Friday, 23 December 2011

Countdown! Kpop Edition

Countdown! Favourite Single Releases of 2011. (Korean)

Korean Edition

Keeping in mind that I have only been listening to Kpop for about a year and a half, compared to my almost 8 years in Jpop, this list may not have your faves in it. Please do not fret. Simply recommend them to me in the comments, and I will give them a listen! I am still quite new to the scene and trying to listen to as many artists as possible.

This list only includes Korean releases, not any of the re-releases or new songs in Japanese.

As with Jpop, I prefer on the whole, female artists, but I do need to branch out lately. So feel free to recommend me any great male artists that you like.

Right! Onto the countdown!

10. Hyuna - Bubble Pop

This song has been a hit with Kpop fans and non-Kpop fans alike. This really got people talking all over the world about Kpop. The video may be a teeny bit all over the place trying to be sexy, as Hyuna doesn't need to try this hard, but it's still fun. The 'oohs!' and 'aahs!' are so different. Hyuna is an amazing dancer. This is just a great summery song.

9. 4minute - Heart to Heart

I love, love, love 4minute and I love this song, and it's pv. It's so cute and on first listen, you may think it's nothing like 4minute's earlier stuff, it is a little different but I still love the way it sounds. It's no 'Hot Issue (remix)' but once you listen to this a few times, it becomes a hook in your brain. I don't get why everyone is complaining on Youtube, then again, YT comments are usually hard to take seriously.

8. Secret - Shy Boy

PV wouldn't let me embed so a performance it is! This is an extremely cute song. 'OH OH OH MY BOY!' - I love the 50's theme and the cute outfits they usually wear when performing this. The 'doo-wap' sound is something you do not hear often in recent pop. Such a sweet song!

7. DAL*SHABET - Pink Rocket

This may raise some eyebrows, as this band has gotten a lot of criticism for not being 'Kpop enough' and such. Weird stuff like that. They are ridiculously cute and this song is infectious. I like the overt electronic sound in this. The PV is really awesome. I'm still not quite sure what 'Dal Shabet' means, but if it has something to do with sherbert, then that certainly fits the image of the group.


YES. 'YEAH I FEEL SO COOL, COOL! YEAH I FEEL SO COOL!' - This song is awesome. So upbeat, amazing vocals and an extremely addictive chorus. Flawless song, the PV is fun and not too busy, but enough to keep you interested. A really great song for the gym I find.

5. Orange Caramel - Shanghai Romance

The subgroup of After School have outdone themselves with this extremely catchy track. Raina, oh she's so cute! The dance in this PV is so fun and easy, and you'll find yourself doing it when you listen to the song 'Sha sha sha!'. This subgroup can do no wrong by me lately. Love them!

4. After School - Shampoo

They won't let me embed the PV again so another live performance it is! This is a nice sounding song, but the translation is a bit...weird. Look it up if you're interested, I swear you will be surprised. The PV is nice and this song is what originally got me interested in After School.

3. Brown Eyed Girls - Sixth Sense

WOW. THE AWESOME. These girls are fierce. The PV is powerful and sends an important political message of resistance. The dancing is flawless, the girls are HOT. Their voices are incredible. This is how the LADIES do it!


KARA continue to slay everyone with their awesome. The only band to really succeed at sounding Japanese during the Hallyu wave, they are professional to the MAX. Their dancing, singing and attitude are all perfect. They really are one of the best Kpop bands right now.


SORRY, NOTHING ELSE COULD GET TOP SPOT. This is THE song of the year in my opinion. AH MAN. This song makes me feel better when I'm down, puts me in a good mood any time of the day, I am always in the mood to listen to this. If this was on vinyl I would have worn it down a long time ago. I love how the PV is so 'Don't mess with me!' - love it, love it, love it.

Not including Japanese releases has excluded a chunk that I would have originally liked to have put in, but they just aren't as good as if the song itself would be if it was in Korean (probably excluding KARA, as most of their songs are good in Japanese) - I don't know many soloists yet apart from IU and G.NA (and of course BoA but most Jpop fans know BoA let alone Kpop fans). I am still learning a lot about the industry, and I hope to know many more fans and hopefully a bit of the Korean language itself by this time next year.

Girls' Generation didn't make it onto this list as 'The Boys' - while a catchy tune, has a lot of flaws and the other Korean groups have stepped up to the plate as big hitters this year.

Who are your faves? Who do you recommend?

Monday, 19 December 2011

2011 Year In Review ~ My Favourite Singles of the Year

Countdown! Best Idol Single Releases of 2011. (Japanese)

Japanese Edition

I am only including Japanese Idol bands and releases in this post, I will include Korean releases in my next post, otherwise it all gets far too confusing. There have been so many great releases this year and it's a shame I couldn't include more!

Onto the countdown!

10. Vivi Natsu / PASSPO*

- The PV is absolutely nowhere to be found on youtube aside from a 30 second tv spot. Luckily this performance is quite good, although I am sure they are lip syncing. You also have to turn it up quite loud. Sorry about that. Damn Youtube. :/

9. Ai, Chuseyo / SDN48

- Great song, great PV. Not as good as GAGAGA and no Kayo. (cries) but there's lots of Yukari though. The outfits are a bit ridiculous but it's very enjoyable. The baths... *nosebleed* Everyone sounds on top form here too. I only just recently found out that 'Chuseyo' means 'Please' in Korean. So it's essentially 'Love, Please'.

8. Zetsumetsu Kurokami Shoujo / NMB48

A very, very strong debut from the Namba side of the ...48 franchise. Their front girls Sayaka, Miyuki and Nana are a fantastic triad of power. They can sing, dance and are quite beautiful. Oh My God! was a good single too but it's not as catchy as this.

