Monday, 10 December 2012

November Top 5

All opinions are mine and, surprisingly, not your's! Gahsp! Who'd have thought?
Here, have some adorable derp Kame. I don't care if he has nothing to do with this Ranking.
So, the time has come for the second installment of my Monthly Top 5 singles overview. Again, this ranking will be focussing soley on singles released in Japan, purely because I can't think of any other Novemember releases I actually cared about.
And, yeah, last time I said something about GACKT showing up this time but, as it turns out, Winter Lovers isn't out until December. I swear that wasn't the case before, but whatever.
Anyway, let's get on with the ranking!

5. S/mileage - Samui ne

I like this cover best, it's cute and Christmassy. But the editing isn't too impressive.

One thing I don't like about S/mileage is their song style. The cutesy act doesn't always work for me. I do love cute stuff, but S/mileage often end up being too much. Besides, I'm really not a big fan of Dawa's voice and her singing squeakier and more cutesy than normal isn't something I find particularly pleasant. I'm sure Dawa's lovely but I'm just not huge on her voice. However, this song is a more mellow and mature song. However, that cutesy feel is still retained. Also, it's a winter song. I'm a sucker for winter songs, really. This I will admit without even an ounce of shame. Basically, I would honestly like to see more of this from S/mileage. Maybe then, I'd like them better - I love the girls, particularly 2nd Gen. In my opinion, S/mileage are getting a tad generic for my tastes, but, with this single, I think there's some improvements.

4. Shoujo Jidai - FLOWER POWER

I find it odd that, despite being officially known as 'Shoujo Jidai', their Japanese single covers don't actually seem to provide any evidence of this. Also, it may just be me, but I find those outfits quite unflattering.
I'm not a huge SNSD fan - I like them enough but I'm not mad about them. I'm a casual fan. A really casual fan. I don't know if I'm even really a fan. But I do like them and there are a couple of songs of their's that I honestly adore. This isn't one of them, but I do really like it. Now, being a 'really casual fan', I haven't actually given any of this single, past the A-Side, a listen and, since I want to get this up at a decent time, unlike my last Monthly Top 5, I'm going to be lazy and not bother with them. But, that being said, it does mean that this is a good enough A-Side for me to consider among the month's Top 5 without any support from extra songs. This song is a very typical SNSD song which does do the track many favours for me. There are certain SNSD songs I'm less drawn to, but this particular kind of song is normally a hit for me. It's a very catchy song and it's got a really good beat. It's everything good about SNSD, I suppose.

3. DIY♡ / GREEN FIELDS - Forefore ~Forest For Rest~ / Boys be ambitious

The cover sucks because Miya's hair is much nicer in the PV. Okay, it doesn't actually suck. It's better than a lot of H!P Single covers. Shut up.
This single is only in these charts because of DIY♡. I couldn't actually care less about GREEN FIELDS and their generic little track. Sure, I feel like an arse for being so harsh right off the bat with this part of the ranking but it has to be said. In order to get it out of the way quickly, I'll explain exactly how I feel about Boys be ambitious! - it's not a bad song, perse, but in comparison to its coupling track, it really doesn't stand out to me at all. It is, as I said, generic. That doesn't make it an inherently awful song and I do need to stress that I don't think of it as such. It just didn't have enough going for it to get itself anywhere near this ranking alone. I kept this single on the ranking purely because I realised that, even if this single had contained DIY♡'s track and nothing else, it would still have done well on the ranking. Boys be ambitious is simply not my kind of song and the line-up, though I do like the girls, save for Yuka, purely because I don't even really know who she is, does nothing for me. Forefore ~Forest For Rest~, on the other hand, is an absolutely fantastic track and I would easily say that is one of the best songs to come out of H!P in quite some time. This, Wakuteka Take a chance and WANT! are all renewing my faith in H!P - not that I had ever lost faith, as such, but, I was certainly wavering. Please keep in mind that, faith or no faith, my support for H!P never once weakened. DIY♡'s track is ridculously catchy and it really gets stuck in my head for ages after I listen to it - it's a bloody earwig, I'll tell you! The melody is seriously good and the arrangement is among the best in recent H!P releases. I really love the melody of the instrumental break - things like that always get me. I also think it's brilliant how this a dancey song without masses of autotune (I'll admit, I basically repeat this observation later on, only applying it to a different song all together) - this is especially unusual in current H!P, so it's really nice to see. Harunan is still not too a strong a singer but this song truly compliments her voice, so that's always great - personally, though I am fully aware that she is somewhat vocally weak, I will not deny that her voice has this certain charm to it and, as such, I'm drawn to her voice. Also, lastly, in the PV, Miya's hair is great, it suits her so well. Keep this hair, Miya! Drop the extentions!

