Here we are, the 100th consecutive day (almost) of idol blogging. And it’s time to say that this is going to be my last entry in this series before I put it on hiatus. While I’ve found blogging about a different song every day to be an interesting and fun challenge, it’s gotten to the point where it’s taking up a lot of my time, and more importantly it’s getting in the way about blogging about other things. I’m planning on reviving a blog series here that I wondered if I could even do with my daily posts, which I feel is the opposite of what I wanted to do here. I’ve enjoyed making these posts a lot, but at the end of the day I want to be able to blog more about other things on this blog and on my other blog (whatmenthinkwomenwant.com).
When thinking about my last post before this series goes on hiatus, Mano Erina’s last single Next My Self came to mind immediately. While I was never the biggest ManoEri fan, her music is often underappreciated and Next My Self is pretty wonderful. The reason it came to mind was because it’s her last single before her graduation as an idol to go on to be an actress, and even though this 100 day blog series is hardly the same as a several year idol career, it felt fitting. The song has a heavy piano song (an ode to her early songs where she played piano) and has a really nice feel to it – it’s not happy nor is it sad, but it makes moving on feel like a fitting move.
Perhaps I’ll start this series again, which is why I’m saying hiatus, but farewell for now!
Here’s another group I discovered while looking through new YouTube idol music videos. Genkai Ketobashite is Merry Go Lands’ first single, and the opening song for an anime, and it’s remarkably good for being a new group and a relatively indie production. The vocals are strong – they’re deep, and at times almost sound operatic. The vaguely Japanese sounding beat that is clearly trying to evoke a more traditional vibe works really well with the rest of the song and doesn’t get in the way of the more modern idolness of it. I love idol music that tries to balance more traditional sound with a contemporary pop song and Genkai Ketobashite does just that.
Every year I find songs that I really wish I could have put on a top list the year it came out but didn’t discover until afterwards. GEM’s Baby Love me is one of those songs – it’s such a good, straight up pop song that works really well. It has a bit of an electronic sound to it, and its production is modern enough to involve a little of what could be considered dubstep influenced. However, at its core Baby Love Me is focused on its strong hook, the solid vocals, and most of all its melody. While I appreciate a lot of songs that meld genres or try something new, I often like to listen to something that’s just above all a good pop song, and that’s what Baby Love Me does.
After checking out Inkey Oops two days ago I checked out their agency’s YouTube page and started watching some videos from this group that I am going to just call Playballs for now, a baseball themed group. While their music could very easily be nothing but a gimmick, aimed purely at the fans at the intersection of baseball fans and idol fans, their music is all varied and all remarkably good. While their newest single is quite good, Diving Catch is possibly my favorite of their music so far. It has a lot of energy, often sounds pretty dark, and integrates rap and dubstep sounds well into an already good pop song. Every repeat of the song title is super catchy (ha), but all the different elements of Playballs work really well. If both Playballs and Inkey Oops are any indication, Richum llc, their company, is something to watch.
GALETTe not becoming a bigger thing is one of the biggest disappointments of recent years for idols, because they were an incredibly strong group. Every member was a veteran of idol groups, some performing for years, so all of the members had a pretty high standard of performance. However, perhaps even more than all the great members, the music was just superlative. While their later music included a lot of funk/disco sound, stuff readers of my blog know I like, the song I come back to more than almost anything is their debut single, G. G is one of the catchiest pop songs in recent memory, with a great catchy chorus and a very solid electric guitar riff. G is the type of song that, if a more well known group debuted with it, it would be a huge hit. Alas, GALETTe recently broke up, but if you want to look back at a solid discography of idol music I definitely recommend GALETTe.
Every so often I check a few YouTube playlists that compile the latest idol music and go through them as a way to find new music and make sure I’m not missing anything. While I don’t always find something, I sometimes find gems and that’s what happened here with the new group Inkey Oops’ first single, Take Me Shopping Yeah which is a great 80s style song that honestly has a great sound and production for such a small group. The melody is one of the catchiest melodies of the year so far, the arrangement is very solid. Above all everything sounds super polished, much more than I expected.
If you like catchy idol pop, Inkey Oops is definitely a group to look out for.
A mutual follower on Twitter sent me some YouTube links saying that they thought I would enjoy this. Wondering if I was so easily understood, I checked it out. Turns out yep, I like this group, but I’m After Time is so great.
It has a great retro sound to it with a lot of what sounds like real instrument – saxophone solo? Flute? More horns? It all works here and serves the retro, disco sound of the track. Everything’s incredibly well produced, with a catchy melody and a really great sound. It reminds me a lot of recent years’ Especia – instead of thriving in the more kitschy sounds of the 80s it replicates some of the cooler sounds of disco and funk instead. It’s skipped over fun but purposefully dated Especia to get to purposefully good Especia. And man does it work here.
I’m After Time is a lot of fun and I’m honestly a bit mad I didn’t listen to it last year – it’d easily make my top 25 song list.
Is this particularly in my wheelhouse for this blog? Not really. Kyary isn’t considered to be an idol singer and the song in question is a cover of a song by Capsule. Yet this is one of my favorite Kyary tracks and one I’ve been listening to pretty frequently. One thing I’ve said about Kyary in the past is that her music often sounds like it should be the soundtrack to some Katamari Damacy game, and that applies here – I think it’s the combination of endless optimism and happiness combined with just an oddness of sound is that makes Kyary’s music fit that aesthetic so well. Super Scooter Happy is so happy that it’s just charming, and, as you’d expect from Yasutaka Nakata, it’s endlessly catchy. Someone needs to do a video game with Kyary music as the soundtrack, stat.
I’ve been thinking about this time for years. I was 17 when I first discovered 16sai no Koi Nante, and now I’m finally one of the ages mentioned in the song. In a way, this feels like me really being an adult, which is silly considering I’m 26. But turning Abe Natsumi’s age in this song, who is the adult voice to Yajima Maimi’s teenage voice, is kind of amazing.
One of the things I love about Hello!Project in its heyday is the weird units that popped up from time to time. There’s no reason for Abe Natsumi, at that time one of Hello!Project’s most senior members, and Yajima Maimi, a member of one of Hello!Project’s groups, to do a duet single together. And yet, here we are.
16sai no Koi Nante isn’t one of Hello!Project’s greatest singles by a long shot. It’s fun and silly, with both members pulling off their roles well and a catchy enough melody. But the interplay between Nacchi and Maimi works really well, with Maimi playing the 16 year old who thinks that teenage love is the end of the world and Nacchi being the 26 year old who remembers that feeling but is a little bit wiser. It’s funny, light, and a pleasant song all around. It’s a song that didn’t really need to exist, but in a way that’s precisely why I like it.
While there’s been a few different Jpop birthday songs including AKB48’s Namida Surprise, the one I always turn to is Country Musume’s Hajimete no Happy Birthday. Today was my birthday and it was one of the first things I listened to today, and I’ve actually done this for the past 8-9 birthdays at least.
It’s not quite as upbeat and flashy as something like Namida Surprise, but I kind of like that – it’s happy and cheerful but easy to listen to and not too fast or hyperactive. It’s the kind of feeling you want for a birthday – happy, pleasant, and not too busy. It has a pleasant melody, a solid arrangement, and is mostly just a solid idol pop song.
Plus, you know, one of my favorite idols of all time is the star of the show here so that’s a big reason I like it. Let’s just link her solo version of the song.