Here we go, the second honorable mentions post! While the first post was covers and two songs that would never make it onto my top 25, here are some songs I really liked from this year but just missed the cut.
Negicco – Mujun, Hajimemashita
I feel like if I’m going to regret putting any song on my honorable mentions rather than in my top 25 it’s going to be Negicco’s Mujun, Hajimemashita. I’ve known of Negicco for years but I’ve never paid them all that much attention, but Mujun Hajimemashita is lovely. It has a great classic, retro idol sound that reminds me a lot of classic Vanilla Beans sound. I’ve wondered if I should put this on my top 25 for me, but the biggest thing that’s kept it from a spot on that list is because it’s not all that memorable, excepting the chorus. Every song on the Top 25 is one that I’ve been unable to get out of my head, and Mujun Hajimemashita isn’t quite there.
Rhymeberry – Hiking
Hiking is another one that I feel like could go on my Top 25 list, but since I’ve been pretty lax in actually buying Rhymeberry stuff I have no idea if they actually released it as a single or if it’s just a PV hanging out on their YouTube Channel. Rhymeberry’s gone through a lot of changes over the past couple of years, only keeping one original member (MC Miri) and leaving T-Palette Records. In many ways this change wasn’t a bad one. While I liked every member of the original Rhymeberry, Miri is the absolute talent of the group, and lately she’s been doing more work that’s pure hip hop, not hip hop idol. But one of the things I miss about the group is the sillier stuff, like my favorite Rhymeberry song “Sekaichuu ni I Love You.” Well, Hiking is silly. It’s VERY silly. It also is Miri and Misaki at their best, and it’s definitely one of the highlights of the year, showing that Rhymeberry can continue to have some of the bright silliness that they’ve had in the past while also being a showcase for Miri as a hip hop MC.
AOP – Cotona Mode
This is effectively #26 on the list, and the one I debated most heavily. Do I go with putting more experimental, interesting, and flat out better songs on my top 25 list, or do I put the songs I listened to more? Cotona Mode isn’t particularly interesting – it’s a pretty typical, cutesy, anison type of JPop song – which makes sense, considering it’s the opening theme for an anime. It’s not particularly original or interesting. That said, it’s so bubbly, so over the top cute that I listened to this quite a bit this year. I couldn’t justify putting Cotona Mode on my Top 25 list when I knew there were better songs out there. That said, Cotona Mode is an addiction and put AOP on the map for me.
Happiness – Ordinary Girls
About this time every year I think “Oh, what did E-Girls and the other groups do?” and usually find one or two songs I love. This year, there was nothing I really loved from E-Girls proper – Pink Champagne was fine (probably my favorite E-Girls song of the year), I loved Dream Ami’s cover of Lovefool. But Happiness had another great song this year by the name of Ordinary Girls.
Ordinary Girls is probably the most KPop I’ve seen an E-Girls group get. It’s VERY Kpop / Western pop inspired, so much so that it would not feel out of place to see a group like Girls Generation or another KPop girl group. At points it has a very dark beat and that’s where the song excels. It’s not something I’m going to listen to on a very regular basis – it’s not my type of music. However, if you occasionally like this sort of thing, Happiness is a good group for you to check out.
Babymetal – The One
And the “the song that should really be better” award goes to Babymetal’s The One. I haven’t listened to Babymetal’s Metal Resistance album as much as I’ve listened to their singles and their self-titled album, but it’s solid. I think my issue with following Babymetal is that for the most part they’ve focused on touring and live concerts rather than music, and their music has moved away from idol into metal. I don’t think that’s a bad move for Babymetal necessarily, but I’m not a huge metal fan – I only really like it with a heavy dose of idol music.
The One is long, ending Metal Resistance with a 6:30 runtime. And man, it really feels its length. Some longer idol songs (Momoiro Clover Z’s Hai to Diamond comes to mind) fly by. However, The One drags by at times, which is disappointing. It’s a song that has a lot of beauty to it, especially due to lead singer Sumetal’s powerful vocals. The biggest issue, I’d say, is that while it has a good base for a song like this, it doesn’t sufficiently build over the course of the song. The tempo remains pretty static, which is unfortunate when it’s at a pretty steady mid-tempo throughout the song. The One sometimes feels like it’s building to nothing, which is just disappointing.
With Suzuka’s beautiful vocals, the piano, and metal sound we’ve come to expect from Babymetal, The One could have been something special, which is why I’m putting it here. It’s the song that, every time I listen to it, I think that it should be a lot better than it is. It’s one of the songs with the most promise from 2016 which makes it, sadly, one of the most disappointing songs of 2016.