My Top 15 Songs of 2013 (So Far)

It’s hard to believe 2013 is about halfway over! And so, it’s a good time to look back on the year in idol music, as well as pick some of my favorite songs of the year.

The idol boom has been going on since late 2009/early 2010, and I keep expecting idol groups to suddenly start disbanding or fade into obscurity. However, things are going better than ever, all things considered. AKB48 broke records and sold massive amounts with Sayonara Crawl, Momoiro Clover Z keeps climbing up, and even Hello!Project groups are doing very well. Indie groups are growing more popular, and gaining traction. Groups are becoming diverse, with alternative acts like BiS, Alice Project and Babymetal growing in popularity. Honestly, I can’t think of a better time to be an idol fan, based almost entirely on how many groups there are out there. There are a lot of groups I’m not even putting on this list but are really good groups.

And so, my top 15 songs of the first half of 2013. Note that this is just songs that have been on a release through the end of June; Koisuru Fortune Cookie’s going to end up pretty high on my full list of the year. Honorable mention goes to Oomori Seiko’s Mahou ga Tsukaenai; not quite sure I’d classify her as an idol, but I love this song to pieces.

15. Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya – Juice=Juice

Can I put a song on this list for one sentence? If so, that sentence is “just listen to that saxophone!” Because seriously, I love every second that a saxophone plays in this song.

In all honestly, I wasn’t sure about how I’d feel about Juice=Juice. I didn’t follow any of the Eggs/Kenshuusei that made the group, and I hadn’t seen the hype about Karin. I thought (and still do) the name was silly to a fault. The early pictures had all the girls in white and it looked kind of boring. And while I’m not quite sure if I’ll ever be a super fan of Juice=Juice, I am a huge fan of Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya.

While I was just being silly with what I was saying about the saxophone, that’s actually pretty close. The sound’s so unique, and I can’t think of another idol song like it. Underneath, Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya isn’t that unique of a song. It reminds me strangely of Melon Kinenbi’s Amai Anata no Aji but sped up. The structure feels kind of similar, as does the tune (though I definitely don’t mind H!P bringing back Melon Kinenbi songs). I don’t think Juice=Juice is anything like Melon Kinenbi, mind you, but the overall song isn’t completely new. However, the entire thing put together with the saxophone arrangement, it feels fresh and interesting.

So yes this song is pretty much on my list because of the sax.

14. Kawasaki Junjou Ondo – Kawasaki Junjou Komachi

As I’ll be writing a bit more about later, I love songs where there’s a lot of genre fusion. While I like standard idol pop songs, there’s something really interesting about putting together genres like that.

Kawasaki Junjou Komachi is a group you probably haven’t heard of, unless you follow Tokyo Idol Festival and/or read my TIF posts religiously. But I found them from doing my TIF research posts, and was initially unimpressed by their concept of promoting Kawasaki, mostly because another group I wrote about had a very similar concept. However, Kawasaki Junjou Komachi really shines with their music and performances, the music being a really excellent fusion of traditional sounds with a modern pop sensibility, complete with a rap section. I don’t know Japanese instruments enough to tell, but it sounds like they’re using a lot of traditional instruments in there. In addition, it’s really catchy and fun to listen to and the vocals are really mature and lovely.

I think another reason I’m so impressed by Kawasaki Junjou Ondo is just how good it is for a local indie group. Lots of great music comes from indie idols, and I don’t want to put down indie idols. However, this is the type of song I would be very impressed if I heard it from a big, major label act. If KJK is able to continue this really great mix of traditional and pop and have this general level of quality, I predict they could grow and grow in popularity.

13. Brainstorming – Morning Musume

Late last year and early this year was when I first started to like Morning Musume again. I became a fan of Ishida Ayumi, I started liking (but not necessarily loving) the music, the other new members grew on me. I didn’t like the Help Me! PV, and the song was good, but I didn’t quite love it. However, because of Ayumi, I decided to listen to and watch Brainstorming as soon as I could. And I couldn’t get enough of it.

I think the biggest strength of Brainstorming is how fired up it works to get you. The instrumental works together with the vocals very well to make sure that there’s always something going on. Even in the slower solos (i.e. the solos Sakura does), there’s stuff going in the background. While Morning Musume has used dubstep influenced sound in Renai Hunter, and I really enjoy that song a lot, here the sound feels really integrated.

While I’m one of those people that misses old school Morning Musume a lot, really one of the strengths is in the arrangement. One of the biggest thing that makes me dislike a song is when the instrumental falls flat, and feels empty. Here, that’s not a problem, with so much going on in the back. However, nothing feels extraneous. There’s a lot going on throughout the song, but it feels warranted.

It’s also a great song for the group; it features a lot of the members doing shorter solos and mixed group bits. I don’t want to be one of those foreign fans who always complains about the line distribution, but varied groups like Morning Musume work at their best when everyone gets at least a little to do. Brainstorming really utilizes the members in a really great way.

Ultimately, this song is what brought me back and got me really excited about Morning Musume again. I actually preordered the single, because this is just that good.

12. Haste to Waste – BKA48

When I first heard there was going to be a unit of the members who scored low on the Mechaike special, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would be something silly and not quite serious. And there are slightly silly parts. However, it’s a pretty standard mid-tempo song with a good deal of guitar and piano in there. A really good standard song, mind you.

Listening to the song and knowing the lyrics, though, it feels right that this is the BKA48 song; it’s silly, but it’s about being happy even if you aren’t necessarily smart. The thing that interests me is just how strangely epic the chorus feels. Perhaps it’s the lyrics mixed with the song, but it feels like it should be the theme song to the anime/drama about Kawaei Rina. Which I would definitely watch, by the way.

Honestly, this song isn’t necessarily the most interesting song on this list. But it’s solid, has a catchy melody, and I really love the lyrics. Especially the line that actually mentions Haste to Waste, taken word for word from the Mechaike special.

11.Sekaichuu ni I Love You – Rhymeberry

When most people got interested in the new Rhymeberry single, they really liked the song R.O.D.. Nothing wrong with that, it’s a great song. However, I was really taken by Sekaichuu ni I Love You, just because of how different it is. It’s 30s era swing/jazz (not sure if this is sampling or not) mixed with rap. I’ve never heard something like this before, and if you know of any other songs even remotely similar please tell me.

The instrumental is really entertaining; I love hearing all the instruments featured, especially the clarinet (which I play), but the piano is really what shines here. Miri, Hime, and Yuka all shine and they are really improving their skills. They really sell the song, too, putting a lot of energy into it, which is a marked improvement from their last single (where the live version is a lot better than what was recorded). There are also some fun lines in here; I appreciate the Han Solo reference, and I always giggle at “Dope the shit!”

I think I mostly like this because it’s such an experiment. It’s fresh, new, and something I personally have never heard before, which is really rare for music.

10. Walk my Way – Yokoyama Rurika


Yokoyama Rurika – Walk My Way by oshiruka

I think every time I talk about Idoling!!! I mention that I want to follow them more. Which still stands. I think they’re a really solid, interesting idol group with some great music, but I just don’t follow them. I heard about Yokoyama Rurika getting a solo single, but I didn’t need to read it. One thing changed my mind. Hyadain.

