Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Top 5 Original Japanese K-Pop Songs

This ranking is based purely on my own opinion, so, please respect that
This is my current K-Pop love of the moment (Rainbow's JaeKyung).
But, I couldn't find a gif of her derping. Her hair tho
And, here it is, another ranking! Don't worry, I've started writing a rant, too. And I plan to start reviewing dramas eventually, too.
That title on its own probably doesn't make sense so I'll elaborate. Of course, many Korean artists debut in Japan with Japanese language remakes of pre-existing songs. However, there comes a point where the artist has to release a brand-new, all-original track for the Japanese audiences. I'll be counting down my personal favourites. Oh, and you should probably consider this as a kind of Part Two of this.

5. Rainbow - Gonna Gonna GO! / Shoujo Jidai - MR. TAXI


Yes, that's right, it's a draw! My rankings so far make it look like SNSD are one of my favourite K-Pop groups but they aren't. Don't get me wrong, I like them, and they're miles better than, say, T-ara or something. Thing is, some SNSD songs tick all my little personal boxes while others...well, they don't hit a single chord with me. And that's just how it is. However, MR. TAXI is one song that I loved from the moment I heard it. It sounded really cool and the Japanese was a ridiculous improvement on whatever it was that was supposed to be happening in their previous Japanese release, Gee. It was a pleasant surprise. I never go in expecting to be wowed by this lot, so, when they do come out with a song I love, I end up more impressed that I probably would have been otherwise. Half of SNSD's songs bore me, while the other half excite me...well, not quite but when I like them, I really do like them. 
Rainbow, however, are my favourite K-Pop girlgroup. Gonna Gonna GO! is extremely K-Poppy in terms of style but it's really catchy, too. Also, these girls have had excellent Japanese since their Japanese debut, which is more than I can say for some Korean groups who try their luck overseas. Their Japanese language skills do not disappoint in this track, either. The production of this song is extremely slick and, though it may not be Rainbow's best song nor the most original thing ever, there's some definite appeal in this song. Though, technically, it borders on the generic, this song has a certain charm to it which definitely draws the listener in. Also, this song has a cool rap thrown in there, as always, which just adds to it.
4. ROMEO (Park Jung Min) - Give Me Your Heart

This song didn't chart particularly well, only reaching the #26 spot in the chart and that was probably due to an immense lack of promotion on this single's part. I actually adore this single and that's why it made it onto this list. I think, had it been given the promotion it deserved, this single would have done a lot better. In terms of style, this song is very is very similar to Jung Min's first proper solo release, independent from SS501, 'Not Alone'. I absolutely adore the style in that song, so, when I heard this track, I was ecstatic. Give Me Your Heart is a very cool and dramatic song, with a really catchy melody. I love the violins in the backtrack, too. As a Japanese release, this is also a really strong track. Jung Min's Japanese sounds seamless and natural, his accent and pronunciation are really good. Obviously, he still sounds Korean, but less obviously than quite a lot of other Korean artists singing in Japanese. Jung Min always did have the best Japanese in SS501, proved not only by his singing but also his success in the language games of their Japan-based TV show, and his Japanese has only improved since the last time he released anything in Japan. I really do think he needs more promotion, he's a really good singer, his Japanese is great, I feel his musical style would appeal to a Japanese audience (somehow) and, really, look at him, he's a human bishi! He's a Horse Prince, but, still, Horse Princes can be bloody pretty, apparently. I know looks don't count for all, but, when promoting him to another market than his home market, looks always help.

3. 2NE1 - SCREAM


This single only hit #7 on the Oricon charts so, in terms of doing well in Japan, it's not the best but it's still good. However, this is one of my very favourite 2NE1 songs so on the list it goes! Dara's Japanese isn't the strongest which lets the track down just a little but it doesn't have any real bearing on the quality of the rest of the song. This song is really cool and powerful, with impressive vocals. Cool is the only word to describe this song, really. CL and Minzy are particularly mind-blowing, actually, in both their rap and vocal parts. But, honestly, CL has so much style and power that it's unbelievable. As painfully naff and cheesy as it may sound, she's not known as 'The Baddest Female' for nothing, of that I have no doubts.

