List Saturday: Top Idol Acts I Want to Follow More

Happy List Saturday! For the month of February, I have plans nearly every Friday, so I’m putting out this list on Saturdays instead!

I follow a lot of idol acts. Part of that is because I want to be up with all the major idol acts for this blog and Idolminded (as well as the indie acts for Pure Idol Heart) but part of it is that I’m genuinely a fan of idols as a whole, and I want to like more groups than I can really reasonably follow. So here is my list of groups that I wish I could follow more or for whatever reason I like, but I just haven’t been hooked yet.

LinQ

It’s honestly kind of inexcusable how I don’t follow LinQ. I really like a lot of their music (Sakura Kajitsu, Calorie Nante and HANABI are particular favorites), I have a favorite member (their leader, Amano Natsu) and I’ve liked just about everything I’ve seen from them. Their album that I reviewed for Happy Disco was REALLY good. I really enjoy their live performances as well. I just haven’t really given them the time that they deserve.

But seriously LinQ is great.

Idoling!!!

I reviewed Idoling!!!’s latest album, Gold Experience, recently and I really enjoyed it. Idoling!!! Is a very professional group with a lot of good music, good members, and a good variety program. I honestly don’t know why Idoling!!! Hasn’t captured my attention more; they’re a very good group. Just for whatever reason I can’t seem to follow them.

Babyraids

I really like Babyraids’ debut self-titled single. I think all the girls have a lot of energy, personality, and I like the sound of the group. Unfortunately, I haven’t been that enthralled with the rest of their music. If everything they did was on the level of Babyraids, I would probably be a much bigger fan.

Bump.y

I like Bump.y a lot. Like. The only song I absolutely love listening to is Gotta Getcha, which is already a cover. The rest of their music just doesn’t do it for me, unfortunately. Which is a shame, because the members seem great, and I do like that their goal seems to be more acting and less full-time singer. However, music does matter, and I can’t seem to keep following Bump.y.

Kikkawa You

I once said on twitter, and I stand by this, that if all Kikka songs were like Konna Watashi de Yokattara, I would be a much bigger Kikkawa You fan. Which is true. I want more idol soloists to be successful, and I think that Kikka really benefited from her years in training before débuting. Say what you will about Morning Musume’s 8th gen auditions, but Kikka is much better now. However, I really only like Kikkake wa You and, especially, Konna Wabasha de Yokattara. Which is kind of a shame, because she’s a talented girl who deserves good material.

Up Up Girls (Kakko Kari)

For years I was a fan of Sekine Azusa. She was my favorite Egg and I rejoiced whenever she had even something small to do like being a back dancer for Mano Erina. Now she’s doing an actual group and I can’t really follow them. I’m not sure why I haven’t followed them, but I wish I did because I still think Sekkii is fantastic, and I’m happy for her.

List Friday: Top 5 Strange Additions to Idol Groups

In the course of idol history, lots of odd choices have been made. It’s easy to point at a choice that puzzles you and makes you question things. However, rarely do those choices affect group lineups. This is a list of the top five strange additions to idol groups, making an unusual group.

5. Team Syachichoco

That’s right, this is very recent! Sakamoto Haruna, the youngest member of Syachi, is taking a small break to study for her high school entrance exams. While she’s away… they decide to replace Haru with a chocolate statue?

Now, I am a fan of Haruna’s, and I want her to come back soon. However, I’m so interested to see how this is going to work. Is this going to just be done in a few videos to promote Syachi and Lotte (the chocolate company)? Or will they do multiple events featuring Sakachoco Haruna? Honestly, given Team Syachihoko’s track record, I wouldn’t be surprised if they play this up for a while.

4. Morning Musume + Takagi Boo

Morning Musume doing Hawaiian music isn’t that unusual. I mean, Coconuts Musume is a thing. They go to Hawaii on FC tours. However, not just doing a song, but doing an entire album with Hawaiian music performer Takagi Boo is taking this a bit over the top. Watching this video is also a bit bizarre, as Takagi Boo waves to the camera and Morning Musume (plus assorted extra H!P) essentially flirt with him. The arrangements aren’t terrible, but it still feels like an odd move for the group, especially considering that this is when Morning Musume was at their prime.

3. Mini Moni with Bakatonosama

Probably the worst music video ever. This is the title of the Aiin Dance no Uta PV on Youtube, one of Mini Moni’s two collaboration songs. This is so high energy and ridiculousness, that I had trouble wrapping my head around it the first time I saw it. Bakatonosama is a comedy character from a TV show, and Mini Moni certainly had its foray into weirdness before this, but the fact that they thought that putting these two together was a smart decision is what makes my head spin a bit.

2. Hinoi Team with Koriki Choshu

Remember Hinoi Team? The Eurobeat Para Para group? No? Well probably the biggest thing they did was a cover of the song Night of Fire. This is the song that comedy wrestler Koriki Choshu danced to as a comedian, so lo and behold they make a cover of Night of Fire featuring Koriki. I’m just amazed that these girls can do this with a relatively straight face.

1. OKL48

Another comedy act, this time the song is actually put on a main AKB48 single, which gives it an edge to get #1. Again, it’s a comedy character, but seeing AKB48 dressed as lemons is strange. Though it’s oddly comforting to know that Ichikawa Miori did get to dress up as a lemon.

The conclusion I get from this is that the weirdest ones are all comedy related. Which is understandable; this is supposed to be funny. However, I’m glad that comedy has supported some of the oddest things to come out of idol music and videos.

List Friday: Top 10 Idols (2014)

Time for my arbitrary list of my top idols I enjoy right now at this point in time! This is in no way a complete list of the idols I like, but it’s instead a list of the girls who I pay most attention to. A lot of them should be familiar if you’ve read Happy Disco in the past.

10.Washio Miki (rev.From DVL)

This year, everyone got interested in Rev.From DVL, against all odds. Seriously, I was surprised at how well-known Hashimoto Kanna got, as a big rev.From DVL fan. However, as cute as Kanna really is, and how great as the rest of the members are, Miki is the one that has stood out for me. For one, I found the group because she actively followed me on twitter. She seems to actively try to promote the group, and loves the group. Add to that that she is a really fun, charismatic performer to watch, and she has become one of my favorites over the course of the past year.

