BEST ~Countdown~ -Singles Edit-

Time for my annual BEST ~Countdown~ the mega review where I pretty much rank the best of the best, from singles to albums. This review being the -Singles Edit- will feature the Best Singles of 09. The albums will be posted later this year, hopefully by the end of next week. So without any more hesitation let’s begin the BEST ~Countdown~!

BEST 10 A-Sides of 2009

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trust you – Yuna Ito

This song was just phenomenal. It’s IMO her best ballad to date, and I just loved her vocals, so much power. And the music was just awing. Doesn’t hurt that it was in Gundam 00 either.

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Nande Nakitaku Nacchaundarou – Miho Fukuhara

I personally think that she’s one of the freshest faces of J-Pop, and one of the most unique. She’s almost like ayaka meets Joss Stone, songwriter + husky voice. And this particular song was up-beat and jazzy, and just plain fun. One of the catchiest feel-good songs of the year.

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Kuon no Kawa – alan

Clearly before her fall from grace, which you all know what I’m talking about, this is her most epic ballad. It even managed to reach no. 1 on the Daily Charts, if that’s not impressive enough I don’t know what it.

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ECSTASY – Koda Kumi

Her 3 SPLASH single was meh, but this song was damn! It’s her usual sexy/slutty Kuu and that’s why I liked it. It was sort of like TABOO meets Driving, not as good as the two combines but it’s still enough to make it one of the best A-Sides, that and the interesting PV xD

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Sparkle – Ayumi Hamasaki

Fiercest song she’s ever released, and her techno/electronic/dance music was just insane, too bad her album couldn’t have been as good. The music was intense, lots of crazy beats, and I couldn’t get enough of the “No no no…’s”

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Dr. – Namie Amuro

This song is spacey, far-out and futuristic, which is perfect for her latest album. The changing rhythms and piano chords, along with some underlying synth made it an unforgettable track, just what the Dr. ordered.

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After Love -First Boyfriend- feat. KANAME – Crystal Kay

Another excellent anniversary for CK. This song was an amazing R&B mid-tempo ballad that while was too short lacked nothing in the music and vocal department. I only wish that Kaname might have done more.

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Over Load – Mika Nakashima

It looked like Mika went to rehab after VOICE, it wasn’t a bad album, it’s just that she looked terrible, she looks more like her debut self, rather than her VOICE self. Anyway this song had it all. The chorus was spectacular, the music was classical and just plain mystifying, and it was quite infectious, and she sounded great.

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PUZZLE – Mai Kuraki

I love edgy American style R&B, especially when it’s from a Japanese singer. And that’s why Mai is up here. This song is pretty edgy, aggressive, and astounding, all at once too. The background vocals were actually interesting and kept with the R&B sound. I think Mai should stick to this genre, speedy music suites her best.

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Believe in LOVE feat. BoA – ravex

This group is truly a genius. It’s a trio of some of the best DJs in J-Pop and they’re all here to celebrate avex’s 20th Anniversary. Anyhow this song featured BoA as the main vocalist and I did enjoy her vocals, her English has improved considerably too. The music was a mixture of classical music and dance, the synthesized strings are just orgasmic.

Honorable Mentions
ChaNge the WoRLd – MiChi
Kimi ni Aitaku Naru Kara – Kana Nishino
Kiss Kiss Kiss – BENI
Namida no Mukou – Stereo Pony
WHY – Miliyah Kato

BEST 10 B-Sides of 2009

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Brand New World (from trust you) – Yuna Ito

I’ve always been a sucker for pop songs, and this one is no exception. Except that this song is actually good and doesn’t get stale after a few listens. Lots of beats and the synth music was great, quit infectious. One of the most memorable B-Sides of the year.

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No Answer (from Over Load) – Mika Nakashima

This song was perfect for Over Load, it’s the perfect match. The music is softer, a little slower, and not nearly as loud or obnoxious. I loves the classical music with some of the traditional Japanese strings and other acoustics. It just goes on flowing quite well. And the bridge gave me chills xD it was just that good.

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Destiny (from WHY) – Miliyah Kato

This is without a doubt my favorite track from Miliyah. It’s one of her best R&B ballads. The synth was amazing too, no overkill in this case. The beats were incredible, piano chords were perfect, and above all the melody was top notch.

