Music

Vicke Blanka: The J-pop star who let his fans choose the songs on his album

From Nishikasugai, Aichi, Japan, Vicke Blanka has burst onto the scene and released a 35-song album, all of which were chosen by fans.

Already on the 5th anniversary of his debut album, Slave of Love, Vicke Blanka returns with a move that is certainly unique.

Celebrating this milestone but also involving new and loyal fans, his new record SUPERVILLAIN, sees the artist compile his greatest moments so far.

Vickeblanka SUPERVILLAIN

 

To simply call him a J-Pop artist seems redundant. SUPERVILLAIN isn’t merely a new album with fan adored songs, but a scope of genre-bending music that’s crucial for today’s scene. Also playing guitar, his bombastic and energetic solos breathe new life into current music.

What I like is he’s more than the sum of his parts. While Vicke has a unique and individual sound, you can hear the varied influences. Call it pop, funk, rock n roll or electronic, nothing is out of bounds. One song has beats and the other is a live song with a band. Anyone will find something to suit their taste.

Another quirk is his use of different languages. Staying true to his Japanese roots, you’ll hear his mother tongue on many tracks. But suddenly a song is in English, and a few include French, listen to Ca Va.

Upon listening to a few songs myself, I immediately thought of Japanese artist Tatsuro Yamashita. Mainly due to the colourful music but also its energy. There’s always something going on and never a dull moment on this album. The music has clarity but is also raw and vulnerable. Perhaps it’s something in Japan that causes its artists to blend music from pop, funk, disco and electronic and make it something solely individual.

From the artist himself, he’s listed The Carpenters, Bay City Rollers, Queen and Michael Jackson as influences. Suddenly, Vicke’s stadium friendly and thick sound makes even more sense. There’s clearly a vision and style rooted in traditional songwriting but it doesn’t sound dated or repeated.

Like Vickeblanka’s influences, notably Queen and Michael Jackson, genre-bending is necessary and evident. SUPERVILLAIN, if anything, is not just a compilation of work chosen by fans but a body of work that when compiled together, is seen as unique, inviting and full of energy.

Listen below to see what I mean.