9. Tamura Meimi (S/Mileage)

Meimi is one of those idols who simultaneously has a great voice and a super entertaining personality. She was originally known as the energetic youngest member of an already energetic group, but this past year she showed off just how genuinely talented she can be. As much as I like S/Mileage, Meimi has oodles of stage presence, charisma, and talent. Add onto that a very cute face and a goofy personality, and I just wonder how anyone can not love Meimi.

8. Ichikawa Miori (AKB48/NMB48).

I’ve only really realized my Miorin leanings recently. I’ve liked her for a long time; I mean, how can you NOT like Miorin? She’s super cute, has that little lisp, and just has a sweet personality. However, this past year one of my closest idol friends became Miorin oshi. So I’ve been seeing a lot of her lately. And I just can’t deny how cute she is, how nice her personality is, how genuinely appealing she is as an idol. This is still pretty new to me, but Miorin has been hanging out in my top 5 48 members area for a while now, and I’m getting more and more of an interest in her.

Also seriously, look at how cute she is. I can’t help but gush over how darling Miorin is!!

7. Naruse Eimi (Dempagumi.inc)

2013 was the year of “How do I begin to choose a favorite Dempagumi.inc member?” Because honestly, all the members are pretty spectacular, and I considered all of them being favorites. Which is part of why I’ve become a big fan of the group. However, ultimately Mirin and Eimi were the two big contenders, and after much flipflopping I ended up on the side of Eitaso. She’s just one of those people who’s so bright, happy and energetic that I can’t help but smile every time I see her in a PV. I love her enthusiasm about her interests in things, and she just seems like one of the sweetest girls out there.

6. Aso Natsuko (soloist)

Nacchan is one of those idols I wish more people talked about and who was able to do more. I mean, she does a lot; she’s still going to law school at Chuo University. Add her idol career, her career as a law student at a prestigious university, her regular appearances on the show ZIP, and honestly I’m not surprised that her releases are a bit more sporadic than others.

That said, Nacchan is incredibly sweet and kind, has a lot of stage presence and I love her voice. She seems like a very smart, kind woman, and the type of person I would want to be friends with. Nacchan is even better in person, and I’m so so glad I was able to see her once.

5. Kawaei Rina (AKB48)

New girl for the list! I wish I could be someone who says that I liked Kawaei before she got a big push from the AKB48 management, but I really can’t. I knew of her pretty early on (the person who just missed out on this list, Natori Wakana, is in her generation), but I didn’t really jump on the Kawaei bandwagon until after the Bakajo test and the BKA48 stuff happened. Yet really, that is a huge area of interest for Kawaei. Even though BKA48 was all helping promote her, there is something to be said for the character of someone who’s cheerfully kind of stupid. Recently AKB started a series where Kawaei is trying to study to be able to pass qualifications to be a medicinal food coordinator, and it’s actually really amazing how much she seems to be working.

Simultaneously as I found BKA48 and how much I liked Haste to Waste, Koisuru Fortune Cookie started to be performed places, and Kawaei often subbed in for members like Jurina. She has a real stage presence that draws me in, and makes her really compelling. The future is bright for Kawaei Rina!

4. Ishida Ayumi (Morning Musume)

In terms of personalities I go for, there’s a specific personality balance I go for. I like girls that care and are clearly passionate about what they’re doing, but are also able to have fun and be silly about things. That’s the type of personality I see in Ayumi. She works so hard, especially at dancing (her biggest strength as a performer) but she also has an easy smile. Watching her dance is captivating, because she’s so skilled at it but also clearly has a good time. She’s made me really interested in the current generation of Morning Musume, and I can’t wait to see more and more of her.

3. Itou Chiyuri (Team Syachihoko)

Speaking of dynamic performers! 2013 I paid a ton of attention to Team Syachihoko, and while most of my favorite attentions fell on another member (who is coming up soon, hint hint) Chiyuri captures a lot of my attention. She’s such a fun performer who gives everything her all, has a really nice voice (best in Syachi) and has a great dynamic with the rest of the group (especially the one who’s coming up soon). Chiyuri is the ace of the group, and does this incredibly well, and I’ve become incredibly fond of Chiyu.

2. Ishikawa Rika (former Morning Musume, current amazing person)

Yeah is this a surprise to anyone? Rika was my #1 idol for years, and while that place has been surpassed she still holds a super fond place in my heart. She’s kind, hard-working, a great performer (her vocals have improved so much over the years!) and is overall, IMO, one of the greatest idols ever. I really hope she continues to work in the future because I want as much Rika as I can get.

1. Ooguro Yuzuki (Team Syachihoko)

Last year it was a hard decision to put Yuzuki up at #1. Now it feels super natural. Yuzuki is just phenomenal. She clearly loves being an idol, loves her fellow members, and loves idols in general. She puts an incredible amount of energy into every single performance. She’s a very warm, sweet person who also happens to be ridiculously fun to watch. If you take just about every quality I care about in an idol, you’ll find them in Yuzuki. She’s just such a passionate, cheerful, happy person that it really just rubs off on me. So yeah, while my sudden Yuzuki fandom at the end of 2012 was a bit surprising, by this time it feels right.

Idols to Watch For: This is a list of girls I can see taking part in this top 10, but I’m still a bit unsure of where to put them.

Kobayashi Mayu (HR) – Mayu is absolutely the girl that stands out the most to me from HR. I started watching the group for a while and I liked them, but they were still really indie. However, their latest single Evolution Da has been doing really well. I recently ordered that, and I can see myself continuing to follow HR more and more.

Mayu has a whole lot of stage presence and energy that honestly got me into HR more than anything. She has a lot of potential, and I can’t wait to see where HR go from here.