7. Joshiryoku -> Paradise / SUPER☆GiRLS

I really, really love this song. Super Girls are a fantastically produced group. AVEX seem to put a lot into their idol groups without trying too hard. These girls are fun and talented. Aspects of this PV remind me of MM's 'Roman ~ My Dear Boy'

6. Kaze wa Fuiteiru / AKB48

Great song. This PV is the dance version that everyone thought was the real version for ages until the physical single was released. It's simple but still really beautiful. I was sad not to see Sayaka Akimoto in this, she's proven herself to be popular a bunch of times and they still don't put her in senbatsu unless she is elected or wins a spot. It's unfair. The dresses in this are a bit uniform as well.

5. More Kiss/ Song for You / FAIRIES

Fairies debut single. This song is really, really good. Although I don't know why they only have one of the girls singing throughout. I really dislike the way they dress them though. Those heels look really uncomfortable on these girls, the youngest of which is 12.

4. Doki Doki Morning / BABY METAL

This video and this song is NUTS. That's why it's awesome. Three girls from Sakura Gakuin formed a subgroup that sing about silly things in a metal/pop style. I saw this posted on a few of my friends FB's going 'wtf?' - they don't get how good and individual this release is.

3. Everyday Kachuusha / AKB48

The song that got me back into AKB after a few years of only very sporadic following. This takes influence from AKB's earlier PV's such as 'Ponytail to Shushu' and 'Heavy Rotation' (and more) and turns them into one super awesome PV. This was their biggest seller so far, and their sales have only been going up and up since then.

2. Pareo wa Emerald/SKE48

Again, the full PV of this isn't available, and this is the best performance I could find, which is coupled with '1,2, 3, 4 Yoroshiku' - Both very catchy and upbeat songs. I love, love how SKE is the energy group. All of their songs are fantastic, but Pareo wa Emerald really got me into them full-time.

1. Limited Addiction/ Tokyo Girls' Style

Wow, wow, wow. A fantastic, fantastic release. A catchy hook and awesome vocals. Coupled with 'We Will Win!' and the epic, best B-side of the year 'Don't be cruel' - which was so good it could have been an A-side itself. These girls are fantastic, I can't say enough good things about them.

I don't think Flying Get was the best AKB single, it was a catchy song but the dance was a bit all over the place and the covers were a bit of a let down, it was probably my least favourite AKB single this year. Hello! Project had a weird year. So many changes to Morning Musume, but none of their songs broke my top 10 this year.

The closest would have probably been 'Kiss Me Aishiteru' by C-ute or 'Please! Mini Skirt Postwoman' by S/mileage. The formula H!P always seems to rely on has pushed me away a bit. I am a defector. I have switched teams to AKB48 and their surrounding groups, especially SKE.

Passpo, Fairies, Super*Girls and Baby Metal are all new entries for this year. Fairies are a new band that have serious talent, and as soon as they stop trying to market them as 'little adults' and get those ridiculous heels off them, I will follow them with more vigour. Passpo have infectious songs and are slowly gaining momentum and a dedicated fan base. Unfortunately one of their members has already graduated. I wonder if they will have second generation auditions?

Baby Metal are a subgroup of Sakura Gakuin and their pop/metal song 'Doki Doki Morning' had people talking this year, non-Jpop fans and Jpop fans alike. It's something really different and not what you usually see from idol bands. This is exactly what they needed to boost their publicity a little more. Also got people talking about Jpop, which is always a good thing.

Super*Girls have had a great year, they are cute and smiley, with very catchy songs and dances. I can't get sick of their releases this year, but my favourite was definitely their most recent, where they have started to gain a bit more fame and TV publicity. Lets hope they don't jump on the graduation bandwagon anytime soon. As they are under AVEX it may be a little harder to get out of their contracts so easily, and that might be a good thing.

SDN48 and NMB48 have had mixed years. I really liked both of their debut singles, SDN's only didn't make it because it was late last year and not this year when it was released. 'Zetsumetsu Kurokami Shoujo' is a very strong debut from an idol group and NMB are showing themselves to be the 'Smiling' group, as opposed to SKE's 'Energetic' group. Especially with Sayaka Yamamoto's lovely face always looking back at us.

Poor SDN48 and their upcoming disbandment. Ai, Chuseyo was one of those songs you think was quite average at first but it grew on you over time, and it was much better than their next release 'Min Min Min'. I was disappointed to see Kayo Noro overlooked as usual. She finally starts getting more airtime with their next single (which I am not sure if it is their last or not, it seems they may have one last hurrah) and then they are going away. Unfair. Unfair for fans of older idols.

SKE48 have had a killer year. 'Banzai Venus', 'Pareo wa Emerald' and 'Oki Doki!' all being awesome singles. Their single for next year 'Kataomoi Finally' looks like it may be their breakout single, hopefully setting them apart from AKB and getting invites to events and such more on their own.

Tokyo Girls' Style, my number one this year. Have improved in leaps and bounds. This was their best selling single of the year and it is easy to see why. With their fantastically polished dances and Ayano's amazing vocals, they are heading towards mega stardom. Even though it may be taking a while to get them there.

Please let me know what songs you think should be included!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Okay the winner of the competition is...*drumroll*


Congratulations! I really loved your entry on Berryz Koubou's song 'Sprinter'. Please comment on this post with your email address and I will get in contact with you.

If you didn't win, don't be discouraged, as there will be another giveaway at the end of January!

Please continue voting on the poll! We have an unprecedented amount of votes this time so it is awesome to see how many of you love Morning Musume.

There will be a new post in the next couple of days! I am thinking another countdown post...