Top 10 (+2) Idol Holiday Songs

Happy holidays, everyone! Since it’s almost Christmas for everyone and it’s the middle of the winter holiday season, I thought I’d make a list of my top ten winter/holiday/Christmas themed idol songs for Happy Disco.

Honorable Mentions:
100kai no Kiss- Matsuura Aya

I love Ayaya, don’t get me wrong, and I want to put this song on the list. However, the song has nothing to do with winter or Christmas. It’s here because the PV features Ayaya dancing in “winter clothes” in front of a Christmas tree, and it’s snowing outside. But 100kai no Kiss is a fantastic song no matter the season, and the PV’s also wonderful.

1!2!3!4! Yoroshiku- SKE48

The PV to SKE48’s latest single is a treasure trove of interesting things and hilarity. Basically, there are guys dressed as Santa dancing in the background through parts of the PV. This song/PV gets the spot because the PV is WEIRD and Santa dancing in the background is the icing on the cake.

10. Manatsu no Christmas Rose- AKB48

This song is not quite Christmas-y enough to make higher on the list; it’s in the name and there are some references to Christmas-related things, but the fact that this seems to take place in “manatsu” (midsummer) means it’s not quite the quintessential idol Christmas song.

9. Aitai Lonely Christmas- C-ute

Now this makes the list! I actually really like this song, despite putting it down at #9. However, to me it doesn’t really convey the spirit of the season properly. I realize that in Japan Christmas as a holiday is more about spending time with your significant other, but singing about how your heart hurts is not a way to get into the holiday spirit. Therefore, while this is a good song I’d argue, one of the better offerings from recent H!P, it’s not quite what I’m looking for on this list.

8. Sexy Snow- W

This also isn’t quite fitting to the spirit of the season. However, with happier lyrics than Aitai Lonely Christmas, at least it fits in a bit better. This is more about romance in the winter season than about the holidays, but it’s a catchy and addicting song that fits onto this list well.

7. Marui Taiyou ~Winter Ver~ – T&C Bomber

This actually seems to be a bit more of a New Year’s song than a Christmas song, but it’s still a great song by one of the most underappreciated H!P groups of all time. Happy Winter!!!!

6. Seinaru Kane ga Hibiku Yoru – Tanpopo

This is a beautiful song by the original generation of Tanpopo! I was happy when five of the current H!P girls did covers of it; granted, none of them quite did it justice (though I still bought Maimi’s off iTunes), it’s nice that classic Hello!Project songs are still remembered. This is more of a traditional-sounding song (with the title mentioning “holy bells”), but it’s still a great song.

5. Yoyaku Shita Christmas- AKB48

For anyone who doesn’t follow AKB48 much, this song was a c/w song on the recent single, Chance no Junban. Now, at first I really didn’t like this song all that much; I thought it was slow and kind of boring. However, lately it’s really grown on me. It’s a sweet song about meeting someone on Christmas eve and the song and PV have pretty much everything; the bridge even contains the song Jingle Bells. The song’s slow and it isn’t really a normal, upbeat idol song but it’s sweet in its own right, as a little Christmas card from AKB48.

4. Christmas ga Ippai- AKB48

THIS is a more upbeat, Christmas-y song by AKB48’s Team K. At this point these Christmas songs have it all, and Christmas ga Ippai is no exception. The lyrics are very sweet and I do like how cute and upbeat the song is; it both makes it a better song and makes it more idol-y, which I always enjoy.

3. Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru- Tanpopo

This is probably my favorite song on this list, and it’s really a classic winter song for idol fans. As a song it definitely falls more into a winter than a holiday category and it’s really more about spending time with your sweetheart during the winter, but it’s a fantastic song, especially during this season.

2. Merry X’Mas to You- Matsuura Aya

This is actually not as known as a lot of the other songs on this list; it’s the B-side to Ayaya’s single ‘100kai no Kiss’ and I absolutely love this song. The lyrics are so simple (mostly just “Merry Christmas for you”) but it really shows off how beautiful Aya’s voice truly is; if anyone can pull this off in the idol world, it’s Ayaya. It’s a beautiful Christmas song that I think could easily go on any Christmas album. This might be an unknown to a lot of people, but to me it’s a keeper.

1. Pittari Shitai X’Mas- Pucchimoni

Could I really pick out any other song? It’s an H!P classic and it’s pure fun. The PV is just silly and the song itself isn’t serious at all, but it’s a fun, enjoyable Christmas song that is still a fan favorite.

