I recently stumbled upon Neojaponisme‘s summary of the hundred greatest Japanese rock albums, as compiled by Kawasaki Daisuke two years ago. While I’m generally no fan of numerical rankings for music, I’m struck by his explanation of why such lists have often been uncommon in Japan: he claims that almost entire music industry there “is infected with the idea that they should not rank releases because it would ‘make the record companies angry’.”
If that’s the case, the companies must now be furious, since his list has now inspired a slough of counter-lists and rejoinders. A rival music publication, Snoozer, published its own list, largely to chide Kawasaki for assigning his number-one ranking to Happy End’s early seventies chamber-folk classic, Kazemachi Roman. Yet another site features contemporary Japanese bands, offering the latest on the likes of Parabellum Bullet, 54-71, and Avengers in Sci-Fi, not to mention band-name-of-the-year-nominee Wagdog Futuristic Unity.
Before I get completely lost in translation, I’ll take a short scavenger hunt through five decades of J-rock. Wander for yourself and find your own happy end.
The Jacks, “Jacks No Sekai”
Happy End, “Kaze Wo Atsumete”
The Plastics, “Top Secret Man”
Boredoms, “Super Go”
Cornelius, “Count Five or Six”
Parabellum Bullet, “Wanderland”