Shishima Saki (GALETTe): I had an interesting experience. GALETTe has been getting some buzz lately, and I checked it out and liked what I saw. I liked all the members a lot, but Shishima Saki seemed familiar. Then I realized that oh yeah, this was my favorite member from the former group CQC’s which I covered in my Tokyo Idol Festival writing. GALETTe is still really new, but if they continue at this pace I’m going to have to pay more attention to them!

Amano Natsu (LinQ): I need to follow LinQ more. This is a straight up fact. Amano Natsu is the charismatic, fun to watch leader of the group who I immediately picked out as my favorite.

Funaki Musubu (H!P Kenshuusei) I may fangirl over Musubu every single second I see her. She is the cutest ever. If she gets put in anything, I swear I’ll be her biggest fan ever.

List Friday: My Top 10 Favorite Classic Idol Songs

While it’s an area I’m a lot less familiar with, there’s something appealing about classic idols. I love seeing the evolution of idols throughout the years. Plus, there’s a lot of fantastic music from earlier eras that often gets covered, to various levels of success. These are not only 10 fantastic idol songs, but songs that are pretty representative of the earlier idol years. This list is all music from before Morning Musume debuted; I’m not using Showa/Heisei as a divider. This is because Morning Musume really feels like the cutoff of the modern idol era to me.

10. The Peanuts – Koi no Vacance

Ah, The Peanuts; doesn’t get much more classic than this. I’d imagine most of you know this from the H!P group W, which is where I first heard it. However, I think it’s a fantastic song and the original is very much worth a listen. While the W version gave it a bit of an update, it’s not a very big one. Even though at parts Koi no Vacance sounds pretty old fashioned (it WAS from 1963) it still holds up today. Perhaps more than anything vocals are the the focus here; everything else is a lot quieter. So you hear the lovely harmony more clearly. There’s a lot about the way this song sounds that makes it feel old school, but it’s still a fun listen.

9. Koizumi Kyoko – Nantettatte Idol

Kyon Kyon is one of those idols I know a bit about, but I’m much less familiar with. Still, Nantettatte Idol is one of her most memorable and notable songs. The beginning is especially great with the build up, but the entire song is a lot of fun. It’s also fairly rare to have idol songs about idols, but Kyon Kyon has you covered. “Scandal nara No Thank You” is probably my favorite lyric. Still, this song is just a bundle of energy, with the chorus full of Kyon Kyon shouting “YEAH” and the whole thing moving forward quickly. It’s a high energy song about idols, so it is one of my all-time favorite classic idol songs.

8. Candies – Haru Ichiban

Candies were a very popular group, and there are many songs I could choose to put up here that I like. A Super Girls Subgroup recently covered Toshishita Otoko no Ko, and did so quite well. However, Haru Ichiban is probably their big song as a group, and its my favorite. Much like Koi no Vacance it totally feels like an older song. It’s also fairly repetitive, and it’s song all in chorus. However, it’s still a very compelling song, especially when they start singing with harmony. The guitar solo also does a lot in adding to the character of the song. The song wouldn’t be bad without it, but some of these little things make Haru Ichiban SO memorable.

7. Onyanko Club – Seifuku wo Nugasanaide

This song is my guilty pleasure. I really can’t help singing and dancing along. I love just how bold this song is; it’s cute and catchy, but essentially it’s an idol song about thinking about having sex. It’s the type of song that, when covered today, people still gasp when idols sing “tomodachi yori hayaku ecchi wo shitai kedo.” Also, did I mention it’s seriously catchy? The back and forth between the main song and the repeated “nyan nyan nyans” and such make this a fun and catchy song to listen to. This song is catchy and addictive, and has the bonus of having really bold lyrics, something I like.

6. Nakamori Akina – Shoujo A

I think there’s a bit of a perception that idols have been goody goody, and it’s only recently that idols have started being a bit more daring. However this isn’t the case! While Matsuda Seiko was the pretty standard idol, Nakamori Akina was a bit of the polar opposite; she played a much more mature role. Shoujo A, her second single, encompasses that perfectly. Akina’s deeper, slightly husky voice fits the bold brass sound and the driving beat. This song is intense and mature, not necessarily what you think of when you think of idols. I do like the sound a lot, though, and I admire Akina for breaking the mold.

5. Minami Aoyama Shoujo Kagekidan – Sweet & Toughness

OK, again, I assume if you have already heard/watched this that you know it because of the Canary Club song. Which is how I know this. However, it’s one of my favorite idol songs. It’s a very fun upbeat track that at some points sounds very much like it comes from the early 90s. That’s not a detractor, though; the song holds up. I much prefer the original to the Canary Club version, personally, so if you haven’t heard that version I suggest you give it a try.

4. Yamaguchi Momoe – Cosmos

Ah, Momoe, one of THE greats of the idol world. Even though Momoe is one of the most famous idols of all time, she really doesn’t have a typical idol image, which is interesting to me. Her mature songs and her deep voice make for an interesting time. Cosmos is really her best song; her deep voice sounds absolutely lovely, and the piano intro is almost hauntingly beautiful. As someone who doesn’t listen to a lot of ballads, this is one of the best idol ballads, period.

3.Pink Lady – UFO

When I talk about Pink Lady, it’s usually in the same breath as “Pink Lady and Jeff,” Pink Lady’s failed American variety show attempt. However, Pink Lady had a lot of fantastic idol music in the 70s, and there are a lot of classic songs remembered today. It was tough narrowing it down, but I ended up choosing UFO; it’s arguably their most famous track. From the spoken “UFO”s to the great harmonies, this is a track that still holds up. I think another thing I like about it is that, especially in the original, it always feels like it’s taking things seriously. It’s a silly subject for a song, but they give it their all.

2. Moritaka Chisato – Watashi ga Obasan ni Natte mo

Yes, the song I’ve been lamenting for making me feel old as a 22 year old person. Slightly iffy lyrics aside (that Chisato herself wrote!) Watashi ga Obasan ni Natte mo has fairly recently become one of my favorite songs. I think a lot of it is because of how much emotion the song has, as well as the energy that Chisato puts into all of her live performances. This song is at the tail end of my time frame (early 90s) and you can hear the difference; the arrangement feels very modern. That said, even among modern songs, Watashi ga Obasan ni Natte Mo would stand out among the best.

