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. SIRUP — Prayer

Hayley’s thoughts: PRAYER from SIRUP’s debut album「FEEL GOOD」has a feeling heavily reminiscent of a 90’s slow R&B track, though one that I can’t quite recall the name of at this exact moment. If you can imagine a clean-cut Kenshi Yonezu covering classic Mary J. Blige you’ll be pretty close to ‘Prayer’. Not really something that I often gravitate toward but it does create some nice non-threatening, and calming, background music. 6/10

Download from iTunes: https://music.apple.com/us/album/feel-good/1459412495


2. 米津玄師 (Kenshi Yonezu) — 海の幽霊 (Umi no yūrei)

Hayley’s thoughts: As the lyric says: 「大切なことは言葉にならない」(taisetsu na koto wa kotoba ni naranai) roughly translated; ‘How could I ever put what truly matters into words?’ Well, the closest I can get is that 海の幽霊 (Spirits Of The Sea) is simply gorgeous. Perhaps not destined for the enormous success of tracks like; ‘Lemon’ or ‘Flamingo’, 海の幽霊 (Umi no yūrei) still has Kenshi Yonezu vocal, with touches of a digital edged auto-tune tone, mixed with the songs gentle lyrics to create a Radwimps-esk cinematic track that’s full of heartbreakingly distant sadness. A feeling very in keeping with the songs use, as theme to film;海獣の子供 (Kaijū no Kodomo, Eng: Children of the Sea) directed by Ayumu Watanabe. 8/10

Download from iTunes: https://music.apple.com/jp/album/%E6%B5%B7%E3%81%AE%E5%B9%BD%E9%9C%8A-single/1464875457


3. King & Prince — Naughty Girl

Hayley’s thoughts: With plenty of opportunity for some attempts at smouldering looks and some seductive dance routines ‘Naughty Girl’ is the kind of tame boyband track that die-hard fans can have a good old scream over. I guess things have progressed for King&Prince since the innocence of ‘Cinderella Girl’. ‘Naughty Girl’ has plenty of high notes and a pretty retro dance beat holding it together, as well as a one perfectly placed slow break. Taken with a pinch of okay this is a boyband salt don’t expect anything groundbreaking, it’s a fun, light-hearted idol track… BTS who? 6/10


4. MAN WITH A MISSION — Remember Me

Hayley’s thoughts: Alright, this is more my kind of thing. ‘Remember Me’, main theme for the Fuji TV drama series ‘Radiation House’, has everything that makes MAN WITH A MISSION such an addictive band. A cinematic build that unfolds into a moving rock track with some beautiful guitar lines and crowd ready lyrics. I guess to write humanistic truths in songs all you need is a furry wolf mask… oh and maybe an abundance of talent of course. 9/10

Download from iTunes: https://music.apple.com/jp/artist/man-with-a-mission/424817976?l=en


5. RIRI feat Junoflo — luv luv

Hayley’s thoughts: Released on her EP ‘SummerTime’ this song features production from electronic artist Ryan Hemsworth, as well as a guest verse from Korean-American rapper Junoflo, but really it’s RIRI’s vocal that is the selling point here. It’s not exactly the kind of song I would find myself listening to on a regular basis but it does have a good slow tempo RnB sound. With a standard foggy electronic beat echoing on repeat in the background and some lyrics that fall a little on the trending side in places: ‘you send me messages on LINE like it ain’t no thing,’ this is just the start for RIRI. The songs stylish video might make you want a pink faux fur jacket though, which I don’t think personally I can carry off the look the way RIRI does…I’d probably look more carebear cosplay than stylish RnB star. 6/10

Download from iTunes: https://music.apple.com/us/album/luv-luv-feat-junoflo-single/1454007341


6. 平井 堅 (Ken Hirai) — いてもたっても (ite mo tatte mo)

Hayley’s thoughts: Okay so I may have got won over a little by the white cat in the surrealist video but the song itself is another pleasant gentle number from Ken Hirai. The theme for the film version of manga ‘Machida-kun no Sekai’, a story that though simple focuses on reminding that we’re all capable of kindness. Ken wrote the song after reading the movie’s script and tried to represent the magic of falling in love in it and that strange music video. I really like this song in all it’s uncomplicated sweetness, I’m not sure I can include the video in that statement… that is definitely complicated… to explain at least, though riding a white cat into a rainbow in the end is perfectly normal, right? 7/10

Download from iTunes: https://music.apple.com/jp/album/%E3%81%84%E3%81%A6%E3%82%82%E3%81%9F%E3%81%A3%E3%81%A6%E3%82%82-single/1463543014


7. Maica_n — Dance With Me

Hayley’s thoughts: Musically ‘Dance With Me’, from 18 year old Maica_n’s first mini album: 秘密 (himitsu), has a very laid back summery vibe… or perhaps groove would be a more accurate term (as ‘Dance With Me’ does have elements that make it feel as though you’ve somehow stumbled into a 70’s cop show) Vocally Maica_n has a pure tone that’s captivating, kind of like a higher pitch Gen Hoshino. Definitely, something to listen to when you’re feeling a little better about the world. So maybe the lyrics are on the cliche side but it’s a sweet pop-song, sometimes that’s all you really want. 6/10


8. サカナクション (Sakanakushon) — ナイロンの糸 (nairon no ito)

Hayley’s thoughts: A slow build ナイロンの糸 (nairon no ito), from new album; ‘834.194’, with a human heartbeat style rhythm, and crackly electronic synth effects, is the kind of song that feels hazy, to begin with, like watching sunlight reflected from a pool on a hot day. Expressed perfectly with the songs simply styled official video. The last few minutes of the track really pull things out of that haziness though, with a repeated chorus that creates an intimate and yet expansive sound, oxymoron as it is, well worth listening to. 7/10

Download from iTunes: https://music.apple.com/jp/artist/%E3%82%B5%E3%82%AB%E3%83%8A%E3%82%AF%E3%82%B7%E3%83%A7%E3%83%B3/252312257


9. Superfly — 覚醒 (Kakusei)

Hayley’s thoughts: I really love the textures of this track. 覚醒 (Kakusei) theme for anime, プロメア (Promare) seems to never sit still, moving through genres with a timeless air. The song starts as though you’re sat propping up some smoky bar, with a cocktail close at hand, before breaking into a thunderous cacophony. Piano and guitars craft an expansive environment, though never overpower Shiho Ochi’s vocal. Very Broadway ready, gentle moments lapse into well-choreographed raucousness, with a rocker chorus and one very nice bassline. 7/10

Download from iTunes: https://music.apple.com/jp/album/ambitious-single/1460579328



Hayley’s thoughts: I’ve always loved songs with a 90’s girl group feel to them and ONLY SEVENTEEN is just too reminiscent of the tracks I was obsessed with every summer to not fall for it. Okay so it might not be completely comfortable for everyone to go around singing chorus; ‘I’m only seventeen’, at the top of their lungs but this track is catchy enough, and sweet enough, to get lodged in your head anyway. With just the right edge of ‘member of that girl gang, I was never quite a part of when I was seventeen’, 18-year-old R&B singer KAHOH’s vocal sits perfectly against the tracks simple backbeat. Yes, a little repetitive in places but that’s just another reason I like it. 8/10

Download from iTunes: https://music.apple.com/jp/album/only-seventeen-ep/1464881528