My Charm is a magazine for Japanese girls who are connoisseurs of things like afternoon tea, knitting, candle-making, bead jewelry and European movies. It's not a zine I'd usually have any interest in, but the latest issue was different—it came with a bonus, a compilation CD that included tracks by favorite musicians of mine including Hazel Nuts Chocolate, Three Berry Icecream and Contrary Parade. So I sped over to the Libro bookstore in Shibuya, found it in the girl's magazine section (where I was the only guy looking around), bought it and listened to the CD at home as I flipped through articles about cute shoes, umbrellas, bags, buttons, sweets, soup, Paris and stamps.
For the most part the CD features Japanese city pop with easy-to-swallow melodies and well-behaved instrumental arrangements. The one big exception is Hazel Nuts Chocolate's “Jenny's Discothequa”, a hyperactive tune that sticks out in the compilation like a Disco Queen would on a stage full of ballet dancers. (Hazel Nuts' singer Yuppa also contributed to the magazine a manga about her losing her favorite favorite eraser.) Another good track is “Love Prologue” by a duo called Sucrette, a lounge pop number with pizzicato violins, vibes (?) and a French-influenced whisper-voiced female singer.
If you are in Japan you should be able to get your hands on My Charm #11 Girlie Life with its great, mellow-out compilation album in a big bookstore near you. If you aren't, I'm not sure where you can find it, but I'll be playing many of the tunes on my radio in coming weeks.