Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Rock Otaku’s Rockin’ Billboard Chart Watch: February 18, 2017 (Japanese Invasion)

Hello degenerates, heathens, weirdos, and deviants.  I am the Rock Otaku, and I’m here to show you worlds such as hard rock, metal, punk, alternative rock, movies, TV, anime, video games, and anything that makes us scream, shout, and let it all out.

Welcome to my Rockin’ Billboard Chart Watch.  Here, I take a break from reviewing classic heavy metal albums, movies, TV, anime, games, and so on to review what is popular in the rock scene according to Billboard.  But this week, I’ll look into the pop music of Japan.

As for why, that’s an obvious answer.  Did you not notice how my online name is “Rock Otaku”?  You already are familiar with the Rock part of that name, I’m sure.  As for the Otaku part, it essentially means fan of anime, manga, and anything Japanese, but on a level that they aren’t too obsessed with them (that’s a Weeaboo).  In Japan, otaku would be considered the equivalent of the basement-dwelling middle-aged shut-ins that we have here.  As for American Otaku, I’m not sure if it means that, but expect Gen-Xers and millennials with Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Pokémon, Digimon, Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, Attack on Titan, Yu-Gi-Oh, Gundam, Death Note, Kill la Kill, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Gurren Lagaan, Blue Exorcist, Soul Eater, Black Butler, Hetalia, Ouran High School Host Club, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Power Rangers memorabilia on them.  That and expect them to be excited for and dreading the Power Rangers and Ghost in the Shell movies coming out.  And claims of poseurdom will be ignored if they cosplay as characters from those franchises (and various fighting, RPG, and retro video game franchises) at conventions like Comic-Con, PAX, Dragon-Con, or AX in Los Angeles.

One pursuit that combines the two, the rock and otaku sides I have, is looking into Japanese pop and rock music.  I’m familiar with anything from idol groups to visual kei, to say the least, while I’m a fan of the latter in the musical sense (though I’d think I’d look great in that attire).  Plus I have all the Japanese DLC in Rocksmith 2014 (mostly J-rock, with a noticeable absence of anison outside of “Giri Giri Chop” and “Roundabout”).  So I’m sure I’m qualified enough to review j-pop in this series.  Like with the Billboard rock charts, I’ll focus on the Japan Hot 100 chart from Billboard for this.  Expect weird names, fun songs, and the western hit or two.  Like with last week (or more technically two weeks ago), I’ll review new and returning entries while giving you, the readers, the opportunity to select songs you want me to review next week in a special run.  With that out of the way, here we go.

Oh, and don’t expect videos of or links to every new/returning song

1.         Koi – Gen Hoshino (3 last week): May review next time if I get 10 views for this entry
2.         Itteki No Eikyou – Uverworld (39 last week): May review next time if I get 20 views for this entry
3.         Reboot!!! – A.B.C-Z (New Arrival):
So I go from reviewing rock bands to reviewing boy bands (insert reference to the Rock of Ages musical here).  If you’re wondering, boy bands are as big with tweens in Japan as they are with tweens here.  As for the lyrics, I still learning Japanese, so expect me to review them if there’s Engrish or if it’s a “gaijin hit,” a.ka. a song from the west.  But if the Engrish here means anything, it probably gives off a sense of trying to better yourself before the big fight with the universe-conquering monster that killed your family.  And you feel awesome when you go up for the final fight.  That or it’s something else.  As for the music, the dudes sing their hearts out, have the youthful energy to pull it off, each have their own parts, and manage to give off positive vibes.  The music itself, features elements of disco, funk, and electronica, mixed in a way that has several licks from the horns, jangly guitars, and a strong bass line.  If there’s a reason to listen to this, it’s probably to practice karate with a big goofy grin on your face.  Expect the desire to punch something in a good mood.

4.         Snow Sound – Alexandros (32 last week): May review next time if I get 30 views for this entry
5.         Beyond The Starlight – Rika Jogasaki (Nozomi Yamamoto), Chieri Ogata (Naomi Ozora),Karen Houjo (Mai Fuchigami)… (New Arrival):
Oh no, it’s the moé invasion!  Run Butterfield!  Hide the cookies!

If you don’t get that reference, here’s where that comes from:
(Start at 0:25).

If there’s an issue that I have with this song now, it’s that it’s rather short in most accessible versions, so it’s hard to listen to the entire song, or this is the song overall.  Shame, really, because the moé aspects are nowhere near as bad as you’d think (you’d have to listen to a lot of death metal to understand or enjoy this).  The girls really sound great here (with some AutoTune, not a lot I’m hearing), and the use of actual instruments alongside the synthesizers here is extremely welcome to this guy right here.  Hell, the use of guitar is how I’m suckered into the moé nature of this song.  If you’re wondering what version to listen to, give the short version a listen first before seeking out the full version, but the full version is worth it (there’s a guitar solo for guitar enthusiasts, and it’s better than most solos in modern country music).  Definitely recommended, but I’m not sure if it’s the reason I should get into IDOLM@STER, thought (yes, this is an IDOLM@STER song).

