The J-R&B Divas Rate! - #22 - *Katya voice* "Let's be bad!" | Page 17 | The Popjustice Forum

The J-R&B Divas Rate! - #22 - *Katya voice* "Let's be bad!"

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by RUNAWAY, Apr 12, 2022.

  1. Futari de iru tada sore dake de / Tsuyoku nareru ki ga suru yo

    BENI / ずっと二人で

    average: 7.816

    highest scorers:
    10.00 @Applause, @berserkboi, @RUNAWAY
    9.25 @Macsun

    8.00 @odyism, @lalaclairi_, @evilsin

    lowest scorers:
    6.00 @Remorque, @Trinu 3.0
    7.00 @masahiro, @soratami, @FunkyButChic, @cookiedough, @Ana Raquel, @Crisp X
    That's all of our voters, dddd.

    highest placement: #22 [TIE]
    lowest placement: #57

    Zutto Futari de is BENI's fourth single after rebranding and twelth overall. It was the final one before the release of her first album as BENI, Bitter & Sweet. It was written and produced by BENI and Yoshino Masataka (BENI's own SAIN and Koe wo Kikasete). The title can be translated as "Forever Together" and the lyrics tell the tale of the feelings so strong and pure, that BENI wishes to stay with the person forever. The single reached #67 on the Oricon weekly charts, where it charted for two weeks and sold 1,784 copies. It also notably included a cover of The Boy Is Mine featuring Tynisha Keli.

    evilsin's score: 8.00

    evilsin's butthurt corner: Well, this is another lovely slice of R'n'B/pop, don't you think? I really appreciate the chorus, as the melodies are so nice and BENI manages to glide so effortlessly on them, it's always a good time. I'd say it get very close to being a bit boring by the last two chorus, maybe due to verses being so ordinary, but in the end it still holds on. It's not my lowest score for BENI, so it could've linger for a little bit still.

    RUNAWAY's score: 10.00

    RUNAWAY's thoughts: This being the first BENI elimination just does not sit right with me, OH AT ALL. The beautiful instrumentation paired with BENI’s heartfelt lyrics is a match made in heaven and I just don’t understand why this is out so damn early.

    berserkboi (10.00) said "Beautiful balladry, BENI!!"

    Macsun (9.25) said "This is how you do a can you not stan?"

    evilsin's recommendation:

    RUNAWAY's recommendation:

    Yet another diva is losing her first track next. Discuss.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2022
    Maki, masahiro, soratami and 3 others like this.
  2. Zutto Futari De, and alot of early Beni singles can really go up and down the ladder for me. In a BENI rate, I might give it closer to a 7, but in the context of this rate it was in the 8 to 8.5 range. Her voice has such a lovely amount of support while still emoting a beautiful yearning and delicacy. The production is standard r&b adjacent J-pop, but it still works at tugging at your heart. I love the steady chord that the production builds upon, it creates a really nostalgic soundscape especially as the strings and dreamy harmonies come in and out.
    I think for a full 10 I would have wanted a longer and more dynamic bridge. It comes in at 3:20 hot and like it could be an explosive vocal climax, but it ends before it really soars. I think a repeat of the melody of the "kono kiseki wo, atari maeni" before going into a higher note could have been lovely.

    Because I have followed Beni since her 2004 avex debut, so many of the Bitter & Sweet songs get a large boost in my memory. Because early Beni fans were IN THE PITS.
    We would wait for 6 months for any sort of announcement of music, only to be hit with a song like this

    This isn't an Odyism reccomendation, in fact it's the opposite of that. It's more to show just how much BENI leveled up in just a few years as a vocalist, songwriter, and choosing collaborators who understood her strengths.
    masahiro, soratami, evilsin and 4 others like this.
  3. Phew she knows how to draaag out a song doesn’t she?? I never knew she had this tragic past but it goes to show how much growth she’s had. You fiends better have her in the top 10 or I’m clocking you all.

