Released: March 8, 2017
Chanmina’s debut is a pretty weird one to discuss… like, literally. She walked into the fluffy world of J-pop last year, but now the Japanese/Korean rapper is channeling her inner ratchet realness with her debut Miseinen, which means Underage in English… pretty fitting for the chick. In all fairness, to me, Chanmina is like a mini-Kumi Koda; provocative as hell, stylish and gorgeous, and very independent with her artistry. But whereas Kumi has evolved throughout her many years of styles, Chanmina is still a little flower yet to flourish in full brilliance and colour, so I’ll leave the comparison’s for another day… for now though.
Right, back to Miseinen. It’s the singer’s debut album and, giving by it’s English translation, the album deals with a huge array of themes about… well, being young; love, munnnnaaayyyy, friendships, having fun, and the “I’m-so-f.ing-amazing-I-can-do-what-the-F-I-want” attitude (how classy gurl). Yes, you think you’ve heard it all with majority of the Western singers dealing with this crap, but the audacity for Chanmina to even rock the J-pop land with a sassy demeanour and rather raw and slick songwriting is a risk in its own right that proved to be pretty convincing, considering many artists in old’ J-pop land these days like to stay safe and sound in their own comfort zones (no shade cause I still enjoy there music, but it’s kinda true too). But having said that, what about the actual work on the album?
Well, don’t be surprised, because from the stuff we’ve heard from Chanmina before, it’s pretty predictable in ways. The complete mess of “Fxxker”—the album’s main single— is so f-ing bad that it’s so catchy and a guilty pleasure… and that’s me being honest.com. The hip-hop M.I.A.-esque anthem, which showcases a repetitive mouth of constant, on-going, and weird-sounding
f words words, is an over-the-show beat that basically has her express one thing on her mind (try guess what it is…) You’ll either love it or hate it, but I’m not too optimistic that it will be loved (no shade gurl). Same goes to “Princess” and “Wonderland”, two self-indulgent numbers song that has her basically talking about… umm, her, her, ANDDDD herself… in a vain type of way… gurl, next. And don’t even get me started with the TeddyLoid collaboration, the extremely chaotic “Daikirai”… I mean, what the hell is this? Well, fact is, this is a cover song originally performed by the DJ, and another young Japanese rapper Daoko. But while Daoko’s version is a little more melodic and accessible (a little is an understatement), Chanmina complete butchers the song with its overbearing EDM composition and stretchy vocals… uggghhh, I can’t take it!
But one thing that I find interesting about the 18-year-old is that she’s pretty raw in talent, and that she’s trying to push the envelope a little bit. Many J-pop acts these days are as stale as bread with their sounds, that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between their new albums from their past albums… like, from decades ago (sorry not sorry). So, Miseinen offers a diverse set of directions; the tropical R&B sounds of “Best Boy Friend” obviously feels inspired from her shared-homeland of South Korea—the herald of infectious K-pop, while the confessional “She’s Gone” is particularly strong in delivery. From there, the singer also dabs into a bit of reggae-ska beats (“Nanimo kowa Kunai”), the quintessential pop-rock rhythm (“Ur Like Me”), and the amazing execution of Westernized trap tunes and sugary vocal abilities (“Lady”). These songs I heavily recommend because they’re catchy as hell, but my absolute favourite is “Over”… like gurls and boyz, the melancholy is real here. This is a touching ballad-esque EDM number that discusses a previous relationship, but instead of sulking in the mix, our chick Chanmina serves them pure sass and attitude… gurl better put ’em in their place, cause this number is FIRE!
Chanmina knows how to serve a platter of fierceness and raw talent, and it’s obvious on Miseinen, despite the fact it features a few bum notes. I mean, I don’t know about y’all, but I haven’t heard many explicit Japanese songs in a long time so I’m pretty convinced about the chick’s edginess and challenging vibe (plus I enjoy fast-pace dance/EDM/hip-hop/trash music, so that works either way). But having said that, here lies my questions; is Miseinen memorable? Apart from like a couple of songs, then no. Is Miseinen a great album? Well, no, not really. But has Miseinen convinced me to keep an eye on the rising rapper? Hell yes, cause I think Chanmina will rock the J world… well hopefully. So overall, Miseinen is decent enough to own, despite some of the tracks feeling a little unapproachable, but the rest is entertaining, so I’ll give my gurl that!
Track list (Bold means best tracks)
- Miseinen (feat. Messhi)
- Best Boy Friend
- She’s Gone
- Nanimo kowa Kunai
- Over ~Liam’s favourite~
- Ur Like Me
- Daikirai (feat. TeddyLoid)