My Top 25 songs of 2015 – 5 to 1

Alright gang, here it is! The top 5 songs of the year! These are all songs I’ve listened to very frequently over the past year, and are the best of 2015.

5. Rev. From DVL – What a Surprise

I know so many people have an impression of Rev. from DVL being the Kanna show, but honestly they have some to fhte most consistently great idol music out there. What a Surprise, because of that, isn’t a surprise to me, but it might be to those of you who haven’t checked out Rev. It’s performed by about half of the group, featuring the older members of Rev, and is a more laid-back, mellow kind of funk/disco sound. Right away the song hits you with the best part, the phenomenal chorus. The rest of the song is great too, featuring some solid vocal work from Rev, a great guitar solo near the end, and just a lot of great, mellow idol music. The thing that Rev has been doing so well lately is being a more classic idol group, with some great performances and top notch music. I get a big old-school Morning Musume vibe from them sometimes, which is a very good thing in my book.

4. LinQ – LinQuest – Yagate Densetsu e

This song is as perfect for me on paper as it is in practice. Hyadain writing an epic of a song for LinQ with video game chiptune sound in there? Sign me up. This song is just so big – it’s one of the songs that the word “epic” works for. Every member is constantly belting out their lines (and every member does get a solo). It’s a tad melodramatic but in the best kind of way. Aside from the strong melody and performances, this song is perfect down to the details – the chiptune inclusion here and there works very well, as do the little instrumentation details that pop up. I also love the lyrics and how the song builds them up. When all the members sing “hitori janai” in the slower section near the end, it genuinely moves me to tears. This song is perfectly built up and constructed, and I really hope LinQ keeps up the good work!

3. Takoyaki Rainbow – Genki Uri no Shoujo ~Naniwa Meika Gojussenn

Takoyaki Rainbow- Genki Uri no Shoujo ~Namihana… by margie-gigi

Like all of Stardust Promotion’s groups lately, Takoyaki Rainbow has been putting out some consistently great things. However, their best song yet is Genki Uri no Shoujo. It’s.. weird, but in the best possible way. It’s high energy funk that includes things like two of the members doing a comedy routine mid-song, which is followed up by Kurumi hamming it up, belting out lines. If you aren’t already onboard with Stardust’s madness, Genki Uri no Shoujo might not be for you. However, if you’re like me and want idol music to be as weird as it possibly can and you want it to include as much disco/funk as it can, Genki Uri no Shoujo might be your best bet. It’s strange, frenetic, and one of the most addicting songs of the year.

2. Team Syachihoko – J.A.N.A.I.C.A

Speaking of Stardust being manic and strange, J.A.N.A.I.C.A fits the bill! Written by tofubeats and Seamo, J.A.N.A.I.C.A is a high-energy parapara dance themed song that manages to be both a great song and still Syachi-brand weird. For example, the rap verse is strange but totally fits into Syachi’s type of weirdness. That said, while it is a generally weird song, it still feels very cohesive. I don’t know parapara dance very well, but it seems like it would be a fun song to dance to for that. The other thing that draws me to Syachi and makes me love this is just how high energy of a song it is. While Team Syachihoko has some great slower songs (Maji Kansha, Yume no Tochuu, Akeboshi), Syachi’s biggest strength is their energy, and J.A.N.A.I.C.A has it in spades. It’s fun, great to listen to, and an incredibly cohesive, well put-together song.

1. Juice = Juice – Umaretate no Baby Love

While I could have reorganized my top 10 a million times, Umaretate no Baby Love is my favorite song of 2015 by miles. If you had told me in January 2015 that my favorite song of 2015 would be a Juice=Juice album song I would have laughed at you, but here we are. I’ve written about it in my First Squeeze review, but honestly Umaretate no Baby Love is not only perfect, but it’s perfect for me. It’s upbeat, happy disco music (the chorus even starts out with ‘boogie woogie baby!’), with a great arrangement. The performances are spot on (all of Juice=Juice is in top form and they’re all very strong vocalists), and I even love the lyrics. Even the ending is just perfect. Umaretate no Baby Love is one of those rare songs that feels like it was made just for me – it’s just about a perfect song, and one of my favorite idol songs of all time.