  4. My love todokanai mama / hitori dakishimete nemuru no

    Crystal Kay / きっと永遠に

    average: 7.850

    highest scorers:
    10.00 @Trinu 3.0, @Applause, @berserkboi
    9.00 @odyism, @evilsin

    8.50 @lalaclairi_

    lowest scorers:
    4.00 @Ana Raquel
    6.00 @Crisp X
    6.75 @Remorque

    highest placement: #12 [TIE]
    lowest placement: #56

    DOUBLE is officially the last main girl with all her tracks intact... but for how long? Kitto Eien ni is Crystal Kay's twentieth single and the first for her seventh studio album, ALL YOURS, her only #1 album to date. The song was written by Nishida Emi (BoA's Diamond Heart) and produced by Ryosuke"Dr.R"Sakai (extensive work with CHANMINA and Poppy). The title means "Surely Forever" and lyrically the song speaks of cherishing the memory of a loved one. Mind you, the track was created specifically for the movie Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru, based on manga of the same name, which is about an incestuous relationship between a brother and a sister, dddd. The single reached #12 on the weekly Oricon charts and went on to rank for seven weeks, selling 19,615 copies. It was also certified Gold for 100,000 full Chaku Uta downloads.

    evilsin's score: 9.00

    evilsin's butthurt corner: This song has a very special place in my heart. It was the first Kuri song I have ever heard. It was also the song that promted me to start romanizing Japanese lyrics so that I could sing along easily. It basically put me on the path of delving deeper into JPop for which I would be forever grateful to this lovely ballad. I love how grand this sounds. The build-up is also quite good, considering how quite and simple this starts. The explosive chorus is to my liking as well. Moreover Kuri shows off her vocal chops, which are amazing here. Truly, what a talent.

    RUNAWAY's score: 7.75

    RUNAWAY's thoughts: I believe this song is my least favorite remaining. It’s a great ballad, but it just doesn’t connect with me the way a lot of the other ones here have, and the verses are just not very exciting to me at all.

    berserkboi (10.00) said "Who knew I’d be there for the pretty ballads to this extent?"

    evilsin's recommendation:

    RUNAWAY's recommendation:

    Looks like @RUNAWAY is on his way to give you some kind of pleasure.
  5. Applause, masahiro, soratami and 5 others like this.

    RUNAWAY Staff Member

    Big thanks to @evilsin for doing all these eliminations in a row while I worked through some things mentally. I will return tomorrow with number 55, and we'll get one step closer to our top 40 songs.
  7. Kitto Eien Ni isn't my favorite Kuri song or even ballad.
    I think when it comes to R&B she has a wealth of songs, even ballads, to choose from that tap into R&B and soul more immediately. The production also borders on faceless, which means it can be universal *or* it can feel like it could be sent off to a large swath of artists.

    But ultimately, this gets a 9/10 in the context of this rate because Crystal gives such a phenomenal vocal performance. There is no one else in this rate who has the technical ability and range to do exactly what Crystal does with her voice. It's not Crystal's top tier vocal performance, but the power, resonance, support, and agility is simply in a different tier than most of the other singers. 3:20 to 3:40 is a such a treat that shows that Kuri is a student of the pioneers of the genre (Whitney, Mariah, Patti, Aretha, etc etc).

    I think when it comes to r&b and soul, a really important part of my criteria in the song structure is how well the singer can bring it home in the bridge. Crystal is consistently giving us good bridges, precise runs, beautiful melodies and harmonies, and her ability to elevate a song like this is one of her strengths.

    My reccomendations if you like a song like Kitto Eien Ni


    A gorgeous ballad that feels straight out of a Ghibli film. Very cinematic and nostalgic.

    Butterfly's Garden

    From the same album as Kitto Eien Ni. It's something slow, but a bit groovier and moodier


    Kiss is a great precursor to a song like Kitto Eien Ni. Another ballad single with a classic piano driven production. But it feels a bit less melodramatic, and more soulful and romantic

    EDIT: Something else that came to me is that while I enjoy Kitto Eien Ni for what it was, I hate that what used to be an occasional treat in Crystal disography has taken more center stage in her 2010s albums. The standard powerballad has always shown her range as an artist with the phenomenal vocal performances. But unfortunately in recent years, in trying to figure out what will stick with the audience we have gotten alot of holiday midtempos and ballads in the same reign as Kitto Eien Ni (Faces, Sakura, Kimi ga ita kara, and most of the covers from I Sing).
    This doesn't change my score for Kitto Eien Ni, but the sound is definitely something I enjoy most when it isn't repeated.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
    soratami, Crisp X, berserkboi and 3 others like this.