1. Matsuda Seiko – Natsu no Tobira

I knew a Matsuda Seiko song would stand at the top; however, picking was tricky. At one point the list had three Seiko songs on it, but I cut it down to Natsu no Tobira. Everything about this song is perfection to me; Seiko’s voice, the strings, just the way that the song leads into the “Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!!’ line. This is one of the best idol songs ever, and my personal favorite classic idol song.

List Friday: My Top Christmas Idol Songs

This was a list I wasn’t certain I was going to make. I have done this before on Happy Disco. However, with a bit of reflection, I realized I wrote that list in 2010 and things have changed. While this is before Christmas (though that’s coming soon enough!) So with that, this is a list of my favorite holiday/Christmas themed idol songs. In the past I’ve included songs that fit in the season but aren’t necessarily Christmas songs. This is a list of songs that are JUST about Christmas.

Pittari Shitai XMas – Pucchimoni

Seriously, this is the first song I think of when I think of Christmas songs and idols, and I’d assume this would be the case for most idol fans who have had a period of being a Hello!Project fan. Creepy PV aside (that Santa man), this is a quintessential idol Christmas song. It’s upbeat and happy and is generally a lot of fun. I personally prefer happier Christmas songs, and this fits in as a very merry Christmas song.

Santa-san – Momoiro Clover Z

If there was an award for how many times you could sing the name ‘Santa’ in one song, this would win hands down. Speaking of fun Christmas songs, Santa-san is pure fun and goofiness. Full of goofy lyrics and weird tempo/style changes (of course, this IS a Hyadain song after all!), Momoiro Clover skip over any idea of wanting a boyfriend to an almost child-like ode to Santa, food and presents. Part of me wonders if there are too many MomoClo references for this to be a Christmas song for the ages (especially when they decide to sing Coco*Natsu), that just makes it whimsical and fun for the rest of us.

Christmas? Nani sore? Oishii no? – Hyadain

*Insert excuse for why Hyadain is on an idol song list here* I’m generally not a very cynical person. However, as a single person, I can totally understand Hyadain’s frustrations with being alone on Christmas (even if Christmas isn’t as much of a couple’s holiday over here). Whereas Santa-san is all happiness, presents, and the childlike glee of Christmas, Christmas? Nani Sore? Oishii no is the adult version, where all the magic of Santa and presents has been stripped away and you’re celebrating on your own. In true Hyadain style it mixes in various Christmas songs very successfully, and ends up a very catchy song that will make you forget how much cynicism it presents.

Yoyaku Shita Christmas – AKB48

Usually, the last AKB single of the year has a senbatsu-heavy Christmas song, to offset the odd lineup of the Janken senbatsu (but not this year). While these are good songs, Yoyaku Shita Christmas is my favorite. It’s such a sweet, sentimental song that isn’t boring. I have a hard time describing why I love this song. Perhaps it’s the little Jingle Bells section in there? The electric guitar? AKB sounds great, and this is a more relationship-focused Christmas song after the earlier upbeat songs.

MERRY X’MAS FOR YOU – Matsuura Aya

If you’re looking for depth in lyrics, you’ve gone to the wrong song. However, Ayaya’s lovely vocals against a fairly simple background make for a gorgeous Christmas song. This isn’t a big song, but instead feels small and personal, wishing you a Merry Christmas. While the song itself is soft and pleasant, Ayaya’s vocals are what really make it a fantastic song.

Jin Jin Jingle Bell – Moritaka Chisato AND Twinkle Bell from Super*Girls

I prefer Chisato’s version, the original. It’s a fun, jazzy Christmas song that is an unusual take on a Christmas song. It’s still a very listenable track today; even though some idol tracks may age considerably over time, Jin Jin Jingle Bell still holds up. However, the reason I include the Super*Girls version on here as well is because I think they did a fine job of updating it. I don’t think it quite has the charm of the original, but it does a good job of keeping a jazzy feel while bringing the instrumentation to the current era of idol music. So while I prefer the original, the new cover is worth your time.

Wa~Merry Pin XMAS – Rainbow Pink

…. yes this is my guilty pleasure inclusion. The whole Rainbow Pink schtick was that they were super exaggerated cutesy idols, but this ends up a very catchy earworm of a song. When coming up with this list I couldn’t stop from thinking “Merry pin merry pinkurismasu.” And you know what, I stand by it. It’s not something I’d play for friends but it’s a fun, energetic, cute song.

Anata to Christmas Eve – AKB48

There are some fantastic stage Christmas songs out there; Christmas ga Ippai is one of my favorites. However, Anata to Christmas Eve is just a lovely song. It utilizes a deeper register than most idol songs and some harmony to make a beautiful, piano centric Christmas ballad. As someone who’s not a ballad person, this song is lovely. IT’s just beautiful.

List Friday: Comfort Idol Songs

My little look at BiS this week was an interesting thing, but after I watched through some BiS videos and other idols I consider to be kind of out there, I decided to watch a movie. But not a strange, avant-garde, independent movie, but the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice. This is a movie that I’ve watched countless times, and that I continue to keep on watching. It’s a movie I continually find comforting and pleasant. So while I compared BiS to avant-garde films, here are the idol songs that are closer to my favorite, comfort films. The chicken soup of idol songs, if you will. Like the books, except not terrible. These are the songs I continually come back to, not because they’re the best songs or the most interesting, but because they are things I know I will always enjoy.

Morning Musume – The Peace

I could honestly put most of golden era Morning Musume on here and a fair bit of pre-golden era MM as well. Even as I’ve expanded my horizons past Hello!Project, there’s something wonderful about that 1997-2002 era of Hello!Project that I think I’ll always be a fan of. There’s been great things past those years, of course, but there’s something special about golden era Hello!Project to me, and I think to a lot of idol fans.

