Vickeblanka has shot into the spotlight since 2018, leading the way as one of Japan’s biggest breakout artists since 2018, racking up more than 350 million streams.
J-Pop favourite Vickeblanka, real name Yamaike Junya has only been releasing music since 2014, but he’s already ticked off a career-worth of accolades from winning several awards, to having recent singles used as the theme songs for anime series including Black Clover and Fruits Basket.
Vickeblanka’s most recent record Best Album Supervillian is pretty much a summary of his career so far. The 2-disc, 36 track exhibition transverses between English and Japanese lyrics, backed by stunning pop melodies and instrumentation.
Winter Beat is an early standout, with its insanely energetic string and horn sections and vocals that remind of ELO.
While we’re in the mood for comparisons, you could easily mistake Slave of Love for a Mika song. Well, at least until the track brings in a guitar solo that rivals something you might hear from Queen.
Now, before when we said this album traverses between English and Japanese… add French into the mix as well. Junya decided to write a track called Ca Va? after he heard French people speaking on the phone during a trip to Paris. “Saba” means mackrel in Japanese, so Vickeblanka thought it was hilarious to hear everyone around him constantly saying “ca va?” and decided to include it in this song.
Vickeblanka gets a little bit more personal in the mid-point of the album, with tracks like Masshiro, and WALK, but quickly brings the boogies back with a couple of funkier numbers Shekebon! and the digital rock thumper Mirage.
The record could easily be a movie soundtrack in itself, boasting a mix of cinematic music and fast-paced tracks that would be fitting for an anime fight scene.
Another highlight is Stray Cat, a spectacle of pure pop-funk. It’s catchy, it’s playful, and carried by quality vocals – it does everything a great pop song should.
Black Rover is one of the before-mentioned tracks that was used as an anime theme. That news is unlikely to come as a surprise when you take the chance to listen. It’s unmistakably a theme song, yet it doesn’t feel at all out of place on the record.
It’s the same story for the album closer, Black Catcher, featuring some of the best melodies from the entire album. Think Elton John playing piano, with J-Pop vocals that verge on ’90s rock.
Get a taste for Vickeblanka’s new album below.