Best Countdown 2008 G
Welcome to the first of hopefully many Best Countdowns. Here is just a little page that’ll include a few events and news of what’s happened this year, well this first half anyway. But the main purpose is for the whole Best Of… in this case it’s the Best Of the 1st Half of 08 but for writing purposes, it’d be known as Best Countdown 2008 G. The first half will contain the Best Of, while the second half will include some new blog stats. And without delay, let me begin the Best Countdown 2008 G. *Note All Music is from January 1-June 30.
First & Foremost, the Best Singles!
Best Comeback Single!
60s70s80s – Namie Amuro
After a few years from fallen popularity Namie slowly worked her way back up to prominence. With the release of her latest album PLAY, Namie had suddenly gotten back in the game. With this newest single, Namie again got another no. 1 single, her first in nearly 10 years. Her popularity was reestablished after the release of this triple A-Side single. It’s currently one of the highest selling female singles to date in 2008. She’s now 30 but still singing in her prime, go Namie the Queen of Comebacks!
Best Scariest Single!
still doll – Kanon Wakeshima
No surprise here, this choice was quite obvious. This single by Kanon features classical instruments and disturbing background music. But then again it was produced by MANA, so what did you expect. Anyway, for a debut single this has caused quite a scare. And the title track was used in the new anime Vampire Knight, which is very good in my opinion. Here’s to Kanon, with one of the scariest singles ever.
Best Cute Single!
glowly days – Kana Nishino
Kana took me by surprise at first with her debut single I, and from there I fell in love with her. But it was her second single that really caught my eyes. Although she cannot sing in English that well she can sing, after a few lessons she should be better. But anyway the title track was so adorable, especially when she tries to sing in English. Dream glowly days, and think of a cute and so so sweet voice. Yay for Kana and she so cute single.
Best Anniversary Single!
Mirrorcle World – Ayumi Hamasaki
Seeing that no one else released an anniversary single, Ayumi was really the only candidate and choice. But this introduction turned full song turned single was quite the single. It was released in an incredible six editions, and featured a total of two brand new songs and two anniversary editions. With this single came many promotions and even another tour of Asia. Still this single was quite remarkable selling over 146,000+ copies in its first week, the highest for a female single in 2008. But I really loved how the covers looked, not the whole topless thing, but because it seemed so natural, so beautiful and so serene. Unless another one is released later this year, this will remain the best. Ayumi does it again with this no. 1 anniversary single.
Best Love Single!
Prisoner Of Love – Utada Hikaru
Despite being four to five years younger than a few of the other J-Pop divas, Hikki has broken so many records. And this time she’s won my attention again with this wonderful re-cut single, Prisoner Of Love. This single was used for the drama Last Friends, as both the theme and an insert song. It’s popularity has grown, especially on the digital charts, reaching no. 1 on Itunes Japan, and becoming another signature song from Hikki. This single features one lovely song, full of emotions all about love; and it includes a Quiet Version that features only an orchestra and a new set of vocals. But what really sets it apart from the others is the lyrics, which are so beautiful and emotional. Leave it to Hikki to create such a lovely and heartfelt single.
Best American Sounding Single!
Love Paradox – Leah Dizon
Leave it to an American to have an American sounding single right? Well out of all of the singles, this one sounds the most American, and being from an American artist I guess it’d only make sense. This American style R&B song features some distorted synthed vocals, that sounds pretty good. The English was impressive and the Japanese was straight on. Despite not doing that great on the charts this is definitly one of the best American sounding singles, as of yet anyway. Leah is very cute and very good with her vocals.
Best Cute Lyrics, Morals, & PV Single!
Girigiri HERO – mihimaru GT
This single might look a little strange but it’s good nonetheless and it contains some very cute lyrics, morals, along with a great PV. Now the lyrics are about a person who helps one person, even though they’re a “barely qualified HERO.” It’s really all about how you don’t need a flashy costume to or any powers to be a hero to someone, corny and cheesy but true. With some great lyrics, English and Japanese, and the corny yet true moral, this single is so great. And as for the PV, well it’s so cool! It was one of the top videos on Itunes Japan and it’s no wonder. In the video it features a grown man who helps all kinds of people, even though he’s barely qualified. But in the end, he’s a really great hero. mihimaru GT has outdone themselves with this creative single.
Best Electronica / Techno / Dance Single!
Baby cruising Love / Macaroni – Perfume
After changing producers this group started steadily to gain attention, until finally they released this single which managed to reach no. 3 on the charts. Perfume is well known for their producer Nakata Yasutaka, and their often distorted vocals. And in this single it’s all about distortions, great techno pop and the occasional electronica vocals. But I must say that this single sounds so good, distortions and all. Yasutaka has done it again with these lovely ladies and there fantastic electronica / techno single.
Now for the Best Albums!
Best Dedicated Album!
