[HOT TRACK]X Marks the Spot of a LegendX Japan, the legendary Japanese rock band, recently released its first album in Korea legally － but only after the group had disbanded. Titled "X Japan on Piano," the album includes remakes of nine previous hits performed on piano and accompanied by other instruments. The album was previously released in Japan in 1998.
Serious fans of X Japan in Korea may feel a bit chagrined at the late arrival, but this softer version of the group offers listening pleasure, although of a different kind. The ballads in the album are carried by classical instruments and offer a soothing sound. The new release also manages not to ruin the original mood of the songs.
Although this is the only album that X Japan has lawfully released in Korea, other songs by them, such as "Endless Rain" and "The Last Song," have gained tremendous popularity among Korean youth. Before this release, access to X Japan's music was gained through the black market or the Internet. The erstwhile prohibition stoked fans' interest in the band's music.
X Japan stepped out in the early 1980s; today the group is regarded as icons of visual rock. They transmit their message through their look, not hesitating to wear thick make-up, as well as through their music.
The band started with five members: Yoshiki, the leader of the group who plays the keyboard and drum, Hide, the guitarist, Taiji, the bassist, Toshi, the vocalist and Pata, the guitarist. The bassist's name was later used by the Korean pop icon, Seo Tai-ji, who says he was a great fan of X Japan. Their sound was melodious and speedy, similar to the playing of the German rock band Helloween.
X Japan made its name with ballads, such as "Tears," "Endless Rain" and "Say Anything," which are all featured on the new release. The leader of the group, Yoshiki, wrote the ballads.
Things started to change when each member began to put emphasis on their solo albums. The most conclusive reason for the band's demise was the unexpected death of the guitarist, Hide, in 1998. Hide allegedly committed suicide.
Even though the band is no more, the music created by X Japan remains unforgettable, even in Korea.
The Korean government removed restrictions on Japanese popular culture in 1998. And from 2000, Japanese music played on classical instruments or with English vocals, can be imported.
by Chun Su-jin
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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