Hey all! It’s time for my top 25 songs of the year, plus the assorted change that makes up my honorable mentions list.
In a weird way I like writing the honorable mentions more than the top 25 songs of the year. The reason for this is because I feel like there’s an inherent pressure on the top 25 songs to be the songs I legitimately found to be the most interesting and best-written songs of the year, and the actual ranking is often splitting hairs. However, the honorable mentions are usually pretty clear; they’re the songs that didn’t quite make it, I couldn’t put on my top list for whatever reason, or might have good parts without being actually good. So, without further ado, here are my honorable mentions for the best of 2014.
AKB48 – Kokoro no Placard
Kokoro no Placard is a song that either thrives or languishes based off of comparison. If you compare it to last year’s election song, the fantastic Koisuru Fortune Cookie, it’s a disappointment. Koisuru Fortune Cookie is a fantastic song, and this isn’t anywhere near fantastic. On the other hand, if you compare Kokoro no Placard to the rest of the year’s output for AKB, it sounds much better.
This year was not great for the 48 groups. Not a single 48 song made it on my top 25, although there will be another for the honorable mentions. Most of the songs the 48 groups did were generic and nowhere near the heights of what the 48 groups can do. Even songs like Kibouteki Refrain, which was hailed as a return to form for AKB, fell flat for me.
Kokoro no Placard isn’t very interesting, nor is it particularly memorable. However, it’s much more memorable than stuff like Labrador Retriever. It’s passable, listenable, perfectly mediocre. But, since AKB ‘s year was so lackluster, I suppose I’ll take what I can get.
NMB48 – Ibiza Girl
Again, this is here because of NMB’s lackluster year, though I do like Ibiza Girl much more than Kokoro no Placard. It’s a fun upbeat number with a catchy melody. It has a real energy to it, in a way that’s missing from a lot of 48 group songs this year. In the entire NMB48 oeuvre it’s not particularly memorable, but it’s NMB48’s best song of the year, and is the best 48 song of the year. Like I mentioned, I’m not particularly impressed with the 48 groups this year. I really think they can do better, with their level of popularity and the resources the 48 groups have, so it’s unfortunate when nearly everything they put out this year is forgettable and bland. Ibiza Girl is probably the only 48 group song from 2014 that I will still be listening to in 2015, so for that it gets an honorable mention. It’s fun, upbeat, and has a memorable/fun melody. It’s not quite NMB’s best (last year’s Bokura no Eureka might be up there) but it’s still good.
Everything Armor Girls put out this year, but especially A!Chu! A!Chu!, CLAP and Matsuri Adventure.
I never thought I would become a fan of Alice Project. I never really got into Alice Juban and Steam Girls’ music doesn’t really appeal to me. However, Armor Girls struck a chord with me that I didn’t know I had. The members perform in fake armor and perform Irish-inspired pop songs? Somehow this is what I’ve always wanted out of a group. The armor gimmick is cool, but the fact that Armor Girls’ songs are all fantastic. All of them. The three songs I’ve highlighted are the three of the ones that came out last year (a few others came out late 2013).
The only thing is that Alice Project groups tend to do more live performances than release singles. While Alice Project has become one of the three big groups of Alice Project, they haven’t put out any singles yet. My rules for my top 25 songs of the year state that they have to be songs that were released this year and no covers, because I want to honor the music that was put out this year. So I can’t technically honor any of these Armor Girls songs in my actual top 25. But I have to give them an honorable mention because all of the Armor Girls music is excellent, and I really hope that this group does well in the future.
Ange Reve – Yuukan na Koi no Serenade
Ange Reve is another Arc Jewel group, the label that also brought Lovely Doll and Doll Elements. Ange Reve made its debut just this year, and Yuukan na Koi no Serenade was its first song. Even though Lovely Doll and Doll Elements have been around for a couple of years now, I have to say I’m very impressed by Yuukan na Koi. It’s a very catchy song that sounds fantastic for a group’s first song. It’s not necessarily the most interesting song of the year, but I think it’s impressive that a new indie group can have a song that has me singing it to myself for months after the first listen.
Rev.from DVL – Love -arigatou-
You might be wondering why I have this down on my honorable mentions. Rev. from DVL is one of my favorite idol groups around, and Love Arigatou is one of their most beloved songs. The reason it’s on here is because it’s a cover. A cover from the group that wrote a lot of Rev’s songs, but the first time I know of Rev performing it happened after the original group did it. Love Arigatou isn’t particularly unique, but it’s a really solid pop song that has a melody that doesn’t scream idol to me. It has one of my favorite melodies, and I think it’s a very solid song. I’m not entirely thrilled with every change that has been made to the arrangement since Rev went major, but it’s still a favorite idol song I wish I could put on my top list.