2. Kis-My-Ft2 - Ai no Beat

So, is Tama-chan just going to adopt the trademark Yamapi glare? I mean, they're both beauts, so I can work with that.
This single is pretty interesting - it's got a pretty substantially-lengthed tracklist with 4 tracks; 2 A-Sides and 2 B-Sides, but that's not the best part (cause that's not actually very interesting at all, is it?). The great thing about this single is that it features two different versions of the A-Side - the Dance version and the Rock version, both of which sound really good and equally, quintesentially Kis-My-Ft2. Both versions have a different feel to them and they have such different approaches taken toward them, regarding arrangement and so on, but they both work so well. It's really impressive - well done to the people who wrote this one.  On top of that, the lyric s are fast, at parts, yet easy to sing along to (granted you know the lyrics or have them on you, of course), which is always great~ Stuff like that makes for memorable lyrics!
As brilliant as the Dance version is (even with its intro sounding exactly like part of a JLS song), my favourite of the pair would have to be the Rock version. Though, that makes sense, seeing as my favourite artists are GACKT and KAT-TUN. Actually, as much as this song could only be a Kis-My-Ft2 song (this is something I love about KisuMai), there are elements to the rock version that remind me somewhat of KAT-TUN's pre-debut songs, namely 'SHE SAID...'. Honestly, I just the fast-pace of the rock version; the drums are bloody effective. It just sounds so cool, really. Though, it's probably worth noting that's not really that rocky at all. There are clkear rock elements, but it's still pretty poppy, if you ask me.
The B-Sides are both really nice, too. First off, there's Winter Lovers which is a nice, relaxing song. The first time I heard it, I was trying to sleep on a bus, so, yeah. It's a pretty little song and it's really perfect for the winter season. It sounds like it would be perfect to listen to on a snowy morning, with a clear sky. But, that kind of clear where the sky is that really weird shade of pale blue. I hope Scotland gets that at some point - we do like our horrendous grey skies, it seems.
Lastly, we have Never End LOVE. Personally, I think this sounds really nice. The verses, at least, remind me kind of Yamapi's Ao and some NEWS songs. In fact, this whole song sounds like it should be an older NEWS song back from when they still had eight members. In some ways, it's like a less cheesey version of Private Hearts, except..not, obviously. If you get what I mean. But, it's so typically JE without being one of those cheesey messes chock-full of prepubescent 12-year-olds.


This is one of my favourite single covers of the year, by the way. It's so cool.
So, this month's winner is this little jem of a subgroup. This group was formed to perform the theme song to drama, MONSTERS - oh, and it's worth mentioning that the members actually play the main characters of the drama. Funnily enough, the last time JE formed a duo with two members of a drama cast and got them to sing the theme song, Yamapi was involved, as he is this time. However, MONSTERS doesn't have much on Shuji & Akira's Seishun Amigo, I find - some may call it Kame-bias, but I just call it fact. Okay, no, really, I just think that Seishun Amigo's a better song.
Of course, that being said, I still think that this is a really good single. The A-Side is quite dancey without being an autotune fest, which is always interesting. I mean, I'm not adverse to autotune but sometimes it's used purely to make a song seem dancey which is a bit of a cop-out. I mean, if it sounds great, that's fine, but, y'know. There are a lot of vocal effects in this song, though, I won't deny it, and there's probably some autotune in there, too. This song is bloody catchy and I find it totally engaging. It's quite nice hearing Shingo tackling this genre, because I swear you don't hear all that much of this from SMAP (I mean, you do occasionally - take Just Go! for example). My favourite part is the whole bit at the end with Shingo singing all low, with Yamapi doing adlibs in the back. It sounds seriously cool.
The B-Side, Monster or Monsutaa, is a cover of a classic Pink Lady song and it's absolutely fantastic. In fact, I actually prefer it to the A-Side. I haven't had much experience with Pink Lady aside from UFO and the songs covered by various Hello! Project artists, but, even so, this song is so obviously a Pink Lady song, it's odd. But, I do like Pink Lady's songs, as far as melody and beat go. I love when a favourite artist of mine covers one of their songs. Funnily enough, though, this rendition of the song reminds me of H!P at times, probably because of the obvious influences Tsunku has taken from the classic duo. It's amazing, though, how well this pair work this song. In fact, I'm all for Yamapi singing more songs in this genre because his voice sounds so lovely here. I really love the electronic twist on the song that kicks in from the second chorus onwards, it sound so cool. And the shouting lines are brilliant, too. This whole song is a fabulous, fabulous success for me and, on top of that, it's wonderfully catchy. This is one of my favourite tracks of the year, quite honestly. I am so glad this happened.
So~ That's all for November~
Check back next month to see whether or not GACKT will lose to a certain Johnny's quartet on their world quest? Or, could it be that Berryz Koubou could get that spot? - they do want it so bad~
(major awful pun alert)

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