Best Singles of 2012

I’m kicking things off in my annual best and worst ranking extravaganza, with my personal favorite ranking: Top Ten Best Singles of 2012.

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


tothelimit

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

Best Singles of 2011

Since I had so much fun doing my best and worst of 2010 extravaganza posts, I knew it was something I wanted to make a yearly event on my blog. So, here I am doing it again! In this post I’ll be ranking my personal favorite 10 singles of 2011. This list was a lot harder than last year. I started following more idol groups which added to the number of singles I had to pick through. I counted and there are about 81 singles from idols that I follow. Which is an insane amount of music to go through, so these rankings took me a few days to do.

So, without further ado I bring you part 1 of my 2011 ranking extravaganza.

10. Kakkowarui I love you!

Believe it or not, number 10 is the hardest song to pick. Mainly because it’s the absolute last song I can pick, and I have to really think about what last song I want to add. Originally number 10 was going to be Not Yet’s Naminori Kakigoori, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Kakkowarui I love you. And from that it became obvious that I had to pick it. I absolutely love this song. From the hard rock and electronic beat that it has to the way it’s sung. I think everyone in French Kiss are amazing singers, and everyone has a very similar tone to their voice so they blend together amazingly well. I love how soft every 2nd line of the verse sounds. But the real reason I picked this song is because of the chorus. The song is pretty slow for the most part, but when that chorus hits it takes the song to whole new level. The chorus is is just incredible and extremely catchy. Just the way it’s sung it’s very entrancing. And of course the cute lyrics also add to my love of the song. I just love that it’s about stumbling though an accidental love. It’s really cute. But also sad at the same time, because it’s also about not being able to say I love you because you feel like it’s too late.

9. Ganbatte Seishun

To me SUPER GiRLS has always been the Frankenstein monster of idol groups. Collectively, and shameless, copying elements of other idol groups to heighten their own popularity. While, that might annoy people I say, “do what you gotta do.” And that reason is pretty much why I’m so drawn to SUPER GiRLS. They make the typical, or generic to some, idol songs which are my favorite. And Ganbatte Seishun is 100% an idol song right down to it’s core. This song is upbeat and happy, with encouraging lyrics that tell you to always do your best. And that’s pretty much all there is to the song, but that’s honestly all it needs. Ganbatte Seisun is one of those mood maker songs that instantly cheer you up. And that’s all you can really ask from music.

8. Maji Desu ka Ska!

Since I first heard this song I wasn’t shy about praising it or professing my absolute love for the song. And that hasn’t changed one bit. I’ve listened to this song constantly throughout the year and have not grown tired of it once. A song like this is just Morning Musume at it’s best to me. It’s upbeat, happy, energetic, and just over the top fun. The song has an infectious ska beat and even more infectious chorus. Each line might not correlate to the next, and the song might not actually have an overall meaning, but that doesn’t stop me from loving every second of it. From start to finish you just can’t help but want to dance and sing along to it. And not every song has that effect. 

7. Valentine Kiss

Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 is one of my favorite idol groups out there because they make nothing but adorable songs. And that’s exactly why Vanlentine Kiss landed a spot on my list. This song was definitely one of the, if not the, cutest idol songs released this year. Even though this song is a cover I think Warota really made it their own. And I honestly think it surpasses the original. If only on the cuteness factor alone. But who doesn’t love a song about trying to get someone’s attention to have a kiss on Valentine’s Day? Especially if it’s sung by the always adorable Watarirouka Hashiritai 7.

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6. Heroine ni Narou ka!

I never really realized just how much I love this song until I started making this list. But looking back at the year this has been one of those songs that I couldn’t get enough of. And the reason I love this song so much is because it’s powerful. Just everything about it is powerful. The electronic/dance dance music is very strong, as well as the singing being extremely powerful. There’s a lot of intensity in the way it’s sung, it’s honestly one of Berryz’s best vocal performances. Especially Miaybi’s whoa towards the end of the song, that was just incredible. I was also really inpressed with Yurina’s harmonizing and Risako’s high note. As well as loving Massa’s echoed mirai. The lyrics are also pretty powerful. They have these empowering undertones to them. To just step on out the street and just be super confident because tonight you can do it. And because, hey, everyone notices you tonight.

