The end of the list! My top 5 songs of the year!
5. Rhymeberry – Tokyo Chewing Gum
A lot of people I know haven’t followed Rhymeberry much lately. And I get it – since their member changes and leaving T-Palette records (not to mention having a new music producer!) there’s not a whole lot similar with Rhymeberry as it was a few years ago, except for Miri still being the focus. That all being said, the past few years have allowed Miri to hone her skills at rap and have brought Rhymeberry to a mostly indie feel, which has worked for them. That said, I get missing the polish.
However, Tokyo Chewing Gum feels like the best of both worlds – it has a great beat and musicality to it, as well as a polish that has been missing since Rhymeberry’s earlier days, but it has Miri at her very best and the other three members (especially Yuika, who has oodles of potential) making a track that is simultaneously a polished, catchy track but with the skills that have been honed over the years. It’s a little bit too long, but other than that Tokyo Chewing Gum is Rhymeberry at its best. The opening of this track is PERFECT feeling stylish and cool in the best way. Tokyo Chewing Gum feels like Rhymeberry finding its footing and being better than ever, and I’m looking forward to more from them.
4. Up Up Girls (Kakko Kari ) Upper Disco
When this came out I was certain Upper Disco would be my #1 song of the year. The fact it’s not shows just how strong the rest of the year was! Up Up Girls have done a solid job in the past couple of years doing music with strong beats and more of an electronic focus – last year’s Party People Alien was their foray into a new style. And while I love Party People Alien, Upper Disco is exactly what I wanted from Up Up Girls. A funk/disco track with a fantastic beat (the bass in this song is killer) and the catchiest melody. Upper Disco feels like a track that would be incredible to see live. Every element of Upper Disco is just perfect, from the instrumentation / arrangement, to the melody, to Up Up Girls’ energetic performance of the song. This song is pure energy, fun, and exactly what I want from my music.
3. RYUTist – Koishite Marmalade
While I feel like most of the RYUTist songs on their album Ryuto Geigi could have fit somewhere on this list, Koishite Marmalade is above and beyond my favorite song on the album. The song was written and arranged by Nagai Rui, who also wrote and arranged i*Ris’ masterpieces of Gensoukyoku Wonderland and Itazura Taiyou, and all the virtues he brought to those pieces (the amazing vocal mix and overall polish of the arrangements) to Koishite Marmalade. Koishite Marmalade is just a nonstop delight, that is perfectly mixed, arranged, and has a delightful melody. This type of retro pop is what Country Girls should have been doing. Every element of this song works perfectly and it’s just pop perfection.
2. Wakita Monari – Boy Friend
Deciding which Monari songs to put on this list was such a difficult choice but in the end, the top one was no brainer. Boy Friend is just nonstop 80s-inspired pop bliss that is just a delight through and through. The first line in the chorus, “koi wo shiyou yo honey” (“honey, let’s fall in love!”) just works so well – it’s such a simple line, but feels so much bigger in this song. Boy Friend feels like the perfect pop song in so many ways – it feels like a song that should have existed years ago, and the fact that Monari was the one to end up putting this out is tapping into something strong. Everything about Boy Friend works, and as such I’ve listened to this a lot in the past year. The song ramps up so well, too, that every time I listen it feels exciting. Boy Friend is the perfect modern take on an 80s pop song and it’s a nonstop joy.
1. Tsubaki Factory – Waratte
If you had told me that Tsubaki Factory would top my 2017 list in 2016 I would have probably laughed. While their 2016 indie songs have since grown on me, Tsubaki Factory made a big splash in 2017 with their major debut singles. While several songs from this year could have made it onto this top 25 list (Shuukatsu Sensation, Hatsukoi Sunrise), there was really only one option for this top 1 song. Waratte is one of the most fun idol songs in recent years. Like many of my favored songs it borrows heavily from a retro, funk sensibility, but it has a great melody, the lyrics are great and it feels like it should become a Hello!Project classic. It’s fun, almost dreamy in a way, and it almost defies description. Waratte is in many ways similar to the other songs on this list, but also just has something else about it that just works and that has made me listen to it over and over again.