When I heard that this was a new Hyadain song and that it was good, I raced out to listen to it. And oh yes, it is good. The thing about this song is that it really works because of Rurika’s really strong vocals. From what I’ve heard Hyadain really wrote a song for her strong voice, and you can hear it. Hyadain, like always, writes a really strong melody, but here it fits Rurika perfectly, and her strong voice compliments the strong instrumental, or rather the instruments compliment her. This isn’t a very subtle song; this is something that’s meant to be belted out. That’s why Rurika’s voice fits it perfectly.

Steve from Selective Hearing wrote a very good analysis of Walk My Way here, and I suggest you all read it because I’m not going to write something this great about the song. One thing I can say is that, as a Hyadain fan, I love almost everything he does. His music really fits my tastes. However, since he writes almost exclusively for idol acts, I rarely get to hear music by him from an artist with a voice as strong as Rurika’s. So this song is really a treat for me, and I know it’s something I’ll listen to quite a bit.

9.Maji Kansha – Team Syachihoko

If you haven’t noticed, I really love Team Syachihoko. I wanted to put all four songs from their latest single on here, but I was able to narrow it down so that I’d have a more varied list (though another one of theirs is coming up).

One of the things I really like about Stardust groups is just how energetic their songs are, but that’s a bit of a curse as well; there aren’t many Stardust group songs I’ll break down crying while listening to, whereas I’ve cried at many AKB48 songs. And while I don’t think Syachi is going to move into serious ballads any time soon, I have to say I love their first song that seems a bit more serious, which is Maji Kansha.

I’m a sucker for strings and idol music; it’s actually something you could probably notice in this list. So when I first heard the swell of strings of Maji Kansha during a livestream of a Team Syachihoko event, I was hooked. The thing about Team Syachihoko is that if you’re looking for a polished performance with strong vocals, you’d best look elsewhere. However, the thing that I personally love about Syachihoko, that you can definitely hear in this song, is that they really work hard and push themselves. Their voices might not be strong enough to carry a song like this, but they give it their all.

It’s a really lovely song in general, and one I think could become a favorite to perform at Syachi concerts. It’s definitely the most normal Syachihoko song, but that, in itself, makes it the most usual. In a really good way.
8. Bokura no Eureka – NMB48

The easiest way to describe NMB’s summer singles is in comparison to other 48 groups. Whereas Nagiichi was much like songs like Ponytail to Shushu; happy and upbeat, Bokura no Eureka feels a lot more like Manatsu no Sounds Good. It’s a bit darker, more serious in tone, but still retaining a summer feel to it. Bokura no Eureka is a bit slower, very strings heavy (yes I do love that), and it just works.

NMB has had more mature sounding songs before (i.e. Virginity), but I didn’t really expect this song when I saw that it was an NMB48 summer song. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s so unexpected that makes me love it so much. It allows for something like their full PV, where the NMB girls are on a deserted island; even though it’s a summer song, and has fairly typical lyrics, it has a lot more emotion to it. It’s a bit darker, slower and more serious than I expected from this track, and I have to say I love it.

7.Megitsune – Babymetal

Babymetal keeps surprising me and taking themselves to new levels. Every time I hear a new Babymetal song it’s exciting, because I never know what it’s going to be like. Megitsune is a new direction for Babymetal, now incorporating traditional instruments and themes into their metal/idol pop hybrid. It completely works. It’s still one of the most ‘metal’ songs Babymetal has put out (though perhaps not as metal as Ijime Dame Zettai), utilizing Suzuka’s strong vocals and a lot of drums.

It’s kind of amazing, really, that all these elements work so well together. I’m constantly impressed by how innovative Babymetal’s music can be, in incorporating Suzuka’s voice, Yui and Moa’s shouting, the metal sound, while still being accessible to people who may not necessarily enjoy metal music. I know I never really listened to metal before Babymetal. And perhaps I wouldn’t be so fond of this if I was a metal afficionado. However, Babymetal does a really great job of creating accessible music for everyone that blurs the lines of genre in a really fantastic way.

6. Den Den Passion – Dempagumi.inc

2013 is shaping up to be the year of Dempa for me; I’ve known about them for a while, but I really got into them this year. Den Den Passion does one of the things I wish more idol groups did, and really plays off the fact that this is a group effort. Especially in the chorus, there’s a lot of vocal overlap, which fits really well. I really like what they did with the vocals in this single; the voices in the chorus often sound almost vocaloid-esque, or a high-pitched Perfume, but in a way that really fits Dempagumi.inc.

That’s the thing that I really love about this single. Everything about it fits dempa’s identity as a group, which, as a fan of the group, is something I love. The quick pace, the high pitched vocals, the focus on the group, the entire song feels very dempagumi. Even the rap section really fits the song (perhaps it’s the edited vocals in that section). Sometimes when writing reviews for this blog, as an exercise, I try to imagine another group tackling a song. This is a song that I can’t imagine anyone other than dempagumi doing.

It’s frenzied, energetic, and fun. While another song on this list convinced me to start following demmpagumi.inc (spoilers), Den Den Passion helped keep Dempagumi.inc as one of my favorite idol groups out there. It’s not one of their strangest offerings, but it’s a worthy addition to the dempagumi discography.

5. Te wo Tsunagou – Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku

Who else has spontaneously started crying during an idol song? Because uh, that’s the first thing I did when I listened to Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku’s latest, Te wo Tsunagou.

Ebichu is another one of the Stardust idol groups a long with MomoClo and Team Syachihoko. However, for whatever reason, Ebichu hasn’t quite clicked with me in the same way as these other two groups. However, I can’t deny how great their music can be (especially since they work closely with Hyadain a lot), and Te wo Tsunagou is just incredible. Instead of taking the usual energetic route that Stardust group often does, Ebichu does a really great job with a sweet, heartfelt song (though they have done some of this before, to be fair).

The song starts off on a great note with the strongest vocalist in the group, Kashiwagi Hinata, singing a capella. She sounds really lovely, and is a really great start to the rest of this song. This song has a really great pace, helped out by the strong percussion in the background, but ultimately it’s just how earnest this song feels, both with the song, the vocals and the lyrics, that makes me really love it.

This song isn’t quite as unique as the others on this list. It’s not even as unique as the other song on this single, Kindan no Karma, which is a much darker song. However, this song does pretty much everything right in being a really lovely, heartwarming song. As groups search for the next gimmick or style, this proves that what you need more than anything is a good melody, charismatic performers, and a strong arrangement.

4. Ijime Dame Zettai – Babymetal

I remember distinctly the first time I heard this song. This had been a very long awaited song for Babymetal fans, so I was very excited. I was doing a project for a class (auditioning people to be in a project I was managing), but I had to listen to this as soon as I saw the PV had been posted. It was completely worth the anticipation. I sat alone in the room I was holding auditions in, mouth open, completely in awe of what I was listening to.

I’d argue that Ijime Dame Zettai is the most metal of the Babymetal songs; you could potentially make a good case for the song Catch Me if You Can, but I’d argue the chorus gets too pop-y. IDZ, on the other hand, is pure metal, without the pop influence of other Babymetal songs, and it’s just good. One of the things that I love about IDZ are the slower sections; the piano-heavy section at the beginning, the slower section right at the beginning of the second verse, and the section before the big guitar solos. These do a really great job of pumping up the more intense sections, and making them exciting. All the guitar solos in this are incredible, as are the rest of the instruments; they do a really excellent job of pumping you up, and having a lot of energy.

