Simply put, the Oricon Charts are Japan’s equivalent to the Billboard. A portmanteau of “original” and “confidence,” the list-maker has recently compiled its top 100 selling albums and singles as 2008 hits its mid-point. Some thoughts:
There are two EXILE albums in the top three, neither of which I’ve listened to. At this point, it’s worth mentioning that I haven’t listened to every album or single on the lists; I suspect simple uninterest that names like NEWS and V6 evoke are the reasons behind this ignorance. Also: BoA’s THE FACE only made it to 31, 5 Johnny’s Jimusho groups beat out Ayumi Hamasaki’s single, and T.M.Revolution is not on either list. Fair enough.
Perfume’s GAME is number 16, Hikaru Utada’s HEART STATION is 4 – the two most deserving albums on this list.
Ayumi Hamasaki’s GUILTY is number 8, right under Koda Kumi’s Kingdom – both are probably due in part to the brand names they have become than the actual content of the albums, which were pretty mediocre.
There are also two KATTUN singles in the top three, neither of which I’ve listened to. The Japanese are nothing if not consistent in their devotion.
Apparently, SMAP is still releasing music. 17 years and counting.
It’s important to remember that while there is correlation between sales and popularity (the real reason for putting theses lists together is usually just an easy way to interpret what the public’s “favorite” music is), I suspect a more accurate representation of popularity would be the Japanese iTunes’ Top 25. A quick Google search confirms this list does not currently exist.
GReeeeN is all over these lists. I had no idea people actually listened to them, let alone spent money to.
But most importantly, nary a Western record is to be seen amongst the top 25 of either chart (if my shoddy katakana skills are correct, the first is Madonna’s Hard Candy at 32). My interpretation is that a) the Japanese are extremely loyal to the home teams, and b) the Japanese music culture is continually expanding, growing, and developing, and like an American who tunes into the radio expecting to hear Leona Lewis, there is simply more interest generated within the market due to the ease and convenience of access. While American music is still omnipresent (and probably just as easy to catch as the new Namie Amuro single – number 8, for those keeping score), the same argument can be made of Japanese music to Americans (re: Internet, although I suspect this will, in turn, incite arguments of language barriers [everyone in Japan is exposed to English in some form on a daily basis and are used to the sounds and texture of the language, whereas Americans are still unaccustomed to foreign languages outside of Western Europe]; also, sheer laziness). But in terms of Japan, cultural loyalty is earning my respect rather than resentment; years ago, the top selling figures were more likely Western, today the Japanese are proving they can hold their own and in some cases, even transcend that of their Western peers. Now if only their appearance on Billboard was just as quotidian.
Below are my picks for Top 25 singles and albums of 2008…so far.
Top 25 Singles
01. MEG – MAGIC
02. Namie Amuro – 60s 70s 80s
03. Perfume – Baby cruising love
04. Ayumi Hamasaki – MIRRORCLE WORLD
05. Hikaru Utada – HEART STATION
06. Mitsuka Aira – CHINA DISCOTICA
07. Coldplay – Violet Hill
08. Madonna – 4 Minutes
09. Noriyuki Makihara – Firefly ~Boku wa Ikiteiku
10. Son Ho Young – Progressive Love
11. Kaskade – 4AM
12. Kent – Generation ex
13. X Japan – I.V.
14. Anna Tsuchiya – cocoon
15. ikimonogakari – Hana wa Sakura Kimi wa Utsukushi
16. GReeeeN – BE FREE
17. Every Little Thing – Sakurabito
18. DJ Shog – Feel Me Through the Radio
19. Sequentia – Eclipse
20. BEAT CRUSADERS – WINTERLONG
21. Stuart C – Project 009
22. Adam K & Soha – Long Distance
23. Namie Amuro & DOUBLE – BLACK DIAMOND
24. Cyndi Lauper – Into the Night Life
25. Meilin – Meilin Story
Top 25 Albums
01. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
02. Ami Suzuki – DOLCE
03. PlayRadioPlay! – Texas
04. Nell – Seperation Anxiety
05. Perfume – GAME
06. INORAN – THE BEST
07. heidi. – Innocence
08. MEG – STEP
09. IGO – Synth Love
10. M83 – Saturdays = Youth
11. Morrisey – Greatest Hits
12. Boy Kill Boy – Stars and the Sea
13. Neon Neon – Stainless Style
14. Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
15. Dolly Parton – Backwoods Barbie
16. Cat Power – Jukebox
17. 65daysofstatic – The Distant and Mechanised Glow of Eastern European…
18. Ashlee Simpson – Bittersweet World
19. Ayumi Hamasaki – GUILTY
20. LUNKHEAD – ENTRANCE~BEST OF LUNKHEAD age 18-27~
21. Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs
22. Kelly Chen – Kellylicious
23. LISA – ready to disco
24. Moon Ji Eun – Vivid
25. Hikaru Utada – HEART STATION