Have a very happy holidays, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful winter season!!

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 6

Momoiro Kataomoi

Now we’re at the Mano Erina section. Oh ff. She’s doing Ayaya.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind ManoEri. I kind of like her, and she seems like a fine girl. However, why do they do this to us? I get that the whole point of the Fankora concert is that fans get to help pick songs that they want to hear again, but Mano Erina is no Matsuura Aya and whenever they have her perform these songs it’s a HUGE reminder.

Now this doesn’t make ManoEri bad, persay, that just makes her NOT Ayaya, who was one of the highest selling and most beloved H!P acts of all time. Ayaya was also one of the best singers and performers of H!P history, which is not something that we can say about Mano Erina. The difference is huge, and is seen like crazy in this performance.
ManoEri gets REALLY pitchy here. Like, not a little; it was pretty easy for me to discern how off pitch she was. Her energy level was also not as strong as it could be, even though that’s the type of song this is. To me, I can tell she’s trying her best, but it’s just not there.
Basically, my final verdict is that if you are unfamiliar with the original version or ADORE ManoEri, you’ll probably like this; it’s a good song and ManoEri’s pretty cute. However, as a fan of the original and a fan of Ayaya’s, this just sounds like a poorly done knock-off; having a weak voice sing a song by the best voice of H!P’s history is not really the best idea ever.
On a separate note, this concert’s really making me dislike Momoko a lot. I know she has a ton of fans, but man, the way that she keeps dancing on the sidelines is just annoying as hell to me. There’s a difference between dancing/jumping along on the sidelines and doing what Momoko is doing, which is holding a fake microphone and going out of her way to draw attention to herself. Drawing attention to yourself is fine, but this is not the time/place for Momoko to do so, during a ManoEri performance.

Haru no Arashi

This isn’t one of my favorite ManoEri songs ever, but I like it better than Onegai Dakara, so that’s good.

ManoEri’s voice is really not the best this concert, is it? It’s all over the place in this performance, even clashing with the background; are those just supporting vocals or are they doing the thing where they play the actual song in the back? All I know is that there’s some really iffy clashing of vocals here, and it’s not very pretty. Mano Erina’s not the worst vocalist H!P has to offer; far from it. However, it’s times like these where I have to wonder about her legitimacy as a soloist.

I mean, ManoEri’s not as bad a vocalist as H!P’s had, and she seems like a sweet girl. But I honestly don’t know what Tsunku/UFA found so compelling in her that they decided to make her the one soloist in H!P. Her vocals here are iffy at best and she never seems too energetic. Her performances thus far aren’t too compelling. She was fine back when she was in Gatas, but I don’t know how strong she is without a group to support her.
To her credit, she does get pretty fierce here and I can tell she’s getting into it, which is usually the thing I like most in idols. I don’t know; I guess if you’re her fan, you’ll like it, and if you don’t particularly care about ManoEri, like me, you’ll probably wonder why she’s a soloist, like me.

New PBs AKA Serenyty will be very happy and poor

Sorry I haven’t updated in over two weeks; finals decided to be really tough on me. But I made it through it and I plan on writing more.

First up, the other day Kamei Eri, JunJun and LinLin graduated from Morning Musume. Now, I’m no particular fan of either of these girls; I liked them, but they weren’t necessarily my favorites. But they will definitely be missed from Morning Musume, and I know the first performance or appearance I see without them will be very saddening. No matter how high these girls are on your list, graduations are always very sad, at least to me, and I know I’ll miss these girls; I can only hope that JunJun and LinLin stay in the business.

However, recently there’s been some happier news!

Ex-Morning Musume member Ishikawa Rika, AKA my #1 favorite idol forever is releasing her 11th solo photobook! It’s called Lucky and she’s releasing it on her birthday, January 19th 2011. As a big fan and supporter of Rika, this is wonderful news, and I plan on buying/pre-ordering it soon. Rika’s proven to be a favorite with photobooks, considering she already has 10 of them under her belt, so they’re always really fun and really good. 
And finally, probably more exciting for me…
Mitsui Aika is FINALLY releasing a photobook!!!

