Earlier this year I posted "Tell Me" by the fabulous Wonder Girls and wrote about my tentative exploration of the Asian pop scene. I'm still taking baby steps but since then I've discovered a wealth of poptastic acts to rival anything Australia or Europe has to offer. Funnily enough I'm completely underwhelmed by the big names. The appeal of J Pop megastars like Ayumi, Utada and Namie is lost on me. Instead my taste in Asian pop mirrors my English language listening habits. Basically, I'm partial to trashy pop tarts with plastic surgery addictions and nude calenders, floptastic girlbands and middle aged divas who are still dressing in school uniforms well into their 40s. It seems my yearning for pop trash is truly universal!
Ami Suzuki isn't the trashiest diva in Asia but her pop trash credentials are impeccable. 15 year old Ami shot to stardom in Japan after winning a televised talent show in the late 90s. Her first album sold almost 2 million copies and she briefly enjoyed a level of fame to rival that of J Pop queen Ayumi. That is until Ami's father sued her record company for a larger share of the profits (she was only being paid 3 million yen a week!) and the poor bitch found herself blacklisted by the music industry, thus experiencing an almost unprecedented fall from grace. After five years of relative obscurity, Ami was re-discovered performing at university and signed a record deal with Avex - a Japanese dance label similar to AATW. Since then Ami has developed a large gay following by releasing a string of trashy club anthems that rarely tickle the top 30. In other words, she's the Japanese Dannii!
At the beginning of 2008 Ami released her third album for Avex called "Dolce" and unveiled a sexy new baby doll image. "Dolce" is an irresistibly upbeat collection of Japanese house tracks with a hefty dose of bright and shiny pop thrown into the mix. The first single "Free Free" is one of my favourite songs of the year. Another #32 smash hit for Ami, "Free Free" is an eccentric dancefloor stomper with an endearingly uplifting English language chorus. The heavy beats are fantastic and I love the crazy vocoder effects. The more concise single edit is slightly superior but the album version I'm posting is a weird and wonderful treat. Make sure you check out the fabulous video (above), which steals shamelessly from Kylie and Madonna. Ami's latest single should be of interest to fans of the American girlband Aly & AJ. It's a sparkling dance cover of "Potential Break Up Song"! Check out Ami's stunning version here. You can purchase "Dolce" from YesAsia and HMV Japan. It's definitely worth hunting this gem down.