It came down to a choice of The Peace and Renai Revolution 21, but I had to go with my biased pick. The Peace is Ishikawa Rika’s first big starring moment, but beyond that it utilizes all the members incredibly well. There’s also something wonderful about the combination of the warm feeling of the song and the nonsensical lyrics. It makes singing about convenience stores, English classes and ordering pizza on the level of falling in love. To quote Rika’s monologue (translated lyrics from Project Hello) “I wonder how important is a moment of my youth compared with the history of the earth?” It’s about nonsense not just to have nonsensical lyrics, but because that’s what youth is like.

I can wax poetic about the lyrics all day, but I just know that The Peace is one of Morning Musume’s best, and my favorite Morning Musume single. It’s upbeat and happy, but it’s also beautiful in a way that I don’t know if I got the first time I heard it. It’s lovely.

Tanpopo – Koi wo Shichaimashita

One of the earliest physical pieces of idol music I ever got was from a secondhand music place at my local convention. They sold CDs that had been rented, I think, and had a small collection of early-mid Hello!Project. The album was Together, an excellent collection of H!P subgroups; Mini Moni, Pucchimoni, Nakazawa Yuko and Tanpopo. At the time I was mainly excited about Pucchimoni, but slowly Tanpopo has become one of my favorite idol subunits, and Koi wo Shichaimashita is my favorite Tanpopo song. While Otome Pasta ni Kandou and Tanpopo are slower and sweeter, possibly making them more attuned to comfort, there’s something about Koi wo Shichaimashita that just draws me to it. I listen to a lot of Tanpopo songs regularly, but Koi wo Shichaimashita frequently pops up.

Pucchimoni – Baby! Koi ni Knockout

For a brief time, mostly during 2008, I was a Yoshizawa Hitomi fan. Now I still am a fan of hers, but in 2008 she was my favorite idol ever. So yes, I got the Together album partially for her, and the song I kept coming back to there is Baby! Koi ni Knockout. It’s certainly not a peaceful song by any means, but it’s still one of those idol songs that I keep coming to even though my Yoshizawa Hitomi fandom has faded. Everything just works in this song; the tempo’s never too slow or too fast, the instrumentation works very well, and it suits all the members in the song. There’s a reason this song is still beloved today, and that’s because it’s fantastic.

SweetS – Love Like Candy Floss

While I haven’t followed SweetS as much as others have, it always floors me when I think that Love Like Candy Floss wasn’t a mega hit. I honestly consider it to be one of THE greatest idol songs out there. It’s just perfect, the way it moves in from its slow beginning to the heavier beat at about 45 seconds in. It has the energy of a faster paced song and the sweetness (ha, see what I did there?) of a slower ballad. This song is also a regular thing I sing at karaoke, and it’s always fun then.

Matsuda Seiko – Natsu no Tobira

I might like Aoi Sangoshou better as a song and Akai Sweetpea is a sweeter ballad. However, again, there’s just that something about Natsu no Tobira. I think it’s best encapsulated in the chorus, with the swell of strings as Seiko sings “Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!” The arrangement in this song perfectly utilizes the strings throughout, and the verses lead up in anticipation to that one glorious line of “Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!” Seriously, that might be one of the best sections in idol pop music. Seiko herself sounds lovely (particularly in how she delivers the line ‘suki da yo to itteru no, masaka uso deshou!’) , and there’s a wonderful mixture of strings and electric guitar, a mixture that’s one of my favorite things. For all the classic idol songs that get covered now and again, I sometimes wish that Natsu no Tobira got covered more. However, I struggle to imagine anything better than the original.

AKB48 – Iiwake Maybe

For a good amount of time, Iiwake Maybe was my top played song on iTunes. I love it that much. It’s not as big of a deal as River was (being arguably AKB’s breakout song) nor is it one of the older songs that old-school AKB fans hold dear. And yet, it’s possibly my favorite AKB single. The back and forth in the verses, while successfully repeated in songs like Ponytail to Shushu, is at its best in Iiwake, and the song does an excellent job of balancing sweet and bittersweet. The song is upbeat but also a bit melancholy. Acchan’s “Suki da!” line, while short, is one of the more moving solo lines in idol music. This song, while on its surface a happy, cute idol song, ends up being full of more emotion than most. Which I think deserves some praise and credit.

Aso Natsuko – Perfect Area Complete

While most of Nacchan’s music is catchy and excellent (both of her albums are wonderful), I’m nearly always in the mood to listen to Perfect Area Complete. It’s an anime opening theme, so it has a bit of that sensibility to it that is very hard to describe. Also, since I saw Nacchan live, her music reminds me of some very fond memories.

Team Syachihoko – Koibito wa Sniper

The newest song on this list, while the others have stood the test of time, Koibito wa Sniper is mostly here as my favorite song from my favorite group. However, it was my favorite song of 2012, and still stands as such. While Syachi’s newest music continues to delight, there’s nothing quite like their first single, Koibito wa Sniper.

While this is only a small portion of the songs I consider comfort idol songs (perhaps I’ll continue this again next week,) these are some of the songs that I continue to listen to, over and over again.

List Friday: Team Syachihoko Song Ranking

Today I was thinking about what to do for my List Friday, something to do with the Thanksgiving holiday. At first I thought about doing songs involving thanks, but I did a Thanksgiving themed list in 2011, and I don’t have much to new to add to that list. I thought about doing something Black Friday themed, but how many songs fit that? Then I thought about each holiday. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, as well as being indulgent with food. Black Friday is also about indulgence. So I’m indulging myself to do something JUST about my favorite group, Team Syachihoko, which is a group I’m thankful for. Yeah yeah, this is a BIG stretch, but I’ve been wanting to do this ranking for a while. So this is a rank of every original Team Syachihoko song.

19.Itadaki Nippon! Omisore Shimashita Nagoya Meshi:

For the longest time, when I first got into Syachi, I had NO idea what this song was. I’d hear it performed at concerts, and assumed that since it was about Nagoya it was a cover or something. But then I found out it was the Nagoya-exclusive B-Side on The Stardust Bowling.