My Top 25 songs of 2015 – 10 to 6

First off, I have to say that aside from the #1 song, I could have probably rearranged this top 10 list about a thousand times. This is an incredibly strong list top 10, which shows just how great 2015 was for idol music.

10. Osaka Shunkashuto – Chameleon Shoujo

Osaka Shunkashuto is a TIF discovery I made, and they are a really strong group with some killer vocals and a lot of intensity. While their song C’Mon could have easily made this list, Chameleon Shoujo works just a little bit better. The vocals are consistently some of the best idol vocals I’ve heard in a while, the song blends dubstep/electronica with rock pretty perfectly. This isn’t a typical idol song, but manages to be as catchy as some of the best of 2015. The intensity is very strong, as the song uses percussion in particular to build perfectly. This is one of my most listened to tracks of the year, and I hope Osaka Shunkashuto has a bright future.

9. Rev. from DVL- Kimi ga Ite Boku ga Ita

Kimi ga Ite Boku ga Ita is much more of a typical idol song, but what a great one it is. From the starting piano notes, everything about this is just about perfect. The chorus is undeniably catchy, and this is a very good, but very standard, idol melody. The bridge before the last chorus, the only section with any solos, is a particular highlight in how it builds throughout. The arrangement is also pretty fantastic, as well, utilizing a lot of electric guitar but also with a lot of small details. There’s a lot of rich sound to Kimi ga Ite Boku ga Ita which rewards multiple listens. While this isn’t the most original of idol songs, it does what it sets out to do perfectly, which made it one of my most listened to tracks of the year.

8. – FD2 ~Raison d’etre Dai bouken~

For some reason I didn’t quite gel with’s music as much in 2015 as I have in previous years. While, in hindsight, I should have probably put Ashita Chikyuu ga Konagona ni Natte mo on my Top 25 list proper, in general I wasn’t as fond of their output in 2015. Otsukare Summer did nothing for me, neither did their collaboration with Nakagawa Shoko. I enjoyed their limited single Gidagida da Zubazuba da, but it wasn’t quite to the level of their previous work. Too much felt low-key and mellow. While Dempa has great mellow songs (Ashita Chikyuu, Fuyu e to Hashiridasou, Kira Kira Tune), is at its best when it’s at its most energetic, its most eccentric self. That’s why FD2 was really quite special this year.

FD refers to Future Diver, one of their earliest singles, and coincidentally the single that got me interested in While FD2 isn’t quite as much of a sequel as W.W.D 2 was to W.W.D, it shares a lot of the same qualities – the electronic production, the energy level, and just how frantic it is.
7. Team Syachihoko – Ike Ike Hollywood

As I mentioned in my review, Tensai Bakabon is Team Syachihoko’s weakest single song. However, despite that, Ike Ike Hollywood is one of my favorite songs they’ve ever done. It’s one of the most fun songs they have, with an instrumentation that’s all over the place, lots of energy. However, despite being a high-energy song, there are some great varied moments, with Ando Yuzu’s slower, dramatic solo and Yuzuki’s big solo at the end (which, totally biased here, is one of my favorite solos of the year). This is also one of the funniest idol songs – Yuzuki’s “I’ll be back” at the start always makes me laugh, but all the Hollywood references are top form. While the arrangement is probably my favorite part of the song (seriously, listen to it, it’s so weird), the entire song is a whole lot of fun and is Team Syachihoko in top form.
6. Niji no Conquistador – Yarukkyanai 2015

I feel like every year there’s one idol group I discover and become a fan of in a big way, and that group for 2015 was definitely Niji no Conquistador. While I enjoyed all of their music in 2015 a lot, and their entire first album could probably make this list, Yarukkyanai 2015 was the group that introduced me to Nijikon and the one I come back to most. Written by one of Team Syachihoko’s most frequent songwriters, Yarukkyanai 2015 is frantic, weird, and all over the place. When I saw this was written by the songwriter, it all immediately made sense. There’s a lot of dissonant sounds, a weird rap break, and a bit of a strange introduction, but at its core Yarukkanai 2015 has one of the best melodies of the year, and all the weirdness makes sense and is controlled. All of the brass instruments work very well here, and all of the members are in top form. This is one of the best idol songs of 2015 and I hope more people discover Niji no Conquistador in the future!