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stardust (from Zutto Futari de) – BENI

I really could care less for the title track but this B-Side rocked it. It was a tad out there with the synth music, but the infectious beats and synth riffs made it come to live, even the acoustics were nice. It’s just a very infectious song, quite fast too, and her vocals were pretty good too.

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Amethyst (from Unlock) – mihimaru GT

I’m not sure if I even reviewed this song (O.o) but nonetheless it was amazing. The classical strings, the hip-hop-esque music at times, the piano chords and the nasally vocals; I loved all of it. It sounds completely different from just about every song I heard this year, it’s by far one of the most interesting.

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Doyara kyo mo Shibuya Made (from PRESENT) – Rie fu

I HATED this single, well the title track for the most part. But I loved this B-Side. It’s more folk music than anything. Rie fu got back to her roots which is what I enjoyed the most. It was soft, acoustic, and peaceful.

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Dub-I-Dub (from Reincarnation) – Ami Suzuki

I don’t think many people enjoyed this single, and it’s not hard to hear why. But most loved her cover of Dub-I-Dub. It’s a great dance song and her cover was awesome. The beats were great, the music was danceable, and her English could have used some work but she’s come pretty far. I just love dance songs with synth (^-^)

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Let’s get together at a-nation (from ∞1) – Do As Infinity

I don’t care what you say. I know this song was far out and really different from anything they did but I liked this song. The distorted vocals were cool and somewhat spacey at times. But I loved how it was rock with some electronic, quite the combination. And I don’t think anyone can argue that it wasn’t catchy?

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Negai Hoshi (from Friends!) – Tamaki Nami

It was either this or Konojo and this won, although both are equally good. It’s basically a techno/dance song with some great music, dance naturally with some synth. The music actually reminds me of some of the songs from Ayu’s many remix albums. Either way it’s catchy and enjoyable.

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Sea (from again) – YUI

So YUI can’t smile, who needs to? She does, but since her music is good I’m fine. Yeah so Sea is somewhat of a serious song. It features guitar riffs, acoustics, percussion, and even some strings. It’s not the catchiest thing but I most appreciate the song’s overall sound and composition. One of her finer tracks.

Honorable Mentions
You and I (from Joy / Happy Ending) – BONNIE PINK
Beauty (from Swear) – alan
Golden LUV feat. MAKI GOTO (from Believe in LOVE feat. BoA) – ravex
Sherie (from MAKE UP) – Kana Nishino
CRUISE the WORLD (from Koi Koegarate) – BENI

WORST A-Sides – Get ready for the firestorm xD

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Hashire! – Koda Kumi

This song was just a piece of crap that was a waste of space, clearly Kuu needs to stick to either ballads or sexy/slutty songs.

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CANDY GIRL– Mika Nakashima

Just look at the picture, need I say more?

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Seeds of dream – GIRL NEXT DOOR

You’ve sounded too much like day after tomorrow for far too long. And your songs are getting stale, especially this one.

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Swear – alan

This was the song that pretty much turned alan into the Chinese Ayu, shame on avex. And it was mediocre attempt at a pop song that served no purpose. Even the B-Side Beauty was better.

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Believe in LOVE (Acoustic Version) – BoA

This song basically turned the amazing synth driven song into a piece of shit. It lost everything that made it amazing and that made it stand out. It wasn’t all that interesting or remotely good.

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Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ – Ayumi Hamasaki

Do I really need to get started on you? You attempted to make a nice song with the same melody you used to make a summer pop sensation. That’s why this song fails.

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GIVE ME UP – Tamaki Nami

And you! You know what you did. Don’t even get me started on you.

B-Sides? None because B-Sides are always B-Sides and tend to vary too much.

And just because I can, I’m adding another section, this one’s about how much the artist has or hasn’t failed this year with singles.