The song isn’t bad, but it’s just not as interesting as the other songs. It’s the song I find myself thinking about skipping whenever I watch Team Syachihoko blu-rays. It’s cute, but it’s just not as fun as the rest of their songs are. And really, with the rest of the songs being as good as they are, it’s great that Syachi’s worst song in my opinion is just “boring.”

18.Piza Desu

Not Piza Desu! This is honestly one of the Syachi songs I want to see performed most. So why is it so low? Well, the main reason I want to see this performed is because of the modified MIX that’s shouted during performances. Just repeating the word “Pizza.” That makes it fun. However, beyond that it’s just not that memorable. It’s fun, catchy, and I listen to it pretty frequently, but when the biggest things that it has going for it are the MIX, you know it has to be low on the list.

17.Goburei Syachihoko Deluxe

Oh man here we go, hard decisions. Goburei Syachihoko Deluxe is a really good song. Just listening to it makes me want to put it higher. The biggest problem is that I don’t have much of an urge to listen to it. It’s not exciting and fast like some of their songs, and not moving, or interesting. I really love the arrangement and I want to put it higher, but I really can’t justify putting it at a higher spot, because of just how little I listen to it. Sorry.

16.777

Really, the biggest reason is that this is by far the least memorable single. That’s why this is lower than other fast-paced, guitar heavy songs like Soko Soko Premium. When it comes down to it, Syachi has SUCH good single songs and Triple Seven really just doesn’t do it for me as much as the other single songs. I certainly don’t dislike it, but I don’t think it’s quite as representative of Syachi as a lot of their music.

15.Owari no Hana

Holy Dubstep Batman! I actually quite like this B-Side from the Ai no Chikyuusai single; it’s just not quite AS memorable as the other songs, and I think it drags a bit too much near the end. Also some of the parts don’t fit together AS well; the dubstep sections REALLY caught me off guard the first time I listened! But this is an interesting song and very much worth your time.
That said, I love the opening instrumental bit and the first few lines. Those parts are wonderful and made me want to rank this higher.

14.Mochotto Hashire

Even though you guys know that I love high energy, fun songs, which is part of why Syachi is so hard for me to rank, I actually adore this sweeter, softer side of Team Syachihoko. This is a slightly mellower song, and while that might not be what I always (or often!) look for, I really do enjoy it.

13.Dera Disco

I love this song. I really do. But sometimes I don’t think the arrangement quite does it justice. It’s a nice, upbeat (but not frantic) song that is also relatively mellow (despite being upbeat and pretty fast-paced). However, the way it’s arranged is just a bit too electronic, just a bit too plain, and the melody during the instrumental bits isn’t quite what I would like. I think this is an excellent song, but there are just some personal gripes.

12.Katte ni Hybrid

This is one that took a bit of getting used to, personally, but it’s grown to being a favorite song. It’s a bit more intense and rock-focused than the usual Team Syachihoko song, which I really like. It’s eccentric and has a strange rap section in there, but you should know by now that I love that in my songs.

11.Summer Lover

I wonder how many other groups have songs where the bulk of the singing is done by someone who’s NOT in the group. The main vocalist is a male singer, and Syachi is basically the duet partner in this song. There are long sections where Syachi is on stage at the beginning where they just stand still. But this is just such a fun song. The whole thing is weird and I normally don’t listen to too many male singers, but I just have to love this song.

10.Onegai! Unborde!

The justification for giving this song a Spanish feel is because their label’s name is Spanish. OK, whatever you say, Syachi. I love when they shout words in Spanish, and I love the whole feel to this song. I wish they’d gone a little bit further and made it more of a Latin song, but I’m happy enough with what I’ve got!

9.Soko Soko Premium

Another song with shouted lyrics in another language, only this time it’s in French! This song is upbeat and fun, and while it’s not quite a top song I certainly think it’s a great song.

8.OEOEO

OK, I listened to this song A LOT when Syachi was trying to get the Lotte CM. So I have a really strong affection for it. It’s not particularly extraordinary or, again, a top level Syachihoko song, but it’s definitely an earworm and I rarely got sick of it. I don’t listen to it quite as much as I used to, given that the view contest is over, but it’s still a great song.

7.Ai no Chikyuusai

This song is just plain weird. I have to admit, the first time I saw it, I had no idea how to react. However, it’s just a really nice, unusual song. I can’t say I’ve heard many songs like this, which is a great thing. I especially love how the song changes tempo and intensity between the verses and the chorus. This song isn’t immediately catchy and it took me a while to get on board with it, but once I did I realized what a great song it is.

6.The Stardust Bowling

This song will always have a strong place in my heart for being the first Syachihoko song I really got into. While it’s not the top Syachi song, it’s certainly a great one, and one that I would consider a quintessential Stardust song. If you like Stardust groups, this should be a song you regularly listen to. I honestly have no complaints about this; while I like other songs better, this is still one of my favorites.

5.Shuto Iten Keikaku

I’m honestly still impressed that this song was written by a Nagoya hip hop artist, SEAMO. While other idol acts have often involved hip hop, this is definitely not your typical idol song. While there’s only one rap verse, the whole thing manages to sound intense and heavier than Syachi’s other songs. This is no cutesy idol pop.

4.Maji Kansha

This is probably THE most emotional song by Team Syachihoko, as they express their thanks. It’s sweet, beautiful, and I love the instrumentation (especially the strings). When everyone sings their last ‘arigatou’ I always feel really emotional towards Team Syachihoko. This song is just beautiful, and one of their best.

3.Matsu wa ~DD Daikangei~

I honestly have no idea why I love this song as much as I do. If I was voting on the BEST Syachihoko songs it probably wouldn’t be this high. However, in terms of favorites, this song just takes the cake. And I don’t know why.

2.Otome Juken Sensou

Story time: since this song came out, I finished college. While I was finishing college, I listened to this song before EVERY exam, test, or any other big academic thing. This song, while being the vague sequel of sorts to Momoiro Clover Z’s Otome Sensou, is everything I wanted Otome Sensou to me. It’s intense, upbeat, and a well-put together song. It’s also just a song that I want to listen to while doing something epic or something that needs my hard work. This song pumps me up like nothing else. This song just sounds epic in the best possible way.