My Top 25 Songs of 2015 – 15 to 11

Sorry for the wait! Guess I’m finishing this list in February!
15. Country Girls – Wakatteiru no ni Gomen Ne

This is basically the cutest thing ever. Country Girls captured most people’s interests with the great Itooshikute Gomen Ne, which is understandably great. However, I much prefer Wakatteiru no ni Gomen Ne to their first single. Just about everything about this song appeals to me, even the small details. There’s a great clinking piano line in the background, for example. This also has a little bit more energy than Itooshikute, moving a bit faster, so that it ends up being a much faster, fun song to listen to. Everything keeps moving in the song, with sections overlapping each other. It’s effective and cute. Did I mention cute? Because this is adorable, and one of the songs I listened to most this year.

14. Up Up Girls – Bijo no Yajuu

Up Up Girls is quite possibly the group I’ve said “I should follow them more” about most on this list, rivaled by the artist behind #13 on this list and the artist behind #11. I think the reason behind that is simple – for the most part I don’t care about their music one way or another, but every so often there is an Up Up Girls song that blows me away. 2013 was the year of Samurai Girls, for example, but 2015 was the year of Bijo no Yajuu.

Compared to Up Up Girls’ earlier efforts, Bijo no Yajuu has a very mature feel to it, as they do EDM/club music. It feels like an actual EDM song, not just an idol group doing it. And it’s a good EDM song at that. The song constantly builds to the next peak throughout the song, constantly building towards the next chorus. There’s also something great and primal about the growls as they sing “I am a beast.” If I was someone who went clubbing at all, this is the type of song I’d want to dance to. Which is what I think UUG was going for with this track. However, just listening at home, it’s a fun song to listen to and get pumped up to. So it succeeds in that way as well. It’s primal, full of energy, and does a great job of building up all the time.

13. E-Girls – Dance Dance Dance

Ah, E-Girls. For the most part I can’t get into them as a group, yet every so often a song of theirs appeals to me a lot. First it was the perfect Gomen Nasai no Kissing You, now it’s Dance Dance Dance. While Dance Dance Dance doesn’t quite hit the heights of something like Gomen Nasai no Kissing You, it’s a great, funky song. I love just how much funk, featuring lots of drums and horns. Every element at play works – the vocals, the pacing, the melody, the arrangement. It has a great energy to it, as well, and a great beat. It’s an E-Girls song that’s captured my attention and I’ll keep listening to, even as I ignore the group.

12. Rev. from DVL – Ai Girl

Every so often the top three girls in Rev do a song for the series Aikatsu. The songs are usually pretty fun and idol-y songs, but Ai Girl is definitely the best of the Aikatsu songs so far. The highlight are the parts of the verses where each member sings a short phrase individually, going quickly back and forth between all the members. It adds a lot of energy to the song. However, beyond that, the entire song is catchy, is really punch-y, and is full throttle the entire way. It’s not perhaps the most interesting song Rev or other idol groups have ever done, but it perfects the type of high energy idol music I enjoy.

11. LinQ – Hare Hare Parade

Ah LinQ, another group I’d like to appreciate more. This year they had some absolutely stellar music, though, including Hare Hare Parade. Hare Hare Parade has one of the things I mentioned a lot in this list, which is energy. The song builds throughout the verses perfectly to the great chorus which, while slowing down a bit, still has a great feel. This song feels like summer, too, and also utilizes a lot of horns and drums (while sounding very different from Dance Dance Dance!). This is fantastic, energetic pop music, and I hope that LinQ keeps it up!