Suzuka’s vocals, while they’ve since improved again for Megitsune, made a really big leap from Headbanger to Ijime Dame Zettai. She sounds amazing here, her strong voice really fitting the great instrumental. Yui and Moa take a bit of a backseat from their already limited roles, but their presence mainly serves to remind you that yes, this is actually Babymetal you’re listening to.

This isn’t metal-pop. I’d go so far as to say this is just metal, with pop performers. Suzuka sounds great, the instruments sound great, and everything about this track is phenomenal.
3. Shuto Iten Keikaku – Team Syachihoko

Figuring out which two Team Syachihoko songs made this list was a bit of a difficult decision, because the whole single is pretty amazing, but it came down to Maji Kansha and Shuto Iten Keikaku. Let’s just get it out of the way: I’m biased towards Team Syachihoko. They’ve quickly become my idol group of choice, and I can’t think of a song they’ve done that I haven’t liked. However, this is because they have really high quality music, and this has continued with their national major debut single.

This song was cowritten by Japanese hip hop artist SEAMO, and that’s pretty obvious. Even if there’s only one actual rap section (done wonderfully by Haruna), you can hear the hip hop influence throughout the whole song, which features a lot of spoken parts and a whole lot of attitude. According to wikipedia, one of SEAMO’s influences was MC Hammer, and I do get a bit of an 80s/90s hip hop vibe from this. This is honestly not a song I expected to hear from Team Syachihoko, but they really put a lot of effort into this song, with Chiyuri rolling her R’s and Nao putting in a lot of energy. All the girls really fit in this well.

The lyrics are one of the most fun parts of the song, featuring Syachi’s plea to make Nagoya the capitol of Japan. It’s a silly topic and the lyrics are silly, but Syachihoko actually sells it pretty well. There’s a pretty good translation on the PV on the official Syachihoko channel, so I recommend you check that out.

Otherwise, all the parts come together for a really fun and entertaining song.

2. W.W.D – Dempagumi.inc

W.W.D stands for “worldwide Dempagumi,” a very fitting title given Dempagumi.inc’s recent announcement of performing at Japan Expo USA this August.

W.W.D is weird. And this is coming from someone who loves weird music. Can you guess who wrote this song? If you guessed Hyadain, yep you’re right. However, while some people may criticize W.W.D for being kind of disjointed, in actuality it really fits the group. The song centers around the group of six girls, their individual stories and how they all came together to become one group. Therefore, the fact that the song has so many different styles in it actually makes a lot of sense, because it’s reinforcing this narrative found in the lyrics. I’m really glad they decided to work with Hyadain to write this deeply personal song for Dempagumi.inc; Hyadain is the master of writing very eccentric songs that somehow work, and W.W.D is one of those songs.

Because this song is based off the histories of the girls in dempagumi.inc, they perform it really well. The girls all have an interest in Akihabara culture, and as such really play up the shouted parts well. Groups in the past have called themselves ‘otaku groups,’ but you really believe it with dempagumi.inc. This song is so weird, but Dempagumi.inc manages to sell the slow/serious section as well as the energetic sections. They do well with a song that I imagine would be difficult for most idol singers to get.

If you don’t like your music weird, I doubt you’ll like W.W.D.. In fact, I have a feeling it’s the type of single that would be very polarizing. However, I really like Hyadain when he’s at his wackiest, which he is here. Combine that with the personal stories of dempagumi.inc, and you have a classic idol song on your hands.

1. Hai to Diamond – Momoiro Clover Z

If you read my review of Momoiro Clover Z’s album 5th Dimension, you’ll already know how much I love this song, so I’ll keep this brief. Hai to Diamond is incredible. It’s not necessarily the most idol-y song out there, but it’s a really beautiful song featuring orchestral instruments, many different sounds, and some really nice performances from Momoiro Clover. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, written very well and arranged even better. It’s gorgeous, epic, and has been an instant favorite ever since I heard it.

This is one of the most beautiful pop songs I’ve ever heard, and I know I’ll keep coming back to it again and again in the future.

Top 10 Idol Songs about Summer

Summer is upon us! As an idol fan it’s a really great season, not only because of events like the Tokyo Idol Festival, but because many idol groups release really great summer songs. AKB48’s Sayonara Crawl just came out, and NMB48’s Bokura no Eureka is coming up! It’s times like these that I thought I’d make a list of my top 10 songs about summer by an idol act.

My honorable mention is Whiteberry’s “Natsu Matsuri.” Whiteberry isn’t an idol act, but this song has been covered many times (by idols, occasionally) and is a really excellent song about summer festivals. I love this song so much that I sing it at karaoke year round; it’s just excellent.

10. Poolside Daisakusen -Idoling!!!

When I first started making this list, I did not intend for this song to make it. I remembered liking it, but that it wasn’t memorable. Still, I decided to rewatch the PV which I remembered was excellent. And while the PV holds up and is a really great PV, the song surprised me with how much I liked it. It’s a bit different from the other songs on this list and has kind of an old-fashioned sound to it. However it’s really high energy and fun in a totally different way from the rest of this list (that I attribute to the fast back and forth and ‘whoaaas’ in the chorus). It’s not necessarily the most classic idol summer song, but it’s fun and definitely worth a listen.

9. Pareo wa Emerald – SKE48

The 48 groups have a lot of summer songs. This is something I noted a while back, when I said that AKB48 does a good job of playing to the seasons that songs are released. Whereas Morning Musume only has one summer themed single song (Manatsu no Kousen), every 48 group releases a summer song almost every summer. It’s a good idea; even in the US, the concept of a summer song is still present, more than any other season.

This meant, however, I had to narrow things down to the best of the best. So while Gomen ne Summer and Aishiteraburu are excellent songs I adore, Pareo wa Emerald comes up on top. The reason it ranks fairly lowly on this list is because I’d say that the lyrics, more than any other on this list, focus more on a relationship than summer. Yeah, I know almost every song on this list has an element of romance or summer love to it, but Pareo has some of my favorite lyrics about relationships.

It has a bit of a different tone than some of AKB and NMB’s summer songs (that I’ll get to later, *hint*) but that’s not necessarily bad; in fact, it sets itself apart from other songs. Still, at its core it’s a high energy summer song that is a lot of fun to listen to.

8. Nagiichi – NMB48

While the decision between Nagiichi and Pareo was a tricky one, I ultimately went with Nagiichi. I have a soft spot for idol songs that do shortened titles, and Nagiichi’s one of the best; short for Nagisa de Ichiban Kawaii girl (the cutest girl on the beach). Which could apply for all of them really (but it applies to Watanabe Miyuki most of all, in my opinion!)

The start is reminiscent of Ponytail to Shushu, but it quickly changes to be its own, NMB48 flavored 48 song. It’s a little sexier, but has very similar sensibilities in its energy and level of fun. This was NMB’s 4th single, and in my opinion it’s at this point that NMB really stepped up and showed AKB48 and SKE48 that they had become a strong group as well.

NMB48 recently has started promotion for their new single, Bokura no Eureka. While it’s my favorite 48 single in a while, and I love the song, it’s not quite a standard summer song in the same way that Nagiichi is. However, it does show a bit of a more mature NMB48 and I whole-heartedly recommend you check it out.