BEST WTFs / Random Stuff

nullKoda Kumi – REALLY??? You’ve been in J-Pop for how long and you’re still producing shitty singles, consecutively I might add. After her TRICK Era things have pretty much gone down hill. I honestly didn’t care all that much for It’s all Love! it was mediocre at best. As for 3 SPLASH, if it wasn’t ECSTASY it would have been a complete flop, god knows most of us couldn’t stand Hashire! I don’t think that Alive was one of her greatest works either, if it wasn’t for sexy Kuu and Physical thing it would have flopped even more, despite reaching no. 1 on the charts. And at this rate her next single is gonna suck too, all I can say is that Universe better be good.

alan – She started out strong with Gunjou no Tani, which completed her stellar debut album, and then she continued with Kuon no Kawa which in two words is “epic ballad,” clear as day. After that it was BALLAD -Namonaki Koi no Uta- which was another great ballad. But out of nowhere she pulls out Swear????? It’s a like a big WTF happened? Can someone say Ayu??? I think that avex is transforming his simple Tibetan into the Chinese Ayu, which is both good and bad, but I won’t get too much into it. Oh and 2nd album, rushed.

Let’s not forget the Empress now. Ayu‘s single were sufficient. She kicked ass with Rule / Sparkle, some of her fiercest works. But then she released Sunrise / Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~. It’s not that it’s a bad single, it’s just again mediocre. She did surprise us with the two melodies being the same, but both songs could have used some work. And then she releases yet another winter single, right after a summer single too. And honestly while I liked it, it could have been a hell of a lot better, I actually think BoA did a better job with her winter single. All I’m saying is that Ayu isn’t using her full potential, and it’s quite sad.

Now lets get to the infamous GND. I’ll admit that I did enjoy their debut album, and few singles for a while, but it’s getting a bit too stale, singles are starting to sound even more recycled and even older. They need to get their act together with NEXT FUTURE or their PAST > FUTURE.

Tamaki Nami has had her ups and downs this year. At first I think I actually liked her debut single under Universal, but now it’s a piece of crap, and only the B-Side was good. Her singles aren’t selling all that well and eventually I think she’s gonna be screwed over by her management yet again, such a waste of talent.

Now I haven’t really gone into too much detail but I do like Stereo Pony, as most of us know, they’re a band of three girls, each plays a different instrument and they’re decent. I haven’t reviewed much from them, I probably should since I like them, but I’ll wait till later. Their singles are pretty decent and overall they’re getting better, and they tend to do anime themes, which I have no problem with.

And Shoko-tan, you’ve just failed me, it’s as simple as that. Her lackluster singles and lack of variety have made me refuse to listen to anything new from her, perhaps one day I’ll remember why I liked her as an artist.

nullI doubt I’ll ever review anything from SCANDAL in the future unless they start coming out with some really good singles, but I can honestly say that they impressed me with their single Shoujo S. It’s a rock song, and I’ll admit that I really didn’t like it that much, even when I heard it as the theme song to Bleach, but eventually it grew on me. It’s pretty catchy, a tad bit aggressive, and I love the lyrics, being selfish is quite fun you know.

Miliyah Kato has been full of surprises this year. I was thoroughly impressed with her two latest singles this year, and I also plan to review album, which I think it’s safe to say I’ll find to be superb.

That was my review! Hope everyone finds it somewhat useful. And this is only the first part, the second part should come out sometime next week. And DAMN this reviews take forever, especially with all the images involved. And as you can see I was too lazy to get any pictures for the last section, maybe I’ll add some later.

Comments
3 Responses to “BEST ~Countdown~ -Singles Edit-”
  1. robin says:

    koda kumi rules! can’t wait for new album universe next month
    http://www.japansugoi.com/wordpress/kumi-koda-new-album-universe-coming-next-month/

  2. Jinhwa says:

    Totally agree with what you wrote on WTF about Koda Kumi. I also give up hope on her next single. But after listening to “Can We Go Back” today, I found out it’s much better than “It’s All Love”. Life suddenly has meaning to me again. For a big Kumi fan, her 2009 bad singles really made me think that maybe it’s time that she should dance less and sing more.

  3. Ty_Sylicus says:

    Well written. I especially like the part at the bottom where you rant on about all the ridiculous crap that’s been coming outta Japan lately. You said what I think; mind-reader you!😮

    Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who did “Best Album Only Tracks”.

    I’ll RSS your blog. I’m a fan of Lex – Beyond The Sea. ^_^

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