(After bragging about how busy I was, suddenly I am producing 3 posts in as many days. Reason being Samurai T is down with gastric flu, so I am stuck at home with nothing better to do - hence I blog.)
My girlfriends, especially those from my so-called "Japanese Gang" (they are all as crazy or crazier about Japan than I am), are an evil lot. As if I do not have enough distractions on my hands, one girlfriend sneakily "lent" me her SMAP VCDs (See my previous rant here). Now another one has practically thrown me a thumb drive filled with 300++ AWESOME songs from SMAP, Arashi and EXILE. Let me leave Arashi for another post at a later date, and concentrate on EXILE, since this dear friend has kindly raved about them and shown me a couple of their cool MTVs during a rocking karaoke session earlier this week.
EXILE - The Metrosexual Band. Most posters show 7 of them but the current band has 14 members.
If SMAP was kawaii and energetic (let's not get distracted by HOT Takuya), EXILE oozes cool, spiffy moustaches and rippling tanned bods. (Yes I am shallow so I am talking about their appearances first, boy bands are formed for WOMEN like me, ok?!) If SMAP is the Japanese equivalent of New Kids on the Block (but with a significantly longer life span), then EXILE would be like NSYNC meets Boyz II Men (which is probably not coincidental since lead vocalist Atsushi is known to be a fan of Boyz II Men.) So music-wise, EXILE rocks an R&B sound with very hypnotic beats, and yes, they sing MUCH better than SMAP. Lead singers Atsushi and Takahiro have very smooth developed vocals well suited for these type of songs. But like SMAP with their "$10" song, EXILE also has the curse of "what-the-hell kind of song title is that?" with "Choo-choo Train", but trust me, it sounds WAY better than you can imagine.
The history of EXILE is quite complicated. In a nutshell it is two boy bands becoming one, when 7-member band J-Soul Brothers joined existing 7-member EXILE in March 2009 to become the 14-member group it is today. An aside: I don't understand why bands have to become so big, and don't even get me started about girl band AKB48 which is even bigger than my school choir. Another aside: I just read in the papers today that New Kids on the Block has teamed up with Back Street Boys for a series of concerts and are now known as NKOTBSB!!! They are obviously taking their cue from the Japanese.
All 14 buggers in one picture
Back to EXILE. In short, they are huge in Japan, as a 7-member band or 14-member band. They are multiple award winners and have sold MILLIONS of albums. Not surprising, considering their too-cool-for-school songs and the men don't look half bad too. I particularly found the "Ti Amo" and "Your Eyes Only" drop-dead sexy. And their "Holy Night A Capella" blew me away - a heavenly blending of manly voices, much better than anything from Boyz II Men. Other favourites which have lodged permanently on my must-play list includes "I Believe" and "Futatsu no Kuchibiru". At this point I am still unearthing new treasures, so maybe I will have another update post about it in the future.
Gratuitous naked pic of lead singer, Atsushi, to thank my friend for introducing EXILE to me.
The other lead singer, Takahiro, who is probably the only pretty boy in EXILE. But Takuya is still prettier, no??
So conclusion? Thank you, girlfriend (you know who you are). Poor Samurai now has more competition for my attention!
I have uploaded one of their steamy MTVs for your viewing pleasure (and in line with our Christmas mood). Have fun squealing in private.