1.Koibito wa Sniper

This song IS Team Syachihoko to me. This was my top song of 2012 and I stand by that. It’s just a perfect piece of idol music that really established Team Syachihoko as a group to listen to with their first single. The instrumentation with the brass sound is perfect, it’s one of the most fun songs in terms of chanting along, and I honestly have no complaints. This song is to Team Syachihoko what Ikuze Kaito Shoujo is to Momoiro Clover. This type of song is why I love idol pop, and helped me become a Team Syachihoko fan.

List Friday: My Top 20 Idol Groups/Acts of All Time

Welcome to my new feature!

So basically, when coming up with my current blog release schedule, I made fridays TIFriday. I plan to continue that with TIF 2014, but last week was my last TIF post of the year, sadly. So I needed to figure out something to keep me occupied on Fridays. So I decided that instead of TIFriday, in the meantime I would do List Fridays. Because the internet loves lists, and so do I. It’s a good way to get to know me and a good way to share a lot of opinions in a fairly condensed matter.

Recently I found a collection of lists, from the book Music Listography, which is a journal that you can write lists of music you like in. So I’m going to be doing most of these lists in relation to idol acts. The first one is my top 20 bands idol acts of all time. (We’ll see if I can make it to 20). This is roughly in order from favorite to least favorite.

1. Team Syachihoko

If you know me at all this should be no surprise. I’ve been enamored with Team Syachihoko for about a year now, and my fandom has only grown. They have a ton of energy, lots of personality, and their music is consistently excellent. They are the only group that I buy every single release for, and I never regret it. Their concerts are excellent, their PVs are excellent, everything is great.

Tonight I put off writing this post because I was watching a Ustream event. This event didn’t even feature Yuzuki, my Syachihoko oshimen. This shows how strongly I adore this group.

2. Rev.from DVL

This is a group that I wouldn’t know unless I was a twitter user. One day, all of a sudden, Miki from the Fukuoka idol group Rev.from DVL followed me. I still don’t know why she followed me, but I tend to follow a good number of indie idols and I occasionally tweet said idols in (poor) English. But I decided, since she followed me, that I’d watch one video for them. That was a performance of Love Arigatou, and I was instantly hooked. The song is great, which really helps, but all the girls are talented dancers and singers, and have a lot of fun. Honestly, I don’t know why I love them so much, but every single girl appeals to me (though Miki is still my favorite). There’s something really special about local indie groups, and rev. is my fave.

Recently, Rev got a lot of national notice because one of the members, Kanna, is super cute. While that’s true, I really hope this allows people to learn a bit more about Rev, because the rest of the members are fun and cute.

3. Dempagumi.inc 

In most of my favorite groups, I end up having a very clear favorite. Nothing wrong with that, but I tend to care strongly more for one member than the rest. Dempagumi.inc is the one group where I legitimately adore every single member, to the point where even after months of being a fan I have a hard time choosing my favorite. (Right now it’s a tie between Mirin and Eimi). The six girls have a really great dynamic going on, every member is unique and special, and they’re all really fun. Aside from the members, lately they’ve had some of the best PVs in the idol business, and their music is superb. W.W.D II/Not Bocchi… Natsu is my top single of the year. They get a lot of music from my favorite, Maeyamada Kenichi, so that helps. Honestly, they’ve become one of the most interesting idol groups out there, and one I’m proud to be a fan of.

4. Matsuura Aya

OK, I said idol acts when I started. So Ayaya counts. Even though I haven’t mentioned her all that much lately, Matsuura Aya is one of my favorite idol singers of all time. In fact, I’d place her right after Ooguro Yuzuki (Team Syachihoko) and Ishikawa Rika in that regard. While she has a fantastic personality and did very well in some of her variety and acting bits (Sukeban Deka is legitimately underrated), Aya’s forte is performance. She has one of the best voices among Japanese idol singers. Period. She also has immense amounts of stage presence, emotes well with her performing, and always looks like she’s having a blast doing so. Aya’s albums are some of the best Hello!Project had to offer, and Aya the Witch is my favorite Hello!Project concert ever. Aya is a very talented woman, and will always be one of my favorites.

5. Aso Natsuko

Sometimes I wonder if Nacchan would be one of my top idols ever if I hadn’t had such a wonderful experience meeting her. Seeing two Nacchan lives and then getting an autograph and then getting a picture, all the while she’s being completely amazing is a memory I won’t soon forget. She is a lovely person, with a beautiful voice and personality. I was a fan of hers before the events, but seeing Nacchan live sealed the deal for me. She is very talented, and all of her music is very good (her two albums, Movement of Magic and Precious Tone are two of my favorites).

6. Rhymeberry

I do not like rap. I have zero interest in hip hop. I don’t mean any disrespect, just for the most part it doesn’t do much for me. Yet somehow I found a lot to like in Rhymeberry. Their music is inventive, fun, and makes me appreciate hip hop a lot more. The girls are all very talented, and are very fun to watch perform.

7. Ongaku Gatas

UFA: Hey, let’s make a group strongly featuring Ishikawa Rika and Yoshizawa Hitomi. We can add other Gatas Brilhantes H.P. members, some cool Eggs, and have a group. They can perform funky songs plus a lot of upbeat songs. While they’re not one of the main groups, let’s give them one of the best H!P albums ever.

Seriously, how could I not love Ongaku Gatas?

8. Def.Diva

UFA: Hey let’s take the three strong soloists, add a strong team player who is generally kind of the greatest, and have them bring all their amazingness into one group.

Again, how could I not love Def.Diva?

