Now that my partner in crime has popped the cherry on this little recommended spending spree, it's my turn to tell you why my choices for Top 5 albums you should buy are the REAL Top 5 Best!
Listen to Ep.016 to hear how this all came about!
5. BennieK - The World
4. Mucc - Shion
3. Do As Infinity - Deep Forest
2. Mucc - Gokusai
1. L'Arc~en~Ciel - Best 1994-1998 + Best 1998-2000
BennieK - The World
I chose this because if I had to name an album for how pure rock fans should expand their repetoire, this is the perfect choice. I had a hard time between this and Utada's Deep River, but I really love the different "flavors" this album offers. Everything from the African 'Safari' to Spanish 'Matador Love' to the very Euro 'Hooligan in the House'. Combine this wide range of specific influences with Yuki's absolutely amazing voice and Cico's injected badass'ness (and engrish!) and you come away with an extremely satisfying experience. FAVORITE SONG: Matadore Love
Mucc - Shion
I personally think this is Mucc's best album, but I don't think it's the best album for people to become a fan of Mucc. This is a perfect example of when an established band experiments and fucking nails it! Much akin to the BennieK album, it takes various influences from around the world, most notably India, and spices up their powerful sound with it. While the singles on the album don't follow this motif, 'Libra' stands as one of Mucc's best songs ever while everyone seems to enjoy 'Fuzz'; especially at concerts. Mucc has done a very smart thing by releasing Gokusai to gain fans, Shion to show those fans what they can do, and Kyuutai to keep em wanting more! FAVORITE SONG: Semishigure
Do As Infinity - Deep Forest
Like Zer0, my DAI album recommendation has a lot to with nostalgia. Do As Infinity was the first JPOP band I listened to whom I consider a "band". 'Week' was my first exposure to the overly-talented trio/duo and I've been a die-hard fan ever since. Deep Forest was the first japanese album I bought besides anime OSTs and it still holds up well today. Every track is solid and if you want to ease yourself into the JPop/JRock scene, this is a damn perfect start. FAVORITE SONG: Tsuubasa no Keikaku
Mucc - Gokusai
Packed with as many singles as Snickers has peanuts, Gokusai is Mucc's best album to showcase the band. If you go to a Mucc concert, chances are that the overwhelming percentage of songs you'll hear will be from this album. Mucc fans that have been crazy about them since their first album kind of see Gokusai as the beginning of their "unwelcome change", but I see it as their first step to being accepted cross-genre. Mucc's strength is in both Miya's expert guitar arrangement and Tatsurou's grungy-melodic voice and it takes songs like those found on Gokusai to really get that across. Listen to this album with a friend or two around while you enjoy a couple beers and they'll all be asking for copies while you look for Shion! FAVORITE SONG: Gekkou
L'Arc~en~Ciel - Best of 1994-1998 + Best of 1998-2000
I had to lump both of these together because they really should be all one album. Even the third 'Best of C/W' could be in there too, but we'll stick with the hits! No band represents Japanese Popular Music as a whole better than the boys of Laruku. These guys are constantly showcased outside Japan as Japan's #1 Rock Band and these two albums show you why. I bought these when they were released because I heard Driver's High as the opening for GTO back in the day and figured if I was going to get into a band, this was the best way to do it. I feel these songs need no introduction or publicity because I feel everyone should at least recognize them when they're played. The range of tracks you get go from the good old days of uber visual-kei hair styles and whimsical pop-rock to the more "accepted" rock sound of today. These guys have run the gamut with their music, and all of it is superb. FAVORITE SONG: Snow Drop
So there you have it! Why are you still reading this? BuyBuyBuyNOW!!! I must say that a very VERY honorable mention goes out to Gackt's MARS album. I maybe should have put it in there besides Shion, but I can't lie to my heart. If you've heard of Gackt but haven't listened to him, or you like ANY of the albums mentioned in this article, MARS is epic, and not one track should be missed.