Berryz Koubou – 私の未来のだんな様 / 流星ボーイ [21st Single]

February 13, 2010 at 12:35 am (Berryz Koubou) (, )

Berryz Koubou’s 21st single, entitled 私の未来のだんな様 / 流星ボーイ, was released on 11.11.09. 流星ボーイ was used as the ending theme song for the Nintendo DS game Inazuma Eleven 2 Kyoui no Shinryakusha Fire and as the ending theme for the anime Inazuma Eleven.

私の未来のだんな様 is a fun and cool number that will get stuck in the listener’s head on first listen. Beginning the song is a funky instrumental that is absolutely addictive. Then comes the first verse, divided into four parts for Risako, Miyabi, Momoko and Yurina. Risako’s vocals are particularly capturing, staying very smooth and sleek to suit the song’s cool atmosphere. Packed full of fun energy, the chorus really stands out and stays on the mind. Risako ends the chorus with more great vocals before more pure instrumentation is re-introduced. The pure instrumental section spotlights the funkiness of the song and Miyabi and Risako end things off on the right note. This is definitely one of Berryz Koubou’s best songs and really shows what these girls can do.

And the energy keeps on coming with the second A-side, the funky 流星ボーイ. The backing vocals open the song, repeatedly singing “Never give up” and they actually do a good job of catching the listener’s attention and preparing them for Berryz. The girls come in for the chorus. They sound particularly good when they sing the name of the song. On the verses, there is more of a relaxing atmosphere that makes for a nice change while still keeping a cohesiveness. The pure instrumental section features the very cool sounds of the guitar, really bringing the listener into the world of the song. It’s another great track that makes this single perfect froms start to finish.

In order to promote the single, two PVs were made: one for each A-side. The PV for 私の未来のだんな様 features dance sequences and the girls sitting in a chair while feathers lightly fall from the sky. There are also scenes of the girls looking at a TV screen in which various people are chosen. It’s a great video and the girls look great (particularly Risako). The 流星ボーイ is more fun and energetic, just like the song, featuring the girls in outer-space. It suits the theme of the song well and the outfits are really eye-catching.

Single Ranking: A +

Berryz Koubou are continuously nailing each of their singles, each A-side of their double A-sides catching the eye. Both songs this time around have a sort of funkiness to them that ties the single package together but each one stands out on its own. The first A-side is the stronger one but both songs are definitely memorable gems in the girls’ discography, making this a single to definitely look out for.

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Hello! Project – チャンプル①~ハッピーマリッジソングカバー集~ [Special Cover Album]

July 13, 2009 at 3:23 am (Berryz Koubou, Buono!, C-ute, Morning Musume) (, , , , , )

H!P Album 1

A special Hello! Project album, entitled チャンプル①~ハッピーマリッジソングカバー集,~ was released on 07.15.09. The album features various newly updated shuffle units from the various groups in Hello! Project: Morning Musume, C-ute, Berryz Koubou, Buono! and some eggs. All the songs on the album are covers.

The opening track of the album is ダイアモンド, sung by High King (Tanaka Reina, Takahashi Ai, Shimizu Saki, Yajima Maimi and Maeda Yuuka). The song begins with a cool sounding instrumental that soon quickens in pace and then the happy and sweet real sound of the song comes in, making the listener smile. There is kind of a wintery atmosphere to it which makes it all the more special. On the first verse, the vocals sound good with Reina really standing out. Everyone sounds good on the chorus with Reina and Ai shining the most although everyone definitely holds their own. It’s a great way to start things off with the leaders of the group along with front-girl and leader of High King, Reina as well as one of the stronger Hello Project Egg girls.

The girls of C-ute team up with Mano Erina for the second song, 愛は勝つ. Starting things off is a sweet instrumental driven by the piano. Everyone sounds so happy and cute when the first vocals come in and it really does fit the album’s theme. On the verses, the vocals are good although there are a little too many vocalizations that are held too long and the constant vocalizing in the background do grow to be annoying. Overall it’s sweet and cute although not as interesting as hoped.

Aa! is revitalized with a new line-up for the third song, YES-YES-YES! The new line-up features both Suzuki Airi and Natsuyaki Miyabe, who were in the original line-up. However Tanaka Reina was replaced with Akari Saho. The song starts off with a very pretty and simple instrumental that just feels very romantic. Those vocals are very smooth and suit the atmosphere of the song perfectly. The emotions just pour out on the chorus as they give stronger vocals and the music sounds more intense. The three girls did a great job on this one and it definitely is one the jewels of the album.

Mini Moni is given new life and a new line-up (Linlin [leader], Fukuda Kanon, Akari Takeuchi and Karin Miyamoto) for their song, てんとう虫のサンバ. The song opens up with a really cool upbeat instrumental that will make the listener want to dance along with everyone. On the first verse, the vocals carry such happiness and sweetness that will make the listener smile. It’s kind of hard to notice when the chorus comes in but once it does, it sounds quite nice although not as strong as the verses. It’s a shame that the song is so short because it’s definitely one of the strongest songs on the album. Plus it’s nice to have Linlin as leader of the group and get the attention she deserves.

Pucchimoni V (Nakajima Saki, Hagiawara Mai and Mano Erina) for the fifth song, 君がいるだけで. The song kicks off with a very pretty instrumental and then the chorus comes in, carrying the same sweetness like the other tracks. It does have a nice wedding feeling to it. On the first verse, there is a relaxing feeling to it that sounds nice. Basically it’s a nice track although it was just a little dull.

Tanaka Reina gets the chance to shine with her solo track, 部屋とYシャツと私. The song starts off with a really cool instrumental that has a sort of lulling effect to it. She sounds great on the first verse, her vocals supporting the beautiful sounds of the harp perfectly. The sound of water drops is also a nice touch and somehow gives the song a slightly more personal feeling. The chorus is so sweet and cute that the listener can’t help but love it. It’s a very pretty song and Reina brings it to life, giving something extra to make it feel more personal.