My Top 25 Songs of 2015 – 20 to 16

20. Armor Girls – A!Chu A!Chu

Part of the reason this is so low is because I did so much of my listening to A!Chu A!Chu in 2014, putting it as an honorable mention on my 2014 list. However, it got its physical release in 2015 as a B-Side to one of the version of Kamen Joshi’s single Genkidane, so it counts as a 2015 release.
A!Chu A!Chu shows what I love a lot about Armor Girls music – catchy jpop tunes with a massive heaping of faux-Irish pop sound. There is a lot of cheese to some of the instrumentation of Armor Girls’ music – the flute that starts off this song feels like it should start off some cheesy 90s ballad. However, I love how original Armor Girls is and how joyful their music manages to be despite being a subgroup of an idol group that wears hockey masks in performances.
All of the Armor Girls songs that got picked to be B-sides are really excellent, but A!Chu A!Chu has a fantastic energy and a cheesy happiness that is infectious.

19. Juice=Juice – Ca Va? Ca Va?

Juice=Juice went from being a group that I only marginally cared about to a group that might have my favorite music of Hello!Project right now. What made that change? First Squeeze. First Squeeze is a completely brilliant album that you absolutely should check out. Disc 2 is nonstop idol pop hits. Really excellent.

Ca Va? Ca Va? was one of my favorite singles of the year even before First Squeeze came out, though, in part because I have a weird love of whenever idol pop tries to be French pop. It worked with Nogizaka46’s fantastic Hashire Bicycle and it works with Ca Va Ca Va, which borrows a lot from one of my favorite French songs, Poupee de Cire Poupee de Son. Its repetition of ‘dabadadabada non non’ is also reminiscent of Buono’s Rottara Rottara which is also coincidentally one of my favorite Buono songs. So even as it borrows, it borrows from the greats.

The pacing is great, all of the Juices perform really well, and the song builds pretty perfectly. It’s not the most out there song of the year but it’s a treat to listen to.

18. Momoiro Clover Z vs. KISS – Yume no Ukiyo e Saitemina

Let me get this out of the way – I have no interest in KISS. I was frankly glad when the concert in LA turned out to be a MomoClo solo show as opposed to a concert shared with KISS. Yet, somehow, the two of them combined managed to write one of my favorite songs of the year. I love how the song manages to meld both of the group and somehow work. The interplay between the groups works very well, with KISS mostly providing shouts and “heys.” The song has a great dark feel to it, as it builds to the end. The bridge to the chorus is particularly good, to, as MomoClo sings and KISS adds some background vocals. I also enjoy the layered instrumentation – there’s quite a bit going on. While the song is pretty obviously a guitar-heavy rock song, there are some great horns and what sounds like (fake) shamisen. The song does drag a bit near the end, however, I do like when it initially slows down. However, despite any doubts, somehow KISS and MomoClo managed to create a great song. This could have very well been a trainwreck, but this collaboration did end up working out.

17. Ooguro Yuzuki (from Team Syachihoko) – La La La Idol

I think if anything shows just how strong a year 2015 was, it’s the fact that my favorite idol’s first (hopefully!) solo song ended up at 17. However, despite the obvious bias I have for La La La Idol, there are other songs I have to rank higher.

The thing I enjoy a lot about how Stardust Promotions does solo songs is that Stardust solos and unit songs tend to be completely geared towards the idol that’s singing the song. While other idols might cover A~rin wa Hankouki or cover for one of the members in Watashi ga Center, there’s no denying that those songs should be performed by the original vocalists. So while La La La Idol ended up covered by Team Syachihoko’s Sakura Nao at their summer concert, it’s Yuzuki’s song through and through, focusing on what kind of an idol she is. When they announced that Yuzuki would get a solo song I was immediately overjoyed, but worried that they would give her a song that I dislike. However, La La La Idol fits Yuzuki very well. It’s a very typical idol song and I mean that in the best possible way – Yuzuki is a big fan of idol songs so this fits her perfectly. It’s not one of the more interesting songs of the year, but it’s a great idol solo and a great idol song, if you like pretty standard, upbeat idol fare.

16. Morning Musume ’15 – Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru

While Sukatto My Heart is much more my speed, I love just about everything with Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru. The dubstep instrumental, the lines where each member individually sings a syllable, the long pauses in between lines in the verses. It all works to have a great energy, and build up to a great song. I know that some fans are tired of some of these songs from Morning Musume – believe me, I don’t want the group to stay stagnant. Overall I’d like them to have more songs like Sukatto My Heart. But Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru feels like a culmination of Morning Musume’s recent sound and does everything pretty perfect. It’s also been a pretty constant listen for me since it came out, so it gets points for that as well!

