It’s rare that a song gets so embedded in your thought patterns that you don’t think of anything else, but whenever something good happens to me or I’m particularly excited I often think of or put on Yattarouze. Ongaku Gatas is an incredibly underrated Hello!Project group, and while Yattarouze is not quite on the same level as their first single Nari Hajimeta Koi no Bell, Yattarouze is upbeat, happy, and has become the song that I think of whenever I’m particularly excited about something!
(note: I totally meant to publish this yesterday but forgot to hit the Publish button, whoops!)
If you follow idol music you know that Keyakizaka46 has been killing it on the charts. While my main interest was in just how good Silent Majority, their first single is, their subsequent singles have been particularly solid. I have a lot of affection for Sekai ni wa Ai Shika Nai, which is their second single song. Normally I’m a bit mixed on how I like spoken monologues in idol songs (I like it fine in something like Morning Musume’s The Peace but in other songs it can get a little old) but they work here, and I love the instrumental that backs these spoken monologues. The chorus is also incredibly catchy. While this doesn’t pack the punch lyrically or musically that Silent Majority did, I like that they didn’t decide to make an inferior copy of Silent Majority as their followup single and instead went for something completely different but still well-made and catchy. I think doing this (and their subsequent singles as well) only serves to establish Keyakizaka46 as a force to be reckoned with and not just a one hit wonder.
Honestly, it’s a pretty good bet that if an idol song has “Disco” in the title I’ll probably like it. That means that Up Up Girls’ most recent track, Upper Disco, is definitely up my alley, especially with Up Up Girls’ recent history of having some great dance tracks. Upper Disco feels like another Up Up Girls song in the vein of recent tracks like Party People Alien in that it’s a very fun dance song, but now it has a more disco flavor to it. Upper Disco has a really catchy chorus more than anything else – after one or two listens yesterday it was already stuck in my head. It took a few years, but UUG has found a niche they fit very well in.
Also, this has a just wonderful saxophone solo that elevates everything. More sax solos in idol music please!
While Saraba was the start of when I took a small MomoClo break and focused a lot more on Team Syachihoko as a group, looking back it’s a pretty fantastic single. I love the fast back and forth between the members at the start of the verse, the dark/gothic vibe of the video and the song, and in general the feel of Saraba. It also pretty perfectly bridges rock and pop to make a great song. The instrumental is fantastic as well, with what sounds like a mix of a harpsichord and a guitar at one point? It’s probably meant to sound more like a harpsichord but also works well as a guitar sound. The entire song production is really well done and the arrangement is pretty perfect. Saraba was part of the start of MomoClo’s move into more artistic pop music and remains one of the group’s great singles.
Since moving to the major label Avex Takoyaki Rainbow has started to make a real name for themselves with some great singles and a fantastic album. However, they had a remarkably good slate of indie singles, including Naniwa no Haniwa. I almost forgot how much I liked this song until it came up on a random shuffle. Their first single, Over The Takoyaki Rainbow, is just fine but Naniwa no Haniwa feels like the start of what would become Takoyaki Rainbow’s music trajectory – quality music, weird music, and music with a lot of energy. Naniwa no Haniwa is a bit all over the place but in a way that works, in no small part due to Maeyamada Kenichi’s songwriting prowess. The members do really well on this song as well, hamming it up in the right places and performing with so much energy. The weirdness is capped off by the recorder duet midway through the song. This is idol pop at its weirdest, but also at its best.
W is such an interesting group that it’s a real shame they never got their third album and their last single was Miss Love Tantei. However, due to Kago Ai’s smoking scandal, it wouldn’t happen. That said, Miss Love Tantei feels like a hint at to what was to come for W’s music and it would have been great. Miss Love Tantei has a bit more of a Western/American feel, though maybe that’s because it has some American songwriters. That said it’s a well-paced, well-written pop song. It’s also one of the first rap breaks I can remember in Hello!Project songs, which Tsuji Nozomi performs with aplomb. Nothing in Hello!Project sounds quite like Miss Love Tantei, which is part of why I love it so much.
Juice=Juice just announced their worldwide tour, including a stop in the US! While I don’t know if I’ll be able to go to this show, I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite Juice=Juice tracks, including this one. Umaretate no Baby Love was my favorite song of 2015 and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. It has a great disco-inspired sound, one of the catchiest melodies in recent years, and some great vocals from Juice=Juice. Even the weaker Akari and Yuka sound fantastic on this, but it’s Sayuki’s vocalizations that tie this together. The ending of the song is just perfect, too – I hate when songs end fading out, but the end of Umaretate no Baby Love ties it all together nicely. Every second of this song is wonderful.
I’d consider this to be one of the more underrated v-u-den singles, but I love this side of the group – the more mature side. I love the back and forth between members during the second half of the verses and the chorus – every member is utilized in interesting ways, there are some solid harmonies. The song also has a very cool, not quite r&b but still cool feel to it – I really don’t know how to describe it. Kurenai no Kisetsu isn’t like most other Hello!Project or even idol songs, because it doesn’t feel tied to youth or energy – it feels like a song by actual adults. That’s a big part of why I love v-u-den.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, there aren’t a ton of great spring songs (there are quite a few graduation themed songs, which go with Spring, but I consider them to be a separate category), but then I finally remembered Kobushi Factory’s Sakura Night Fever. Kobushi Factory has yet to draw me in majorly as a fan, but this song and the other songs on this single are some of my favorites of 2016. Sakura Night Fever has a lot going for it, being an upbeat happy disco-inspired track while also having a bit of a wistful feel to it. It’s a great song and one of the things that put Kobushi on the map for me.
Recently, on a Facebook group I frequent, a poster asked about the catchiest songs we knew. Well, nothing’s catchier than Kikkawa You’s Konna Watashi de Yokattara. Something about this song, with the melody, arrangement, and production, all works together to be an incredibly catchy song. I’m not entirely sure what it is, except for the fact that I think this is quite possibly a perfect pop song. The song builds up well, Kikka sounds great, the melody is incredibly catchy, the production values are great. This is frankly perfection. In fact, I’ve had a hard time following Kikkawa You precisely because this is too good – all of her other songs are fine, but none compare to Konna Watashi.