7. Bikini wa Niawanai – Watarirouka Hashiritai 7

This is a song I’m betting most of you aren’t as familiar with, unless you’re a pretty big Watarirouka Hashiritai fan. This is a B-Side to Hetappi Wink, and right away gives a pretty summery image. The first guitar riff alone brings thoughts of the Beach Boys, and the whole song is very reminiscent of American surf music, a genre which I have to associate with the beach and summeritime.

The lyrics are a bit unconventional, but fitting; it’s about how bikinis don’t suit the girls, and even though they’re older than they appear they still don’t have the bodies for bikinis. I’d take this to be an almost anthem for any of us girls who have felt unconscious about their body; this is a fairly rare sentiment to get from an idol song!

The lyrics fit, and the song itself fits summertime in a way most idol songs don’t.

6. MAX Otome Gokoro – Super Girls

I’ve never been able to get much into Super Girls. I like some of the members and the songs, but for some reason the group has never grabbed me. However, Super Girls has done a summer single for the past few years, and their first summer single (and their second single ever) remains my favorite Super Girls song.

It’s just bubbly idol fun which is a lot of what I like about it (and ‘doki doki natsu dokyun’ might be the most idol-y lyric ever). While their later single Puri Puri Summer Kiss is fun, Max Otome Gokoro feels like it’s focusing more on general summer fun than Puri Puri (I was personally a bit put off by its PV). Plus, I like Max Otome Gokoro a lot better.

Not much else can be said other than that it’s fun and a great summer song!

5. Coco Natsu – Momoiro Clover

One of my strongest memories about becoming a MomoClo fan is waiting after Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo for what came next. I watched pretty much everything MomoClo had ever done, and I was waiting. While Pinky Jones ended up the single, Coco Natsu was the first thing any MomoClo fan saw after Ikuze, so it had a lot of hype for a lot of Momoiro Clover fans.

And while I would say Ikuze is a lot stronger, Coco Natsu didn’t disappoint! Definitely one of the odder songs on this list, pretty much everything about this is perfect. I especially like the verses with the back and forth between solos and the whole group’s “bashibaa coco natsu baby” parts. The instrumentation is also spot on, with some good background guitar stuff and often a tropical sound. The girls are very memorable too, with the repetition of ‘kokokokoko’ at various parts as well as the bridge part where they’re all shouting various things. While I keep bringing in high energy songs on this list (and there are more to come), this is another fantastic example.

This song is perfect for MomoClo and is a perfect example of what I miss about Momoiro Clover (in relation to Momoiro Clover Z): it’s high energy, a bit strange, and just a whole lot of fun, perfect for a good summer song.

4. Ponytail to Shushu (honorable mentions: Everyday Kachuusha and Manatsu no Sounds Good – AKB48

When coming up with this list, one of my goals was variety. My hardest choice, being honest, was picking which AKB48 summer single I wanted to put on here. Because really, if you want a good summer song, Ponytail to Shushu, Everyday Kachuusha and Manatsu no Sounds Good are all good choices. However, I didn’t want a top 10 list with three AKB48 single songs and two 48 group single songs as well, so I chose the first big summer single for AKB48, Ponytail to Shushu.

Ponytail to Shushu is, to me, one of the most underrated idol songs. Not that it undersold, but that it doesn’t really get enough credit that it deserves. RIVER was the big song that really put AKB on the map. Heavy Rotation became the big AKB classic song. But before Heavy Rotation came, Ponytail to Shushu really, in my mind, cemented AKB48 as a huge idol force and that RIVER wasn’t going to be their most remembered song.

More than that, though, Ponytail to Shushu is really, to me, a perfect pop song. Even among AKB48 fans, Ponytail to Shushu really seems to be looked down on as frivolous and not as good as some of the other songs. And while Ponytail to Shushu might not have the depth of some of the other songs, for what it’s trying to do it’s nearly perfect. From the first piano notes, it does an amazing job of ramping you up into high energy that continues throughout the whole song, but never feels old. The back and forth throughout the chorus is really spectacular, and I love the instrumentation; the background instruments do a lot to keep up the tension within the song. The whole song is energetic and has a high tension to it, and really feels like a great summer song. It doesn’t need depth because it’s not trying to be more than it is: a REALLY fantastic, high energy pop song, which it does superbly.

3. Chu! Natsu Party – 3nin Matsuri

One of the aspects of golden era Hello!Project I really miss the most are the summer shuffles. While the Satoyama units kind of do that now, there was something really great about getting the strangest combination of Hello!Project members together for a summery single and a little competition. While 3nin Matsuri isn’t the strangest combination of members nor is it the strangest song, it is one of the most fun songs, and it’s the song that I would say most captures summer.

There’s a reason that, in the competition to sell the most singles, Chu! Natsu Party won. While all three members were all popular in their own right, the other groups had more members and girls like Abe Natsumi and Goto Maki. But Chu! Natsu Party is just bubbly energetic fun. There’s nothing complicated about the melody, nor the lyrics. The song’s about going to the beach in the summer, with the onomatopoetic word “chu” (kiss) repeated ad nauseum. But that’s kind of what a good summer song does; it’s fun and frivolous, but that’s the point.

While I have a strong fondness for 10nin Matsuri’s “Dancing! Natsu Matsuri” in that it’s more ridiculous, to me Chu! Natsu Matsuri is more accessible, more fun and really more of a summer song. In that way, I’d say it’s almost the definition of a perfect summer song.

2. Natsu no Tobira – Matsuda Seiko

A mini history lesson, for people who don’t know Seiko. Matsuda Seiko was one of, if not the biggest idol in Japan in the 80s. Whereas Yamaguchi Momoe dominated the 70s, Matsuda Seiko dominated the 80s and had a string of #1 hits. She’s considered the “eternal idol” and has been an extremely active singer. While I like a lot of classic idols, Matsuda Seiko’s definitely my favorite; she released a lot of good music, and has a real stage presence to her performances. Even watching videos on Youtube, it’s easy to see how Japan fell in love with her in the 80s and beyond.

Natsu no Tobira is one of her early hits, and, in my opinion, one of her greatest. The steady beat in the background, the strings, and Seiko’s voice all contribute to a truly legendary song. Seiko’s performance is really strongest with the line “suki da yo to itteru no/masaka uso deshou!” where her voice really shines. One of the repeated lines is the rising “Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!” and that’s really how this song makes you feel. It’s energetic and exciting, and everything works together to make this a true summer classic.

1. Yeah Meccha Holiday – Matsuura Aya

The first thing that comes to mind, at least for me, when it comes to idols and summer. Yeah! Meccha Holiday is something of a modern classic (though it was released 11 years ago), and has been covered quite a bit, notably on Sashihara Rino’s first single ‘Soredemo Suki da yo.’ The song is basically about being excited for summer, and does it very very well.

Even though it’s been covered before, Matsuura Aya really delivers it well. Even though she has a really excellent voice, she really pulled off these high energy songs with a lot of aplomb. There’s really nothing like the original.

This song both has the lyrics and the energy for a good summer song. It’s upbeat and happy, and exactly what I think of when I think of summer music.

Top Ten Idols – 2013

Well, whenever I go back and look at my top ten idols list, it always seems like things change a lot. I know things have since I started Happy Disco (my original list was all Hello!Project, wow). This list is always pretty difficult to make, because as an idol enthusiast I have a lot of favorites. Even if someone slipped down my list at all or is omitted, that only really means that I have another idol I like better, not that I like them less.

