Monday, 19 November 2012

October Top 5

All opinions are my own, deal with it, ect
Since I'm on the school library's PC, I can't make an actual graphic, so, have some amusing GACKT instead
Okay, I admit it's a little late to be doing this now, but, it's something I've wanted to do for a while now. A ranking of my personal Top 5 single releases of the past month, that is. For simplicity's sake, I'm limiting it to Japanese releases this time. I'll probably add K-Pop in next time, when I actually work out what I'm doing...maybe something else will make its way in there too? Doubtful, but, who knows?
5 . Sexy Zone - Sexy Summer ni Yuki ga Furu
It looks like a Christmas card, cuuuuute!
Okay, so, I'm not huge on Sexy Zone - I like their debut single a lot but Lady Diamond didn't work for me at all - okay, no, I can listen to it quite happily but it didn't draw me to them as a group. They have some nice B-sides, though, and I realise I should pay them a little more attention.
Anyway, I've only listened to the A-Side once (need to check out those B-Sides) but it still deserves a place on this ranking. The reasons I only gave it one listen and the reason for it appearing on this list are the same...or, rather, there's only real reason (okay, no, it's a nice song anyway) - it's a Christmas song. I love Christmas songs and J-Pop artists handle Christmas songs so well! Trust me, this song will die of overplaying once December hits (I prefer not to get into the real Christmas mood until December - November's too early, you know, and, besides, my birthday's the 1st of Decmember, so I starting off the Christmas period with a celebration of my existence).
The A-side, despite its somewhat confusing title that had most people pretty stumpted when the single was announced (Was it a Summery song? A Christmas song? Neither? What?), is really fun and cute. And, yes, it's definitely a Christmas song, without a shadow of a doubt. The melody is Christmassy, the backtrack is Christmassy, it's all Christmassy. I especially love the use of church bells in the background - it's very reminiscent of old Christmas Carols. This is something often seen in British Christmas songs and, being British, that's what I grew up with. The fact that you hear these bells a lot in J-Pop, too, makes me feel quite nostalgic~! It's a cute song with a cute video!!

4. SHINee - Dazzling Girl

Now, Jjong, if you sit down, no-one will know you're tiny. Ignoring that you're still taller than a bunch of Japanese male idols.
When I said I'd keep to Japanese releases, I meant singles released in Japan on the Oricon charts, purely because it's easier to keep track of what was released this month in just one country and...well, South Korea don't seem to do singles very often. I wasn't just going to cut out K-Pop - It's a genre I love!
Regarding the A-Side, this is far from one of my favourite SHINee track - it's a cheesefest and there's nothing else to it. Well, cheese can be great. In this case, it's actually pretty good - I love the chorus and it's great to bounce around to. However, the verses are, at least for me, far less memorable. The chorus is ridiculously catchy and it took me about two listens of the short CM preview alone to have the tune memorised yet, until only recently, I couldn't remember the rest of the song past that. This song only loses out to me for that reason - even though it has a brilliant choruses, it simply lacks everywhere else. However, as I'm growing to know the song more, I'm simulataneously growing to love it. It is not anywhere near being a favourite SHINee track of mine, though.

The B-Side, Run With Me, is a beautiful track. Truthfully, I've listened to it less than Dazzling Girl, but it was a treat for the ears, I will tell you that. It's a sweet and emotional ballad song, with a fast-paced tempo and laid-back melody, a combination I love. At first, it sounds like nothing more than your painfully generic K-Pop boyband ballad, but, then, the verse kicks in and it all goes uphill from there. When I first heard this, I was going home late at night by car and it totally fit that environment, with the windows being all heavily condenced and the orange glow of the streetlights reflecting against the raindrops - okay, all that sounded well naff, but it fit perfectly with the mood created by the song. I love how the verse builds up to the chorus, and though the chorus shares melodies with that cheesey thing at the start, the choruses actually sounds really cool and powerful. This song also gets lots and lots of bonus points for all of Minho's singing lines - he does sing in Dazzling Girl, I know, but he gets more solos in this song than normal. I really love Minho's voice, it's actually my 3rd favourite voice in SHINee. His rap is awesome, too. Key's last solo is so powerful and strong - I needed to say it. And, of course, this song is rounded off fantastically by the fabulous Taemin, my SHINee bias (for the record, Jongyun is second on both the bias list and the favourite list, with Taemin topping both - Jjong can sing better but I prefer Taeminnie's voice - Also, these two lists are essentially the same but the bias list has Onew 4th and Key 5th while the voice list has them both tied for 4th).
3. Weather Girls - Koi no Tenki Yohou