Niigaki Risa and Eri Kamei (of Morning Musume) team up for the next song, 守ってあげたい. Those opening vocals on the chorus sound angelic and really stand out to the listener. English phrases like “you don’t have to worry” and “cause I love you” really shine here. Then the instrumentation becomes slightly more diverse with the addition of a few new sounds and spices things up. Risa and Eri both sound very good here with the emotions definitely staying in their voices. It’s a very enjoyable song and only good have come with two of the strongest members of Morning Musume came together for a duet.

Takahashi Ai gets a solo song with 秋桜. A very enjoyable and pretty instrumental starts things off and there is a real connection to nature here that stands out nicely. Ai’s vocals carry a lot of emotion when she comes in on the first verse and it’s clear she understand the story of the song. She really sounds great on the chorus as she gives stronger vocals and the magic of the instrumentation meets her voice soothingly. She definitely brings her personal charm on the song and makes the listener want even more.

ZYX-a (Niigaki Risa [leader], Umeda Erika, Tsugunaga Momoko, Tokunaga Chinami, Maasa Sudou, Kusumi Koharu, Ayaka Wada and Saki Owagi) steps up to the plate with 未来予想図II. The song begins with a very pretty piano opening that easily catches the ear. Everyone sounds nice on the opening vocals although it would have been nice to have some solo parts. The chorus fits with the marriage theme very nicely and sounds very emotional, even somewhat sorrowful. Although there are a lot of girls in this unit, it would have been better if there were solo parts, mostly from Risa as leader.

ONLY YOU is delivered by Zoku Biyuuden (Michishige Sayumi, Junjun and Sugaya Risako). It’s one of the cooler songs with some rock influences to bring out the girls’ interesting and clever style. Although it’s not one of the stronger songs, it’s still a nice listen and it does get points for stepping away from the general sound of the album.

The fourth generation of Tanopopo (Eri Kamei, Mitsui Aika, Kumai Yurina and Okai Chisato) take on 赤いスイートピー.  Beginning the song is another sweet and calming instrumental that stands out nicely. All the girls of this unit sound great with their vocals suiting the sweetness of the music perfectly. It’s particularly cute when they sing “I will follow you” on the chorus and it really does fit the atmosphere of a wedding.

It was surprising to see Linlin get a solo but that’s exactly what she got with for you…The music is pretty and her vocals show a lot of vulnerability and emotion for the listener to hear. She really bring the song to its magical peak and with vocals like that, it’s a wonder why she doesn’t get more solo parts in Morning Musume songs.

Mano Erina teams up with another group, this time Berryz Koubou for 関白宣言. The instrumentation feels a little empty and the vocals aren’t anything particularly wow-worthy so the track just doesn’t stand as strongly as it should have.

Such a romantic song, 世界は二人のために, sung by Michishige Sayumi, Kusumi Koharu, Mitsui Aika and Junjun closes the album off nicely. It’s such a beautiful ballad and everyone brings their best to the table, letting the emotions of a wedding shine through. The title of the song fits it well since it feels like a song that was perfectly made to suit two people.

Album Ranking: B

Overall, this album was a nice package with the stars of Hello! Project coming together and switching up the usual groups to sing happily. It was nice to see the return of High King; Linlin got quite the attention she deserves, Reina and Ai shined on their solos and it was just an overall cute album. A little more variety in the songs they chose to cover would have been nice but still a good package.

Most Memorable Songs: ダイアモンド [High King] / てんとう虫のサンバ [Shin Mini Moni] / YES-YES-YES! [Aa!] / 秋桜 [Takahashi Ai] / 部屋とYシャツと私 [Tanaka Reina]

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Berryz Koubou – 青春バースグイド / ライバル [20th Single]

May 31, 2009 at 12:03 am (Berryz Koubou) (, )


Berryz Koubou’s 20th single, entitled 青春バースグイド / ライバル, was released on 06.03.09. 青春バースグイド was used as the ending theme for the anime series Inazuma 11.

青春バースグイド is a fantastic upbeat song with a mature feel to it. Beginning the song is a very pretty sound that takes the listener into another world. The the girls come in for the chorus and they really shine as their vocals come together and form a collective energy that attracts the listener. On the verses, the music stays cool in the back while the girls switch off singing. Everyone sounds great and carries that sweetness that makes them irresistible. Of course, the pure instrumental section stands strong, spotlighting the mature atmosphere of the song for everyone to enjoy. This is definitely a nice change for Berryz and more mature songs are welcomed from them in the future.

ライバル is a cute track that goes back to the group’s older sound. The song opens up with a cool rock instrumental and then a few vocalizations from Berryz come in. Following is the chorus and it has a cute feeling to it that seems a little strange for the girls considering the recent mature songs they’ve had. It gets a little better on the verses because of the rapidity they sing with. It pumps a little interest into the song. The chorus is nice too although it does fall a little too close on the cute side. It’s a nice song but it’s nicer to hear Berryz deliver those mature songs.

In order to promote the single, two PVs were made: one PV for 青春バースグイド and the other for ライバル The 青春バースグイド PV features the Berryz girls on a field trip with Ooe Mariko as the youth bus guide. They all have fallen for her and are dazzled by her presence. It’s kind of cute and a very nice concept, fitting perfectly with the lyrics. There are also dance sequences included but the dancing could have been stronger or more intricate. Also included are close-up shots. It’s a pretty good video and it fits with the song very well. The video for ライバル is very cute, just like the song and features the girls dancing and having fun in a bright colorful room.

Single Ranking: A –

Berryz continually brings the hotness with 青春バースグイド. It’s a magnificent dance track with a mature vibe for everyone to enjoy. With the other A-side, they go for the cute sound. Although it doesn’t sound as good, it’s a nice balance for the single.

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Berryz Koubou – 抱きしめて 抱きしめて [19th Single]

March 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm (Berryz Koubou) (, )


Berryz Koubou’s 19th single, entitled 抱きしめて 抱きしめて, was released on 03.11.09.