10. Tamura Meimi (S/Mileage)

S/Mileage’s second generation are four of my top five members in current Hello!Project. While I like Kanyon and Ayacho, if S/Mileage’s second generation formed an idol group on their own I think it would be one of my favorite idol groups ever. I think they all have a lot of strengths, are a lot of fun, and are super adorable. Picking one as my favorite is hard; however, it ends up as being Meimei. She’s just so energetic and excited, that Meimi was actually the one to open me up to Hello!Project after being a bit cynical regarding them for a while; Meimi felt and still feels fresh. I love her energy, her enthusiasm, and just how mischievous and fun she is. One of my favorite things was when she basically trolled everyone by setting up a blog entry sounding like she was graduating… only revealing she was graduating from using “-chan” to refer to her friends. Meimi not only loves her fans, she trolls them. She’s cute, energetic, fun to watch, and just a weirdo.

9. Ishida Ayumi – Morning Musume

For most of 2012 Meimei was my favorite in Hello!Project, so putting Ishida Ayumi over Meimi is a pretty big change. Ever since Morning Musume’s 10th generation has debuted, I’ve been fond of Ishida Ayumi, and she’s been my favorite Morning Musume member for a while. However, since I don’t really follow much of Morning Musume, it didn’t really click with Ayumi as a favorite member until recently, and even then it was a slow build. I first became really impressed with her when the dance shot to One Two Three came out, since Ayumi’s performing strength is in her dancing. Slowly I began to find out more about her personality, and found out that while she’s a sweet person she’s almost a closet wota/creeper  of her fellow members. In one blog post in particular she took pictures of all of her fellow 10th generation members sleeping and posted them on her blog, saying how cute they all are. She’s a hard worker, a strong performer, and has a really sweet personality. She’s making me follow Morning Musume, which is what qualifies her as one of my top idols. Honestly, if I followed Morning Musume more closely than some of the other groups, Ayumi could move up my list because I like her that much.

8. Watanabe Miyuki (NMB48/AKB48)

Putting Milky this low is ridiculous for me. Honestly, this is a tough spot. Once you get past the two Hello!Project girls (who I really love, but aren’t my favorites), my top 8 is really where I have strong feelings. My top 3 48 girls shift around places a lot, so one day Milky might be my #1 girl in AKB and one day she might be my #3, like today. Normally, within AKB48, I tend to go for the lesser popular girls (though the one girl who just barely missed this list is Kashiwagi Yuki, AKA #3 in AKB48), but I’ve been a Milky fan since the early days of NMB48. I can wax poetic about how perfect I find Milky (and have, on my tumblr HERE) but basically she’s a natural idol who loves idols. She has tons of charisma, has been able to endure a scandal and come out on top, and ultimately really loves what she does and being an idol. She’s also really funny and strange (I adore the whole “chapu chapu’ movement), and is a fan of Ishikawa Rika, which does help. She’s one idol who’s a natural, and it’s definitely appealing Plus her photobook, Mirugami, was my favorite of 2012 and possibly one of my favorites ever

7. Oota Aika (HKT48)

Lovetan is a very adaptable member, which is probably her biggest strength. She went from being one of the cute younger members of Team B to being one of the middle-range Team A girls (as well as center of the Undergirls for a while). She started off young and as one of the cuter members of AKB48, but she’s been able to adapt to more mature things as she’s gotten older (look how cool she looks in that outfit from Show Fight!). And finally, she’s moved to HKT48, where she’s now the most experienced member. The thing I’ve always liked about Lovetan is just how natural she is, and how honest she really seems. Perhaps that’s her “tsundere” personality, but she doesn’t shy away from showing her emotions or expressing them. She’s a real sweetheart who I always love watching. I was really disappointed to see her huge drop in the AKB48 election (though not in her; she’s been doing great), so I’m hoping that she can shine in HKT48 through the future. I honestly think this is a good move, and I can’t wait to hear more from Lovetan! Seeing her growth as an idol from Team B to today has been a privilege, and I’m proud to be a Lovetan fan.

6. Natori Wakana (AKB48) 

Wakanyan’s not an easy idol to have as my AKB48 oshimen. She only recently was promoted to Team B, and before that was a kenkyuusei that missed the whole Team 4 thing. Despite that, Wakanyan is really fantastic. I initially became a fan of hers because of her performance skills; she was Kashiwagi Yuki’s under and performed as Yukirin in kenkyuusei shows, which shows that AKB trusted her to do a lot. She was also the first person of her generation to perform the solo kenkyuusei song “Romance Kakurenbo,” and has proven herself both an excellent singer and an excellent performer. However, aside from this I just love her personality. She’s worked so hard since her debut as a kenkyuusei, and on the 11th generation special of Ariyoshi AKB Kyowakoku she won my heart by being brave enough to not only pick up one snake (in a test where they had to put snakes back in their containers, to “test bravery) that bit her, but going back again. She also seems to have a good personality whenever I see LODs or look at G+.

5. Mizuno Yui (BABYMETAL/Sakura Gakuin)

Look at that face and tell me she isn’t the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. In all seriousness, I love watching Yui’s enthusiasm when performing and in PVs, both in standard idol group Sakura Gakuin and heavy metal unit Babymetal. While I adore every member of Babymetal and I enjoy both Suzuka and Moa a lot as idols, something about Yui sticks out to me. Probably how happy she looks singing metal music. If anyone can have a huge grin on her face while performing metal, it’s Yui. But she has a level of happiness and enthusiasm that I just love in an idol, and has the cutest smile ever.

4. Aso Natsuko (soloist)

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you missed it, yes that is me and Nacchan at the Hyper Japan event this February in London. 🙂 (read my post about that HERE) Putting Nacchan this low really sucks, and I think is a real testament to how strongly I feel about other idols. However, seeing Aso Natsuko live was amazing; she has such crazy charisma and energy. It was an incredible experience I hope to experience again. She’s a real sweetheart and a great performer, and an all-around great idol. It takes a lot of charisma to be a successful solo artist, and Nacchan definitely qualifies.

3. Sasaki Ayaka (Momoiro Clover Z)

A~rin is in the “natural idol” category. Seriously, if there are any girls who are born idols, A~rin is one of them. Every time I see her performing, I can tell that she’s obviously loving what she does and that she’s having a great time with what she’s doing. I personally also love her performance; while she may not have the best voice or dancing, what she is good at hamming it up during her solos and giving a good performance. I also have a strong affection for cute idols and idols that have an “idol-like” personality (and she is referred to as MomoClo’s idol in her introduction). While all the MomoClo members are good in their own way and I’m fond of all of them (especially Reni, who’s really weird), I’d argue that A~rin’s the most fun and playful member. Not to say that she doesn’t take her job seriously, but she has just a fun personality that shines, on and off stage.

