Of Wonderful Japanese Music: Negicco

negicco-melody-palette-lpExcept for some rare cases, I’ve personally never been that much into Idol groups. To be honest, I think there’s still a lot of confusion in recognizing this kind of unit in the midst of cute girls, shining smiles and sugary melodies. Someone says even Perfume are technically idols, and even though this might be true in a way, I don’t think the three girls from Hiroshima would fully agree with this.

But does it even matter in the end? Honestly, no. Only music and talent is what makes the difference in the end, and Niigata based unit Negicco have lots of good music and passion to deliver, and their 2013 studio album Melody Palette, released under Tower Records’ indie label T-Palette, is the proof of it.

Let’s take a few steps back: Negicco formed in 2003 (Yes, eleven years ago) as young promoters of the local Yawahada Negi, a particular type of green onion, under contract of the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives Group. While this may not sound like the most serious or enthralling beginning, the real intentions of these three girls were anything but a joke; Indeed, after the end of their promotional period, Nao, Megu, Kaede and Miku (who left the group in 2006) continued their activities as an idol unit, still using the green onion leaks as symbol. Produced by their hardcore fan connie and creating the choreographies by themselves, Negicco continued to dance and sing for all the 2000s, and between change of formations and label shifts, in 2010 the three girls won the local idol award U.M.U. , a turning point of their career. In 2011, after the release of their first Best album, they left the old label to join T-Palette, finally getting more attention by the national audience.

The story itself already makes it clear: These girls are tenacious and incredibly passionated. Even nowadays, after more than ten years, they still perform in small stages and put one hundred percent in their performances, something that definitely not all the short-life idol units out there can claim.

What’s more interesting, though, is the evolution of their sound, that recently opened to more musical influences, including techno-pop, electronic, shibuya kei, jazz and more, thanks mainly to the collaboration of great producers such as Pizzicato Five’s Yasuharu Konishi, tofubeats and RAM RIDER, while maintaining their core sound obviously provided by connie. All of these qualities are showcased in the Melody Palette album, which is an excellent demonstration of their sound versatility: From the beats of the reflective Ai no Tower of Love to the ironic/genial Idol Bakari Kikanaide and the joyful Negicco kara kimi e, and all the other sounds you can find in the middle, this album can easily satisfy a wide range of listeners, guaranteeing variety and quality production. Even their last single Tokimeki no Headliner featuring the excellent Sayonara Music is another proof of their qualities, that reach the top in live performances where all the charisma of these three girls comes out, dancing and singing tirelessly, and constantly involving the audience: There are no special effects here, only lots of passion and fun, and you’ll grow to love these girls more and more. I honestly can’t wait to catch one of their shows in my next trip to Japan.

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Negicco is a more than valid group that deserves your attention; With good quality music, variousness, and a great on stage presence, Nao, Megu and Kaede definitely stand out in the endless underground sea of idol groups. All they need is just to get even more noticed, in order to evolve… and that’s it. They already have everything it takes to be major acts, and I can’t wait to see what these girls have in store for their future.

In the meanwhile, enjoy one of their best songs and videos so far, called Idol Bakari Kikanaide, literally Don’t listen to only Idol Music.

… Seriously, how can’t you love them?

– Alex

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2 thoughts on “Of Wonderful Japanese Music: Negicco

  1. This is the greatest review article of Negicco so far in English, with firmly based on both their history and the current position in J-POP trends. Hope you can see one of their performances in Japan.

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