I LOVE Aika. Mittsi’s one of my favorite idols and I’ve always wanted her to get a photobook. Aika has actually wanted one of her own for a long time as well, often mentioning it in her New Year’s wishes and things like this. She’s releasing her photobook on January 26th and she also gets a solo DVD as well.
I’m really excited; honestly, Aika has more fans than a lot of people give her credit for, and she really deserves to get some kind of a push. I hope this moves up her sales some and helps her gain some fans!
Rika hasn’t posted any previews of any sort, but on the Up Front channel there’s a preview of Aika’s DVD; already it’s getting some buzz because Aika definitely has cleavage that people haven’t really noticed before.

So yay, two excellent releases for the month of January!

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 5

I’ve been a bad reviewer. Now where was I.

Featuring S/Mileage! I hear a surprising amount of shouts for “AYACHO” when she’s one of the least popular members of S/Mileage. They introduce their next single, which I affectionately refer to as “Onaji something something Bijin Mama”. Or “something something pretty mom.”  Yuukarin has an interesting button on:

To tell us that she’s apparently a Pink Secret Agent. Saki talks about the concept of the song, which is that their friend’s mom is their rival in love. I swear, I get a weird vibe from this song, but it’s catchy and cute so I ignore it.
The girls also seem kind of intimidated by Yossy, who’s not as funny as she normally is. Especially in that weird/ugly dress. 
The one that I think stood out the most was Saki; she got a big laugh from the audience, and did a lot of talking. Yuuka was super cute, so she’s fun. I was a bit disappointed, because I like all of them, but Kanon didn’t talk all that much, and my favorite, Wada, didn’t speak all that much. But when Ayacho DID say one thing near the end that made the audience AND other H!P members laugh and cheer. Man, this is when I wish my Japanese was better, because Ayaka’s pretty hilarious from what I do understand. Otherwise, it wasn’t that interesting.
Chu! Natsu Party
Another favorite of mine! Despite my complaints about the covers of songs earlier, this is probably the best cover song so far. S/Mileage performs it with a lot of really nice energy, using mic stands.
In my opinion this is one of the better performances of the concert thus far. All the girls give the song appropriate energy, and while the vocals aren’t their best (for some reason, I keep thinking that Yuuka isn’t doing as well as she should..?), the performance aspects of the performance more than make up for it. 
Occasionally the energy level dropped a little, but that was during things like when they were singing and I don’t think it could have gotten much better. All four of them look excited and happy to be singing this classic H!P song, so all in all I really enjoy this performance. 
Oh, I forgot to mention; this is the Fankora section of the concert now, so it’s the rotating songs that the “fans chose.” Now I put that in quotations because while IIRC the last song performed by each group/ManoEri was their most requested, we don’t know how often the other songs were requested. So while it’s really nice that these groups are doing older songs, how were the not-most popular songs chosen? Just curious. (BTW, they never performed my choice, I&YOU&I&YOU&I, a 2nd gen Tanpopo song. S/Mileage DID perform 2nd gen Tanpopo, but it wasn’t recorded).
That reminds me again; why WEREN’T there multiple DVD releases? This just doesn’t make sense to me. Instead of just releasing one concert, why not release them all, or find a way to make it so people can see everything. H!P’s not super popular anymore, but concert tickets aren’t cheap and you don’t know the setlist until you get in. What if you REALLY want to see a certain performance? I was sure that they’d monetize on the multiple setlist aspect of Fankora. H!P, I don’t get you sometimes.
Anyways. Chu! Natsu Party was adorable, good energy, and I REALLY like the dynamic that S/Mileage has going on. They’re one of the two H!P groups that has the best group dynamic, IMO. 
aMa no Jaku

OK. So basically, even though Chu! Natsu Party is a better song, this was a better performance. Take the C!NP performance, and add better/more in-time dancing, better vocals and even more energy. 
S/Mileage really seems like they’re in their element; they’ve practiced this song/dance like crazy since their Indies debut, and it really shows. They work together well, and I think this is the point where they totally deserve this group of theirs. 
For being H!P’s newest act, I’d say that they brought their A-game. So far, S/Mileage’s performances have been some of the most fun and enjoyable, and they really show how they fully deserved being moved up to a major label. None of the members in particular stand out as being particularly good at singing (though, even though I’m a fan, I’ll be the first to admit that Ayaka’s the worst singer), or particularly good at dancing, but this works. They feel like equals, and you can really tell that they’ve bonded as a group, which is a bit surprising considering how new they are. 
Consensus: S/Mileage can improve, but they’re being really great right now! Keep up the good work, S/Mileage!!