2012 has been quite an eventful year in my personal life with tons of ups and downs, and some outright devastation. It really was a year that I won’t soon forget. And like most years it feels like it was over in a blink of the eye. I could have sworn that just yesterday it was only March or June. With this year coming to a close we can also finally say that we’ve successfully survived our 3rd apocalypse. Well, 3 in my lifetime anyway. I don’t know how many you dear readers have been alive for. And personally I get to stop hearing my dad saying it’ll all be over on December 21st. Literally for the entire year whenever something didn’t go his way or anyone in my family complained about anything he would legit say,”What does it matter anyway? You only have to the 21st.” But I digress.
2012 also marked yet another exciting roller coaster ride that is being an idol fan. One filled with more joy and heartbreak than you could really count or really measure. Personally for me the highs were: 1. the addition of Morning Musume’s 10th and 11th gen. 2. The first NEWS singles after Yamapi and Ryo left signaling that there was no stopping them. 3. My favorite Johnny’s Junior Kyomoto Taiga’s drama debut. And that the drama gave them an excuse for him to spam Shounen Club even more than usual. 3. Morning Musume selling 100,000 singles for the first time in like 8 years or more. (Obviously not counting commemorative 40th and 50th singles.) 4. MomoClo performing at Kohaku for the first time. I’m so proud of my girls. It just shows how their popularity keeps increasing.
And my personal lows were: 1. My beloved Mitsui Aika graduating from Morning Musume. 2. The cancellation of Himitsu no Arashi-chan. While I do agree the Arashi Sharehouse segment was boring, I don’t think they needed to lose the whole show. Especially since that means no more manequin 5. 3. Hello!ProTime ending. I still don’t get the point of this one. I’ve said it a hundred times now, but that was H!P’s most interesting show in years.
2012 was also a year filled with great idol music. I don’t know if it was the best year in terms of music in idol history since I’ve only been a serious idol fan since 2007. But at the very least I personally think the music released this year was better than the music released last year. And that is so exciting. It’s like further confirming why being an idol fan is worth every second of ups and downs.
So, without further ado let’s just get to the ranking already. Which by the way, was incredibly easy to pick this year. With so many great songs released this year it was very obvious which singles were the very best.
10. NMB48 – Kitagawa Kenji
This is a song that was hard to pick. Not only was it hard to pick because it’s the last song I could add to my ranking, but it was pretty difficult to pick between this song and Nagiichi. But in the end I picked this based on lyrics. While Nagiichi is catchy I wouldn’t say a song about the cutest girl on the beach is one of my favorites this year. However, the lyrics to KItagawa Kenji are completely adorable. While I don’t think I’ll ever personally be in a situation where I’m fighting a guy for a girl’s heart, especially since this song is most likely sung from a guy’s point of view, I do think the lyrics are cute. It’s so sweet that the person in this song is jealous and won’t lose to their current significant other’s past lover. But my absolute favorite part is the last line that says thanks to Kitagawa Kenji you became this beautiful. That is such a sweet, if not a little cheesy, and beautiful line. Of course the extremely catchy chorus also adds for my love of the song. I don’t know for some reason I just love singing along to the look at part.
9. Not Yet – Sukina Baby
Have you noticed a theme with this ranking already? What can I say, pretty much every idol song I like sounds exactly the same. Happy, upbeat, energetic, and super positive. If it didn’t sound like that idol groups would be no different from any other music out there. And of course that’s what’s great about this song. It’s sugary sweet sound with cutesy lyrics is absolutely addicting. This song would probably be higher on the list if the girls didn’t force their voices to sound cute at times. I really love the lyrics though. I think the whole story line of holding a candle for a childhood friend is incredibly cute and endearing. It’s also a little bit bittersweet.
8. KAT-TUN – To The Limit
This is Johnny’s song I love this year because they returned to their old sound. In KAT-TUN’s case they returned to not only their older sound but their original sound. Once Jin left the group KAT-TUN’s music continued to get heavier and they seemed to experament with different genres. To be honest their music without Jin is about 50 times better than the music with Jin. Their songs this year were so good it was hard to pick between this and Fumetsu no Scrum. But in the end this won because of how heavy it is and how gruffly it’s sung. I also appreciate the amount of Koki in this song. But as I’ve said before this song is just phenomonal. The chorus is sung so intensely and with so much power, it’s just really great. The lyrics are also just as intense
7. SUPER GiRLS – Puri Puri Summer Kiss
This is a song that I unfortunately have’t been unable to find the translation to. But that doesn’t really stop me from loving every minute of this song. Oh SUPER GiRLS borrowing the most popular elements of the most well known idol groups out their to form a pretty solid group on their own. This time it was a summer song for a shameless bikini PV. While idol groups release these songs & videos in the hopes of selling more singles, I do enjoy every minute of these songs. The songs are almost always exclusively about summer love and because of that the songs are always extremely fun and happy, this song included. As soon as the song starts it already sounds like an explosion of energy and cutesy idol music. The lyrics are kind of simple so that even with my poor Japanese skills I can translate roughly about 1/2 of the song. They seem to just be saying what they’re doing at the beach. Regardless of whatever they are actually saying the song is fun and adorable.
