Here it is, my top five songs of the year!
5. W.W.D – Dempagumi.inc.
Remember how in the last post how I said Dempa had a stellar year? Yeah, I really can’t ignore more of their music. W.W.D was the first song that got me into Dempagumi.inc in a big way. I liked Future Diver when it came out and their cover of Sabotage made it into my top 25 songs of 2012 list. However, W.W.D was the song that changed me from a much more casual fan to being a pretty big Dempagumi.inc fan.
W.W.D was composed by Hyadain (so of course I like that on that level). However, it just fits the group in a big way. On the surface W.W.D is a weird song (and it’s that way when you dig down, too). It feels disjointed and like it’s this hodgepodge compilation of sounds and melodies. Personally, I love it. However, once you take the lyrics into consideration, this makes so much more sense. The whole song is about how six girls with different pasts came together and formed Dempagumi.inc. I don’t know if there’s ever been an idol song that sounds so good and serves the lyrics and the meaning that it’s trying to get.
Add this to the fact that W.W.D is incredibly catchy and fun, and it’s no surprise that this was my gateway into being a Dempagumi.inc fan and ended up as one of my favorite songs of the year.
4. Maji Kansha – Team Syachihoko
One of my favorite performances from this year was arguably one of the worst. It was a live performance of Team Syachihoko, performing outside. It’s shot by a single person so it has a very low video quality. The microphones aren’t working for half of the performance. And yet, despite everything going wrong that probably could, all the girls do their best to perform and the fans participate. The first song they performed in this way, possibly fate, was Maji Kansha.
Maji Kansha is Team Syachihoko’s relatively normal sounding song on the Shuto Iten Keikaku single, after the high-energy pace of its title track and the other B-Side, Soko Soko Premium. This is what I’d consider to be Team Syachihoko’s Hashire, for all you MomoClo fans. It’s slower in pace, features a lot of strings and violins, and is all about showing gratitude. This is Team Syachihoko’s song where they thank their fans.
It’s really pretty, personal, and doesn’t feel like a typical song you’d hear from a Stardust group. I became a fan of Team Syachihoko’s through their high energy songs like The Stardust Bowling and Koibito wa Sniper. And I still love those songs. But I love how personal and nice Syachi has gotten with songs like Maji Kansha, and it’s the reason they’ve remained my favorite idol group.
3. Koisuru Fortune Cookie – AKB48
OK, getting my bias out of the way, I was in the fan version. I feel like I talk about this all the time, but it was seriously one of the greatest experiences of my year.
That aside, one of the reasons I was so eager to participate is because Koisuru Fortune Cookie has been a favorite song of mine since it came out. I love music that does an upbeat callback to disco sounds, and Koisuru Fortune Cookie hits all those buttons. I’ve referred to it in conversations with non-idol fan friends as the anti-Blurred Lines; it has a similar effect in its callback to funky disco sounds, but KFC is a much more positive, nicer song.
These are also probably my favorite lyrics of the year. I’m a woman who generally has very low esteem, especially in my looks. Frankly this is something that’s affected me a lot, especially in my teen years. Having a song where it acknowledges “guys say they like a girl with a good personality, but looks ARE an advantage” is kind of huge. It’s a bit ironic that this is coming from a group where looks are highly valued, but I’m really not going to hold it against this song. This is a song that would have resonated highly with 16-year-old Serenyty, and as a 22-year-old it still resonates. I just love the chorus, as well. “The future is not that bad.” I love positive songs like this.
I’ve thought a lot about how this era in idol music is going to be remembered years on. For a long time I thought that Heavy Rotation was going to be THE song that people remember AKB48 for. Right now I think that Koisuru Fortune Cookie has the opportunity to be remembered for years and years, and I hope that’s the case. This is possibly my favorite AKB48 single track, and one of my favorite songs of the year.
2. W.W.D II – Dempagumi.inc
When I heard that Dempagumi.inc was putting out a sequel to their song W.W.D I was a bit nervous, but tentatively excited. I’ve liked pretty much all of Dempagumi.inc’s discography up to that point, but W.W.D was already one of my songs of the year, and if by chance Dempagumi.inc decided to put out their first bad song I was not looking forward to it being connected to one of my favorites. Luckily that didn’t happen.
Confession – I’ve shuffled around the top 2-6 of this list a lot. There are good chances that tomorrow I’ll look at this list, shake my head, and say “What was I thinking?” The reason I mention this is because that in doing this list I’m saying that I prefer W.W.D II to W.W.D. Which I suppose I do, but just know that this is a hard choice, and all the songs up here are songs that I adore.
The reason I have to rank W.W.D II higher is mostly due to the pacing near the end. Probably the only negative thing I could say about W.W.D is that the part where everything slows down and there’s an extended spoken word section doesn’t always do it for me. However, I love how well W.W.D II brings things in near the end. The first few times I listened to W.W.D II I started openly crying when the members all chant their names, much like the opening to W.W.D. This is extremely powerful stuff, and not many idol songs have affected me like the second half of W.W.D II.
W.W.D is amazing, but W.W.D II makes you feel the raw intense passion of Dempagumi.inc. W.W.D is a fantastic introduction song, but W.W.D II makes you realize that being an idol is a struggle past these introductions. It’s darker, more intense, and overall one of my favorites of the year. Dempagumi.inc gets these three inclusions in my top 10 purely because they 100% deserve it. They had an incredible year (something I keep on saying) and I have very high hopes for Dempa in 2014.
1. Hai to Diamond – Momoiro Clover Z.
This song is an anomaly for me. First, it’s a modern MomoClo song. I like most of what I hear from MomoClo, but they’ve been disappointing to me. Second, it’s a ballad. I like ballads, but rarely love them. However, Hai to Diamond is the song that breaks the mold for me.
Most of the time when I listen to music I choose to listen while I do other things. I check Facebook, type out something on Happy Disco, play a game. But however, there are a few times where I just have to sit and listen. Hai to Diamond did that for me. Just everything about it is just beautiful, from the arrangement to the song itself, which builds throughout the song into something just mindblowing.
I talked more on this in my 5th Dimension review, but I just love how everything comes together. The song-writing is so well served by the arrangement. It feels unique and special. I didn’t expect to really love much more music from MomoClo, but Hai to Diamond completely blew me away. The only negative I have is that I really wish that better singers could sing this, but even then I kind of like how raw the vocals are.
This song is just perfection to me, and I knew it was my song of the year the moment I heard it.