My Top 25 Songs of 2015 – 25 to 21

This year was particularly tricky. When I set out to come up with the songs that I would be putting on this list, I was under the impression that I would have to struggle to find 25 songs I found worthy enough to count as my top 25 of the year. However, the more I remembered and the more I wrote down, the more I realized that 2015 was a strong year for idol pop music. Even if people are considering the idol boom to be ending (or at least winding down), that doesn’t mean that idol pop music has stopped being great.

25. Happiness – Holiday

Every single year I forget about E-Girls and its associated groups, and every year I’m wildly impressed by them. All of the idol groups under E-Girls and considered to be sister groups to EXILE have consistently high production value and end up being great pop songs. Holiday has a fantastic brass beat as well as some masterful rapping. It’s a well put together pop song that’s very fun to listen to. While I discovered this song a couple of months after its release, I’ve kept listening to it since then. Despite being occasionally repetitive, Holiday is a great dance track with some fantastic instrumentation and performance. It’s one of the biggest surprises of the year.

24. Especia – Aviator

While not quite as strong as 2014’s No. 1 Sweeper or Kuru Kana, Aviator does a great job of continuing Especia’s goal of late 80s early 90s synth vaporwave. Especia is one of the most fascinating idol groups out there, musically, and Aviator is one of the best songs they did this year. While I enjoyed all of their album, Primera, that they put out this year, Aviator is their most listenable, catchy track with a solid melody, some great brass instrumentation (some kind of saxophone?) and a high energy track. Aviator does a great job of continuing what makes Especia so memorable and fun. It’s not particularly new for Especia, but that’s in part because Especia is so unlike anything else in idol pop right now.

23. ANGERME – Nanakorobi Yaoki

ANGERME had a fantastic year this year and a lot of great tracks. While their single songs varied all over the place from the cute Mahou Tsukai Sally to the high energy Taiki Bansei, I preferred their darker-sounding songs over much else, and Nanakorobi Yaoki fits that bill.

It has a great melody and the arrangement is particularly good (especially the background vocals and the members’ whispers)- however, the biggest strength is the darker feel of the song. Both Nanakorobi Yaoki and Otome no Gyakushuu had a great dark feel to the songs that I wasn’t really expecting but that totally work with the current members of ANGERME. However, Nanakorobi Yaoki made it onto the list because I love the fast paced energy to the song, the electric guitar bridge near the end of the song, and a lot of the little elements. The other thing this song did was show off the vocal talents of the members – in particular Tamura Meimi sounded fantastic, especially at the first “tsugi ga chance da yo” at the end of the first chorus. Every member works well here, though, even the weaker vocalists.

If you had asked me at the start of 2015 if I had wanted a song like Nanakorobi Yaoki, I would have probably said no – I preferred S/Mileage’s cheerful, upbeat tracks. However, I have to say that I’m a fan of darker ANGERME, and it’s a feel I’d like to see more of this year.

22. Ange☆Reve – Kiss Me Happy

Another Ange group, this time doing the upbeat and cute sound I thought I wanted. Ange Reve has been a pleasant surprise since their debut. I’ve liked other Arc Jewel groups’ (Doll Elements, Lovely Doll, Stella Beats) songs just fine, but every Ange Reve single has seemed to pull me in. Kiss Me Happy started off the year as a guilty pleasure, but ended up being a song I kept revisiting all through 2015. Its longevity as a song I listened to made me believe that it deserves a place on my top 25 list.

The reason I considered it a guilty pleasure is that it’s just SO happy, and that’s almost all it has going for it. It’s a very stereotypically cutesy song, as well as being a stereotypically idol song. If you asked me to describe idol music as a genre, the song I described might sound a lot like Kiss Me Happy. It’s pure, bubbly idol pop. That said, I do love idol pop music, so it’s also no surprise that I love this. Kiss Me Happy is upbeat, high energy, and cheerful. It’s a great song to listen to, and one of my favorites of the year.