6. Arashi – Wild At Heart
I was absolutely in love with this song from the first moment I heard it. I just love the overall sound of this song. It has that same sillyness and energy as songs they released in past. It has a real Kitto Daijoubu mixed with Happiness feel. It’s a welcomed change from the somewhat serious songs they’ve been releasing for the past few years. The lyrics themselves are cheerful and somewhat uplifting. It’s a song about not being afraid of living in the moment. To just throw away trouble and worries and just roll with the punches. They’re not so inspiring that you’ll burst into tears, but they’re cute and I can see listening to this song when you need some encouragement. Personally, I’ve pretty much always taken this carefree approach to life.So, the song really resonates with me.
5. Momoiro Clover Z – Moretsu Uchu Kokyokyoku Dai 7 Gakusho ‘Mugen no Ai’
MomoClo is one of those groups I love for how energetic they are. Now, this song doesn’t have the same energetic flare as their past songs, but I love it because of the heavy rock music. It still makes me laugh that the dude from Megadeth did the guitar work. The song also still retains that same personality and charm that is MomoClo. But I mostly love this song because I’m a pretty big space nerd (and alien nerd. XD) so I love all the space and star references in the song and PV. It also helps that the song is incredibly catchy. I also love the choir in the background doing the harmonies. It gives the song a very elaborate and dramatic feel.
4. Passpo – Wing
I actually haven’t been able to find a translation of this song, so my love for this song is only based on the overall sound alone. I really love how this year Passpo’s singles have had a more hard rock feel to them. Passpo’s past songs have had more of a pop-rock sound. But this year it actually sounds like I’m listening to a Jrock band instead of an idol group. And since I’m a big Jrock fan that’s just perfect to me. And this song is the song they’ve released his year that has the most distinct Jrock sound. I mean, this song is having like an Alice Nine moment. It’s absolutely fantastic. And my god Ai and Shiori sound incredible in this song. It’s like this song was made perfectly for just their voices.
3. Kanjani8 – Aopanna
I really need to get over my love-hate relationship with Kanjani8, because their music is actually really great. But since I’m such a casual fan of them I tend to overlook their music until months after it’s released. And I do admit since Ai Deshita was a little boring I didn’t really bother with them this year. And that was obviously a mistake because this song is amazing. It’s got that upbeat music I love sprinkled with a little bit of weirdness that I’ve come to expect from Kanjani8. What immediately draws me to this song is the ska beat. Ska is a genre that I wasn’t really familiar with a few years ago, but ska music is really upbeat and fun. It almost sounds like tropical music. But what makes me really love the song is the lyrics. Despite the chorus being about snot it’s oddly uplifting. It’s about treasuring the past and to never stop trying to achieve your old dreams, while continuing to have that innocent spirit of your youth. It’s actually really pretty and sentimental.
2. Morning Musume – One-Two-Three
From the moment that they first performed this song at Girls Award 2012, I’ve been absolutely addicted to it. Since their 10th album had some great electronic songs, and even before that because I still don’t understand why SONGS wasn’t a single, I’ve been wishing for them to release an electronic song as a single. While their electronic effects may have been a little heavy handed this year I still think One-Two-Three is an amazing song. The instrumental stands alone as an incredible dance track. That mixed with just the right amount of auto-tuning makes for an incredibly fun and catchy song. The lyrics themselves are another reason why I love the song. I think they are adorable. I like that it’s about a girl not wanting fancy gifts just having love is enough. It’s sappy and overly sweet, just up my ally.
1. SKE48 – Aishiteraburu
This is actually the second year in a row that SKE48 has come in first place. Despite being lazy and hardly ever getting around to reviewing their PVs, I actually really love SKE48’s music. As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, for the last few years in my opinion SKE48’s music has been better than AKB48’s. I love this song because of how positive the song is. The second the song starts it’s already overflowing with energy. The infectious upbeat music makes it impossible to not crack a smile while listening to. It’s songs like this that make me continue to listen to idol music. It’s carefree happy music like this that is pretty much unique to idol music. The lyrics might be a little cheesy being about summer love, which is probably one of the most cliched story lines in pop music history. But at least for me the happy and uplifting lyrics add to the charm of the song.
And as always here are my Honorable Mentions:
1. Berryz Koubou – Cha Cha Sing
2. NEWS – Chankapana
3. AKB48 – Gingham Check
4. DIY – Forest For Rest
5. YuiKaori – Wake Up
6. Arashi – Face Down
7. S/mileage – Chotto Matte Kudasai
8. Buono – Hatsukoi Cider
9. Hey! Say! JUMP – Super Delicate
10. Kis-My-Ft2 – Wanna Beeee
11. Kis-My-Ft2 – Shake It Up
12. Berryz Koubou and C-ute – Cho Happy Song
13. Mano Erina – Song For The Date