Music Monday |iri — Wonderland

Music Monday |iri — Wonderland

WOOO. Hi BAYOG Fam. It’s Minty poking my head out of hiatus for a late Music Monday post~ It’s not really a theme, but I’m just picking what I’m vibing with on my summer playlist~ Y’all know I do a lot of K-R&B, K-Hip Hop, K-Pop posts, and occasionally J-Pop and J-Rock. Today, let’s do some J-R&B~ Today I wanna share 「Wonderland」 by iri~

While y’all know my life is mostly consumed with Korean music like K-R&B, K-Hip Hop, and K-Pop…I do enjoy Japanese music of various genres too. I probably enjoy more J-R&B/Hip Hop and J-Rock than J-Pop these days though. Anyway, I discovered iri a few years ago. I absolutely love several of her tracks. Back in the day (like early 2000s), I didn’t really consider there to be a lot of legit R&B type of artists in the Asian music scene. It just felt more like pop artist vocals and songs with slight R&B, but it still didn’t have a legit R&B kinda feel to it. Of course I found some exceptions with some Korean artists and a few other Asian artists. But for me, I particularly felt like I didn’t find many in the Thai or Japanese music scene. So I was surprised to find some artists that fit the legit kinda R&B vibes I liked in the Japanese music scene. iri was definitely one of them. I don’t even remember how I discovered her and a bunch of other artists. Probably through my random late night rabbit hole explorations on Spotify.

iri (イリ) is a Japanese singer-songwriter under Colorful Records. She was born in Kanagawa, Japan. You can categorize her music under alternative R&B, hip hop, and reggae. Although I find she uses a lot of different genres and vibes in her music. Examples would be house music, jazz, and even bossa nova. She apparently became interested in pursuing a musical career in high school, so she began vocal training instead of doing an after-school club. When she was in university, she taught herself to play the acoustic guitar and performed at a jazz club. She also won the Grand Pix in the Music Performance Cateogory at Jam, an audition held by NYLON Japan and Sony Music, in 2014. iri then studied abroad in New York until February 2015. She then made her major label debut in October 2016 with the album Groove It. It actually charted #1 in the iTunes Store Japan hip-hop/rap chart. Her 2017 single [「Watashi」] was used to in ads for both Nike and Apple Music. She was also one of the opening acts for Corinne Baily Rae’s Japan tour that April. I honestly love the vibes of her tracks. You have some very more R&B type of tracks, some more hip-hop type of tracks, and then these more upbeat and groove kind of tracks. For me, I also found iri’s vocals to be pretty interesting as well. For me, I notice a lot of female vocalists in Japan have more lighter, thinner, and higher voices with sweeter tones and sounds to their vocals. I would say iri’s vocals sound kinda of lower and deeper than many other Japanese singers. She also has this kind of chill and laid back kind of vibe to her vocals too. While she isn’t my absolute favorite vocalist, I do love that her vocals sound unique to me, and therefore it just seems to stand out. So I personally find her a breath of fresh air in the Japanese music scene. I just ended up diving into her tracks one night and absolutely loved her tracks and vibe. Especially the more chill tracks. [「ナイトグルーヴ」] is probably the first track I ever heard from her. I absolutely loved [「Wonderland」] though. Some other of my personal favorites from iri include: [「渦」], [「Peak」], [「飛行」], [「CAKE」] [「Sway」], [「Watashi」], [「Corner」], [「Come Away」], [「24-25」], [「Sparkle」], [「Coaster」], [「Come Back To My City」], [「はじまりの日」], [「room」], [「回る」], [「Night Groove」], [「渦 (Yaffle Remix) 」], and [「rhythm」].

Artist: iri (イリ)
Song: Wonderland
Album: Shade
Genre: J-Pop, J-R&B, J-Hip Hop
Language: Japanese
Origin: Japan
Release: March 2019

Agian, today’s track is 「Wonderland」 , which appeared on her album Shade. Shade dropped back in March 2019. However, 「Wonderland」 was also previously released as a single, and has also appeared on her 2016-2020 album as well. The album has a mix of genres and vibes. You have R&B, house music, hip hop, pop type of vibes, and kind of ambient type of vibes too. A couple tracks are a bit more upbeat, but most of them fit in a more chill and relaxed type of vibe. 「Wonderland」 has a catchy hip-hop and R&B type of beat and vibe to it. At the same time, it has some chill vibes to it that snaps back and pulls you in with it’s catchy hook. So it’s not surprising that this is the most popular song on the album, as well as being her most listened to song on Spotify with over 19 million listens. I believe the music video is like over 21 million views as well. It’s a song basically talking about kind of feeling down and pessimistic in the world, but not wanting to just go back and give up. Rather, it’s better to do what you can and enjoy a wonderland with the person you care about.

You can find and her album Shade on Spotify, here:

You can find the Seiho remix of 「Wonderland」 on Spotify, here:

It’s a fairly simple music video with iri singing at what seems to be a small diner with vintage vibes at a gas station. There also seems to be couple of other young individuals there too. They all seem to be troubled or concerned about something, possibly worried about their life and the uncertain future. Yet, they somehow find some comfort after listening to some music. I’m guessing cuz it was most likely also product placement for a Walkman mp3 player and headphones.

You can find the lyric translations in English by [Kelana at Musicbox Translations].

Anyway, that’s it for today’s Music Monday post. Short and simple, right? I hope you all enjoyed it~ Let me know if you’re a fan of iri and what other tracks you like! Also, let me know if you have any recommendations! I surely am not as familiar with the Japanese music scene as I used to be. I just randomly poke my head in every now and then. So I am always open to any new recommendations~ Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful day! Take care and stay safe friends!

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Hihi! I’m Minty! I’m Thai-American~ เป็นคนไทยค่ะ~ ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักนะคะ~
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