21. Morning Musume ’15 – Sukatto My Heart

As soon as I heard the first few notes of Sukatto My Heart I was absolutely sold. This song is not quite disco, but has a great funky feel that I’m so glad Morning Musume decided to use for this song. That said, despite the great style of music it adopted, Sukatto My Heart is just a great song. The song builds perfectly in the verses up to the chorus, and the chorus itself isn’t a letdown from that great build up. The guitar is the obvious star of the arrangement, but the rest of the song works well as well.

My Top 25 Songs of 2015 – Honorable Mentions (part 2)

More honorable mentions! These are some of the songs I wanted to put on my top list but (for whatever reason) did not.

AKB48 – Halloween Night

For the past couple of years I’ve had a special honorable mention for the least awful AKB song. And, to be fair to AKB, I did come very close to putting Halloween Night on my top 25 list. I like the disco feel to the song a lot, and it’s the AKB single that has had the strongest melody and feel to it since Koisuru Fortune Cookie. However, despite the song’s undeniably catchy chorus (I’ve sung “Halloween night, midnight, boogie night” to myself a LOT this past year), it drags quite a lot and doesn’t have quite enough energy for me to grant it a position in my top 25.

Kiyoshi Ryujin 25 – Mr. Playboy

Kiyoshi Ryujin 25 has become one of my biggest guilty pleasures, especially 2014’s Will You Marry Me and now 2015’s Mr. Playboy. Despite the questionable polygamy theme of the group, the songs are undeniably catchy and fun. Mr. Playboy in particular has a great retro feel to it that will almost make you forget how slightly creepy this group actually is.

Ciao Bella Cinquetti – Omotesando AND Armor Girls – Les Champs-Élysées

This year both Ciao Bella Cinquetti and Armor Girls covered a song – which is a pity, since if these weren’t covers both would have had a chance to make my Top 25. Picking between the two, Armor Girls’ interesting mix of idol pop and Irish music works perfectly here and is a version I like better. However, both versions are great and two of my favorites of the year. – Ashita Chikyuu ga Konagona ni Natte mo

Despite 2013 and 2014 being great years for, I didn’t like too much of 2015 Dempa. One of their songs will be making my top 25, but in previous years I had to fight to not include every Dempa song. Ashita Chikyuu is a very pretty, slow-paced song that is much improved by its PV. However, while it’s good, it’s not quite up to the standards of Dempa. It’s their best single song of 2015, but that’s a bit of a shame. None of their music was bad, but it didn’t quite live up to 2013 or 2014. Still, Ashita Chikyuu ga Konagona ni Natte mo is very pretty and pleasant to listen to in the vein of previous Dempa songs that were more “normal.” It’s a sweet ballad that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Momoiro Clover Z – Link Link

This song, while not quite as interesting as MomoClo’s most recent output, is adorable and one of the most straight up cute songs I’ve listened to by the group in years. While I can’t justify it on my top 25 list, this is an honorable mention almost entirely because Sasaki Ayaka is delightful in person and I wish I had heard this song helmed by her at their US concert.

Super Girls – Gira Gira Revolution

Gira Gira Revolution is Super Girls at their best but also their most standard. This song is pretty reminiscent of other Super Girls tracks, notably Joshi Ryoku Paradise. However, it’s the best kind of standard – the type of song I listened to a lot this year. This song isn’t breaking any new ground but it’s sure a lot of fun.
Rhymeberry – Mirrorball

Rhymeberry went through quite a few changes, with new members and losing the producer. However, the biggest thing Mirrorball reminds us all of is just how great MC Miri is. I say this as a fan of Misaki (having met her at 2014’s Idol Matsuri), but Miri is going places with her rap game. Mirrorball is a high energy track featuring some truly stellar rapping from Miri and is a lot of fun to listen to. I imagine this song is even better in person. It has a great beat, and while it’s not quite as polished as other Rhymeberry entries on my previous lists, it shows off how great Miri is. I really hope the best for both of them and I hope Rhymeberry can bring itself back up.