抱きしめて 抱きしめて is a long-awaited mature dance number from the girls of Berryz Koubou and they definitely show us what they’ve got. The song starts off with a cool instrumentation that immediately grabs the listener’s attention and soon the beat becomes clear. Then the girls come in on the first verse and the vocals during this part are very enjoyable as they support the music perfectly. The chorus definitely stands out more than the verses, particularly the second part when the instrumentation takes a slight change. That part begins with Yurina, Saki, Miyabi and Maasa. Of course with such a great instrumental, the pure instrumental section would be one to remember. The slightly distorted vocals in the background also add to the flavor. What makes this song so memorable is the music, perfectly complimenting the girls’ vocals and showing us that Berryz Koubou can pull off mature sounds.

そのすべての愛に is the single’s B-side. It seems like a while since Berryz have delivered a ballad so it’s welcomed as a B-side. The song begins with a very pretty instrumentation that has a sort of magical feeling about it. Then the first verse begins and the vocals are wonderful, perfectly supporting the music. When they come together right before the chorus, all the vocals sound so great together that the listener can’t help but love it. The chorus has a really hopeful and uplifiting feeling about it, which makes it very memorable. It’s a great song and actually could have served as an A-side.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 抱きしめて 抱きしめて  was made. The video is simple, featuring the girls dancing in a warehouse-like setting. The girls have a cool style here and it matches the cool atmosphere of the song. They actually kinda look like the girls of C-ute here and that coolness really stands out. The dancing was pretty good although it could have been stronger. Overall, a good PV that matches the song nicely.

Single Ranking: A

Berryz Koubou definitely did a great job on this single and proved that they could handle mature numbers with ease. 抱きしめて 抱きしめて has the kind of sound that C-ute or Morning Musume would do so it’s nice to see Berryz take on that addictive sound as well.

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[Part Four] Oricon Year Top Singles

December 9, 2008 at 5:10 pm (AAA, Aira Mitsuki, alan, Amuro Namie, Angela Aki, Aoyama Thelma, Arashi, ayaka, Berryz Koubou, BoA, BONNIE PINK, Buono!, C-ute, Crystal Kay, Fukui Mai, GIRL NEXT DOOR, Hamasaki Ayumi, Hey! Say! JUMP, Hirahara Ayaka, Ishida Yuko, Ito Yuna, Jyongri, KAT-TUN, Kawashima Ai, KinKi Kids, Kitahara Aiko, Kobukuro, Koda Kumi, Kuraki Mai, Leah Dizon, MEG, MilkyWay, Misia, Morning Musume, Nakashima Mika, NEWS, Otsuka Ai, Perfume, Shibasaki Kou, Shiraishi Kikyo, SMAP, Suzuki Ami, Tackey & Tsubasa, Takasugi Satomi, Tanimura Nana, Tegomasu, Tohoshinki, TOKIO, Utada Hikaru, V6) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


Well there have been a lot of singles out this year. Some of them have been amazing and have made me fall in love with certain artists while others made me feel very disappointed. Which single took the number one spot? How many Johnny’s singles and H!P singles made the countdown? You’ll have to continue to find out.

mnsb1Hey! Say! JUMP has definitely impressed me this year, much more than I thought they would. I can’t even describe just how great their music has been but I’ll try anyway. The group’s fourth single, 真夜中のシャドーボーイ, wins title of “Single of Oricon Year 2008.” If there is one thing that these guys know how to do it, it’s make an upbeat single that makes the listener take notice. 真夜中のシャドーボーイ uses Spanish and Arabian themes to push their instrumentation over everyone elses. Except for Kei, Keito and Ryutaro, everybody has a real turn to shine. Yamada, Daiki, Nakajima and Chinen all have this center role (Yamada having the actual center role) since this song was used to promote their new drama Scrap Teacher so it was nice to see different people getting the time to shine. Everything about the song was perfect. With the constant repetition of the word “チェリー,” the listener is taken to another world. These boys really pull off the mature sound strongly and Chinen’s voice sounds different on this song than the others ones. Daiki, Nakajima, Yabu and Takaki all sound great too. With the multitude of live performances the song has gotten, the guys have looked hot and they sing the song with such confidence. It’s an amazing single that reigns above all the others so they should be very proud to have “Single of the Year.”

It was very hard to choose a first place winner and this single was so close to taking the top spot. Second place though kumitaboocddvdis something to be proud of too though and the runner up for “Single of the Year” goes to Koda Kumi with TABOO. After the controversy, Kumi went for a more conservative approach with MOON. However there’s something magical about Kumi when she does the sexy thing. She exutes confidence and it really makes for an enjoyable time when you can get up and move with Kuu. TABOO is the sexy anthem of 2008 as Kumi provides smooth vocals that lay over the hot instrumental. The verses are what make this song so addictive, particularly the last lines when she sings “drive away.” Kumi uses a certain cleverness with these lyrics using various metaphors to describe secret love and they come across to the listener perfectly. Plus I’m sure this single has given many others faith that Kumi will always have that sexiness in her because people have been worried that it’s been declining. Always is a nice compliment to the A-side even though it’s pretty forgettable. TABOO is the hot dance track that Kumi delivered and is just too good to pass up. Even the PV for the song was perfect. They really made sure this would be a strong single from all angles. This song single-handedly has me assured that TRICK will not be an album to forget.

cantstopthediscocddvdThird place was also really close to nabbing that top spot. The moment I heard the title track, I was instantly addicted and I knew the album that would soon follow would be amazing. That is why third place goes to Suzuki Ami with can’t stop the DISCO. It’s no secret that Ami and Nakata make a dream team because every single they release together just shines. I loved ONE but the moment I heard can’t stop the DISCO, I fell in love with the team. I first heard the chorus when it was used for the Mister Donuts CM and couldn’t get enough of it. But then when I heard the verses…I was blown away.  Ami really pulls off the cool vibe here and she’s given me one of the most addictive lines of 2008: me to me no kakehiki (love tactics). I can’t get enough of this song and it’s definitely one of the highlights of Supreme Show. Even the B-sides were amazing: climb up to the top and SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’08S/A Mix) were extremely strong numbers that helpe make this one cohesive single from start to finish (and that includes having each song have perfect transition into the next).

