BEST ~Countdown~ 2008 GH

Welcome to the first annual BEST ~Countdown~ 2008 GH! As I mentioned before, this is a mega review of 2008 and all that’s happened. It includes some of the top singles and albums along with some honorable mentions. And I’m sorry it came out so late, instead of January 1, 2009 but it’s been a very hectic month.

*Those singles released as digital singles will not count as singles, as in the BEST Singles, but will count for BEST Album Only Tracks.

BEST 10 A-Sides

TABOO – Koda Kumi

HEART STATION – Utada Hikaru

Friends – Stephanie

ONE – Ami Suzuki

02 – ORANGE RANGE

RED CLIFF ~Shen Sin~ – alan

Ai wo Utaou – ayaka

Jounetsu no Daishou – GIRL NEXT DOOR

ROCK STEADY – Namie Amuro

Romantic – Rie fu

Honorable Mentions:

love the world – Perfume

Weiβ Flügel – Yousei Teikoku

Koi wa Groovy×2 – Yuna Ito

Mirrorcle World – Ayumi Hamasaki

Kurage, Nagareboshi – Ai Otsuka

BEST 10 B-Sides

Suki – Crystal Kay

FOCUS – Mika Nakashima

Under The Same Sky – Leah Dizon

Lady Go! – Koda Kumi

Kuroi Torikago – Kanon Wakeshima

Pump It Up! – BONNIE PINK

STAY – BENI

Life – Ayumi Hamasaki

Koi no Kakuritsu Hendou – mihimaru GT

a token of love – Ami Suzuki

Honorable Mentions:

Winter Bell – Koda Kumi

Seed of Green– alan

Mafuyu no Seiza – Yuna Ito

Oh My God – YUI

Money Will Love You – Rie fu

HEy GirL – MiChi

BEST 10 ALBUMS

HEART STATION – Utada Hikaru

Kingdom – Koda Kumi

Lei Aloha – melody.

Supreme Show – Ami Suzuki

Sing to the Sky – ayaka

THE FACE – BoA

GUILTY – Ayumi Hamasaki

Don’t Stay – Tamaki Nami

Van. – Van Tomiko

GAME – Perfume

Honorable Mentions:

VOICE – Mika Nakashima

I LOVED YESTERDAY – YUI

Communication!!! – Leah Dizon

Flare – Hitomi Shimatani

GIRL NEXT DOOR – GIRL NEXT DOOR

DOLCE – Ami Suzuki

Door – Every Little Thing

BEST 10 ALBUM ONLY TRACKS

AGGRESSIVE – BoA

Celebrate – Utada Hikaru

LOVE MAIL – Ami Suzuki

Fantasy Candy – Aira Mitsuki

Secret Secret – Perfume

360° – Ai Otsuka

SKY – ayaka

Do Me More – Namie Amuro

Amai Wana – Koda Kumi

Taiyou no Flare – Hitomi Shimatani

Honorable Mentions:

Power of love – GIRL NEXT DOOR

more more more – capsule

(don’t) Leave me alone – Ayumi Hamasaki

Laugh away – YUI

Utopia – Van Tomiko

Bitter… – Ami Suzuki

BEST COMPILATION ALBUMS

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BEST FICTION – Namie Amuro

2008 as a whole has been a big year for Namie Amuro. She released as no. 1 single, her first in over 9 years and she released her third compilation album. BEST FICTION includes all her singles from Wishing On The Same Star to 60s70s80s, making it her best compilation to date, and did I mention there were two addition new songs? The first is the sexy synth R&B Do Me More and the second is the thumping R&B Sexy Boy. Anyway, this album features some of her best hits since 2002 which makes it worth while. And it managed to chart at no. 1 on the charts for 6 straight weeks, beating out Koda Kumi’s Black Cherry(2006) and even Ayumi Hamasaki’s DUTY(2000). This made Namie become the first female solo artist to have an album occupy the no.1 spot for 6 weeks since 1979. It even became the no 2 album of the year, behind EXILE’s album, which was released back in December 07. This album also made Namie the only artist to have a million-selling album in her teens, twenties, and thirties. And to date this amazing album has sold over 1,479,288 copies.

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A COMPLETE ~ALL SINGLES~ – Ayumi Hamasaki

Ayumi celebrated her 10th year in the music business by releasing her 5th, that’s right 5th, compilation album. This massive album was released in a 3CD Only and a 3CD+3DVD edition featuring 43 of her singles, all since 1998, and a special 10th anniversary version of Who…, the Chinese version was released on the the Asian release. The 3DVDs aren’t PVs but live performances. And although I love this album, I think it was a little odd to release an album like this since she released two compilations last year, but you know AVEX. This album also gave Ayumi her first album since MY STORY(2004) to sell over 500k in the first week, not from two weeks like (miss)understood(2006). If you don’t have any of Ayu’s albums, and can afford it, this would be one of the best compilation albums of 2008.

