2016 has been a good year for idol songs and just music I like in general. Here is my ‘best of’ encompassing the year of 2016. I’m mainly going to be covering idol related releases, but there are a few non idol related songs and artists that are included here since they have made an impact on my interests in music as a fan.
Here are my top 10 songs of 2016 (with some honorable mentions).
#10 Plastic 2 Mercy – GANG PARADE
This originally wasn’t going to be a part of this post as the song was originally released in 2014 back when the group was known as Pla2me, however it’s being officially re-released and included an interesting MV. While the original song was a lot better, this re-release is pretty good and showcases the talents of the new members very well. It also has a dark and strange feel to it that’s hard to describe unless you’ve seen the video. It has a very artistic feel to it with the silhouettes of the members and the variety of different shots.
#9 Higurashi – Sana
This isn’t an idol song, but it’s one of my favorite songs released this year. I’ve essentially been following this artist since I first started playing the music rhythm game Dance Dance Revolution in 2005. That was my first exposure to Japanese music and it was one of the artists who lead me down the road to what I’m a fan of now. I wasn’t expecting this release at all. The last release she had was a mini album from 2012 before she went silent and seemed to have retired. The music video came as a surprise as well since her last one was ten years ago but the surprise was awesome to say the least. The music video isn’t anything extraordinary, but the fact that it exists has been making me very happy even though the song has such a sad sound to it.
#8 Lil Tomte – Koutei Camera Girl Zwei
Koutei Camera Girl is one of the strangest idol groups I’ve come across. With weird stage names for the members (such as Sugar sugar lala) to the genres of music they’ve done. All of their songs feature rapping along with something else such as Trance. The sad thing is, they disband in a month and will have only been around for two years. The final MV they released is strange to say the least. It features the final four members in a dark, fog-filled room with balloons. There are also scenes of the girls doing every day kinds of things such as eating, or walking around in a dark house. The song wasn’t my favorite at first, but it grows on you with each listen. And the attitude of the girls is interesting and fits the song.
#7 Mugen Climax – C-ute
C-ute is my favorite group in Hello! Project at the moment, and as soon as I saw the title of this song, I knew it was going to be good. This song does a good job of showcasing C-ute’s talent from the vocals of Chisato and Airi to the dance. The jackets’ shoulder pieces on the outfits are kind of weird looking in my opinion, but they have had worse outfits in the past. The setting and editing are really good as well. Hello! Project isn’t known for their high budget amazing MVs, but this one really delivered.
#6 Monsters’16 – BiSH
Monsters was originally released in 2015 on their first album, but it was re-released on their second album. This time with an MV. Featuring explosions, dancing, and a drill sergeant, this MV delivers the punch very well. This was also released in the indies days of the group so the fact that this was done on a lower budget makes it more impressive.
#5 NATASHA – NATASHA
Song starts at 5:55. A higher quality version isn’t available on YouTube unfortunately.
NATASHA was a temporary unit created for the JAM x Natalie event that happened in September. It featured Suzuki Yuriya from Cheeky Parade, Chicchi from BiSH, Maina from Osaka Shunkashuto, Yoshida Rinne an idol soloist, and Minato Akane from Predia. The song was unfortunately only released for a limited period of time on the soundcloud before being deleted entirely. This song featured a mix of several songs and genres and it was very impressive to listen to. The members who were chosen for this, especially Maina, have incredible vocals.
#4 Ueueo -Hinekuretari~ – Zenbu Kimi no Sei da.
Honestly, I still have no idea how this name is supposed to be romanized. However, the song is very good. I like how they managed to incorporate the dark destructive themes of the song with the member colors of each member. The yami-kawaii genre isn’t for everybody and can’t be done easily, but this group pulls it off well.
#3 Mudai Gassho – Zenbu Kimi no Sei da.
I initially was planning to only include on ZenKimi song, but I couldn’t decide between this or the previous one so I decided to include both. The song on this one sounds the same to what they usually do, but this one included an animated video with a sad story. Even though it is sad, a lot of effort was put into it, and it deserves to be appreciated more than it is.
#2 SKULLS IN THE STARS – NECRONOMIDOL
SKULLS IN THE STARS is my favorite NECRONOMIDOL song and this is an awesome and unexpected MV. It takes the song and has the background be that of a retro video game that tells a story. One of the nice things about NECRONOMIDOL is the fact their managers are aware of international fans and most of their videos have english subtitles. While this one doesn’t exactly, some of the NPC dialogue is in english which gets the story across well. It’s a good MV for a good song.
#1 I kill – DEEP GIRL
Just to warn people who haven’t seen or heard of this song yet, I wouldn’t recommend watching the MV if you are sensitive to bullying, cutting, blood, and other dark themes.
This is my favorite of the year. I love the dark quality around it and the fact that it covers topics that Japanese society generally doesn’t do a good job in covering makes it a bigger impact. To an international fan, it might not make the most sense at first, but it gets the point across well. It’s also a good song to listen to on its own as well.
This song is one of the reasons why I’ve taken to Alt-idols a lot. In idol music, a lot of the same stuff gets shown over and over again, but with Alt-idols, they aren’t really afraid to break boundaries and explore new ideas of music. While the same usual stuff is nice at times, it does get kind of old after a while.
For the songs that didn’t make top 10, but that I still enjoy a lot and do deserve to be mentioned here.
#1 SOMEDAY 00.Prologue – TЁЯRA
This song isn’t idol or even created by an idol artist, however, it’s release is something I’ve been hoping to see but figured I never would. TERRA went on hiatus in 2009. In 2011, they released their second album and then went silent. Their website was gone, and the facebook page posted few messages except for vague things that they weren’t disbanded. They went entirely silent in 2013 and since then I thought they were gone. However, in 2016, they came back with a new song. While it isn’t the best thing ever, the fact that they were able to continue to make music and release it is a bigger deal. It means that better stuff will be on the horizon. TERRA was probably one of the first Japanese artists I listened to and that in turn changed my life greatly.
#2 Kobushi no Hana – Kobushi Factory
I was not really the biggest fan of the song, but the Music video is well done (especially for a Hello! Project group) and the meaning behind the lyrics is really good. The girls have good group chemistry and I really hope they keep getting good songs like this in the future.
#3 Orchestra – BiSH
Orchestra is not my favorite song by BiSH, however the music video is beautiful, tragic and can really be interpreted a lot of different ways. I really like MVs with story to them as it makes them even more enjoyable.
#4 Singing ~Ano Koro no You ni~ – C-ute
I might like this song more than the other a-side Mugen Climax, however I had a hard time choosing. Mugen Climax ended up winning in the end. The background might be very plain, however the white outfits and white-gray background fit the song very well. With the three a-sides on the single, I feel like this one ties the two different versions of C-ute together. There’s the early days of C-ute as seen in Ai Maru de where there sound was a lot more cutesy, and the more sexy image of them. This one just seems to bridge the gap between those two eras very well.
#5 Mukidashi de Mukiatte – Morning Musume ’16
I didn’t expect this song to make the list, but its actually very good. The single overall was very good, but this track was the best. It’s also the first song by them since Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe (from 2014) that I’ve actually liked. Funnily enough, this MV reminds me of a red version of that song but with some changes. This song gives me hope for this lineup of Morning Musume and that I should follow them a bit more than I have been lately.