We update with 10 new J-Pop songs once each month, on the day first day of each month.
RSS feed for our song reviews can be found at: https://jtop10.mymti.org/category/j-pop-song-reviews/feed
1. 星野源 (Gen Hoshino) – アイデア (Idea)
William’s thoughts: Gen Hoshino once again delivers a light, groovy tune for fans of his music. The musical combinations and Hoshino’s happy-go-lucky vocals make this a very positive and optimistic song. Hoshino’s positivity is also present in the awesome music video, where he’s seen bopping around with an ensemble of musicians and dancers in a studio. If you like his music, Idea is definitely a song worth listening.
Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/idea-single/1417065821
2. aimer – Black Bird (featured artist for October AToM)
William’s thoughts: Aimer is one of those singers who I’ve heard of frequently, but never really listened deeply to their music. I feel that Black Bird represents some of Aimer’s best qualities in her dynamic vocals and strong rock instrumentation. Even with all the noise around her in the song, her husky, yet somewhat gentle vocals cuts through all of them to avoid being drowned out in the background. If you’re listening to Aimer for the first time, Black Bird is a great introduction to her music and what she can do.
3. 西野 カナ(Kana Nishino) – Bedtime Story
William’s thoughts: Kana Nishino’s music has always been cheery and positive for a successful pop singer such as herself. It doesn’t surprise me that Bedtime Story would be used as a theme for a romantic comedy film because its effective on a lot of fronts. The song has a dreamlike quality throughout it, using some light guitar and drums to accompany a whimsical hook. I can’t say anything more than to check this song out if you’re in the mood for some fun, innocent listening.
Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/bedtime-story-single/1407664678?l=en
4. MISIA – アイノカタチ feat.HIDE(GReeeeN) (Ai no Katachi)
William’s thoughts: MISIA holds her own ground in the excellent ballad, with the help of HIDE from GReeeeN. While the latter offers some help as a backup vocal, it’s MISIA who drives the dynamics of this song. Stick around for the chorus and you’ll be impressed by how she manages to grab your listening
ears with her strong vocals and effective use of chimes and percussion. All in all, it’s just a
great, pure song with no gimmicks or fancy electronic sound effects to hamper it down
5. きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ(Kyary Pamyu Pamyu)- Kizunami
William’s thoughts: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu returns with another infectious, pop-techno tune that’s sure to drive anyone prone to musical earworms crazy. For fans of her work, Kizunami is a sugary sweet song with a catchy chorus and consistent instrumentation throughout. Kyary’s cute and soft voice pairs so well with the electronic music that I can’t help but be amazed how she manages to reel me in with it. Put Kizunami on your ITunes or Spotify playlist for a great time with friends.
Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/japamyu/1434677943
6. 半崎美子 (Yoshiko Hanzaki) – 明日を拓こう (Ashita o Hirakou)
William’s thoughts: This song reminds me so much of a European countryside set in the early 19th century. Yoshiko Hanzaki draws upon a simple, folk musical style for this tune. It reminds me so much of Gaelic Ireland and of a celtic influence. Hanzaki is able to draw you in and entrance you with this whimsical tune and even the music video helps with this by using shots of her walking through lush fields of green grass and extravagant cliffs by the seaside. If you want something out of the ordinary J-pop wise, then give this tune a listen.
7. ALL CITY STEPPERS – LITTLE WORLD
William’s thoughts: Little World is a pleasant rock song from the band ALL CITY STEPPERS if you’re looking for something great to listen to in the evening. With great rock instrumentation and an equally good chorus, I can’t say anything more about this song other than it features some distinguishable vocals and a nice groove.
Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/id1433862649?l=ja&ls=1&app=itunes
8. きのこ帝国 (Kinoko Teikoku) – 夢見る頃を過ぎても (Yume Miru Koro o Sugitemo)
William’s thoughts: Another great rock is this single from Kinoko Teikoku. It features a slow build with the soft vocals of the lead vocalist accompanied by light, jazzy percussion. It then slowly transitions to a dynamic chorus that doesn’t get too loud nor gentle. I think the single’s strength is balancing those two styles and it’s done really well consistently. Again, it’s great for a little evening listen when you want to tune out and rest.
Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/time-lapse/1429355656
9. Rei – LAZY LOSER
William’s thoughts: This is probably one of my favorites so far because Lazy Loser is a pop-punk banger that’s catchy and in your face. Rei does really remind me of Avril Lavigne, only a bit more spunkier and equally as energetic. The song drives on the theme of laziness and letting other people do things for you. You can see this demonstrated in the music video and Rei wants you to know this fact as she plays guitar next to an amped up watermelon. It’ll be hard to forget a catchy song like this, so take a listen for yourself before judging her as a lazy loser.
Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/lazy-loser-single/1433116152
10. セントチヒロ・チッチ (CentChihiro ChiTTiii) – 夜王子と月の姫 (Yoru Ouji to Tsuki no Hime)
William’s thoughts: For fans of BiSH, it must have been a wonder to discover that one of their members has a solo single. Cent Chihiro starts the song out acapella with a deceptive soft introduction before an all-out rock frenzy breaks out. The song manages to balance the hard rock musical style with a optimistic, positive tone from Cent Chihiro. I think what I can take from the song is that even through hard times, its okay to take time to let it all out and celebrate the craziness of life. If you’re a fan of BiSH or Cent Chihiro, definitely give this tune a try