X Japan Signs With EMI, Plans New Tour

Categories: Announcements
xjapanatfoxtheatre.jpg
X Japan during their North American tour in 2010.
Just a few short months ago, I watched X Japan play their first U.S. performance ever in front of hundreds of sunburned Lollapalooza attendees.

It was a dynamite performance, but mostly because of pyrotechnics - not the audience reaction. The band followed up with a very successful, if short, seven date tour. Despite the critical acclaim X Japan received from all this, I couldn't help wondering if America is ready to give mainstream success to a Japanese band -- even one as huge as X Japan -- a dynamic you can read all about in this music feature.

It looks like we may have an answer in 2011.

Today, X Japan announced a North American distribution agreement with E.M.I. for the band's upcoming single, "Jade," and an as-of- yet unnamed, full-blown album.

The album will feature 95 percent English lyrics and a combination of new material and classic tracks. But the news that's really going to get X Japan fans excited is encapsulated in the following sentence: "To support the new album, X Japan plans to tour extensively in 2011."

X Japan's first American release has been a moving target since the band announced their Lollapalooza last year. Even with E.M.I. orchestrating the release, today's vague E.T.A. of "summer 2011" should be taken with a grain of salt.

I would also be remiss if I didn't point out that E.M.I. has signed other Japanese artists as well. Utada Hikaru, The Telephones, 9mm Parabellum Bullet, they're all signed to E.M.I. or one of its various subsidiaries. The difference here, of course is that those musicians aren't kicking up dust here in the states the way X Japan is attempting to do.

But will it work? Will the band that's "sold more than 30-million units and filled the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome a record-setting 18 times" penetrate the American audience in a way their peers have only dreamed of doing? Will they fade away like a cheesy, hair-metal explosion?

You have the stage, X.

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6 comments
Evan S.
Evan S.

I am so happy!!!! This is going to be so awesome~

Psyence
Psyence

This is GOOD news!!! Hopefully people here will listen to the music and learn to love it... Because this is the kind of material you never get tired of once you're hooked... it's for life...

Volucre
Volucre

I am dying to hear the new album. Based on songs like Jade, I.V. and Born To Be Free, as well as the brief clip of Scarlet Love Song, Yoshiki's songwriting has only grown more solid. His tastes have ripened to a more consistent maturity, without losing the passion and sensitive introspection that have always defined him.

Nor have the rest of the band lost their edge, as demonstrated by some of their best shows ever in New York City and Toronto last year. Toshi's voice rung out with a strength and clarity it's never had before, while Sugizo not only mastered but put his own personal touches on the hardest guitar solos.

Obviously, America's tastes are not Japan's tastes, and the ordinary American sound is very different from the ordinary Japanese sound. Music that sounds too "weird" and "foreign" will be ignored. That's why X Japan is assembling an album of universal hits in English, before subjecting its music to the American mainstream market and critics, who will be looking for excuses to dismiss what is foreign. Much as it pains me having to wait till this summer for a release, after expecting one last year, I understand the importance of making a perfect first impression.

Signing with EMI was a good idea, as EMI knows how to reach the mainstream American market. They will worry about the mundane details of publicizing X Japan properly, ensuring that impressionable teenagers count X Japan as a "cool" band and give their music a fair chance, which frees up the group to concentrate on their music.

After waiting years for X Japan to return, and having had those dreams fulfilled so spectacularly last year at the three U.S. lives I attended -- something I never thought would be possible -- I am ready to wait as long as necessary for Yoshiki and X Japan to release an album they are satisfied with.

Specialk
Specialk

I am beyond excited about their new tour this year! They are a legend and I really hope they make it big in U.S. Their music is definitely not like anything America is used to, so it may be more underground than mainstream at first. But they already have die hard fans in every continent who "get" their music and history. I hope America will be open minded enough to give them a chance. American music industry needs something new anyway. I'm so tired of all the mediocre pop songs on the radio. X Japan will bring hard rock back but with a melodic, classical twist. I especially love Yoshiki who is a Tommy Lee and a Beethoven in one. Often within the same song. If you have any doubt he is a musical genius, just ask George Martin.

cleveryummy
cleveryummy

Yes. I hope they could debut bit earlier when they were in prime in early or mid 90's while late guitarist HIDE was still alive. The majority of X Japan's new fans listened and watched their music recorded in late 80's and early 90's. To be honest, they are old, good way saying they are mature, still manage to play their fast songs. But for me as a long time X fan, they are bit different. OK, no HIDE is the most big loss. YOSHIKI's talent for making heart-felt songs is still there, may be more polished up. Just I wanted to show more edgy, ambitious X for not only US, all over ther world. Luckily, I've seen their prime time. Still waiting to see mature X Japan. I'm bit frighten to see HIDE would not be on the stage, though. Last time I've seen them was 1994. I don't know they will be able to catch more US fans. Yes it will be X factor. It could be possible? Like YOSHIKI put his band name as 'X' when he was a teenager, because he believed this band would have unimaginable possibility ahead. Only I can do is trust YOSHIKI and wait to see.

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