As I’ve mentioned in the past, my preferred music streaming platform is Apple Music. Because I own multiple Apple products (iPhone, Macbook, etc.), their self-made service makes it very convenient to download music and listen to stuff on each of my devices. No hate to Spotify or any other streaming platform, they’re great in their own right, but the sheer convenience (as well as their impressive catalog of Japanese music) of Apple Music made me a customer of theirs for about two years now.
Like many music streaming platforms, the company does its best to create music playlists that cater to certain interests. Music from specific decades, moods, genres, so on and so on. But one of the playlist “categories” that I find myself enjoying the most are Apple Music’s “Essentials” playlists. Essentially (heh), Apple Music takes the most popular/influential tracks of a certain artist, compiles them into one playlist, and even includes a short description describing the artist and their music. For me personally, I tend to gravitate towards those kinds of playlists whenever I find a new artist or band that I enjoy. Spotify has a similar thing with their “This Is…” collection of playlists.
That being said, I came up with the idea of creating a few “Essentials” playlists for some Japanese artists that don’t have one yet (or in other words, artists that I listen to a lot/know a lot of information about lol). At first, this post was just gonna be me writing some possible descriptions for these Essentials playlists… but I decided that it would be more fun to include everything else (list of songs, playlist cover, etc).
Also, these created playlists and brief descriptions, I feel, can help introduce you to some of these artists and their music, as well as provide more background info about them.
So, let’s jump right in!
Awesome City Club
“Considered to be a part of the recent revival of ‘city pop’ in Japan, Awesome City Club went towards a more modern route when it came to getting their name out into the music world. Rather than constantly playing gigs and hoping a record label representative came knocking on their door, the group turned to the Internet and posted their music online, free-of-charge. Their slow-tempo, indie pop/chillwave-influenced sound, accompanied by the harmonious male-female vocal duo of Atagi Hiroshi and Toshida ‘Porin’ Miho, helped them get some attention in the indie scene and even the opportunity to sign a major label deal. With tracks like ‘Don’t Think, Feel’ and ‘Outsider’, Awesome City Club provides some feel-good pop music that’s easy to enjoy, and may even get you to dance a little.”
[Click here to see my curated “Awesome City Club Essentials” playlist on Apple Music!]
“If one word could describe Ohashi Trio and his style of music, it would be ‘serene’. Having jazz as a strong influence on the songs he creates, Yoshinori Ohashi infuses the light-hearted genre into other types of music like funk, and especially pop (heck, he can even make David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ into a jazz piece). Add his multi-instrumental talent and incredibly soft vocals to the mix, and you’ve got some tracks that can put you into a state of tranquility. Whether it’s a song like ‘She is a Rainbow’ and its atmosphere that can make you feel warm and fuzzy inside or ‘VENUS’, a more electro-centric, upbeat track, Ohashi Trio is a perfect artist if you’re looking for some relaxing tunes.”
[Click here to see my curated “Ohashi Trio Essentials” playlist on Apple Music!]
“While the names of Tomatsu Haruka, Kotobuki Minako, Takagaki Ayahi and Toyosaki Aki are more likely to be recognized because of their voice over roles in various anime, their collaborative work as a pop idol unit could be put on the same level when it comes to talent. In April 2009, the group debuted their first single, ‘Future Stream’, and with the help of Tomatsu and Toyosaki’s popularity in anime at the time, the song reached #22 on Oricon’s weekly singles charts. With their extremely upbeat style of pop music, smooth combinations of traditional and electronic instruments, and vocals that can easily be distinguished from each other, Sphere quickly rose to become one of the most well-known seiyuu-idol pop units in the industry. Even after ten years (and counting) together, they still manage to impress fans with their musical abilities.”
[Click here to see my curated “Sphere Essentials” playlist on Apple Music!]
“What was first a group of teenagers making music in their high school’s light music club, SHISHAMO would later find themselves making their major debut in 2013 with their self-titled album, SHISHAMO. The fact that they were just barely adults helped them gain some popularity, as their simple instrument composition, catchy lyrics and the adolescent vocal styling of Miyazaki Asako created an image of SHISHAMO that many teenagers and young adults around the country started to enjoy. Songs that dealt with love and relationships like ‘Boku ni Kanojo ga Dekitanda’ and ‘Kimi to Natsu Fes’ became very relatable to the young folk and thus, SHISHAMO quickly became a hit. And even though the band has evolved over the years by experimenting with different instruments and narratives, it’s evident that they continue to stick with their roots regardless.”
[Click here to see my curated “SHISHAMO Essentials” playlist on Apple Music!]
(on another note, I finally get to compile an essentials album for SHISHAMO after the problem I had with their best album, lol)
Aaand that’s all I really have for you today!
Hope you found this post to be somewhat interesting; I definitely had a ton of fun writing these descriptions and especially the “Essentials” cover images. They’re pretty damn close to the original, if I do say so myself.
I have a few other artists I want to make “Essentials” playlists for, so a part 2 may come in the near future!
Thanks for reading!! 😀