In case it wasn’t clear already, Hey! Say! JUMP has put out some fantastic music this year. So does it really come as a yssurprise that they have two singles in the top 5 best singles of 2008? I didn’t think so. Hey! Say! JUMP takes fourth place as well for their 3rd single, Your Seed / 冒険ライダー. It was with this single that I officially became a fan of these guys. Your Seed is the first time they really brought a mature song and the difference from Dreams come true shocked me. Everyone sounded great on this song and the rap section is absolutely infectious. I still haven’t found out who is doing that but the first person that came to mind was Nakajima. Was it actually him? Probably not but ya never know. It’s hard to really put my love for this song into words so let’s just say everything about this song was perfect. Not one thing could have made it any better. 冒険ライダー also had a kind of mature sound while having that fun-loving breezy atmosphere that just makes you wanna smile. I particularly like the chorus when all the boys come together and harmonize so perfectly. Also Yabu shines on his few solo lines before the final chorus so good job to him. So it’s the single that made me a Hey! Say! JUMP fan and one of the best releases of the entire year! The boys are on fire!!!

singles5Johnny’s Entertainment was definitely on a roll at the beginning of the year. NEWS’s first single of the year, 太陽のナミダ, comes in fifth place of Single of the Year. The title track uses Spanish and Arabian influences to really make the instrumentation addictive. Everybody sounded great on the song and personally, Massu’s voice stood out a little more than everyone else’s. Nonetheless, everyone sounded fantastic and their vocals really were smooth over the instrumental. バンビーナ and Lady Spider were also amazing, really catching my ear. It was actually Lady Spider that made me a real fan of NEWS because it just really sparkled in my eyes. It’s so catchy and one that could have been an A-side. バンビーナ really shows the sexy side of the boys. The lyrics have that dirty edge to them and they might even make you blush. Tegoshi can friggin sing and if you had any doubts about it, listen to バンビーナ. They did a magnificent job on this single and it’s certainly not one to pass up. As an overall package, it’s their strongest single to date so give it a listen if you haven’t already and fall in love with these boys like I did.

Suzuki Ami and Nakata really are the dream team. can’t stop the DISCO was amazing as was this year’s 6th best single, amisuzukionecddvdONE. The moment I heard ONE, I was addicted and I began following Ami thereafter. The song features a more aggressive instrumental with some perfect vocals from Ami to give it that extra flavor. When the song first opens, we are treated to the best part of the entire song: キラキラの the one. This one line makes the song fantastic but the rest of the song nicely follows this section. The chorus also stands out with the English phrases like “I love music and this world” and “I love your smile.” It’s absolutely perfect in every way so it’s the perfect way to introduce the formal come together of Ami and Nakata. Originally the B-side, A token of love, did not really impress me but after giving it some time, I fell in love with it. A token of love also features that aggressive sound that supports Ami so perfectly. I really like that last line of the chorus, the title of the song, because she says it with such edge and sleekness that it sticks in your head. Plus that ending instrumental sequence is fantastic, really standing out to the listener. Overall, this is definitely one of the strongest singles of the year, without question. It shows Ami’s cool side and is the perfect product of the dream team.

singles7alan has had a smash year with her Element Project. Each single repesented one of the 5 Godai elements and the best one to emerge of the five: 空唄. The title track is a beautiful upbeat song in which alan claims she can fly away. I think because this is the real upbeat number chosen to be an A-side, it stands out from all the other singles she has released. It really portrays the element of the sky well and lets the listener believe what she is singing. If you want even more amazingness, then turn to the B-side, My Stage. This is definitely alan’s most cheery and infectious song because the instrumentation is so light and heavenly, prompting the listener to just smile while listening. Honestly, I think I would have preferred My Stage to be the A-side since it’s a real standout in alan’s discography. I hope that she’ll be doing a similar song to this on her album…whenever that will be coming out. It shows the versatility of alan as an artist and proves that she can do music closer to mainstream music while still having that special touch that only alan can bring.

Perfume also had a strong year, releasing various singles that showed Perfume’s quirky and fun nature. However they singles8really stood out when they released Baby cruising love / マカロニ. They’re really the best examples of electrpop ballads as the instrumentation is strong and the girls’ voices suit them perfectly. Baby cruising love was nice because it still had traces of that unforgettable Nakata aggressiveness. However the real star of the single and the reason it placed so high on this chart was because of マカロニ. It is the prime example of how to slow down an electropop song and still maintain the quality. There is such a relaxing and natural atmosphere about this song that when I listen to it, I can just smile and drift off into another world. And having an emotional connection with a song just makes it all the better, which is why this is Perume’s best song to date. It was released at the end of the winter and I can see that there are some wintery traces hidden in the instrumentation. I’m hoping that the girls will bring another strong song like this for their next album, which looks to be strong looking at the singles released thus far. Good lucks girls and I hope the future brings you luck!

24If you want the best winter song released this year then you definitely have to look at 24 Xmas Time by Kuraki Mai. I was blown away when I first heard the song because there is something so natural and fun about this song that I can’t help but love. The song kind of goes back to her older style with songs like Love, Day After Tomorrow, which is always a good thing because I adore that song. Okay, let’s be truthful, the song isn’t that wintery or Christmas-like but that’s okay because it’s just a fantastic song. The verses are what make it so addictive and those moments where the instrumentation changes to set up Mai for a strong line (such as my favorite line in the whole song which translates to “kyou mo, watashi wa sekushii.” The B-side was nice, although a little generic but it compliments the whole wintery theme of the single nicely. I can’t believe Mai put out such a great single after a few that were questionable. I’m already anticipating her new album, touch Me!, because of this one song.

