When deciding to make a top songs list, I initially thought I’d do 10. Then it expanded to 25, and I had even more songs I wanted to discuss. These are songs that might not necessarily be perfect, but for various reasons I wanted to discuss here, in no particular order.
Cha Cha Sing! – Berryz Koubou
Berryz Koubou and I have an interesting, slightly complicated relationship. They were the first idol group I ever knew (Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai was my first idol song) so I have a bit of a fondness for them. However, lately I’ve been disappointed with their releases, and it’s hard to remember the last time I actually really liked a Berryz song; it might go as far back as Otakebi Boy Wao or Dakishimete Dakishimete. That being said, I really enjoyed Cha Cha Sing; it’s energetic and fun, but still feels like a Berryz song due to the arrangement. With Cha Cha Sing and Dschinghis Khan, I find it interesting how much Berryz excels at covers.
Oide Shampoo – Nogizaka46
OK yep I’m going to be the Nogizaka46 defender of the year. While I love B-sides like House and Guru Guru Curtain grew on me, Oide Shampoo was the song that made me like the group. This isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s very pleasant and hits a lot of my personal buttons (piano, string sounds, classic idol feel). There’s definitely room in the idolsphere for Nogizaka46, and while it might not be everyone’s type of music, it’s definitely my type.
Science girl Silent Boy – Kagaku Kyumei Kiko Logica?
I like Sakura Gakuin well enough; they’re a solid idol group with younger members (every member graduates from the group once they hit high school), and have some really catchy stuff. However, the subgroups are where Sakura Gakuin really shines. BABYMETAL hails from Sakura Gakuin, Twinkle Stars was a great group, and now Kagaku Kyumei Kiko Logica?. They’re the “science club” (kagaku-bu) and their song Science Girl Silent Boy is just good. It’s not the catchiest song but it’s definitely a great debut. The song reminds me slightly of Perfume music, and it’s mid-tempo and memorable. While it didn’t quite qualify for the top 25 (though I know people who would have put it top 10), I still loved it.
Manatsu no Sounds Good – AKB48
I’m a bit of a weirdo, in that I legitimately liked every AKB48 main single track this year: Give Me five, Gingham Check, UZA, Eien Pressure But Manatsu no Sounds Good stood out to me as my favorite piece. It initially took a while to grow on me, but it’s the most interesting of AKB’s summer songs, choosing to be more mature sounding than in past years. For me, though, its ending is what really shines, sounding triumphant and exciting.
Warukii – Watanabe Miyuki
This is the type of song that appeals mainly to me as a Milky fan and I don’t know how many non-Milky fans would like it. It just fits Milky perfectly and is a fun thing to listen to.
Fuwa Fuwa Precious – CQC’s
I only heard of CQC’s this year due to the Tokyo Idol Festival, but their song Fuwa Fuwa Precious had a big effect on me. It reminds me of Morning Musume/Hello!Project around 2000 with a strong disco sound. While I put Rhymeberry high up on my list and BABYMETAL was still an indie act in 2012, but CQC’s really impressed me with Fuwa Fuwa Precious and made me interested to hear more from them.
Fore fore Forest for Rest – DIY
This is kind of my dream unit in Hello!Project. Take my two favorite members of C-ute, my two favorite members of Berryz Koubou and my 2nd favorite current member of Morning Musume, and you got DIY. That being said, this song is energetic, fun, and kind of a cool appeal. It’s a very unique sounding song, and one I really enjoyed.
Daisuki 100 Manten – Ishida Ayumi and Fukumura Mizuki
While I’m still apathetic to most of current Hello!Project, recently I’ve become a pretty big Ishida Ayumi fan, and Fukumura Mizuki’s become my favorite 9th gen Morning Musume member. This song reminds me a bit of Shiroi Tokyo, and while it’s not necessarily unique or the best it reminds me a bit of that era of Hello!Project.
Matsu wa DD Daikangei – Team Syachihoko
OK so I didn’t want to put too much Team Syachihoko on my list for fear of being kind of obnoxious about it. Because really, all their songs are excellent examples of the idol genre. However, Matsu wa DD Daikangei has a place in my heart and was one of my most repeated songs of the past couple of months.
Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku – C-ute
C-ute is kind of the last group I expected to do one of my favorite idol ballads of the past year, but they did. I’m not a ballad person, but this was a really excellent song. Like Hatsukoi Cider they had solo versions, which also added to my enjoyment; I could just listen to Maimi!
Like I mentioned on my first list, this was a toughie. There are a lot of songs I didn’t feel I could put on here but I enjoyed a lot. 2012 was a fantastic year, and I hope 2013 follows suit!