9. KAGAJO☆4S

This is a new group that could become one of my top favorite idol groups. The only reason they’re this low is because they’re so new, but they have a lot of promise. They’re a Stardust Promotions group, but are probably the most “normal” Stardust group out there. They’ve started out their career performing instruments live, which gets me excited for future lives. The members all have a lot of personality and energy, that get me excited. As a fan of Team Syachihoko first and foremost, I’m really interested in how Stardust is going to promote their latest indie idol group. This could become one of my all-time top favorite groups, at the rate they’re going!

10. Babymetal

Much like with Rhymeberry, metal is not a genre I particularly care much about. Yet Babymetal makes me care. Suzuka’s voice is so strong, and while Yui and Moa don’t sing much they provide a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They’re a very interesting and fun group, and have made me enjoy metal more than I ever thought I would. Their music is all very good, and they make me excited for every release.

11. Watarirouka Hashiritai (7)

Even though they haven’t put out anything in a while, I’m really sad that Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 is breaking up. While they weren’t the first unit of AKB nor the last, the group was really something special, getting a lot of the cuter/younger (at least when it was formed) girls of AKB into one unit. While the group went through many lineup changes, they always had cute and catchy songs. This song is pure cuteness, and I love it.

12. AKB48

I guess this envelops the entire 48 empire. I love all of the 48 groups a lot, but ultimately AKB was the one to start it all. Simply put, AKB brought back the idol boom, and a lot of the things that AKB popularized became main facets of the current idol boom. As a big idol fan, this makes me grateful to AKB more than anything. But beyond that, AKB is always interesting. Even when my interest in members waxes and wanes, and even when I don’t care for all their songs, they’re always interesting.

While I really enjoy SKE48, NMB48 and HKT48, I’m putting AKB on this list because they’ve set the standard for idols currently. (Plus I was in the KFC fan version so I kind of have to love AKB most 13. Morning Musume

And this is the standard for the previous generation of idols! My interest in Morning Musume has been all over the place, and I really love certain eras more than others. However, that said, despite Momusu having its lows, it has brought a lot of fantastic idol songs and has introduced the world to some really great idols. Their longevity is something to be admired, and I’m constantly impressed by Morning Musume’s current return to fame. MM is really doing well, and I’m happy to have been following them.

14. Matsuda Seiko

Aaaand the standard for 80s idols. There was a lot of great idol music in the 70s-80s, and in terms of fame, relevance and influence I could have easily put Yamaguchi Momoe, Pink Lady or Onyanko Club down here. However, Matsuda Seiko is absolutely my favorite. Part of it is her longevity; it’s so interesting to see the career of an idol lasting so long, when she’s SO famous. Anyone else see that episode of Bones she costarred in?

But seriously, watching her (mostly older) stuff, she has a real charisma and stage presence. Her music is consistently very good, and some of the best idol songs of all time have been her songs. While I don’t enjoy every thing she’s ever did (and, tbh, I haven’t heard every single/song she’s done, not by a long shot), she really deserves to be known as one of, if not THE top idol of all time.

15. MMJ

MMJ started out as MMJ48, an AKB cover group. They dropped the 48 and started releasing their own music, but this shows where they’re coming from. This is a very unknown idol group comprised of older (23 and older) girls who love idols. And that’s why I really love them, and why I love indie groups. The members have day jobs and being an idol is what they do for fun, on the side. And it really shows. All the members are enthusiastic, and are super fun to watch perform. Their original songs (especially Renai Agenda) are pretty good, and they have a lot of energy while performing. This group isn’t about money or fame, it’s about being an idol for fun, which is why I’m a fan.

16. S/Mileage

While most people tend to categorize themselves as a first-gen S/Mileage fan, 2nd gen is when I really gelled with S/Mileage. While a lot of their early music is fantastic, S/Mileage’s 2nd gen has proven that the group can handle graduations and auditions and still maintain quality. Sure, a lot of people will disagree with me, but while I liked Yuukarin and Sakicchy a lot, I’m grateful that the second generation has allowed Meimi, Kana, Rina and Akari to be in a group together. Their music has been great, for the most part, and I love what they’ve done lately. They’re energetic, fun, and have quickly become one of Hello!Project’s most interesting groups.

17. Dancing Dolls

I just found out about Dancing Dolls this summer, and I’m already a big fan. While their origin story is great and I love that there’s a pair of twins in the group, their talent is where Dancing Dolls really shines. The group is already a very strong dance group, and the vocalists are very talented. While I don’t mind following groups without as much talent, it’s nice to see a group that has a lot of skill. Add to that some catchy songs and Dancing Dolls has quickly become a group I look out for.

18. Momoiro Clover (Z)

Ahh, Momoiro Clover. Two years ago and they would have been at the top of this list. While I consider early Momoiro Clover to be one of the best groups of all time, and I do think they’ve done interesting things since then, a lot of the magic has been lost for me. While I’ve been pretty open about my frustrations with Momoiro Clover Z, this doesn’t change the fact that early Momoiro Clover is a group I really loved, and a group I will always care about, even passively. I still pay attention to them a lot; they do a lot of interesting things! But they have lost a lot of their appeal, which made them slide this low.

19. Taiyou to Ciscomoon/T&C Bomber

This is a group that a lot of people overlook in H!P’s history, but it’s one of the best groups. First off, the vocals are stunning. Inaba Atsuko is an unsung hero of Hello!Project history, and RuRU is possibly the strongest vocal in H!P (it’s somewhere between her and Ayaya). Their music is classic Hello!Project at its best, and songs like Gatamekira and Magic of Love have become legendary H!P songs. If you want great vocals and wonderful songs, T&C is a really great bet. If I want to listen to some older H!P, I usually don’t go back to early Morning Musume, I listen to Taiyou to Ciscomoon’s first album.

20. LinQ

LinQ is a new favorite, which is why it’s at the bottom. Frankly, I’m still very new to the world of LinQ. However, I like what I see. Their first album is wonderful, and the couple of live concerts I’ve watched have been energetic and great. It’s kind of uncertain how my LinQ fandom will turn out, but I do know that they are a spectacular group and worthy of being up here.

Thoughts? Want me to do a specific list next week? Leave a comment below or on the Happy Disco Facebook page and I’ll take your suggestions for a future week!