Pretty in pink! Like, seriously, they're so pretty! And, hey, UFP, this is how you make your group look cute yet also cool. Also, hey, UFP, THIS IS HOW YOUR FARKING DO A DECENT GRAPHIC EDIT!
 Here we have the debut single of T-Pop girlgroup, Weather Girls - and I don't mean Japanese debut, like with all those K-Pop groups lately but, rather, actual musical debut. Regardless of that, I believe that they are actually, in fact, the first Taiwanese girlgroup to debut in Japan. Go them, paving the way for Taiwanese music in a way that UFP was never able to! Prior to the release of this single, these girls were just, quite literally, weather girls. Weather Girls started out reporting weather on Taiwanese weather and there were actually a huge number of girls involved, all revolving according to a wota, however, for the Japanese debut, in order to make things a lot less complicated, they limited the group to seven girls - one for each day of the week. They weren't even pop idols in Taiwan...just weather girls. Their weather reporting gig seriously wasn't for me - I'm not one for watching a bunch of girls in cosplay reporting the weather in overly-cutified voices and, often, broken English, but that's just me. The sexualisation of weather reporters has always eluded me, is all.
However, them as a pop group...that is something I can latch on to easily. The reason this song found its way on to this ranking...well, there isn't one straight reason, of course! In this case, as opposed to the weather reporting thing, the whole cute yet also 'sexy' image appeals to me a lot and, probably, because this 'sexy' is less blunt and more...well, it seems like a subtle kind of maturity, which is blended quite sweetly with a cutesy image. It's the balance I love. They're mature but not so much that they're just sexualised beyond all belief and they're cute but not so much that I end up with toothache. The girls make the PV extremely watchable - they have so much charisma and chemistry with the camera! And, with little doubt that'd it be thanks to their previous occupation, they handle close-ups so well. These girls are the queens of facial expressions.
On top of all that, the song is horrendously (and, I promise you, I mean that in the nicest of ways) catchy. It gets stuck in your head so easily - I listen to song once every so often and it finds itself stuck in my mind for ages after.
The dance is also eye-catching and looks like fun! The girls' actual execution of the moves is sharp and looks somewhat effortless.
This is an amazingly promising debut single, I feel. I also think that, soon enough, these girls could potentially gain a lot of interest in their slick tying together of Taiwanese culture and clear influences from both Japanese and Korean pop music (the latter being a hit in Japan, the former...well, same thing, obviously).
2. Morning Musume - Wakuteka Take a chance

GIANT RIHO OF DOOM, STEALIN' UP ERIPON AND HARUNAN'S SPACE - screw you, graphic editor, screw you. This is pretty shoddily edited, too.

I won't dwell on this one so much, as I already did a pretty in-depth review of this single. I seriously adore this single. This, like the #1 single on this list, is, in my opinion, the respective artists's best single since late 2009. I also adored the number of coupling tracks and the line-ups for said coupling tracks. There were some interesting combinations and all the songs were absolutely brilliant, being some of the best B-Sides in some time - all of them. This is one of the very best overall singles, tracklist-wise, in Morning Musume history, I feel. Also, yay for UFP using promotion and money to make things look, and sound, better! Most of all, that A-Side is farking love.
1. GACKT - 白露 -HAKURO-

Hello there, Baby Setsugekka

 Okay, the title needed to be in Japanese. Hakuro -HAKURO- is a stupid looking romanisation, and I like shoving in hyphens wherever possible, so, it had to be this way if you're wondering why...Hyphen = KAT-TUN fan, so, yeah).
Anyway, that aside, I doubt it's of any surprise to anyone that the GACKT single was the one to win me over - there are probably more than enough hints that I like GACKT scattered around this blog, after all (though, there does seem to be a common misconception among people I know that I prefer Kame to GACKT - sure, I'm more obsessed with Kame, but I have more love for GACKT).
Truth be told, this is my favourite GACKT single, as a whole package with B-Side included, since Setsugekka -the end of silence- from back at the end of 2009, with my favourite A-side track since Stay the Ride Alive which was, in all honestly, released on New Year's Day 2010. So, basically, this is my favourite GACKT release in 3 years. And, why? It's the most GACKT-y, so to speak. All of GACKT's singles are quintesentially GACKT, of course, but, this one is especially so. And why do I say that? I'd say that this song features more of the typically-GACKT details that we see in many of his older songs -  softer verses contrasted with heavier choruses, OTT drama with tear-jerking potential, flutes and other instrumentals that can be used to give a uniquely Japanese undertone (i.e; a bit of Japanese folk in there), gorgeous falcetto lines contrasted with deep and powerful lower vocals, ect. If you know GACKT, you'll know what I mean.
Regarding the A-Side, I have but one criticism - the theme of the video/single cover. It's like Setsugekka 2.0! I did come to the conclusion that this may just indicates  a continuation of a specific storyline, as GACKT has done before with the Moon Saga (Moon, Crescent & Diabolos) and Rebirth & RE:BORN. It wouldn't be anything new to fans if that were the case, after all. As such, this lone criticism is extremely minor.
The B-Side, Jounetsu no Inazuma also more than makes up for this. This is also my favourite B-Side since Setsugekka's B-Side, 斬~ZAN~ (stylised as such for the same reasons as Hakuro was). So, basically, yes, this single is the best thing in 3 years. That's the simple truth. Not that I haven't loved all the releases since then, of course. But, the B-Side is amazing. The B-Side really matches up to the brilliance of the A-Side, while setting an entirely different mood and tone. It's a perfect combination because of the differences. A truly fantastic single through and through, and, I assure you, deserved the #1 spot on this ranking for reasons other than biased DEAR love.
So, that's all for now. Until next time that is~
How will the November results turn out, then? Will GACKT claim that #1 spot yet again or will The Monsters and their single which is already well-loved by me try to challenge him? Will DIY♡ dance their way into my heart, or will I be forced to bow down and kiss the feet of a certain Johnny's septet? (lamelamelamelame).
Check back at the end of November (or, more likely, the start of October) to find out! ♡♡

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