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The Best of melody. ~Timeline~melody.

I can’t believe that after five years, melody. is calling it quits. This album is her first compilation album, and could be the last??? Anyway it features all of her singles and it includes two B-Sides and miss you, the collaboration with m-flo and Ryohei. Although I have to admit that I really don’t like most of her early work, with the exception of a few songs, I do love the second half of the album for the most part, when things become more of a modern pop sound. But I do love how it shows her evolution as an artist and how it shows some of her more mature works. And like most compilation albums it managed to do pretty well, charting at no. 4, her second highest charting album. Hopefully she’ll return in a year or two, perhaps even with a new label?

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Chapter One -complete collection- – Beni Arashiro

After four years with AVEX, BENI has decided to change labels to Universal Music Japan, but not before releasing one final compilation album. This album includes all of her singles from 2004 including a few B-Sides and three new songs, making it a really good value. That being said though, it does include her earlier works, some of which aren’t all that great, but it does include some of her more recent works like the singles from GEM and so on. It even includes her cover of CALL ME, BEEP ME, which is still my favorite song from BENI. And I really glad to see that BENI has changed her name to BENI, from Beni Arashiro, and that she’s gone to Universal Music Japan. Frankly I love AVEX and all, but some of their lesser known artists aren’t really their top priority, often being pushed aside so that they can promote their top artist. At least with Universal BENI has gotten some great promotions and her latest single has reached no. 20, much better than no. 77. So fans of BENI’s old and new self, should pick up this album, it’s worth your time for the most part.

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the brilliant green complete single collection ‘97-’08 – the brilliant green

To be honestly with you, I really didn’t know much about the brilliant green until I heard the their latest single Ash Like Snow, which was used as the second opening theme song for the anime Gundam 00. And when I heard it, I was blown away. It was very rock oriented, and pretty dark, but I love it. The explosive guitar riffs and the impressive vocals, which came from Kawase Tomoko, who sings under the pseudonyms Tommy february6 and Tommy heavenly6. Anyway, this album features their first two singles which were sung in English along with their last three singles, which were released in 2007 and 2008. As the whole, the album showcases their distinct western contemporary rock sound, as well as their newer rock sounds, which really make it amazing.

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MY SHORT STORIES – YUI

Let’s face it, when it comes to high quality B-Sides, YUI rules. So it makes sense when YUI released her first compilation album that was a B-Sides collection. It reached no. 1 on the charts and became the first B-Sides compilation to reach no. 1 since Mr. Children’s B-Sides(2007) and the first female since Seiko Matsuda’s Touch Me(1984). And besides featuring all of her amazing B-Sides from feel my soul to SUMMER SONG. But one of the best features was that it included a brand new song entitled I’ll be. Like most of her songs it’s very acoustic oriented and somewhat up-beat, overall a great song. This album is really a must for any YUI fan.

BEST NEWS 2008

2008 has been a really big year, with lots happening. Here’s just a little review of what’s happened in 2008, as well as what might will in 2009. And just because it’s BEST doesn’t mean that it’s all good, it’s keeping with the title.

In January 2008 it was announced that Ayumi, the dubbed Empress of J-Pop had gone deaf in one of her ears. It was shocking news that really shook just about every fan. She stated that she was diagnosed back in 06, and that it has began as far back as 2000, no doubt from all of her live performances. It’s sad, but Ayumi promised to continue to work hard, and she really has this year. And she also announced that in 2009 she would release another single. This single is entitled Rule / Sparkle, the first song will be used as the theme song for the movie Dragonball Evolution, set to be released in April 2008.

One of the stupidest things that happened in 2008 was with Kuu. The night after Kingdom’s release she went on a show and stated that she wanted to have kids before 35 because at that age the amniotic fluid rots. Obviously there’s a bit more to it, but that’s the gist of it. So basically all promotions for Kingdom and her commercial endorsements were canceled. Yet Kingdom still topped the charts for two weeks. In my opinion, I think she was just stating a fact, because in truth some of it was true, but I don’t think she should have said it like that. That being said, I don’t think the Japanese media should have blown it out of proportion either, then again it’s a different culture with different values. However she did manage to comeback with MOON and then TABOO followed by stay with me, the last two were her 5th and 6th no. 1 hits.