2. BIGBANG - Gara Gara GO!

The kings of K-Pop, BIGBANG, moved onto original tracks as early as their second single, chancing it against Tegomass (and, clearly, not succeeding...I don't even know what they got). This is one of my favourite BIGBANG tracks and my second favourite of their Japanese A-Sides (can't argue with BEAUTIFUL HANGOVER, really, that shit's far too good). I know there's a Korean version of this song, too, but I'm pretty bloody sure it came after and, as such, is a remake of the Japanese song and not the other way around. This is a really catchy, fast-paced song - it's fun and, somehow, it's really quite Summery. I feel that this song was also one of the first in a K-Pop trend that spread like wildfire, in terms of song style and even music video visuals. With plenty of English chants and even some more simple Japanese, this song's easy to sing along to, granted you miss out the fast parts. Unless you do those know those bits, obviously (I do, I have to say). It's just...yeah, fun.
It's very upbeat yet cool at the same time. Like, really cool. Especially those rap parts. And the 'T.O.P' part. That can't be argued with. That shit is too good. So, yeah, there seem to be no specific reasons...I just love this song.
1. Kim Hyun Joong - HEAT

I already did a review of this song as part of this review but that was referring more to what I liked about the song than why I thought it was a good choice for the first non-remake song HyunJoong released in Japan. Proof that it deserves the #1 spot lies solely in the fact that this single sold well enough to stick Yamashita Tomohisa, one of Japan's ultimate pop aces since he was around sixteen years old, with the first (and only) Oricon #2 in his recording career, which started when he was about nineteen. He's twenty-eight this April. You also have to keep in mind that it's an extremely rare feat for a K-Pop artist to top the charts with their second Japanese release. So, there, we have the proof, but, what contributed to this? There are various factors that may have led to this success. First-off, HyunJoong is a huge star all over Asia, so, it would only make sense for him to hit Japan hard. He had already gained fans in Japan through his time as a member of SS501, a group who made their Japanese debut ahead of the current Halyuu boom in the Japanese music scene, and his roles in the dramas, Boys Over Flowers and Playful Kiss. Japan experienced a K-Drama boom a before K-Pop really hit it big there, and, furthermore, both of these dramas are remakes of popular manga, the first having had a hugely successful Japanese drama adaption and the second being somewhat of a classic. Both of these manga also have anime and T-Drama adaptions, too. And, really, Boys Over Flowers and Hana Yori Dango are among the most successful dramas ever in their respective countries of origing, so, it's not surprising that HyunJoong's role as the lovable Aspie, JiHoo (formerly known as Rui) drew him in some fans. Furthermore, the song was created by Japanese music legends, B'z. They're a truly powerful duo in the Japanese music scene so, really, having a song created by that pair puts HyunJoong at quite an advantage. I mean, aside from being HUGE in themselves, one half of B'z is responsible for the composition for the best selling debut single in Oricon chart history, the long-awaited first single of KAT-TUN, selling over 750 thousand copies in its first week. Actually, this song is more Japanese-sounding than it is Korean, and considerably so, too. This probably helped it sell so well. As much attention as certain Korean artists are getting in Japan right now, Japanese-style songs will always have more appeal, seeing as Japanese-style music been gradually tailored to...well, appeal to the Japanese public. Besides, with some groups coming out with the same generic style of song all the time, maybe this is a nice change, I don't know. I'm not Japanese, I'm just speculating.
So, yeah, there you have it, my personal ranking of K-Pop artists first original Japanese tracks. Though, technically, some of these may not be the best or the most interesting or even the most successful (though, #1 is certainly one of the more successful ones), but, y'know what, I really like them and think they deserve their spots.


  1. Scream and Gara Gara Go are awesome! I would also say that I'm Your Man and Let it Rain are great too. There's another 2PM song from their first album that I love but can't quite remember the title at the moment.

    If you have time as well, I wrote an article about YouTube dancer’s purpose for uploading videos on there. If you can read, share, like or comment I’d be really grateful!

    1. Yeah, but the point in this ranking is that they were A-sides~ ;P But, yeah, I haven't heard I'm Your Man, but Let it Rain's a realllllly nice song.

      And, sure, I'll give it a read~