Firstly, Merry Christmas~♥ from Hawaii~~!!!
This time of year brings many joys to our social lives from all of the hectic shopping for gifts for loved ones to all of the fun parties and family/ friends get togethers and Yes feasts….but there’s also the uniqueness of the music which comes into fashion only this time of year (like you wouldn’t be rockin’ Jingle Bells in June unless you’re weird like me that is!), that being of course our beloved Christmas songs and if you’re like me (possibly minus the weirdness) you love having a Christmas sleigh of songs (an iPod Christmas playlist) or rather a go to playlist of Christmas melody favorites by many of your beloved artists/groups which chime ~* warm & fuzzy for all of the days surrounding the BIG DAY that is all the joy of Christmas. (is my text dripping of fuzzy warmth and dorkiness yet? I do hope so!)
So on this eve of Christmas now with just hours left for Christmas shopping (yikes!! please say all of your presents are merrily wrapped already!!) I’m posting an encore of the retro Christmas songs here as to fill thy room with jingly songs speaking of snow flakes, sweet aromas , red noses aglow, a warm fireplace on a chilly evening’s glow, one jolly fat guy who may clog your chimney or not and giving like no other time with love & peace @ heart, well, it only seems natural to love and love alike and share in this season of peace~.
And so I present to you these 15 songs of Christmas with the overall theme being that of Christmas’ past, as in beloved Christmas songs of nostalgia to kindle your heart with joy ~*.
All songs here were carefully chosen from my music library shelves =)!~!
Christmas songs can truly be timeless parts of our lives and here I’ve chosen 15 songs that I’ve acquired over the years as J-Pop artists occasionally release them during this time of year and many become quite endeared tracks. So if you’re looking to add some cute to your Christmas this year, here are 15 highly recommended tracks which are most suitable for any J-Christmas♥ playlist to help give this holiday season a J-Pop flavor to it. Hopefully some of these songs will inspire you to check out some of their other releases as well from these wonderful groups/artists =D.
Ah the days when 3″ Cd singles still ruled Japan’s music landscape! It really was a uniquely cool looking format and especially when you properly cased them in those plastic jewel cases they were perfect ~*, so here to begin “Christmas Time” was written by Zard’s Sakai Izumi and she also makes a guest appearance here with a nice touch of background vocals. Easily one of the most catchy J-Pop Christmas songs that I’ve ever encountered and it would be 6 years later nearly to the day from this release that Zard would record their very own version of this inspired tune. Barbier’s version of “Christmas Time” was released on November 22nd, 1995. One of coolest aspects of this song has to be those sweet slide guitar riffs which are most reminiscent of George Harrison I think and such a wonderful touch creating a Christmas atmosphere with it all in a somewhat unexpected way~.
~Barbier “Christmas time” mp3~
And the second added track is Larc~en~ciel’s “Hurry Xmas” which was released on November 14th, 2007…I really ♥ this song as it’s a mixture of jazz and rock and Hyde’s voice is just purely awesome no matter what style of song he sings always just amazing emotion and range! “Hurry Xmas” is a swinging Jazz wonderland with an amazing arrangement! A modern approach blends perfectly with swing time jazz as guitar, bass, and drums are complimented nicely with light orchestration in the form of a big band presentation and the melody is an absolute gem!! I just love walking bass lines! Hyde’s vocals are as beautiful as ever and it truly reels you in upon first listen!
~L’arc~en~ciel “Hurry Xmas” mp3~
~L’arc~en~ciel “Hurry Xmas” (music video)~
And here’s the pv which came with the LE version, it’s really cute too with all of the Santas running wild!…plus any chance to see more Hyde, what’s not to love ^ ^!! The visuals for “Hurry Xmas” are incredibly amusing as it’s a club full of Santa’s everywhere and as L’arc~en~ciel perform the Santa’s are in full Christmas eve party mode! 🙂 And as the night goes on…more of them keep arriving! :O A cute touch with the jacket photos are each member’s shadow being that of a reindeer! Also watch for some great old fashioned stop motion capture animation reminiscent of those Rudolf and Frosty the Snowman programs.
My favorite female J-Pop artist of all time released an ultra cute melody capturing the holiday spirit and nothing says “J-Pop” more than this tune when defining the genre which has gradually become less and less common in todays Japanese releases. “Christmas Cinderella” appears on Sakai Noriko’s album “My Dear~Noriko Part V~” which was released on December 16th,1989. Nori-P’s voice at her cutest! A full blown Sakai Noriko post is slated to appear here in the future as again she is my #1 favorite female J-pop artist of all time and as of course that alone warrants a far too long delayed appearance here and add to that that over the years I’ve successfully collected her entire music discography as well as her entire visual discography and let’s just say…she has whole lot of releases ~*.
~Sakai Noriko “Christmas Cinderella” mp3~
One of Johnny’s Entertainment family’s now more senior groups, the Kinki Kids released a very catchy holiday season tune as the b-side to their single “Happy Happy Greeting” which was released on December 9th,1998. Here are one of J-Pop’s most vocally talented male duos, seriously these
boys guys can sing!
~Kinki Kids “Happy Happy Greeting” mp3~
Another of my favorite J-Pop loves, Moritaka Chisato who’s had a special relationship with Hello! Project in particular over a span of quite a few years as a number of her songs have been re-recorded by members of the Hello! Project family including Minimoni, Gocchin, Nacchi & Ayaya. Along with her substantial hand in the writing process as well as her musicianship which includes the drums, piano and guitar among other instruments, Moritaka Chisato also has one of the most distinctively different voices in J-Pop, simply unmistakable. This beautiful single was released on November 19th, 1997.
~Moritaka Chisato “Snow Again” mp3~
Smap’s 14th album brings us the great Christmas tune “Ai no hi~kimi to merry christmas~” Even J-Pop fans not familiar with Smap will find this tune irresistible!