5. Vivi Natsu

Ever since I first discovered Passpo they’ve been impressing me with their unique sound. And because of that they becoming one of my favorite idol groups out there. I think Vivi Natsu really encompasses what makes Passpo so great. The music is a great combination of a great guitar riff and still that sweet idol music sound. And it also features awesome rapping parts by Naomi, Shiori, and Anna. Though honestly Noami’s raps are hands down the best. And it also has that really beautiful part where Mio Mio sings softly and sounds absolutely amazing.

4. T.W.L.

I’m a little sad that T.W.L. is the only Johnny’s song to make the list this year. It was actually a pretty good year of JE, there were just other songs that were better. T.W.L. is one of those songs that I didn’t expect to like as much as I do. When I first heard it I was kinda indifferent towards it, and thought it was just ok. This song is really fun and extremely catchy. It captures the crazyness and over the topness of Kanjani8 without going to overboard. And can I just say that I absolutely love Subaru’s solo at the end with the microphone effect. That is definitely the highlight of the song. The lyrics however are honestly all over the place, so it’s hard to really get the message. I mean, I’m not even sure what T.W.L. even means. What I take away from the song is that it’s about facing your future no matter how unsure it might be. And to just honestly cope with life. If things are hard say they are, instead of just pretending to be happy.

3. Z Densetsu ~Owarinaki Kakumei~

When I was picking my top singles of 2011 it was a complete no brainer to add Z Densetsu ~Owarinaki Kakumei~ to my list. MomoClo is one of the most energetic idols out there, and this is probably the most energetic songs they have every released. I absolutely love this song. It’s just nonstop energy and excitment from start to finish. It’s one of those songs that is fun to listen to. It’s a song that isn’t trying to be serious, it’s just trying to make you happy. I also really love the lryrics to this song. I love how they are about each member’s personality. And then the rest of the song really matches their weekend heroines theme. And the lyrics go into say how MomoClo won’t lose and will protect fans. And will sing with all their hearts and might to cheer up fans. I think that’s really sweet. And it really seems like MomoClo really means what they are singing.

2. Uchouten Love

It’s a bit bittersweet to pick the last song featuring the original line up of S/mileage. But hey, at least they went out with a bang. And it really was a bang indeed. This song is absolutely incredible in every single way. From start to finish this song is a nonstop party. The heavy eurobeat music doesn’t let up for even a second throughout the song. Ever during the soft solos towards the end of the song. You can hear the beat growing in the background, waiting to make it’s blaring return. And I love the song for it. The song is incredibly fun and so loud that it almost demands you dance along. And S/mileage’s sugary sweet voices really work with this type of techno music. It’s one of those combinations that sounds terrible on paper, but then you actually hear it and you’re blown away. The lyrics are the typical idol fare of falling in love and being excited every second because of that. The overly cute lyrics we’ve come to expect from S/mileage.

1. Banzai Venus

It was completely obvious to me which song was number one, it was so obvious it was the first song I wrote down. When it comes to 2011 I cannot think of one song that surpasses Banzai Venus. SKE48 is really starting to surpass AKB48 for me. Mostly because of their constant upbeat releases lately. The song is actually pretty slow for most of the song, but once the chorus starts that’s it. You just get this punch of pure energy that you can’t help but be drawn into the song. It’s so mesmerizing and addicting that just the power from the song’s small chorus beat every other song this year. No other song this year gets me as pumped or happy as Banzai Venus does. The only real drawback to this is that some of this song;s lyrics are so random that they are laughable. A cart full of toliet paper, and an old lady being delayed in line. What does that have to do with anything? Lucky the rest of the lyrics are much better. And it’s a pretty cute song about to have the courage to go for it and confess your feelings.

 

Honorable mentions: (Because yet again, I had way too many favorites.)

1. Morning Musume – Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai
2. C-ute – Sekaiichi HAPPY na Onna no Ko
3. Mano Erina – Seishun no Serenade
2. S/mileage – Please Miniskirt Postwoman!
4. Arashi – Meikyuu Love Song
5. KAT-TUN – Ultimate Wheels
6. Tegomass – Aoi Bench
7. Hey! Say! JUMP – Over
8. AKB48 – Flying Get
9. Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 – Hetappi Wink
10. Not Yet – Naminori Kakigoori
11. SKE48 – Oki Doki
12. NMB48 – Zetsumetsu Kurokami Shoujo
13. YuiKaori – Shooting Smile
14. AAA – Daiji na Koto
15. SUPER GiRLS – Joshiryoku Paradise
16. Yamashita Tomohisa – Hadakanbo