2. Ishikawa Rika (ex-Morning Musume/v-u-den)


She’s topped every single list I’ve ever had until now. This might be a surprise to you if you know me, and it surprised me when I realized it. However, I think this is mostly a result of not being very active any more (I’d tentatively still call Rika my all-time favorite, as this list is primarily current). Simply put, Rika is one of the most driven idols ever, a hard worker, a role model for younger members, and is one of the strongest performers (not vocally, but on pure strength of dance/performance skills). Rika, is in my opinion, the gold standard for idols everywhere; there’s a reason that two of the top idols in the 48 empire, Watanabe Miyuki and Kashiwagi Yuki are huge Rika fans. She has a great personality, great performances, and I’m proud to be a Rika fan, which has not wavered at all since I became a Rika fan. That being said, when deciding this I couldn’t ignore the sheer power of my #1…

1. Ooguro Yuzuki (Team Syachihoko)

Yuzuki is the first idol to surpass Rika since Rika became my favorite near the end of 2008/beginning of 2009. Which, as a big idol fan, says a good deal. I initially pegged Yuzuki as being my least favorite of Team Syachihoko, because she didn’t initially stand out to me in my initial viewing of The Stardust Bowling’s PV. However, despite this, when I first watched a live performance, I saw how strong Yuzuki really is. The thing about Yuzuki is that, even though she’s probably in the middle of the group in terms of skill, you can tell she’s clearly giving a huge effort every time she performs. She has a ton of enthusiasm, and every performance you can see how hard she works and how much she enjoys herself. She is a sweetheart, clearly loves being in Team Syachihoko, and is the most fun idol to watch right now.

Honorable mentions: Kashiwagi Yuki (AKB48), Iwasa Misaki (AKB48), Matsui Sakiko (AKB48), Miyawaki Sakura (HKT48), Yajima Maimi (C-ute), S/Mileage’s 2nd generation, all the other members of Team Syachihoko and Momoiro Clover Z, Kyao (MMJ),

I Give Thanks to Idols! Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey guys!

First off, I have to apologize for being so bad with posting as of late. I’ve been just swamped with school work, and I’m really trying hard to be the best student I can this semester, in addition to my job (and for a brief while I had two jobs, gah).

Anyways, today in the US is the holiday of Thanksgiving! Now, I love idol holiday songs and thinking back on fandoms. However, there are some idol songs that stand out as somewhat fitting the day.

Mama Grazie! – Watarirouka Hashiritai 7

Now, the lyrics to this song entitled “Mama, thanks!” (originally supposed to be released around Mother’s day as a single before the earthquake) aren’t exactly the most thanksgiving related; it’s about a girl thanking a mom for helping her go on a date and break curfew even though she has a strict father. However, the upbeat song with the sentiment of thanks fits the day.

Thanks- GAM

What list about giving thanks would be complete without a song called Thanks?

Egao ni Namida ~Thank you Dear my Friends~ – Matsuura Aya

Ayaya sings “thank you” a lot; I almost put her single “Hyacinth” up on this list. But this is a heartfelt thank you song, so it’s something that really does fit the actual theme of the day.

However, I’m sure many of you that celebrated just care about food. And in that case….

Kurakura Dinner Time – v-u-den

You know I love my v-u-den, and a song about a dinner involving “stuffing cheeks” fully fits how many people approach Thanksgiving.

Some of you might be more excited about Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that’s popular for shopping. Well you can go to…

109 – AKB48


109, a famous store that AKB48 sang about!

Anyways, after that stretch of a list, here’s another list, my list of things about idols that I’m thankful for!

1. Idol music is basically the background music of my life; when I’m walking around I’m probably listening to idol music.

2. I’m so thankful for idol music for brightening my spirits. Even when life is tough, idol music has been there to make me forget for a little while.

3. I’m so so thankful for idols, since I can write about them for homework.

4. I’m thankful for idols being the inspiration for Happy Disco; I love writing my blog and I have so much fun doing so.

finally~

5. I’m SO thankful for idols because through idols I’ve been able to meet new friends. I’m so happy to know the staff of Intl Wota, Dani, Shioka and members on various sites. Even with ups and downs, the idol fanbase is a great one that I’m happy to be a part of.

Thank you, also, to anyone who reads my blog! Every single one of you goes appreciated!

My Top Ten Idols Redux

A while ago I was looking at my old posts on the old Happy Disco, and I noticed how completely out of date my old top ten idols blog post was. It has been quite a while since I wrote it, but in that time my tastes have almost completely changed, most notably with my current love for the assorted AKB groups as well as Momoiro Clover. So I thought that with this new blog I have the perfect opportunity to make another list of my top ten idols and why.

Continue reading

おめでとう、Happy Disco!!

People who read my blog (I love you!!) I have some news.

This is my 100th post on Happy Disco. Yaay!!

This is the first image you get if you search Happy Disco on Google Images. 



My infatuation with idol music isn’t going away anytime soon! Usually when I start up projects/blogs like this I get bored quickly and stoop doing it, but I really do enjoy what I do here on Happy Disco.

First up: If you guys read this and have read my blog before, what types of posts do you like? Would you prefer more straight up reviews, more lists, more rambles about the nature of idol pop? I’m just curious to see what people would want to read from me.

Secondly: I’m still continuing my 30 Day Idol Challenge and Tokyo Idol Festival series’, but I’m thinking that since the 30 Day Idol Challenge will end soon that I will start a new regular segment. What do you guys think I should do? Reader feedback yay.

And since I want to make this a fun 100th post, in honor of my long posts here on Happy Disco I’m going to do a list of my top 10 idol PVs. (in no particular order).

Note: This list is largely personal, and I’m also betting that in a day or two I’ll find a PV that will make me wish I included it in this list. Also it’s only idols, nothing else.

SKE48- 1! 2! 3! 4! Yoroshiku! 





I feel like, if anything, this PV is proof that you don’t necessarily need to have a story to make an interesting PV. This is in my opinion a perfect idol PV. It’s shot well, edited interestingly, and even when they’re focusing on things like the dance shot, it’s not shot at some unmoving flat angle, but moves around and really makes it interesting. This is the first of SKE48’s “Let’s hire the entirety of Aichi prefecture to be in our PVs”, and while I really like Banzai Venus, I think that the extras had a better role here. They really do a lot to add to the excitement and really keep the energy up high.

Finally, the PV really plays to the strengths of the girls which is always something that a good idol PV should do. This one plays to the fact that SKE48 has really strong dancers by having the dance-off scene as well as focusing a lot on the dance shot, since they have an interesting dance.

This PV is just a joy to watch, and I absolutely love it.

v-u-den: Kurenai no Kisetsu

In my opinion, this is the forgotten v-u-den PV; the one that no one really knows or thinks about. However, it’s one of my favorite PVs of all time.

Again, there’s no story except Rika, Erika and Yui all have to look sad. However, the scenery and set pieces in the PV are absolutely gorgeous. I’m not very knowledgeable about cameras, lightings and settings for those things, but I’m curious about what they did with the color with some of this. I think they might have changed something? But the colors do seem warmer some places and cooler in the dance shot, and whatever it is it looks cool.

The part that just wows me and that I love about this PV is all the playing around with mirrors. In addition to being great set pieces (the cracked mirrors near Erika are particularly stunning), the way that shots play around with them is amazing. I’m particularly fond of whenever they look into the mirror so that it looks directly at the camera. Also, from what I know of filming, I know that mirrors have their own set of issues, since they tend to reflect things which often can include the people filming the thing. When the PV director inevitably went “alright, this PV will center around MIRRORS” they were obviously taking a bit of a chance, but it totally paid off.

Beginner (original ver)- AKB48

I’m so happy that AKB48 released this PV on DVD so I didn’t have to use the low quality PV obviously filmed by a phone that I first saw this PV from.