~SMAP “Ai no hi~kimi to Merry Christmas” mp3~
Ribbon (see TGIF Idols♥ Unzipped Volume 46), one of J-Pops most vocally talented groups from the 90’s released a mini Christmas album titled “Hoshi no ki no shita de…” back on November 20th, 1992 and here’s my favorite song from this mini holiday collection with this one titled “Merry Kiss, Holy Smile” which adds a nice rock spin to the feeling of Christmas!
~Ribbon “Merry Kiss Holy Smile” mp3~
Pony Canyon’s sister group to Ribbon also released a mini album back on November 7th, 1990 and here we find the sweet Christmas melody of “The First Snow.” Anyone interested in experiencing the sounds of a J-Pop girl group which helped pave the way for today’s artists including the music franchises Hello! Project as well as AKB48 should give CoCo a listen! Quite simply my first J-Pop idol group love which includes the “original” J-Pop “anime” voice of Miura Rieko (see Featured post: 三浦理恵子..an “anime” J-pop voice for the ages).
~CoCo “The First Snow” mp3~
Next is Kato Noriko’s Winter pop classic “Fuyu ga kita” which was released back on January 15th, 1998. One of Japan’s cutest idols, Kato Noriko ventured into J-Pop and released 3 albums and a modest number of singles along with a few shashinshuu releases while also appearing in t.v. dramas. For Hello! Project fans you may readily recognize her from her MC host duties during H!P concerts of the past as well as a brief acting stint she also had in collaboration with Hello! Project during those long ago days of their “Hello Land” series which was also produced onto DVD. Kato Noriko’s another artist whom I’ve collected the musical works of and actually experienced her releases and acting in real time back then, yet another artist whom I hope to post more thoroughly about in the future here.
~Kato Noriko “Fuyu ga kita” mp3~
~Kato Noriko “Fuyu ga kita” (live on Music Station)
And here’s a wonderful live performance where Noriko~chan appeared on the highly acclaimed and ever popular music program Music Station. This performance may a bit of a rarity as I had it recorded onto an old VHS going back to the days of rushing to town in order to rent music programs from one of our local Japanese video stores here.
A perhaps a bit of a forgotten Mikitty Christmas gem ~* here which she performs along with C-ute’s Chisa & Maimai….definitely one to add to tonight’s Christmas music mix as it’s such an adorable song with Tsunku hooks galore! ^ ^
~Fujimoto Miki, Okai Chisato & Hagiwara Mai “Samui kara fuyudamon!~doumokou mo naissu yo mikitty~” mp3~
Amuro Namie’s soothing track “White Light” which was released on November 16th, 2005, I’ve always found this enchanting track to have a dreamy like quality to it as if it could get you into a holiday trance ~* =D…and Amuro-chan’s voice always so powerful.
~Amuro Namie “White Light” mp3~
You may remember an episode of Hello! Morning where several members had “Fukuyama Mania!!” 😀 One of J-Pop’s most beloved artists/musicians Fukuyama Masaharu delivers a instant classic with his heartfelt song “Heart of Xmas” which was the b-side to his single release “Peach!!” This single was released on November 5th, 1998 but transcends time seamlessly as I think you’ll agree. Fukuyama-san’s voice has such deep qualities with such warmth and Yes his vocals are instantly recognizable as simply no one sings like Fukuyama Masaharu. (also see: Featured post~Fukuyamania~♥ celebrates over 20 years~ (Japanese icon, Fukuyama Masaharu in focus…) ).
~Fukuyama Masaharu “Heart of Xmas” mp3~
Another J-Pop Christmas classic from Sakai Noriko, “Nan ni mo shinai Christmas” brings a vibrant international dance flavor to the season with this infectious melody! As the b-side to her single “Tabun taboo”, this holiday gem was released on November 6th, 1992. Definitely one of the sweetest voices to grace Japan’s airwaves (me biased of course lol =P), Sakai Noriko also went on to become quite the accomplished actress.
~Sakai Noriko “Nan ni mo shinai Christmas” mp3~
As aforementioned, six years nearly to the day after Barbier’s version of “Christmas Time” was released, Zard finally presented us with their touch on this wonderful Christmas song! The song appeared on Zard’s “Zard Blend II~Leaf & Snow~” which was released on November 21st, 2001. Both versions have a very different appeal to them and I’d recommend listening to them back to back.
~Zard “Christmas Time” mp3~
Ah and no Christmas collection would be complete without a Hello! Project choral tune…
…and happily back on November 27th, 2002 the Hello! Project family gave us just that!! This release seemed to be a bit of an obscure project and I just happened to come across it one day by chance and then promptly ordered it! A brilliant coupling of top Japanese enka singers along with the then youth of Hello! Project, “Ai no Merry Christmas” blends both worlds beautifully into a wonderous winter ensemble! Quite possibly one of the most unique pairings of vastly different worlds this release stands as a truly timeless vision of these eras and what’s possible when one dares to cross their paths together. While the main vocals are performed by Itsuki Hiroshi & Horiuchi Takao, two household names in Japanese folk music, the sweet touch is supplied by the ensemble of members pictured above in the form of a choir. The coupling with song
“Tabidatsu kimi ni” is perhaps an even prettier song as Itsuki Hiroshi is paired with the lovely vocals of Nakazawa Yuko & Fujimoto Miki!!!
~Itsuki Hiroshi, Horiuchi Takao & Hello! Project Choir “Ai no Merry Christmas” mp3~
I hope you enjoy these J-Pop Christmas songs as they’d make a nice holiday collection for years to come or at least I do hope so! 🙂
And here’s wishing everyone a safe and joyous holiday season & a most Happy New Year!!