    RUNAWAY Staff Member


    listen 2 yo heart, open up yo heart hitori hitori no chikara de

    AI / I Wanna Know

    average: 7.854

    highest scorers:
    9.50 @odyism
    9.00 @soratami, @evilsin
    8.75 @cookiedough

    lowest scorers:
    6.00 @Trinu 3.0, @Crisp X
    6.50 @Remorque
    7.00 @lalaclairi_

    highest placement: #9 [TIE]
    lowest placement: #59

    Fuck, we're fully eliminating AI tonight and you know what...I'll take it! Almost an 8 average, no scores below a 6, no hateful commentary so as bad as it is that she's now eliminated, it's not all that bad actually. For most of this rate, this song was sitting comfortably around the top 30 before wrongfully being ejected all the way down the leaderboard to the position it sits now, but again, no awful scores to be seen! I Wanna Know is the 14th single by AI, released on August 30th, 2006, just two weeks ahead of the release of her enormously successful 5th album What's goin on A.I. The song was written and composed by AI and JiN, and arranged by DJ WATARAI (notable for his remixes). On the Oricon charts, the song was a success there too, peaking at #9, charting for 7 weeks, selling 23,200 copies, and led into the success of What's goin on A.I. which would peak at #2, go on to sell 211,703 copies, and be ranked as the 60th best selling album of the year in Japan.

    RUNAWAY's score: 8.00

    RUNAWAY's thoughts: not my anti era! I honestly should've rated this one higher as I totally enjoy the message behind the song, and the chorus. I love when songs have like...I don't even know how to explain it? The part in the chorus where she goes "uh uh uh uh" like my only frame of reference or other thing I can think of that's similar is the part in Nicki's Roman Holiday (you know the one I'm talking about, the meme part) idk it's like breathing but also using the diaphragm to actually make melodic SOUNDS. I love that shit.

    evilsin's score: 9.00

    evilsin's butthurt corner: Wasn’t this my first AI song that I ever heard? Pretty sure it was, as I was watching an episode of one of those music programs akin to Music Station. My interest definitely piqued with it, since it’s such a good one. AI’s vocals with the fast delivery of the chorus that goes the classic way of repeating the title of the song are quite nice here. Not to mention that the song was recently performed live together with Kumi! Wonder if they’ll record another song for AI’s discography now that they have Good Time on Kumi’s side. Anyway, this is one of AI’s most memorable songs for me and I’m glad it’s the last one of hers to go.

    RUNAWAY's recommendation:

    evilsin's recommendation:

    Up next, we're back to the main divas to eliminate another song...

    RUNAWAY Staff Member


    #55 - I Wanna Know - 7.854 average
    #70 - E.O - 7.541 average
    #73 - 365 feat. DELI - 7.458 average

    ARTIST AVERAGE: 7.618055556

    berserkboi, soratami, evilsin and 2 others like this.
  10. Not AI being second out overall, and completely eliminated this early. Mawma this is garbage nn
    berserkboi and evilsin like this.

    RUNAWAY Staff Member

    She's 3rd out actually after JAMOSA and melody, but yeah seeing that she ranked 11th out of the 13 divas was.....not great.
  12. At the end of the day it was inevitable for the extra girls to vacate first, due to them receiving less scores overall. I bet if AI was a main girl in the rate, she would've faired a lot better.
  13. Not me totally missing the extra girls were optional. I would have still rated them, but anyway, it does explain the floppery a bit.

    RUNAWAY Staff Member

    I completely agree. And over the past few months I've really been digging into her back catalog and kicking myself for not doing so sooner. She has so many incredible songs and we could've easily made her a main diva, but that's just how things go.
  15. [​IMG]
    soratami, Ana Raquel, evilsin and 3 others like this.
  16. I expected AI to be one of the first ones out. She was placed as an extra with only 3 songs, and while I enjoy EO and I Wanna Know, they aren't top favorites of hers. I would have loved to see her as a main diva or have at least 5 songs, but that's just the nature of creating a rate that's a bit niche with so many different artists. (I am not envious of the work and planning RUNAWAY and evilsin have had to do!)