In June it was confirmed that Maki Goto, the former pop idol, had switched to AVEX. It was pretty big news that led to a few live performances, some even at A-nation. It was a pretty big move that signaled a change in her appearance as an artist. Although she wasn’t really a pop idol in her last album, this transfer confirmed the change. And although she didn’t release any new material in 2008, she has in 2009. She’s preparing to make a full fledged comeback that should start soon hopefully.

alan debuted back in 2007, but she didn’t gain too much attention until her 5 Elements Campaign. She released five singles in five consecutive months, each representing one element. The first was Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~ and it was used as the theme song for the special NHK TV program, SAVE THE FUTURE, which was aired for three days around World Environment Day in all NHK channels, to help raise environmental issues, she even did a few live performances. It became her first single to chart in the top 20 and became her second highest selling single. Her highest selling single is RED CLIFF ~Shin Sen~ which was used as the theme song for the popular Asian movie RED CLIFF. The campaign began in July and ended in October and proved to be very beneficial in gaining alan some wide spread attention. And soon her debut album entitled Voice of EARTH will be released.

It was also announced in 2008 that Tamkai Nami would be switching labels, from SONY to Universal Music Japan. To be honest with you, I think it’s a good change. SONY was good in the beginning with her earlier work, but towards the end it got worse. Things really went downhill for the most after her second album, but it happens. Hopefully with Universal Tamaki will have better promotions and some better material.

Beni Arashiro also decided to switch labels, for her it was AVEX to Universal Music Japan. Really the same thing applies for BENI as it did for Tamaki. Hardly any promotions and nothing good was happening for her. So it’s no surprise that she decided to switch labels. I think it’s one of the better things that happened this year. And she even changed her stage name to BENI.

Not only was Hikki voted #1 Favorite Artist of 2008 by Oricon’s readers, but she also released another domestic million-selling album, her last since 2004, it even surpassed the sales of her previous album. But besides all of that news, it was announced that she would release her 2nd English studio album under Island/Universal in 2009, and that her new single was entitled Come Back To Me. This of course got fans all hyped up about all the new material and the new images of Hikki, much different from Exodus. Hikki’s year has been pretty good and 2009 could be even better. And the poll that I placed on Jan 12 has dubbed Hikki the Official GH J-Pop Empress of 08 by getting 22 votes, which was 31% of the 72 votes. I was going to do a section on Hikki, but I’ve gotten a little lazy, hope you don’t mind.

Such artists as Kanon Wakeshima and MiChi also made their debuts in 2008. Kanon features classical music with a darker edge and did the theme songs for both seasons of Vampire Knight. Kanon’s debut single was entitled still doll, while her second was Suna no Oshiro. MiChi on the other hand is more mainstream synth pop. Her debut single entitled PROMiSE reached no. 12 I believe and has done well. Her new single is going to be released in February of 2009 I believe. And depending on how you look at it, you could say Kana Nishino debuted in either 07 or 08. Her first three singles were pretty high quality and pretty cute pop sounding, the third was used as the ending theme song for the anime SOUL EATER. The first single of 2009 for Kana is entitled MAKE UP and was released on 1.28.09, so get ready for a review.

Let’s not forget about Ami Suzuki. This has been somewhat of a mini comeback year for Ami. She announced that she would release an anniversary single entitled ONE. And ONE was an amazing single, it featured a sexier style along with a vocoder, used for altering vocals which is how she got the distorted vocals, and some techno / electronica music. She eventually released her fourth album with AVEX entitled Supreme Show, which was her 10th Anniversary Album, which charted at no. 16, much better than its predecessors, and it wasn’t a collaboration album like her last two albums. And now it’s been announced that her new single will be entitled Reincarnation; this single however won’t be produced by Yasutaka Nakata, instead it’s Taku Takahashi of m-flo.

And BoA managed to do what only Hikki has done. She’s released a mainstream English single. Although it’s digital for the most part, it has shed a bit of the spotlight on BoA. It’s entitled Eat You Up and it’s not all that bad actually. Sure it could be better, but for her first real English single, it’s not half bad. And the remix with Flo-Rider wasn’t too horrible, although it could use some work too. And her debut English album is set to be released in 2009, along with her second Japanese compilation album. Her second triple A-Side single is also set to be released soon, in February actually.

Finally the last bit of news for 08 is about Yousei Teikoku! This dark, gothic band really peaked my interest back in September. The music has a classical feel along with the rock instrumentals, with some obvious dark & eerie influences, similar to Kanon Wakeshima. This band decided to release three consecutive singles for three consecutive months, from August to October. It might not have done that much for them, but I’ve gotten back some positive feedback from this band and their new singles. And although the band isn’t all that mainstream I still like the music and the vocals. If gothic / alternative rock is your thing, you might find yourself in heaven with this band.

Well that’s it. I hope everyone has enjoyed this mega review. I know I had a good time writing it, even though it took a few hours. Comments are appreciated of course as well as suggestions. So any constructive criticism is appreciated, just don’t be too mean.

Fin…

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Comments
2 Responses to “BEST ~Countdown~ 2008 GH”
  1. solarblade says:

    Hey, did you like Yousei’s recent release?

  2. Die says:

    from what i’ve heard it sounds good lol. i just haven’t heart the entire thing. but i plan to review it soon

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