Nice - Puffy AmiYumi
Watch out world! Puffy AmiYumi is poised for global domination. And we’re not talking about some video game, though I’m sure they probably have one (I've seen the action figures). Ami and Yumi were put together by talent scouts in 1995 with the intention of forming a superstar group and guess what? … It worked. Today they are at the very core of J-Pop, a lifestyle and attitude for many young, middle class Japanese girls, which is reflected in art, music, clothes, toys and animation. The pair deliver a syrupy sweet power pop sound designed by Andy Sturmer, formerly of Jellyfish along with their teacher, Tamio Okuda.The new album 'Nice' is just one tasty hook after another and no, it's not world music. I think they deserve a place on this list however. Puffy AmiYumi is cultural by relevance not reference. Like Canada or America, postwar Japan is a very new country adopting and adapting existing cultural touchstones into an expression that is uniquely its own. That's Puffy AmiYumi and they're big in Japan.