Either you’re searching a specific genre played in a different key, or you’re tired of the same old stuff you can listen to everywhere, Japan is the right place in the world where to satisfy all your music needs.
Due to its huge dimensions, the Japanese music industry is unavoidably filled with standard sounding groups, but also (and in a pretty large part) with original artists, and this is definitely one of the things that will drag you the most into the depths of this musical scene. While many bands represents clear genres and don’t necessarily create something innovative, many others can really stand out of the water thanks to the great amount of creativity in both the musical and artistic fields that compose their personality. You can find many bands playing a classic genre in a very personal way, or other ones mixing completely different influences together obtaining innovation and very inspired and valid results. What you may get from this is that many japanese artists are more open minded than the common western artists we all know, avoiding to impose themselves limits wether is to make different genres collide or to create something conceptually innovative from scratch.
There are many examples to understand what I mean. Sakanaction, one of the main acts that gained popularity in the last years, is one of the greatest groups to take in consideration when talking about innovation: Mixing many different genres together (electronica, club music, rock, pop rock, progressive and more) under a quite easy listening key not only shows an open mentality and a truly admirable musical versatility from both the artistic and conceptual point of view, but it also delineates how one of the most important things in music is to convey feelings in all the possible ways, and the more an artist is inspired and musically enriched the more he can do it in a unique way by using many elements and genres instead of limiting itself as composer and artist: The wider the knowledge is, the best the results can be, and that’s what makes this and many other groups special. And while it’s usually hard to see really innovative groups gaining popularity and reach the top of the charts in the western side of the world (from a mainstream point of view) the japanese audience can recognize these talents and ability thanks to the exposure these bands can get, reaching the top of the charts and bringing fresh and innovative music to the mass, giving easy access to more sophisticated music to everyone and resulting in an overall richer musical culture and open mentality in all the various range of the audience. It’s a form of meritocracy that works extremely well in this particular industry, where both the group itself and the audience are advantaged. If you, as artist, work hard and bring something good and innovative in an accessible way, you can have successful results exactly as a more attracting and commercial pop group.
Another example is one of the most successful japanese acts worldwide, which is BABYMETAL: The mix of idol pop music and extreme metal could’ve sounded inappropriate and crazy at first, but the enormous success they achieved speaks for itself: They look, perform, and sound great, and they’re innovative. And while the hardcore supporters of the metal genre are still trying to ignore this phenomenon and underestimate it because they’re “just” three little girls singing and dancing, the rest of the world (Including reliable artists) are enjoying this good sounding group without following any senseless stereotype imposed by who-knows-who. After all, you won’t have to feel ashamed to follow both an idol group and a metal or progressive rock band in the Japanese music industry: No one will ever judge you. It’s a place where the listener is completely free from stereotypes, and this is without a doubt one of the things to love the most about it and that’ll make your stay very enjoyable.