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07.22.22 Discovolante's Best of: 1993 (Japan Edi07.21.22 Discovolante's Best of: 1992 (Japan Edi
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Discovolante's Best of: 1992 (Japan Edition)

From the beginning of the year to the end, via the Sputnik release calendar.

Compared to Jesus Jones quite a bit, M-Age were a band that garnered a decent amount of success for a few years, specifically on their debut full length "Mustard", which was their only release to break the Oricon top 30. Its sound is outdated now, sure, but its effectiveness is still undeniable, with strong electronic rock tinges and slight club influences as well, bringing to mind other early 90s English bands like EMF and Pop Will Eat Itself. An absolute essential album in early 90s Japanese alt rock.
2Fence of Defense
Fence of Defense VII Ride

Following the dynamic and vast "Digitaglam FOD VI", Fence of Defense decided to go to back to basics with their follow-up "Fence of Defense VII Ride", which ended up working in their favor immensely. Having tracks like the rocker "Violet Song", "I'm So Glad" and "Bye Bye, Girl" and make this an album a well-rounded effort, and further adds to the argument of Fence of Defense being one of Japan's very best rock bands of the 1980s and 1990s.
3Wink (JPN)
Each Side of Screen

While 1991 definitely was not comparable to the hot streak of 1990 for idol duo Wink, 1992 would end up being a close second, with the act releasing one of their best albums that year, "Each Side of Screen", which shows a further urge of experimentation outside of the turn-of-the-decade dance pop that made them so popular. Indeed, the album's biggest moment came with the single "Matenrou Museum", with its impressive production helping push Wink even further ahead of their competition. While it would essentially end up being their swansong along with its follow-up which was also released in 1992, "Nocturne ~Yasoukyoku~" as far as strong efforts go, "Each Side of Screen" is one of the most shining examples of how and why Wink were so great in their field.
4Kenji Sawada
Beautiful World

By the time the 1990s started, Kenji Sawada had practically became an artifact of the past, considered outdated by the critics and masses alike. The tides, however, temporarily changed in 1992 with the release of his 29th(!!) album "Beautiful World", which saw him take firm grasp of the pop music landscape of the early 90s and carve out his own interpretation. As a result, it is without a doubt his best album in nearly a decade, and was also his first album to have somewhat decent commercial sales in 3 years, and ultimately became his highest selling album for several years.
5The Checkers
Blue Moon Stone

Like a few others on this list, The Checkers suffered a bit from a decreasing quality of sound, although their sales, to their credit, remained consistently high. Shortly after the release of this album, "Blue Moon Stone", The Checkers announced their official split, and played their final live that October, never reuniting. Thankfully, the guys went out swinging, with "Blue Moon Stone" having a divine modernized sound that takes some influence from westernized R&B-pop that Kome Kome Club in particular were in hailed for. A fantastic smooth ride into the sunset.
6The Yellow Monkey
The Night Snails and Plastic Boogie

Glam legends The Yellow Monkey released their debut full length in 1992, the mouthful "The Night Snails and Plastic Boogie" which makes less sense the more you say it out loud. The album itself, however, is full of light and plain glam pop which is honestly quite refreshing, especially considering the time it came out which you were either heavy (Marchosias Vamp) or traditional rock-influenced (Scanch), with very little bands in between. An extremely solid start to a path of commercial domination.
7Maki Ohguro
Stop Motion

Powerhouse vocalist Maki Ohguro made her debut on the same label as Zard, and made her debut about a year after Zard did, helping push their label, B-Gram Records, to intergalactic levels of fame. Ohguro's road to fame all started with the release of her first EP "Stop Motion", which is 7 tracks of heartfelt power pop. Boasted by the ingenious anthemic self-titled single, every track on the EP is of virtually the highest quality, and helped establish Ohguro as one of Japan's brightest up-and-coming vocalists.
8Noriyuki Makihara
Kimi wa Boku no Takaramono

Noriyuki Makihara went from up-and-coming artist to one of the country's most cherished songwriters within just a year's time. With his third album "Kimi wa Boku no Takaramono", Makihara finally struck a balance with his otherworldly ballads and warm appeal. The album has a certain flare to it that is elevated by the exquisite melodies and earworm-worthy production of Makihara and longtime collaborator producer Kenji Kisaki, a veteran producer who has worked with the likes of Koji Kikkawa and the previously mentioned giant Kenji Sawada. An album that provides more than adequate proof to the theory that amazing melodies and music transcend language barriers.
Check Manifest

Indeed a gem-in-the-rough, Cutemen are a duo that were unfortunately nothing more than a blip on the radar during their major label run, which included the release of "Check Manifest", their first-ever full length album. Although it never had the commercial success of really any of the entries on here, "Check Manifest" has over the years received a closer glance and praise for its addictive techno-house-pop sound, with frontman Picorin's deep and rattling vocals being the icing on the cake.
Soul Kiss

With "Soul Kiss", future pop star Chara gained her first top 20 release with an album that covered far more ground than on her debut "Sweet" a year before. A huge musical evolution that was key to the evolution of one of Japan's best pop artists of the decade.
Hoshi No Kakera

Although Spitz still weren't killing it by any means commercially by the time they released their third full length "Hoshi no Kakera", their sound was further developing, this time to expand a bit more on their indie rock charm. The spacey pop element in their sound was also being perfected on the album as well, which was captured on their now classic single "Hinata no Mado ni Akogarete". An album showing the rapidly increasing progress of one of Japan's eventual most dominant bands of the decade.
12Dreams Come True
The Swinging Star

Throughout the first few years of the 1990s, Dreams Come True had steadily established themselves as one of Japan's most beloved new pop acts. But it wasn't until their fifth album "The Swinging Star" that the then-trio made pop history. With a sound that officially sheds their new wave beginnings towards a more vast, soulful R&B territory, "The Swinging Star" has earned a reputation for being one of the most sincere and mature-sounding albums to top the Oricon charts. Selling over 3 million copies, "The Swinging Star" is also credited for establishing modern R&B as a serious genre in Japan. The album that officially pushed Dreams Come True towards beyond the cosmos of superstardom.
Pop Tatari

Noise icons Boredoms would make their biggest impression with the release of their sophomore album "Pop Tatari", released three years after the classic "Soul Discharge". Experimenting with elements that range all over the board, "Pop Tatari" is quite literally an album that needs to be listened to truly be understood. Whether you like it or not... is something entirely different lol.
14The Dead Pop Stars
The Dead Pop 4 Drugs

Long running visual punk band The Dead Pop Stars made their debut with the release of their high voltage full length "The Dead Pop 4 Drugs". High octane and explosive, their debut is without a doubt not only their best moment, but also one of the very best visual kei albums of the decade.
15Strawberry Fields
Soul Flower

Visual kei underdogs Strawberry Fields had an incredible year in 1992, releasing a solid full length and EP that year. But my edge would have to go to the EP "Soul Flower", which would also be their final original release. Its carefree nature works as the perfect foil to the full length "Alibi", and at only 6 tracks long, each one is a total homerun.
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