Despite Japan being the second largest musical market in the world, most artists never achieve popularity outside of Asia or even their home countries. With East Asian pop escalating since the 80s and Korean pop taking the reigns in an already saturated contemporary market, there is still little to no concept of music criticism in the East. As magazines base reviews on the privilege of featuring superstars on their covers, the idea of critical analysis hasn’t even been discussed until the Japanese version of Rolling Stone magazine was launched in 2007. In compiling the first of its kind ranking of the top 100 Japanese albums of all time, Kawasaku Daisuke wrote:
“The Japanese music magazine industry resembles what existed in America before the rise of Rolling Stone. That’s to say, record companies – the main advertisers – see their wishes strongly reflected on every page, and because of this, magazines’ main job is to praise new releases. Is that why we’ve never seen one of these lists? It’s a strange situation, almost like the entire industry is infected with the idea that they should not rank releases because it would “”make the record companies angry.” […] We must change this ridiculous situation into something more normal.”
The fact is that despite East Asian pop music’s contribution to the world of sound, not only has it gone unrecognized by the mainstream Western audience, but music critics and writers on both sides of the ocean. This blog is an attempt to begin the gradual process of understanding contemporary East Asian music through the filter of society, culture, and gender as well as discussion of its immediate context, influences, and inventiveness against its musical peers, both Western and Eastern. Like any music blog, it is also a examination of music as a work of art, as a commercial and marketing force, and a look into the lives of the people it reflects and speaks to. At its core, it is a celebration of music that has gone largely ignored.
The East Asian pop music criticism community is small, but growing. This blog acknowledges the effort of amateur writers who blog for whatever reason (to engage with fellow fans, to form communities, to vent), but recognizes and encourages the excellence that comes from fusing musical and academic scholarship, criticism, and the written word.
For more information on the ethos of this site, please read The Trouble with J-pop: Revolutionizing the Western Community of Criticism, published on this site in 2009.
This blog embraces the entire spectrum of popular and independent music from every corner of the world. Though its major focus is on East Asian pop music, it is not odd to find reviews and analyses of Western popular music, too. The author of this blog lives by the credo that there is no such thing as good or bad music, only better or worse, and nothing that can’t be reconsidered by a good discussion.
appears music blog
This blog existed at several locations. It was revived in February 2008, now at appears.wordpress.com. Salvageable entries are located in the archives, though anything older than a couple of years is generally considered embarrassing by the author.
The author of the appears music blog has been listening to East Asian pop and rock music for twenty-four years and has written about music since 2004. You can find her on tumblr or follow her twitter.
To contact, send E-mail to Anna at appearsmusic[at]gmail[dot]com.
© Anna, appears.wordpress.com 2006-2022