Forget washed-up J-pop relics like Ayumi Hamasaki and Koda Kumi -- right now it's all about Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The Yasutaka Nakata-produced style icon just snatched the J-diva crown in a blaze of Harajuku glory by landing her first No. 1 album on the Oricon Charts.
For the most part, I tend to stay away from a lot of the really commercially-successful K-indie music because it almost always falls into one of two categories: folksy, coffee shop acoustic pop, or emo, coffee shop acoustic hip-hop. I do love a few of the big stars of the genre like 10cm and Busker Busker, but usually avoid the ones I see at the top of the charts, so it wasn't until last week that I finally gave a Lim Kim a chance and was pleasantly surprised to find out that she's actually kind of really good.
T-ara's been kind of M.I.A. in Korea ever since their scandal, with the group focusing most of its energy into overseas markets instead. They revolutionized the Japanese music industry in March when they released ten different versions of their "Bunny Style!" single, and then took over America with their legendary pool party performance in Vegas. Now that they've reached the absolute pinnacle of Stateside stardom and have nothing left to achieve there, Slay-ara's back in Japan with a brand new J-pop single called "Target."
When I first started getting into K-pop, 4minute was one of the groups that I really latched onto. Like 2NE1, their commercial electro-pop and artificial ferocity appealed to a K-pop noob like me, who still wasn't quite ready to accept the less blatantly Western K-pop acts at that point. While I eventually grew tired of 2NE1's one-trick-pony shtick and moved on to more interesting artists, 4minute's always remained a favorite, so I was pretty disappointed when "What's Your Name?" became the group's first single that I didn't like.
Girl's Day made a huge impact this year after they went all Girls Gone Wild on everyone with "Expectation." The song was an inescapable smash, and once the group's 19-year-old maknae was busted dating a 35-year-old K-pop veteran, Girl's Day went from being the "Twinkle Twinkle" has-beens to one of the most talked about girl groups in the game almost overnight.