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. WANIMA- アゲイン (Again)

Hayley’s thoughts: I really think it might be scientifically impossible to not feel like you’re on a beach vacation while listing to Wanima. They just have this bouncing energy about their songs that always cheers you up. Maybe it’s Kenta’s vocal but seriously whatever the topic I will always end up smiling. And “Again” is no exception. Energetically upbeat guitars and drums are as joyous as ever. Plus it was written for a tv drama, “Maison de Police”, so I just might have a legitimate excuse to listen to it over and over again. 9/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/good-job-single/1450541508


2. milet (ミレイ) – inside you

Hayley’s thoughts: There’s a quality to milet’s vocal in this track that proves she has one of those voices that can really draw you in. Even the tracks video starts seemingly simple, just a darkened studio with a strong white light. But things slowly build with a delicate piano line and interesting beat, creating these small emotional scenes that lead you to milet erupting her vocal with red petals. And I do mean that literally. I was taken back to some 90’s heartbreak ballad moments… just need to find my hairbrush. 9/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/inside-you-ep/1450479991?app=itunes&at=1010lnME


3. 家入レオ (Leo Ieiri) – この世界で (Kono Sekai de)

Hayley’s thoughts: Starting off as a starkly delicate track with a simple background beat that focuses things on Leiri’s vocal. There’s something about this song that reminds me of ‘Ayumi Hamasaki’ and I like it even more because of that. Opening theme to empire battling, mecha anime; ‘Code Geass: Lelouch the Re;surrection’ so you know it has to have just a little hint of something soldierly about この世界で (Kono Sekai de). By the tracks conclusion the mix of a military air to the drums, building and fading behind Ieiri’s crystal vocal line, works to create a subtle warmth to that aforementioned starkness. 7/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/kono-sekaide-single/1449556433


4. ONE OK ROCK – Wasted Nights

Hayley’s thoughts: When it comes to emotional anthems recently ONE OK ROCK seem to have got it down to a tee. “Wasted Nights” continues their current themes of youthful euphoria shadowed by a bittersweet nostalgia, to keeps things interesting. Written by Taka the song is specifically for the live-action adaptation of Yasuhisa Hara’s historical manga ‘Kingdom’. Perhaps not as emotionally fraught as previous release; “Stand Out Fit in”, “Wasted Nights” lyric and swelling guitar lines encompass that live for the moment feel perfectly. Even with Toru looking pretty close to freezing in the rain-soaked video. 9/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/eye-of-the-storm/1441633532?l=en


5. Gottz, Yo-Sea, & Neetz – Neon Step

Hayley’s thoughts: This feels like the kind of track that follows you around. The kind that pops up on the radio in every store you walk into, until it’s melody is looping in the far recesses of your brain… having flashbacks to Bieber’s “Sorry”. Though if you do wake up in the early hours with Gottz words echoing in your mind at least he does have a nice flow. Overall I think this one might be a little too close to “The Weeknd” to be added to my personal playlist, but then I tend to move towards more of a grime leaning when it comes to male rappers. 6/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/southpark/1437640119



Hayley’s thoughts: “SLEEPWALK” has an interesting melody mixed with a fascinating dance beat, but then would you expect anything less from Hitorie. From 4th album “HOWLS”, which will include ‘BORUTO- Volt: Naruto Next GENERATIONS’ ending theme ポラリス (Polaris), the tracks MV is set in a deserted station and see’s bassist Igarashi, drummer Yumao, and guitarist Shinoda offer brooding looks by pillars as vocalist Wowaka is followed by a sleepwalking (or rather sleep-dancing) eye-masked, floral pyjama clad stalker. There’s something about that awkwardly stylish way about Wowaka that’s giving me a bit of a fellow ex-Vocaloid singer, Kenshi Yonezu vibe. 7/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sleepwalk-single/1450654599


7. 大竹涼華 (Ryoka Ohtake) – The Beginning

Hayley’s thoughts: Sometimes all you need is an acoustic guitar, a sorrowful melody and some heartfelt lyrics. Okay so it’s been done a hundred times, well maybe well over a hundred thousand times before, but I still love it. Listening to Ryoka Ohtake just makes my heart warmer, in the way screaming along to “The Peggies” does. A singer-songwriter and also a high school student Ohtake is even releasing her first album “卒業アルバム” (Sotsugyō arubamu) on the 20th of March to celebrate her graduation. Juggling her music career with her academic one might be what gives her new song “The Beginning” that strong sense of teenage related emotions, though it is still a song that can captivate at any age. 8/10

Download from Amazon JP: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B07MZ2H8PL/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_HJSECb1CTWRJN


8. 安田レイ (Rei Yasuda) – blooming

Hayley’s thoughts: Singer and model Rei Yasuda, who co-voiced 17-year-old Lumi the fictional lead vocalist of Genki Rockets in 2006, single “blooming” has that classic j-pop sound. Mixing elements from ‘Perfume’ to ‘Hikaru Utada’ the tracks vocal and piano line builds into an enticing melody, that sounds perfect for a slice of life anime. I have a mild obsession with female singers and Yasuda’s vocal here has the kind of tone that I really can’t fault. The tracks stylised video feels very Dua Lipa vogue shoot; with soft pink lighting, pale Cadillac, wind machine and colourful smoke. 7/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/blooming-ep/1451708535?l=en


9. 平川美香 (Mika Hirakawa) – ダイナミック琉球 (Dynamic Ryukyu)

Hayley’s thoughts: All I can say is wow…but I guess I have to come up with something more coherent than one syllable, so here goes nothing. ダイナミック琉球 (Dynamic Ryukyu) starts hauntingly, with Mika Hirakawa singing across the sound of breaking waves like Mushi-Shi calling Torikaze. Her vocal is gorgeous. Mixing classical Japanese sound with diva dramatics in places becomes close to hypnotic. After her previous release, and first mini-album, 2018’s ‘Hirakawa no ojisan’, which saw Mika Hirakawa become ojisan, “Dynamic Ryukyu” continues to show Mika Hirakawa’s talent for fun and drama. The Olympic level grander MV closes sweeping across the sea to a familiar character quietly fishing. 8/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/dynamic-ryukyu-single/1449435964


10. 桜エビ~ず (Sakura Ebis) – 214

Hayley’s thoughts: 214 is an upbeat J-pop track from six-piece teen idol group ‘Sakura Ebis’, part of Stardust Promotion. The song, with its sugar-coated catchy chorus, has a sweetly nostalgic feeling but manages to avoid getting too sickly. The vlog style MV was recorded in Taiwan, where the weather wasn’t quite as sunny as the single. But nothing seems to have dampened ‘Sakura Ebis’ spirits, as they continued to document their first trip outside of Japan; sightseeing, trying bubble tea, as well as creating cute clips of purposefully awkward choreography, even in rain ponchos. Though I’m not sure if we ever find out who won Uno?? 7/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/214-single/1452765715