as though 3 versions of it were produced and then pieced together. I like each version / section individually, but they don't hold together well because the distinction between them feels too obvious and segmented. There also should have been a key change at the end.

I would not be pressed in any way if Namie left this song off of her next studio album. But it's better than Katy Perry's "Rise" though.

Single review: OK Go! x Perfume - I don't understand you

OK Go! x Perfume - I don't understand you | Single review

Perfume appeared in one of Ok Go's videos and so Ok Go then appeared in one of Perfume's. So it wasn't much of a surprise that the two groups decided to collaborate on a song, marking one of the first time's that either group had ever done a musical collaboration that has been committed to a studio recording and been released.

There are many similarities between OK Go and Perfume visually, so it's no surprise that two groups eventually converged from opposite ends of the earth. But musically, there is no correlation between them. So the thought of them doing a song left me full of intrigue into how it would sound. The end result is just a complete mess.

Album review: Wonder girls - Reboot

Album review: Wonder girls - Reboot | Random J Pop

Whilst the Wonder girls have long been the darlings of K-Pop, the ones destined to go the furthest and break the most barriers, they have continually been plagued by false starts, sitting on opportunities for too long, personnel changes and a crisis of identities. Reboot could not be a more fitting title for a Wonder girls album off the back of all of these things. Whilst the Wonder girls history should be remembered with adoration, everything truly starts with this album. Signalling a new energy, a new focus and the best representation of the group to date. The Wonder girls have finally arrived.

Listen to... Britney Spears featuring G-Eazy - Make me

Britney Spears featuring G-Eazy - Make me | Random J Pop

After will.i.am derailed Britney's streak of hits with Britney Jean and Britney inadvertently slammed the final nail into the coffin of Iggy Azalea's career with "Pretty girls" - Britney's been pretty quiet on the music front and has instead been focusing on shuffling around the stage of her Las Vegas for her residency.

But 2 years after the release of the dismal Britney Jean and a new perfume to flog, Britney is back with a new single. "Pretty girls" was a false start ya'll. THIS "Make me" joint is THE new single. Expect "Pretty girls" to end up on the forthcoming album as a Japanese bonus track. Shout outs to Ariana Grande's "Focus".

It's official. Hikaru Utada will be dropping a brand new album in 2016.

Hikaru Utada to release her long awaited 8th studio album in September | Random J Pop

With the release of a new single in June, a new album was inevitable. But now it is 100% official. Hikaru Utada will be releasing her 6th Japanese studio album, her first studio album in 8 years on September 28th.

Details on the album are thin on the ground, but none of this matters. The fact of the matter is that Hikaru Utada dropping a new album this year, that I will be referring to as the U testament.

The album is confirmed to feature her 2012 single release "Sakura nagashi", as well as her 2016 double A-side single release "Hanataba wo kimini" and "Manatsu no tooriame" Yep. Hikaru Utada will be featuring a 4 year old song on her album. It's like "Colors" all over again. I would say that the song should be revamped, but the song is damn near perfect as it is. Pah. Rightly so that the song should feature on the album, because it's a damn good song. Just as "Colors" was.

♪ Clash and Mariah, go back like Adobe liquifiers ♪

Mariah Carey gets liquified for Clash magazine | Random J Pop

Mariah, the Photoshop chanteuse graces the cover of Clash magazine, sporting a far coat, a body suit and Adobe's liquify tool in full effect.

Mariah has lost a lot of weight over the past few months, but she ain't that skinny. I think it's quite sad, because Mariah is by no means 'fat', she just never dresses appropriately for her shape. Mariah has stayed wearing the same types of dresses and outfits in her mid thirties to late forties that she was wearing in her late twenties when she was flogging her Butterfly album. This would be fine if Mariah, was the exact same body shape and size or if she actually had a decent sense of style. I rarely recall a moment when I've seen Mariah and thought her look was on point. I think the "Honey" and "The roof" videos were about as close as she came to getting that from me.

Music video: Namie Amuro - Mint


"Mint" is what we could now call a pretty typical Namie Amuro song. It sounds like it could have been plucked from any album of hers from Play onward. But I'll be damned, I really like it.

It's been a while since we have had a break-off anthem from Namie. And not only did she deliver one, but she went one better and delivered one about getting it put on her by a black man. Chocolate chip? Honey milk? Gurl, you ain't fooling nobody. Namie be about tasting that rainbow. She's been tasting it since 2000.

The video is pretty much everything you want from a Namie Amuro video. Namie looking like she really don't wanna be shooting no video. Namie not giving the dance routine a single fuck. Namie standing around like the HBIC.