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. aiko – 愛した日 (Ai Shita Hi)

Recca’s thoughts: Adds a little rock to aiko’s usual jazzy sound. However, the instrumentation feels quite unbalanced at the outset. There’s a bit too much going on for me and I feel like aiko’s voice is drowned out a little in parts. Still a nice number, but I’ve seen better from aiko. 6/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/%E6%84%9B%E3%81%97%E3%81%9F%E6%97%A5-single/1455190412


2. ヒトリエ (Hitorie) – SLEEPWALK

Recca’s thoughts: This song is the kind of freewheeling jaunt between various cool segments that I haven’t seen since “STEP UP LOVE” by DAOKO. It starts out great with a funky beat, launches into a catchy hook, gives us Hitorie’s unique vocals, drops in some chiptune splashes here and there, and holds my interest the whole way through. Quite the interesting toe-tapper. 9/10

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


3. Motohiro Hata- 仰げば青空

Recca’s thoughts: I very much prefer Motohiro Hata’s more “challenging” songs like “Q&A”. This has that classic “big J-pop ballad” sound that I find pretty boring no matter who’s offering it. I really wish Hata-boh had offered us something a bit more original this time. 5/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/id1454444398?app=itunes


4. KANA-BOON – ハグルマ (Haguruma)

Recca’s thoughts: It opens like a classic visual kei shredder, but the vocals are all modern. As a sometimes-X-JAPAN-fan, I quite appreciate the retro hard rock flourishes. It veers into generic “Big J-pop” territory at points with some strings, but keeps its unique feel. 7/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/%E3%83%8F%E3%82%B0%E3%83%AB%E3%83%9E-single/1449706630



Recca’s thoughts: It has a cross-genre appeal and recalls “Butterflies” from a few years back. However, I think that cross-genre appeal that brings in a lot of listeners is also this song’s weakness. It sounds like several things and also a bit like nothing. The middle section which drops the piano has a stronger sound in my opinion. 6/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/aurora-single/1455322276


6. SEKAI NO OWARI- 蜜の月 -for the film

Recca’s thoughts: I’m digging the chill electronic vibe of this one – not typical SEKAI NO OWARI fare. I would love to see some more tunes like this from them in the future. It has a more unique sound among today’s big J-pop names, which is always much appreciated. 7/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/mitsunotsuki-for-the-film-single/1455327258?l=en


7. AKKOGORILLA – Over the Border

Recca’s thoughts: This instantly grabbed me with its retro-funk-boogie and AKKOGORILLA’S husky delivery.  Her flow is as effortless as her prancing through the town in the music video.  Something about her reminds me of a bit of Awkafina.  The verses are so strong that the chorus falls a little flat, but this is a fun retro-infused J-hip-hop number that will get you dancing.  8/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/grrrlism/1442013218


8. John Natsuki – ぼくはシモべくん-呪縛からの解放- (feat. Kaz Skellington) (Boku wa Shimobekun -Jubaku Kara no Kaihou-)

Recca’s thoughts: ***caution – video contains NSFW lyrics*** And here’s the weirdo selection this time.  A lot of people don’t like music that makes them uncomfortable and rhythmic music they can’t dance to, but it always piques my interest.  I will say, however, that the singer’s voice starts to grate on my ears after the first minute, and not in the fun way, but I get pulled back in when the rap verses come up.  7/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/theatre-of-strange-ep/1456608601


9. ガールズフィスト!!!! (Girls Fist!!!!) – 青春ガール (Seishun Girl)

Recca’s thoughts: Not bad as far as anime girl rock goes.  Girls Fist!!!! is no SCANDAL but they are easier to listen to than a lot of other recent fictional anime girl group stuff.  This comes off better if I view it as idol music with rock instruments instead of a real rock band.  So, I suppose the verdict is that this is just fine overall. 5/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/artist/%E3%82%AC%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AB%E3%82%BA%E3%83%95%E3%82%A3%E3%82%B9%E3%83%88/1444572002


10. Suchmos – In the Zoo

Recca’s thoughts: I’m not a big fan of slow songs, and I love Suchmos more in their “funk” mode, so I was expecting to dislike this song, but to my surprise, I rather enjoyed it.  Suchmos exudes a kind of haunting uneasiness unusual in mainstream pop.  This song is like the best parts of “VOLT-AGE” but so much better executed.  This song is rather experimental and veers into a Beatles-esque concept album feel in parts (likely thanks to the use of a Mellotron).  8/10

Download from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/in-the-zoo-single/1453858174