My Top 25 Songs of 2015 – Honorable Mentions (part 1)

It’s that time of year again! To arbitrarily rank my favorite of Japanese idol pop music!

For the 25 songs I’ve chosen, there are a couple of rules. First, the song had to have been released for purchase in 2015. These must be original songs (i.e. no covers). Finally, I’m only looking at songs by female idol artists from Japan.

However, despite those rules for my main posts, there are quite a few songs that I want to acknowledge that might break one or more of those rules. There are also songs that just missed my top 25 that I’d like to give a shoutout to as well. So here is part one of my honorable mentions!

Ladybaby – Nippon Manju

I’m sorry! But, to defend myself, this song was written by one of my favorite songwriters in Japan right now, Asano Takashi, who writes a lot of Team Syachihoko music.

Nippon Manju is the debut song of LADYBABY, a group that was pretty much just a gimmick from the get go, considering the focal point of the group is Ladybeard, a crossdressing pro-wrestler from Australia. It is hard to take this group seriously at all. However, with the songwriting of Asano Takashi at play, there is a surprisingly strong melody and a lot of fun energy backing the song. It’s the type of song I don’t want to love but end up loving anyway.

Choutokkyuu – Battaman

Yes, *gasp*, I liked a male idol song this year! Choutokkyuu is Stardust Promotion’s male idol group, and, as a big Stardust fan, I decided to give them a shot.
For the most part, I haven’t been able to get into male idol songs mostly because I rarely see them get as weird or interesting as female idol songs. Granted, this is mostly a surface look at the most popular male groups, but I have yet to look that far into it. Battaman is the golden standard of interesting idol pop for me, though – written by Maeyamada Kenichi and performed by a Stardust group.
Battaman is incredibly energetic, fun and weird, things that I don’t see that often whenever I look into the male idol world. Hyadain does a great job of writing a song that has a ton of energy that I listened to a LOT this year.Idol Renaissance – YOU

Idol Renaissance is such a charming, sweet group that I hope goes far. However, they do a lot of covers, and their best song of the year, YOU, is a cover, which means I can’t put it on my top 25 list. Still, this is just such a pleasant song with a lot of piano instrumentation and beautiful harmonies. If you’re looking for an idol group that is still currently active but has the sensibilities of a classic 80s era idol, Idol Renaissance is probably your best bet.

ANGERME – Taiki Bansei

Whether Taiki Bansei counts as a cover is a bit tricky – it was originally slated for just being released as part of Nakajima Takui’s solo work, but then was given to ANGERME. It’s kind of like last year’s quandry with Rev. from DVL’s Love Arigatou, which is why it’s just an honorable mention. ANGERME had a lot to prove with its first single – it added some new members and had a name change. However, it was an immediate burst of energy of a song that almost symbolizes ANGERME’s real successes in 2015. Yes, they lost a prominent member (and one is leaving next year). However, musically 2015 was a great year for ANGERME, and Taiki Bansei was a superb way to open up 2015 for Hello!Project.

5572320 – Ponpara Pekoruna Papiyotta

五五七二三二〇 2nd シングル『ポンパラ ペコルナ パピヨッタ… by japantrendstv

It’s a song to promote coconuts sable cookies. That’s what it was created for. So why is this song so fantastic? Probably because it’s by the alter ego band (and rival!) of Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku, who doesn’t do anything half-heartedly. This song is weird in a way that just appeals to me so much. It’s all over the place, with lots of rock instrumentation as well as choral vocals. It’s just undescribable and unlike anything I’ve ever heard. It’s almost like listening to Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time, if Bohemian Rhapsody was sung by 8 Japanese girls and made to sell cookies.

So, why is this in my honorable mentions? 5572320 attracted a lot of notice earlier when they played their own instruments – indeed, while they’re connected to Ebichu, their idol status is questionable. Also, this song is just so all over the place that I have no idea where I’d begin to try and rank this. The song is almost constantly shifting and morphing, that at certain points I’d rank this up high and others I’d rank it lower on my list.

On a side note, when I was in LA I stayed in a hotel with a couple of friends of mine, and we bought way too many boxes of these cookies while there because of the Ebichu wrappers. Good times. (And the cookies are good too!)