GUILTY – Ayumi Hamasaki
After countless no. 1 singles and albums Ayumi released GUILTY. Despite this album reaching no. 2 on the charts it did become a very beautiful album. The album was dedicated to a friend of Ayumi’s who passed away earlier in the year and she even wrote a song for her. But the point is that this album was full of emotion and power, but most importantly it was one of the best dedicated albums, but come to think of it I have no clue how many other’s were dedicated to other people. But still this is no. 1!
Best Disappointing Album!
Kingdom – Koda Kumi
Countless promotions were prepared for Kuu-Chan’s latest album, however the album turned out to be a huge disappointment. After Kuu’s controversy the album’s sales seemed to plummet, selling about half as many copies as her previous album. And the quality of the album wasn’t that great. I was expecting so much, but all it was was a huge disappointment.
Best Flop Album!
THE FACE – BoA
BoA might have ruled the world of J-Pop as a princess in the early 2000’s but it seems that as time’s gone by her popularity has faded to an all time low. Her latest album was a prime example of what’s happened in music industry, falling sales. The album itself was rather enjoyable but the sales were anything but that. This album is her lowest selling Japanese studio album, and the singles from this era were a huge disappointment sales wise. Maybe her new tour will push this flop.
Best Popularity Decline Album!
Don’t Stay – Tamaki Nami
This hasn’t been Nami’s year to say the least. After releasing Graduation ~Singles~, her first best album, she began her new era. Now the new era didn’t begin that great, her first single failed to chart in the top 20. Her next single was a moderate success, but the last was a total flop, barely making it to the top 20. But in 2008 she released Don’t Stay, her fourth studio album. With virtually no promotions the album reached number 14, making it her lowest charting album considering her two previous albums had been no. 1 hits. It goes to show you what happens in the world of Japanese idols. One minute you’re a famous teen sensation, the next you’re last year’s model. Hopefully this is only a slow period and her next singles and albums chart better.
Best Repetitive Album!
I LOVED YESTERDAY – YUI
We all know YUI as that artist who sung a few theme songs from the popular anime Bleach. She’s also known for her frequent use of a guitar, whether it be acoustic or electrical. Now I haven’t listened to any of her previous albums but the reviews were generally praising the album.s As for this album, there was anything but praise. Most people, including me, found this album to be so repetitive. The album started out good, but after so many guitar driven songs the album began to lose its flare. You can only use an instrument so many times before it gets old. And another little thing, she hardly ever smiled! And the cover wasn’t that great either sadly.
Best Collaboration Album!
DOLCE – Ami Suzuki
I guess Ami’s the only artist to do so many collaborations besides m-flo but she’s the only one that I’ve reviewed. So she won hands down, and the album was great, and PINK! Anyway even though she’s done so many, it’s because her collaborations were so good that I added her. The singles for this album were very good, and so memorable. And the album itself was so fantastic and pink. From the synth / techno FREE FREE to the lone non-collaboration track if, this album is simply phenomenal. Although it seems that this is her last collaboration album it’s certainly the best.
Best Theme Album!
Lei Aloha – melody.
Only after one single was released did melody. decide to release an album. The result was Lei Aloha and it was darn good result at that. Even though this album didn’t do that well, the most important thing about it was its theme. The theme for this album was Bonds, and the tracks reflect it with both lyrics and music. It was probably her best album to date and her most emotional. What an emotional and profound theme!
Best Electronica / Techno / Dance Album!
GAME – Perfume
From pop idols to Queens of Techno with the help of their producer Nakata, the group rose to popularity. After the release of their single Polyrhythm the steadily began to rise in popularity until they released GAME. GAME is undoubtedly the best electronica / techno / dance album without competition. With some great distorted vocals and superb flashy dance music with fun, energetic beats this album was an easy no. 1 hit and the best techno album.
Best Overall Album!
HEART STATION – Utada Hikaru
While I must admit that I am a little biased towards Hikki there’s no doubt that she made one hell of an album. After two years since her previous album fans were waiting for this album. This phenomenal album contained the child favorite single Boku wa Kuma, the 2nd most downloaded song in the world Flavor of Life, the theme song for a very popular anime movie Beautiful World with a Nissin Cup Noodle CM song Kiss & Cry, and finally the Kao Shampoo CM Stay Gold with the ever popular HEART STATION that was the only song to pass over 1,000 plays on the radio. The album is filled with beautiful songs with profound lyrics and tremendous emotion. One of the songs was so great that it was released as a re-cut single. But this album has such a high quality to it, and that’s why it’s so good. This album has also outsold her previous album, a first for Hikki. And the total physical & digital sales for this album and its songs total over 20 million, a very impressive record.
I hope you all enjoyed the first Best Countdown 2008 G. I know it wasn’t that good this time, but I’ve just been so tired lately it’s almost become a job, rather than a fun activity. But be assured that the next Best Countdown will be much better, and will include some more sections. Thanks for being patient, and I’ll be reviewing albums soon, get ready for First Love.