I love Tanimura Nana. She’s talented; she’s fun and she’s ready to go! Her 10th single, If I’m not the one / SEXY singles10SENORITA, featured two different songs that show off two different sides to her. If I’m not the one is a very beautiful ballad with Nana lamenting that she needs to know if she can’t be her admired’s one and only. She really portrays her emotions strongly and it keeps the listener focused and sympathetic towards her. However the star song on this single is SEXY SENORITA, a fun song that shows off Nana’s sexy and playful side. Her vocals here are strong and the chorus stands out proudly. She portrays attitude and sass, which is perfect for making the listener believe her. I really like the English phrases such as “call me, call me” and “crazy crazy.” I’m still waiting for an album to be released from her since I know I’m going to love it but she’s going to school (she’s attending one of the most prestigious law schools in Japan so go Nana!) so I can’t blame her. I just want any piece of news of a new release soon and it better be an album. Congratulations Nana for being such a threat with your fourth single, If I’m not the one / SEXY SENORITA, which rounds out our top 10.

11. Misia – Catch The Rainbow [Digital Release]

12. Morning Musume – ペッパー警部

13. Leah Dizon – Love Paradox

14. C-ute – 江戸の手毬唄 II

15. alan – 風の手紙

16. Perfume – Dream Fighter

17. Tohoshinki – 呪文  -Mirotic-

18. Arashi – One Love

19. Morning Musume – リゾナント ブルー

20. Ito Yuna – miss you

21. Koda Kumi – anytime

22. Perfume – love the world

23. Tanimura Nana – JUNGLE DANCE

24. V6 – 蝶

25. Kinki Kids – Secret Code


27. Leah Dizon – Vanilla

28. Aira Mitsuki – チャイナ・ディスコティカ

29. Berryz Koubou – 行け 行け モンキーダンス

30. alan – 懐かしい未来 ~longing future~



33. Ishida Yuko – Changes

34. Hey! Say! JUMP – Dreams come true

35. Tohoshinki – Runaway / My Girlfriend

36. Tohoshinki – If…?! / Rainy Night

37. Tohoshinki – Purple Line

38. Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION / Stay Gold

39. Tegomass – アイアイ傘

40. Takasugi Satomi – ありがとう

41. Ito Yuna – 恋は groovy x2

42. BONNIE PINK – Ring A Bell

43. Shiraishi Kikyo – again

44. Shiraishi Kikyo – BLACK

45. Shimatani Hitomi – 泣きたいなら

46. Hamasaki Ayumi – Mirrorcle World

47. ayaka x Kobukuro – あなたと

48. alan – RED CLIFF ~心・戦~

49. Amuro Namie – 60s70s80s

50. Berryz Koubou – MADAYADE

51. Nakashima Mika – ORION

52. Crystal Kay – 涙のさきに

53. Jyongri – Winter Love Story

54. C-ute – 涙の色

55. Kuraki Mai – 夢が咲く春 / You and Music and Dream

56. Arashi – Step and Go

57. Arashi – Beautiful days

58. V6 – LIGHT IN YOUR HEART / Swing!

59. AAA – MUSIC!!! / ZERO

60. Aoyama Thelma – 守りたいもの

61. Koda Kumi – MOON

62. NEWS – Happy Birthday

63. Kitahara Aiko – その笑顔よ 永遠に

64. Shibasaki Kou – よくある話~喪服の女編~

65. Milky Way –  タンタンターン!

66. Kuraki Mai – 一秒ごとに Love for you

67. C-ute – FOREVER LOVE

68. Otsuka Ai – クラゲ, 流れ星

69. Aira Mitsuki – ロボットハニー

70. ayaka – おかえり

71. Utada Hikaru – Prisoner of Love

72. Shimatani Hitomi – WAKE YOU UP / 雨の日には 雨の中を 風の日には 風の中を / Marvelous

73. Hirahara Ayaka – 孤独の向こう

74. Milky Way – アナタボシ

75. alan – 恵みの雨

76. BoA – be with you.

77. BoA – VIVID

78. Fukui Mai – アイのうた

79. V6 – VIBES

80. Hirahara Ayaka – さよなら 私の夏


82. Tohoshinki – Close to you / Crazy Life

83. Nishino Kana – Style

84. Arashi – truth / 風の向こうへ

85. KAT-TUN – White Xmas

86. GIRL NEXT DOOR – Drive away / 幸福の条件

87. GIRL NEXT DOOR – 偶然の確率

88. TOKIO – 雨傘 / あきれるくらい 僕らは願おう

89. Tohoshinki – Beautiful you / 千年恋歌

90. SMAP – そのまま / White Message

91. Angela Aki – 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君へ

92.Tackey & Tsubasa – 恋詩-コイウタ / PROGRESS

93. AAA – BEYOND~カラダノカナタ

94. Kawashima Ai – カケラ / Flag

95. SMAP – この瞬間, きっと夢じゃない

96. EXILE – The Birthday ~Ti Amo~

97. Buono! – ガチンコでいこう!

98. Berryz Koubou – ジンギスカン

99. Buono! – Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

100. Buono! – ロッタラ ロッタラ 

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[Part One] From The Girls Of H!P

December 6, 2008 at 5:00 pm (Berryz Koubou, Buono!, C-ute, MilkyWay, Morning Musume) (, , , , , )


Well it’s been another year of ups and downs, hits and misses from the girls of H!P. We’ve had albums, singles and DVD releases and there has been some amazing music to come out. So which group reigned the queens of H!P? Well just take a look at the picture above.

hip2This year, Morning Musume wins the title of “Queens of H!P.” They’ve released two singles and one cover album, standing out above all the rest. Both リゾナント ブルー and ペッパー警部 are addictive tracks that show that cool mature side of the girls, which always makes for good moments. Even though these singles did not garner particularly strong sales, they definitely deserved them since these two singles are some of the best the girls have ever released. Their recently released cover album featured some fantastic songs such as 渚のシンドバッド, どうにもとまらない, 居酒屋 and UFO. These songs really made this album stand out and Pink Lady should be proud as the girls definitely did them proud. I was hoping that the girls would release an original studio album but I suppose we’ll have to wait next year for that. This year has been good to MoMoSu in terms of PVs. Each video nicely showed off the girls’ mature side and featured some awesome dancing. I can’t even anticipate what we’ll be getting next year but I hope there continues to be strong videos. I’ve really enjoyed Reina Tanaka, who officially takes the spot as my favorite Morning Musume girl. She was the looks, the voice and the personality, all of which really make her a star. I look forward to seeing her grow even more as a person in this group. But it wouldn’t be the same without all of these girls and all of them come together to form the amazingness that is Morning Musume. They are definitely the stars of the year and I can’t even anticipate what they will bring in 2009!

