Japanese Song of the Day – “ZERO” by B’z

I apologize for being less that professional on this post. B’z are my favorite band. But before you turn away and shun my opinion as biased and unreliable, a few facts:

-B’z have been active as a band for 25 years.
-They are the best-selling artist in Japan with over 80 million units sold. (The band in 2nd place, Mr. Children, trail by more than 20 million units.)
-They’ve had 46 #1 singles in a row – the most of any artist releasing in Japan.
-They became the first Asian artists with a star on Guitar Center’s Hollywood Rock Walk in 2007.
-In 2011, guitarist Tak Matsumoto’s jazz collaboration with Larry Carlton, “Take Your Pick,” won Best Pop Instrumental Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.

So if I’m a bit bombastic when talking about a long-running, Grammy-award winning, record-breaking, insanely popular and extraordinarily talented couple of guys, you’ll have to forgive me.

If you like blues rock, classic rock, rock-pop, acoustic rock, or…well, any kind of rock that isn’t death metal, you’ll probably like something B’z have to offer. Today they announced two single compilation CDs to be released in celebration of their 25th Anniversary, so that gave me an excuse to cover them.

I ultimately decided on this song, “ZERO,” from 1992.

This particular track is just a very good example of what they generally do. It’s a standout to me among their early 90’s work, and it’s one of the few 3″ CD singles of theirs that I own. Tak Matsumoto’s guitar work is top-notch, and Koshi Inaba’s vocals are toeing the line between his throaty early work and nasal later work, which becomes more pronounced after about 1995. He’s very emotive, but is starting to go outside his comfort zone. The production, which by this point is getting more inspired by western rock, is very ahead of its time for Japanese rock.

And yeah I might have chosen it because it’s called Zero and so am I. 😛

I highly recommend giving more work by B’z a try. Here are the clips made available on the B’z YouTube channel for a few of their more well-known tracks:

“Easy Come, Easy Go!” – 1990
Uplifting, cheerful song. This was my go-to song whenever I was heartbroken for several years.

“ALONE” – 1991
An epic and extremely popular ballad that still ranks high on the band’s Last.fm rankings 22 years after its release.

“negai (Wish)” – 1995
Very melodically strong, jazzy pop-rock. One of my favorite singles from their “LOOSE” album.

“FIREBALL” – 1997
Dark driving rock song. And a video that might help the ladies on lonely nights.

“HOME” – 1998
This is a very typical B’z song, in most senses. A bit bluesy, charming as hell, and a catchy guitar riff. It’s been covered in English, and was available on the iTunes store for a few years, but last I saw it isn’t there anymore.

“IT’S SHOWTIME!!” – 2003
I was an extra in this video (along with my boyfriend at the time), but you can’t see me in this clip. Even in the full version you can only see my sleeve but it’s still awesome. It’s a very cool song though!

Head on over to http://www.youtube.com/Bz to see their channel and hear more of their music. You can buy some CDs on Amazon and iTunes has a few songs available.

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