    Overall I love AI in the context of this rate, and in the larger Japanese music scene because she provides some much needed grit, sauce, and edge. Alot of J-r&b imbues the music with a sparkly ~*kira kira*~ energy that can be so fun and provide a unique brightness. But AI comes in more raw energy on the production and has such a multifaceted skillset (vocals, rapping, songwriting, dance, mutilingual, enough pull to collaborate internationally, etc). And I really appreciate how she doesn't place herself in a box in terms of gender presentation and even the way she sings. Part of that is her natural timbre and range, but you can also tell that she isn't afraid to experiment. Some singers want their voices to be pretty and beautiful at all times, while AI just wants you to *FEEL* and be enveloped by the music. Overally AI reminds me of someone like Missy Elliot, where they might not be the absolute best at one thing but they are so multidimensional and really good at everything they present to us.

    More reccomendations below!
    EDIT: I realized I was doing the most and should just make a playlist so for anyone who is curious you can listen to some more songs here
    I included some of my favorites as well as some of the songs that were already mentioned in this thread.

    Below are the original breakdown of the first few songs I included
    My Friend (l'arpege noir mix) by DOUBLE and AI. This song is a remix/new take on AI's My friend (from the 2003 Original AI album). While the original is a typical inspirational acoustic guitar led early 2000s r&b number, this one raises the tempo and turns it into a very Rodney Jerkins-esque harpsichord r&b duet. I think it's a beautiful take on the song because DOUBLE and AI sound so good together, and the additional refrain of "ooh-oh-ohhh growing up" is lovely. I also think there is a new layer that's so beautiful when you think of DOUBLE's backstory with her sister, and singing a song like this. It's just gorgeous to hear Double sing on a duet with someone whose voice compliments her well.
    And overall I think AI really improved the song this second time around.

    Ooh, is an album cut from What's Goin on A.I. (same album as I Wanna Know).
    It's such a luscious and warm r&b song that's reminscent of 2000s Kanye West productions that sample classic 70s/80s soul songs. I love the melodies and layers of harmonies, and I love songs where AI is seamlessly rapping and singing on the same song.

    You Are My Star and My Angel are two of my favorites from the 2009 VIVA A.I. album.
    They are a hint generic in the same vein of Beni's Stardust, (I hate to invoke his name but) Chris Brown's Forever, and Ne-Yo's Closer. But I think there is a magic that happens with the contrast of AI's natural sound and edge, on productions that are warm and glide.

    Wonderful World, From Zero, and Feel It are my highlights from her 2017 album, Wa to Yo. The concept of the album was to contrast the artistic inspirations and foundations of Japanese music and western genres like r&b/hip-hop etc. So you get some fun tracks where you hear r&b melodies with the implementation of traditional Japanese percussions, strings, and wind instruments.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2022

    RUNAWAY Staff Member

    I hate bottom of the page eliminations but here we go I guess....

    I can give you a big hug always kono mune ni tobikonde datte

    JASMINE / Best Partner

    average: 7.866

    highest scorers:
    10.00 @evilsin, @RUNAWAY
    9.00 @lalaclairi_
    8.75 @Remorque

    lowest scorers:
    5.00 @Trinu 3.0 (again?)
    6.00 @odyism (again?)
    7.00 @berserkboi, @Crisp X, @Macsun

    highest placement: #34 [TIE]
    lowest placement: #63

    Ugh another painful elimination. Best Partner is the eighth single by JASMINE, released ahead of her second album Complexxx on July 25th, 2012. The song's lyrics were written by JASMINE herself, and the music and arrangement were done by JASMINE, Jeff Miyahara, and Masuda Tosh. Lyrically the song is about being there for a best girl friend, and JASMINE sings directly to a crying girl telling her to pick herself back up, which lyrically shares similarities with Dear Lonely Girl by our very own Miliyah. How that song does in this rate is yet to be determined. Commercially, the song peaked at #50 on the Oricon charts, ranked for 2 weeks total, and sold a meager 2,191 copies and you have no idea how much that pains me to write out. Miss J entered her flop era with this album and it just hurts to say that, but it's true.