The runners-up for “Queens of H!P” are without a doubt, C-ute! These girls released four fantastic singles and one c-utealbum. The three singles released after the album were all fantastic: 涙の色 (which took on a Spanish twist), 江戸の手毬唄 II (which took on the sweet and fun sound, emerging as the group’s best single) and FOREVER LOVE (which featured a mature rock sound). Their A-sides continue to prove that C-ute is a very talented group of girls who can definitely take on different styles with ease. Although their B-sides are a little similar in that they go for the cute traditional H!P sound, they’re not going to be on the album so it’s okay. So why don’t they get title of “Queens of H!P?” The album wasn’t as strong as hoped for. With all the mature songs they’ve been doing, I was hoping that the album would be in a similar vain but sadly I was wrong. Hopefully the girls’ next one (which is set for a January release) will feature that sound that made me fall for them in the first place. The album is packed with fantastic singles and the title makes me think we’ll be getting one strong album so I hope I’m right. As for PVs, this group has had some strong ones but what it all boils down to is that these girls can dance. Each video (涙の色 and FOREVER LOVE in particular) showed off these girls’ dancing skills. Hopefully next year will feature even more strong dancing from C-ute to match some strong songs.

bzThird in line is Berryz Koubou. Well they had some amazingly catchy songs this year such as 行け 行け モンキーダンス, HAPPY! stand up, REAL LOVE, MADAYADE and  フラれパターン, which made me pay attention to these girls. I think that if you’re looking for a fun and happy group to listen to, Berryz Koubou is it. And perhaps that’s why they didn’t take the crown this year. These girls have more of a young and happy image rather than putting out those strong mature numbers that make me stand up and really see diversity. However I can say that their album this year was stronger than C-ute’s so perhaps next year, they will pull ahead for the title. Berryz Koubou’s videos…well they’re…fun. They weren’t as engaging as videos from MoMoSu or C-ute but they did show off the girls’ personality, which is always a good thing. When these girls really dig deep to bring those mature songs, they shine so I’m hoping that their next release features this kind of style. They don’t have anything set to be released in 2009 yet (while other groups do) but I’m guessing that we’ll be hearing official word from Tsunku in no time at all. I think it’s nice that these girls are having kind of a different sound than the other groups at H!P but at the same time, I hope to see a little more variety and mature music coming from them in 2009. However I suppose that request should be aimed at Tsunku rather than the girls so Tsunku, make everyone see the true power of Berryz Koubou!

Fourth place goes to Milky Way. Why you ask? Well to be honest, it’s pretty much based off of ガムシャララ (the B-side of the girlsmilky_way_002‘ second single). This song is extremely addictive and definitely should have been given A-side privileges. The girls’ other songs have been enjoyable too but none so like ガムシャララ. アナタボシ did a nice job of bringing Irish sounds into the mix, which definitely stands out from the rest of the H!P music this year and タンタンターン! is a very enjoyable song with a more relaxing feeling. Well there really isn’t much to say about these girls since they debuted this year and only released two singles. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of them in the future and I really do hope the other two girls get a little more attention because as of now, Koharu has been getting all the spotlight. Okay, she is the leader but that doesn’t mean everyone can get a fair part. It honestly feels Koharu featuring the other two girls, when it should be all three girls together. Nonetheless, I look forward to what they will be bringing in the future and I hope it will be as awesomeness as ガムシャララ.

buonoFinally we come to fifth place with Buono! Truthfully, the music the girls have been putting is a little too similar for my tastes. All their singles are related to the anime series Shugo Chara! so maybe they should stray away from that in order to have more variety to their music. If you’re looking for that cute traditional H!P sound, then these girls are your ticket. It’s kind of a shame because these girls do have some nice voices but it gets really annoying to feel like once you’ve heard one of their songs, you’re listening to their discography. If Tsunku is reading this, then I’m asking you to give these girls some more variety. One thing that I can about these girls is that they are active. In the course of the year, they’ve released 5 singles and an album, which I believe makes them the group which was released the most this year from H!P. Had this been Morning Musume of C-ute, I would have been even more excited. Let’s hope we get some diversity in 2009 from these girls.

Oh H!P, you’ve been good to us this year, particularly with Morning Musume and C-ute. It’s no surprise that Morning Musume won the title “Queens of H!P” since they put out two fantastic singles (three overall) as well as a strong cover album. I’m very much anticipating their new single, which is set to be released the last week of January. C-ute and Berryz Koubou also did well this year and had thir albums been stronger, they would have been closer to that title (especially C-ute who was really close). Milky Way and Buono! did okay but hopefully they’ll show to me their real skills in 2009. This has been all from the girls of H!P in 2008! Let’s look forward to an even stronger year in 2009!

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Berryz Koubou – MADYADE [17th Single]

November 3, 2008 at 5:18 pm (Berryz Koubou) (, )

Berryz Koubou’s 17th single, entitled MADAYADE, was released on 11.05.08.