This PV is very well known among current idol fans as the one that got banned, that AKB wasn’t allowed to air on TV so they had scramble and come up with their PV that got on the DVDs and could be aired places, a mix of the dance shot and the making of.

However, the original PV is now in high quality thanks to new DVDs and it totally deserves the praise it’s given. It has a really interesting Matrix-like story of the girls being plugged into games and banding together to stand up and stop fighting each other but fight the system, the machine they’re in. The moment when Acchan finishes screaming, tears away from her old arm and evolves to be able to fight the system just sends shivers up my spine, as well as the moment when Yuko hugs Takamina so Jurina can pull the plug.

This is a PV where I desperately want more, so I can know a back story. And that’s why it’s up there among my top ten PVs.

Top Secret- Hangry & Angry





This is definitely a bit of a personal choice for me, but a year and 9 months or so later (wow, it does NOT feel like that long ago) I STILL love this PV and watch it on a regular basis. This is another one with amazing sets, good design, and it’s really edited interestingly.

However, in my opinion the biggest strength is the performance of Yossy and Rika. Like I said in my Reconquista review, one of the biggest strengths with Hangry & Angry is that Yossy and Rika have been active idols for over 10 years now, even though they were probably the most famous back at the start of their careers. They both have a LOT of experience and as such always give really fantastic performances live and in PVs, and this really reflects that. The way that the two of them act in the PV, interact with each other and the camera, it really speaks wonders of their experience.

So while the PV is made very well, Rika and Yossy are really the stars of the PV, as they should be.

Enkyori Poster- AKB48’s Team PB


However, despite the experience of Rika and Yossy lending well to their performances, the girls of Team PB do really well. So well that, after I saw this vid, for a while I decided that I was a “Team PB oshi” and that I would support all the Team PB girls forever. That’s not so true right now (though I do love all the girls in Team PB), as I’d probably, if anything, would classify myself as a Watarirouka Hashiritai wota.

HOWEVER, the point still stands that all the girls are outstanding in the PV. It solidified my bias towards Oota Aika and it definitely moved Maeda Ami and Miyazaki Miho up further in my ranks. Myao in particular.  She basically nailed this PV.

The one thing that eluded me for a long time, though, is WHY I thought Enkyori Poster was so brilliant. It’s fun to watch because the girls all look like they’re having a blast and they all do very well with their energy. But why is this PV considered one of my top 10, with such simple backgrounds and props?

Well, after thinking this it really hit me how brilliant this PV is. The song itself is pretty simple; it’s about the feelings of a fan who loves and supports their idol. The lyrics have in the past made me tear up with things like

    “though it seems that i can’t quite meet you you are there by my side more than anyone else
    at times I make mistakes and about to give up I will just gaze and dream of you meeting me face to face” (taken from Stage 48’s Studio 48.)
Those words are really particularly meaningful to me and a lot of idol fans; who hasn’t gone through a rough patch at school or work, and come home and just watch things with idols to self-medicate? I know that when I’m feeling down and when I feel like I can’t do anything, what I really do is watch something with Rika, Lovetan, Wasamin or one of my other favorites and just imagine them.

This PV takes those lyrics and takes that thought, and moves it to one guy’s room. Now, he’s fantasizing about the girl(s) (he’s totally Yukirin oshi) in his poster, but then we move to the posters. As we would expect from this being a PV, the girls sing and dance like usual. However, we sometimes see through to the other side of the room from in the poster, to see that it is really a poster, to remind us of what we’re watching. Furthermore, whenever the girls sing and dance around the room, the posters are blank, so we know that this is about the girls of the posters.

There’s more to it, though; one of the things that I liked a lot about the PV originally were the different angles that we see the girls at in the dance shot. However, the camera rarely moves during the dance shot; it moves once or twice panning the girls. But the thing I realized is that the angles that we see the girls in the dance shot, the unmoving shots, are really the angles that might be in a poster, further cementing this.

The other parts of the PV are close up shots and the girls dancing in the guy’s room. However, during the close up shots, nearly everything that the girls do is straight up posing in ways that would be seen on a poster. They only move freely in the guy’s room when the fantasy is at its peak. When the fantasy is confined to the posters, every move is a cute pose, reminding us that these girls are just on the poster and not in reality.

Finally, we see a shot of the man staring at Yukirin, cementing the fact that the PV was his fantasies of his 
idols, not reality.

Mirai Bowl- Momoiro Clover

First off, if you haven’t seen the extended version, do so now. You’ll be glad you did.

This is gold. It’s set up like a cheesy old-fashioned sitcom, with the introduction at the beginning and a laugh track and cheesy music. The story is an obvious Grease parallel… only that there’s a relationship between a girl named Sandy (Kanako) and Danny (Akari). Two newsies are there to get them together (Shiori and Momoka), I guess? Also, Danny is a super amazing bowler, so that’s important for the music part of the PV. However, Leader (Ayaka) wants Sandy too, with Reni as her assistant. In the drama part of the PV, I have to say that I love Ayaka and Reni’s part the best. Ayaka’s deep gangster voice and Reni figuring stuff out by going “give me chappa chappa etc.” is just amazing and hilarious. They kidnap Kanako by going “It’s a UFO” and pointing.

I love all MomoClo PVs dearly, but I had to pick this one because it has the most hilarious plot of all of them. The girls know how to ham it up in these roles and it’s just funny because it doesn’t begin to treat itself seriously. These girls are also really great dancers and performers and that in itself makes it really fun. The comics-style effects are also really fun, and the break where they actually have the bowling game over Kanako’s heart is just super fun to watch.

Not putting Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo, D’ no Junjou and Pinky Jones on this list was super hard,  but just by PVs Mirai Bowl never stops being really fun. It’s one of those PVs that seems like it must have had a fairly small budget, but made the most of whatever budget it had and then some. No matter how high or low MomoClo’s budget is, they totally make up for it and then some.

Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou – AKB48





Yes, I picked the suicide PV.

Keibetsu never fails to make me emotional and cry. You just feel the hopelessness of the girls throughout the PV, and the images of Yuko going to commit suicide are just heartbreaking.

This PV, even though it was in AKB’s early years, has a lot of depth and maturity to it. The way they act, when you see Sae leave the school because of bullying, leaving Yuko alone, you feel like there’s more to it than just what you see in the PV.

The color scheme is also dark, fitting in with the rest of the PV, and the looks of the girls at the end, almost going “You know what you did” just never fail to be haunting. I know people who miss AKB48 from when they were less popular because of stuff like this, and I honestly don’t blame them. I love the current happy idol music that AKB and co do, but songs and PVs like Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou are certainly missed in the current lineup.

Meguru Koi no Kisetsu- C-ute

This is definitely a big change of pace from Keibetsu. XD

I love this PV so much, you guys have no idea. On the one hand I really really like C-ute from a visual standpoint (if that makes any sense) because I love how they dance and perform with such energy. This is super apparent here in the dance shots, close up and other shots, where C-ute is in high form, doing very well.

The reason that Meguru Koi no Kisetsu is on my list and not any of the other C-ute PVs, however, is that this is a perfect example of how a budget isn’t anything. This PV doesn’t look like it cost  much of anything; a few backdrops, a few props, nothing radical that would cost a lot of money. However, the seamless way they move between all the backdrops and use them creatively is really something. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the budget in H!P videos, when this PV would seriously counter that. PVs are a lot more interesting when they take whatever budget they have and use it creatively, like they did here.