    RUNAWAY's score: 10.00

    RUNAWAY's thoughts: NOT THIS. This is my second favorite JASMINE song, and I was sure it would do so much better than this! This is another one of the songs I built the rate around when it was just an idea in my head, and I am PISSED that it’s leaving already. Trinu YOU WILL PAY. For me, this was another major moment for me in my relationship with J-pop and R&B, and even though I was already a fan of hers when this came out, this song really changed me. I distinctly remember listening to Complexxx for MONTHS on repeat in my car when I got the cd. I was OBSESSED, and I still am to be honest. Those twelve tracks are bulletproof, and that album is one of my favorite Japanese albums of all time, honestly. It’s just that good to me.

    evilsin's score: 10.00

    evilsin's butthurt corner: Wasn’t this supposed to be titled a bit differently at first? Like Best Friend or something? Anyhow, dear God, JASMINE sells this like hot pancakes on a cold winter day with those emotions! I love the delivery here so freaking much. A song about friendship where JASMINE is ready to kick the guy for hurting her friend? Sign me up. Moreover, we have a plethora of amazing melodies and production flourishes from Jeff Miyahara. What’s not to like? I have to say, the whole Best Partner single is one of the best ever released. All 3 songs on it deserve heaps and heaps of praise. What a strong outing for Miss JASMINE.

    berserkboi (7) "Nice!"

    cookiedough (8.5) "Love the chords"

    RUNAWAY's recommendation:

    evilsin's recommendation:

    Next untouched diva takes her first hit.
  18. I guess no one really cares about JASMINE, since there is no reaction to that elimination, dddd.
    soratami, berserkboi and RUNAWAY like this.
  19. I like Best Partner well enough.
    Sometimes I wonder if my scores aren't in sync with other peoples ideas of numerical value.
    For me a 5, is an average song that can be enjoyable but is often forgetful or very middle of the road. A 1 is a song that's unlistenable usually for really messed up or offensive reasons. While a 10 is a listening experience of joy, elation, euphoria, bliss, and in need of a constant replay.

    Sometimes the 10s are contextual, and I think that is the case here where my 9s and 10s went to songs that I know in and out and have lived with for 10-20 years. While Jasmine was recieiving a score based on a few listens.

    Best Partner specifically has a beautiful vocal performance, but I am realizing there are qualitties that miss the mark for me with alot of the Jasmine songs in this rate. I am realizing that Jasmine's time of debut means that she is drawing inspiration from some of my least favorite years for R&B and bypassing alot of the sounds and foundational genres of the 90s, 80s, etc.
    So what we get are productions that are a bit cold and also a bit predictable that feel very 2006-2009. If the sounds of moody vibey soundscapes of 2012 to 2015 are soundcloud r&b, I would describe the sounds of alot of these Jasmine songs to be very reminscient of Myspace r&b.

    And then Jasmine's voice is intriguing because in these 2010 albums, there is this tension and almost wobbliness to it. Almost like her voice is at the edge of a precipice. At it's best it creates a really beautiful drama and burst of energy, and at its worst it can end up feeling whiny or a worry that she might go flat or sharp at any point.

    Based on listening to a few snippets of here and there, I actually think I prefer her more recent vocal performances where she explores more of her lower register. The lower register has less of that tension and more of that stability, which then makes the drama of her higher register feel more intentional and delicious.

    All the songs on this 2022 album just feel like there is more complexity and subtely that highight different parts of her voice. Erase and Kimi wa TOMODACHI are doing some of what I am referring to with the more subdued take, and then a few songs like Road and COCOROZASHI show that she is still fully capable of giving that drama

    With Best Partner, the vocal performance and that vocal quality work perfectly on the chorus.
    But I am so glad to see that in recent years she is expanding the spectrum of what her voice can do.
  20. Funny how @RUNAWAY and I have to do everything in here. Fine, I'll get us to the next page myself.
    soratami, RUNAWAY and berserkboi like this.
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