MADAYADE is a love beach paradise. Opening the song is a cool summery surfer atmosphere coming through the instrumentation. The verses take on a calmer feeling and the girls’ voices sound nice here although it would have been nicer if they were a little bit stronger. The chorus is catchy particularly for the repeating words that the girls do and that fun-ness comes through strongly. Unfortunately the pure instrumental section isn’t anything too strong but it does provide a nice transition back into the chorus. MADAYADE isn’t anything groundbreaking but it does have a nice atmosphere that the listener can fall into.

The B-side of the single is フラれパターン. The song begins with a fun and cool summery instrumental that takes the listener on a ride. The hook is the first part where the girls sing and it’s also the part that stands out the most because of the sheer fun pop atmosphere. Having some of the girls go deeper with another singing higher really works to provide two layers of enjoyment. On the verses, the girls don’t lose any of that shine as there vocals continue to be strong and go well together. With the chorus, the girls harmonize perfectly to make this part of the song pop with flavor. The pure instrumental section has that groovy feeling as the guitar steps apart and makes itself known. This is a fantastic song definitely worth checking out.

In order to promote the single, a PV for MADAYADE was made. The video features the girls at an office as they just have fun and dance. Their outfits are the same from the covers so they aren’t exactly the most eye-pleasing. The video isn’t particularly strong but it gets the job done.

Single Ranking: A –

After the release of their latest album, Berryz Koubou hasn’t lost any steam. MADAYADE is a fun song that would have been perfect for summer. However it’s the B-side that is the star of this single and should have been promoted to A-side. Overall, another strong release from the girls that catches the ear.

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Berryz Koubou – 5 (FIVE) [5th Studio Album]

September 13, 2008 at 5:02 pm (Berryz Koubou) (, )

Berryz Koubou’s 5th studio album, entitled 5 (FIVE), was released on 09.10.08. Three singles were released prior to the album: 付き合ってるのに片思い, ジンギスカン and 行け 行け モンキーダンス.

Opening the album is the sleek dance song, HAPPY! stand up. The song starts off with a cool and edgy instrumentation that immediately catches the listener’s attention and then the chorus comes in and the girls’ voices go perfectly with the music. During the first verse, the vocals continue to support the music but they are a little smoother, which helps them stand out to the listener. Each moment of pure instrumentation is heaven but the actual section is where the music really shines as the guitar takes the lead, making for a perfect re-introduction of the chorus. The shout at the end was a bit strange but it definitely captures the whole energy of the song. The girls did a great job on this opening track and it really leaves the listener wanting to hear the rest of the album.

Up next is この指とまれ, sung by the trio of Momoko, Chinami and Massa. Opening the song is another upbeat pop instrumentation with slight disco influences that sound great. The first verse then comes in and the vocals are very smooth here, going with the music in order to establish a light and fun atmosphere. The chorus is a little lacking but the preceding hook is nice. The problem that arises is that the girls’ voices don’t stand out enough and the listener’s attention is taken to the instrumentation. However when they reach a little higher, they sound great and stand out against the music. The pure instrumentation does provide the song with a little needed edge before the chorus comes back in. Overall it’s not a bad song but it could have been stronger.

After the previous three girls had their trio song, it’s time for the other four with バカにしないで. The song begins with a very interesting and ear-catching instrumental that slowly introduces new musical elements and soon the chorus comes in strongly with these girls providing strong vocals to match the edginess of the music. The first verse comes next and the vocals here are still strong, supporting the overall atmosphere of the song strongly. Also, the note that is held right before the chorus is really good and shows the power of these girls’ voices. Between the battle of these two shuffle songs, Shimizu, Miyab, Kumai and Risako are the winners for this cool and addictive track.

行け 行け モンキーダンス is the first single to appear on the album and it hasn’t lost any flavor from its single release. A cool and fun instrumental fueled by traditional Japanese instruments starts the song off on a good note and makes way for a very fun first verse. Easily, the best part of the song is the chorus. The girls’ voices sound great and actually carry a bit of power behind them and it’s great how the first “monkey dance” is sung lower and the second sung higher (this is the really addictive one). As the girls repeat “monkey” in order to end each phrase of the verses and singing “everybody” for the second part of the verses, the listener falls in love. The pure instrumental section is great as it begins with a carnival-like sound before spotlighting a hot guitar-driven instrumentation that spotlights the song’s catchiness. This song is excellent, one of the girls’ best and its placement on the album was genius.

Ah Merry-go-round returns the listener to the shuffling as a duo between Shimizu and Momoko. Opening the song is some talking over a nice and smooth instrumental. Soon the music begins to pick up just a little bit by introducing more instruments and then the first verse begins. The vocals go very nicely with the music and solidify an atmosphere for the listener to pick up on. The chorus stands out as the instrumentation becomes more dramatic and the girls’ voices step out a little more to catch the listener’s mind. As the album’s first slow songs, these two girls do a nice job of keeping with the pretty instrumentation by providing supporting vocals that help capture the song’s atmosphere.

We have another trio song as the next song, CLAP! with Chinami, Miyabi and Kumai. An acoustic guitar starts the song off for a nice slow pop sound. The verse is nice as the vocals sound good but the instrumentation is very interesting. Following the chorus , which actually turns up to be pretty forgettable but at least the hook is catchy. Honestly, this song isn’t very good and just isn’t able to catch the listener’s attention as it should.

The first and only solo song is REAL LOVE, sung by Risako. The song begins with a cool and sleek dance beat that surprises and entices the listener’s ear. Soon the first verse starts and Risako’s voice is pretty nice here. Although there are a few notes that sound a little strange, she manages to sound pretty good and support the coolness of the instrumentation. The chorus has a little more punch to it that captures more edginess and the ending note is fantastic. The little speaking part really wasn’t needed but it does do a good job of re-introducing the chorus. Closing the song is a fantastic note sung by Risako that leaves the listener wanting more although unfortunately the song is over. Overall, Risako surprised me and this song is one of the best ones the album has to offer.