This PV is fun, really enjoyable, and overall really well done.

Watarirouka Hashiritai- Gyu


Guys. I love Watarirouka Hashiritai. So much.

This is probably my most subjective pick on the list, but I don’t even care because I love it. The whole PV is like a drama; I can imagine that this is some romcom drama about five girls with their own problems and relationships and it’ll be one of those things where they all bond over their relationship troubles and stuff. This is something I want.

But anyways, they all have their relationship things:

Harugon (Nakagawa Haruka) doesn’t have any relationship issue. She and her “boyfriend” (which is one of the MSN messenger “people”; was this sponsored by MSN?) are all happy and in love. Good for her, I guess.
Lovetan (Oota Aika) has an unattentive boyfriend who flirts with other girls and not her, even though she’s the girlfriend. This is where you have to suspend disbelief in the PV, because who would choose other girls when there’s Lovetan. Though her slap is kind of my favorite moment ever in any PV. When this came out I watched that slap about 10 times in a row.
Nacchan (Hirajima Natsumi) is basically playing me, because she has a thing for her teacher. In the PV she hugs her teacher in what could potentially become harassment? Teaching the English word for hug, yeah right. And the whole classroom claps, which makes me think that the classroom is writing Nacchan/teacher fanfiction.
Ayarin (Kikuchi Ayaka) gets confessed to by a guy but then turns him down. Which makes me believe that this is the final test after her scandal; if she decided to get with the guy then she’s gone for good. But yay, Ayarin stays.
Mayuyu (Watanabe Mayu)… runs? Mayu, running isn’t acting, oh wait, for you it is, OK. I’ve heard theories that she’s romantically involved with another girl because they take Purikura together with some other girl (which is usually just with girls) and I like this theory a lot.

This is a fun PV with a fun story and it’s about hugging. I love hugs. So, it’s a favorite.

Zutto Suki de Ii Desu Ka- Matsuura Aya







The rest of the list is in no particular order, but this is my #1 favorite PV ever. I think it’s ridiculously well-crafted, creative and beautiful. The way that they use a continuous shot through all the beautiful sets is really well done. If you watch the PV making of it isn’t editing trickery or whatever; they really did do most of the filming in one fell swoop, with Aya running around the backs of sets to get where she needs to be. It reminds me a bit of one of the scenes of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that involved the main actors running around the backs of sets to get places. If I think “Oh, maybe Michel Gondry directed this PV?” then you KNOW it’s a great PV.

It’s not only doing the continuous effect, but it also has really gorgeous sets; I particularly like the one with the clocks. It has a twinge of a surreal feel, too, since you see the way it gets to all the different sets that are clearly fabricated.

Still it’s gorgeous and I love it.

A very subjective list (that took forever to write), but there you have it! Happy 100 posts, Happy Disco!!!

Top 10 (+2) Idol Holiday Songs

Happy holidays, everyone! Since it’s almost Christmas for everyone and it’s the middle of the winter holiday season, I thought I’d make a list of my top ten winter/holiday/Christmas themed idol songs for Happy Disco.

Honorable Mentions:
100kai no Kiss- Matsuura Aya



I love Ayaya, don’t get me wrong, and I want to put this song on the list. However, the song has nothing to do with winter or Christmas. It’s here because the PV features Ayaya dancing in “winter clothes” in front of a Christmas tree, and it’s snowing outside. But 100kai no Kiss is a fantastic song no matter the season, and the PV’s also wonderful.

1!2!3!4! Yoroshiku- SKE48

The PV to SKE48’s latest single is a treasure trove of interesting things and hilarity. Basically, there are guys dressed as Santa dancing in the background through parts of the PV. This song/PV gets the spot because the PV is WEIRD and Santa dancing in the background is the icing on the cake.



10. Manatsu no Christmas Rose- AKB48

This song is not quite Christmas-y enough to make higher on the list; it’s in the name and there are some references to Christmas-related things, but the fact that this seems to take place in “manatsu” (midsummer) means it’s not quite the quintessential idol Christmas song.

9. Aitai Lonely Christmas- C-ute



Now this makes the list! I actually really like this song, despite putting it down at #9. However, to me it doesn’t really convey the spirit of the season properly. I realize that in Japan Christmas as a holiday is more about spending time with your significant other, but singing about how your heart hurts is not a way to get into the holiday spirit. Therefore, while this is a good song I’d argue, one of the better offerings from recent H!P, it’s not quite what I’m looking for on this list.

8. Sexy Snow- W



This also isn’t quite fitting to the spirit of the season. However, with happier lyrics than Aitai Lonely Christmas, at least it fits in a bit better. This is more about romance in the winter season than about the holidays, but it’s a catchy and addicting song that fits onto this list well.

7. Marui Taiyou ~Winter Ver~ – T&C Bomber

This actually seems to be a bit more of a New Year’s song than a Christmas song, but it’s still a great song by one of the most underappreciated H!P groups of all time. Happy Winter!!!!

6. Seinaru Kane ga Hibiku Yoru – Tanpopo



This is a beautiful song by the original generation of Tanpopo! I was happy when five of the current H!P girls did covers of it; granted, none of them quite did it justice (though I still bought Maimi’s off iTunes), it’s nice that classic Hello!Project songs are still remembered. This is more of a traditional-sounding song (with the title mentioning “holy bells”), but it’s still a great song.

5. Yoyaku Shita Christmas- AKB48



For anyone who doesn’t follow AKB48 much, this song was a c/w song on the recent single, Chance no Junban. Now, at first I really didn’t like this song all that much; I thought it was slow and kind of boring. However, lately it’s really grown on me. It’s a sweet song about meeting someone on Christmas eve and the song and PV have pretty much everything; the bridge even contains the song Jingle Bells. The song’s slow and it isn’t really a normal, upbeat idol song but it’s sweet in its own right, as a little Christmas card from AKB48.

4. Christmas ga Ippai- AKB48



THIS is a more upbeat, Christmas-y song by AKB48’s Team K. At this point these Christmas songs have it all, and Christmas ga Ippai is no exception. The lyrics are very sweet and I do like how cute and upbeat the song is; it both makes it a better song and makes it more idol-y, which I always enjoy.

3. Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru- Tanpopo



This is probably my favorite song on this list, and it’s really a classic winter song for idol fans. As a song it definitely falls more into a winter than a holiday category and it’s really more about spending time with your sweetheart during the winter, but it’s a fantastic song, especially during this season.

2. Merry X’Mas to You- Matsuura Aya



This is actually not as known as a lot of the other songs on this list; it’s the B-side to Ayaya’s single ‘100kai no Kiss’ and I absolutely love this song. The lyrics are so simple (mostly just “Merry Christmas for you”) but it really shows off how beautiful Aya’s voice truly is; if anyone can pull this off in the idol world, it’s Ayaya. It’s a beautiful Christmas song that I think could easily go on any Christmas album. This might be an unknown to a lot of people, but to me it’s a keeper.

1. Pittari Shitai X’Mas- Pucchimoni



Could I really pick out any other song? It’s an H!P classic and it’s pure fun. The PV is just silly and the song itself isn’t serious at all, but it’s a fun, enjoyable Christmas song that is still a fan favorite.

Have a very happy holidays, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful winter season!!