夢を一粒 ~Berryz 仮面 Ending テーマ~~ is a short song sung by the trio of Massa, Chinami and Saki. There is a sort of twinkling prettiness that takes on the sound of a tango. The girls sound great on the verses as the vocals are smooth and carry that tango sound perfectly. Strangely enough, the chorus takes on a different route by bringing a sweet pop sound and the girls give a little more power in their vocals. Nonetheless, the two parts fit strongly together to keep the listener interested. Overall this is a fantastic song and although it is short, it’s definitely oneto watch out for.

ジンギスカン is the other single release that appears on the album. Opening the song is a fun pop instrumentation that immediately catches the listener’s attention. On the verses, there is more of a cuteness to the girls’ voices that actually works here. The chorus is easily the best part of the song because the vocals are stronger and the title of the song is sung very strongly. The laughing is a bit weird but it does fit with the energy of the song nicely. It’s just a fun song that the listener can enjoy from start to finish.

Well it’s another group song that was released as a single, 付き合ってるのに片思い. The song begins with a cool pop sound that sounds great. There is such a catchiness that comes through the first verse that the listener can’t help but fall in love with these girls. On the chorus, the cuteness factor shines but it doesn’t sound cheesy at all and the music still retains its cool edge. The pure instrumental section has a feeling of fun freeness that is really addictive. This song is inasnely catchy and definitely worth checking out.

BE is the last new song on the album and the album’s biggest ballad. Unfortunately the song isn’t that great as the music just stays pretty boring. Also, Tsunku appears at random intervals and provide backing vocals, which is really surprising and un-necessary. The girls’ vocals on the other hand are nice but the music just doesn’t capture the listener so it doesn’t sound as great.

スッペシャル ジェネレ~ション (エキセントリック Remix) closes the album on a good note as the music is edgy and interesting and the girls’ vocals really support the music. Although it’s a remix of an earlier song, it’s definitely a good way to finish the album and have the listener take off on a strong note.

Album Ranking: A –

Berryz Koubou definitely have some strong tracks on this album that allure the listener. All three singles are some of the album’s best offerings as well as the energetic opening Happy! stand up and the solo dance song, REAL LOVE, by Risako. As for the shuffling of members in duos and trios and such, 夢を一粒 ~Berryz 仮面 Ending テーマ~~ is the best one that is offered. It’s a great package and one worth going through excluding some of the weak forgettable songs (such as CLAP! and BE).

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Berryz Koubou – 行け 行け モンキーダンス [17th Single]

August 2, 2008 at 5:49 pm (Berryz Koubou) (, )

Berryz Koubou’s 17th single, entitled 行け 行け モンキーダンス, was released on 07.23.08.

行け 行け モンキーダンス is an addictive pop song. The song starts off with a cool instrumental, fueled by traditional Japanese instruments. The chorus is extremely catching with the repetition of the word that starts off each phrase. For the first verse, the girls vocals continue to be strong and carry that poppiness that really catches the listener’s ear. Things take a slightly different turn with the pure instrumental section but it still hooks the listener and make them take notice. The song then finishes with the infectious instrumentation to make the song enjoyable from start to finish. The girls definitely shine on this song and their voices make the listener smile along while listening.

マジ グッドチャンス サマー, a sweet and relaxing pop number, is the B-side of this single. The song starts off with a cool and relaxing atmosphere with some speaking and then the first verse starts. The girls keep up that relaxing atmosphere as their smooth vocals capture the song’s atmosphere. Poppiness makes the chorus stand out and the girls follow vocally. This is a great B-side and a very nice compliment to the A-side by taking down things while still maintaining the pop appeal.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 行け 行け モンキーダンス was made. Once again, the video is simple but it nicely reflects the song. The girls are seen dancing and there are also close-up shots of each girl. Then are the scenes of the girls in monkey outfits which is very strange but it does fit the song. It’s a nice video and certainly colorful.

Single Ranking: A

Berryz Koubou’s 17th single is another great one, featuring the addictive title track as well as the more mellow pop song, マジ グッドチャンス サマー. The girls did a great job here and it’s definitely worth listening to for new and old Berryz fans alike.

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Berryz Koubou – ジンギスカン [16th Single]

August 2, 2008 at 5:25 pm (Berryz Koubou) (, )

Berryz Koubou’s 16th single, entitled ジンギスカン, was released on 03.12.08. The title track is a cover of the German entry song of the same name used for Eurovision in 1979 by a group of the same name as well. ジンギスカン was used as the theme song to the musical Dschinghis Khan ~Wa ga Tsurugi, Netsu Suna wo Some yo.~

ジンギスカン, an upbeat and fun song, is the single’s title track. The song begins with a cool upbeat instrumental with some vocalizing that leads into the first verse. The girls give some cute vocals here so that the song’s atmosphere becomes established as a combination of the sleek instrumental and the cute vocals. For the chorus, the poppiness really comes up and the title of the song really stands out like the laughing, which is actually a nice touch. Although the song is somewhat simple, it’s light-hearted and fun so that the listener may enjoy it from start to end.

This single’s B-side is ダーリン I LOVE YOU. The song starts off a cool guitar-driven instrumentation and then a line from the hook appears. The girls’ voices sound very nice here, catching the listener’s ear with a certain cuteness that perfectly reflects the song’s atmosphere. There is a carefree feeling from the verses that the girls sound very comfortable on before the chorus comes. The upbeat poppiness of the girls’ voices really stand out. The pure instrumental section really sounds great, catching the listener’s ear. This B-side is a wonderful compliment to the A-side and is very ear-catching.

In order to promote the single, a PV for ジンギスカン was made. The video is pretty simple, featuring the girls putting on a play for an audience as well as close-up shots of the girls. It’s a nice video and does a good job of portraying the song’s atmosphere.

Single Ranking: A –

Berryz Koubou’s 16th single features two songs that are both upbeat and fun. There is a coolness to the title track that stands out to the listener while the guitar becomes the main instrument for the B-side. Both songs nicely display the girls’ talent and are worth listening.

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