6.         Koe – Green Boys (4 last week): May review next time if I get 40 views for this entry
7.         Hitorisekai – 10-FEET (New Arrival):
Damnit, I should have written this in kanji/hiragana/katakana!

Japan, where rock bands can have songs in the Top 10 (American pop music, you suck!).  Yes, this has elements of pop punk and emo, but that doesn’t mean this song sucks.  In reality, it’s pretty good, with the right amount of energy and emotion to give it a strong sense of bite and feelings.  The vocal performance is powerful, the music is fast, furious, and melodic, the bass and drums keep things in check, and the guitar solo, though short, is continuing with the melodicism.  In short, it’s a good song.

And yes, Universal Music Japan split the music video into two parts.

8.         Hikari No Atelier – Mr. Children (6 last week): May review next time if I get 50 views for this entry
9.         Excite – Daichi Miura (9 last week): May review next time if I get 60 views for this entry
10.       Sayonara Bystander – YUKI (New arrival):

Can’t find the video.  Search “yuki sayonara bystander” or watch March Comes in Like a Lion for it.

Great, now I wonder if I want to check out March Comes in Like a Lion thanks to this song being the second opening.  Is that weird?  It’s a nice sounding song that gives off a sort of happy yet melancholic vibe that screams that things can go either way.  It’s also very melodic, giving off the usual vibe that you usually get from anison.  If you’re wondering what vibe it is, try listening to X Japan’s more melodic work and determine what kind of feelings you get.  Those are what’s on display here.  The vocals from Yuki are great, while the instrumentation features a strong orchestral vibe that works with the acoustic guitars, strong bass line, and passionate drum performance.  In short, it’s a feel-good song that should brighten your day if it’s going south.

11.       Zenzenzense – RADWIMPS (11 last week): May review next time if I get 70 views for this entry
12.       Stay True – Suchmos (15 last week): May review next time if I get 80 views for this entry
13.       Silent Majority – Keycakizaka46 (14 last week): May review next time if I get 90 views for this entry
14.       Lightning – THE RAMPAGE from EXILE TRIBE (2 last week): May review next time if I get 100 views for this entry
15.       PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen) – PIKOTARO (8 last week): May review next time if I get 110 views for this entry
16.       Torisetsu – Kana Nishino (69 last week): May review next time if I get 120 views for this entry
17.       Futari Saison – Keyakizaka46 (12 last week): May review next time if I get 130 views for this entry
18.       Beyond The Dream – THE IDOLM@STER SideM (New Arrival):
So there’s a male verison of IDOLM@STER?  Huh, neat.

So like their female counterparts, there’s the multiple vocalists singing alongside energetic, synth-laden pop rock.  You have everything, from guitar riffs, a thick bass line, energetic drums, lots of synths and electronics, piano lines, and several anime dudes singing about how you should aspire to be higher than what you are now.  It’s as if this is the rule 63 version of “Beyond the Starlight” right down to having a guitar solo (a few short ones, but you get the idea).  It’s a lot more rock-based than that song, but it fits the amount of Asian pretty boy testosterone on display.  It’s as if applying AKB48/Love Live concepts to male idols is not just appealing to girls, but probably enough to inspire greatness in men.

Though I do warn my male readers that this is most-likely meant for female fans, so you’ll probably look like Mr. Turner if you get attached to this group.

19.       Nagurigaki Beat – Kanjani 8 (1 last week): May review next time if I get 140 views for this entry
20.       Aiokuri – The STROBOSCORP (19 last week): May review next time if I get 150 views for this entry
21.       Magic – AAA (10 last week): May review next time if I get 160 views for this entry
22.       Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran (29 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 170 views for this entry
23.       Dead End in Tokyo – Man With A Mission (5 last week): May review next time if I get 180 views for this entry
24.       Kiseki – GreeeeN (16 last week): May review next time if I get 190 views for this entry
25.       Fighter – KANA-BOON (81 last week): May review next time if I get 200 views for this entry
26.       Happy End – back number (21 last week): May review next time if I get 210 views for this entry
27.       24K Magic – Bruno Mars (17 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 220 views for this entry
28.       Tomorrow – Machico (New Arrival):
A Konosuba theme?  Sweet!  I’m just getting into this show.  So to kick things into gear, this is definitely more rock-oriented, matching the sense of getting to marching off into battle (it’s as if Japan’s culture is so kawaii-driven, that this takes elements of power metal).  I mean, this is probably a power metal song disguised as a pop tune.  You have the guitars with the licks and riffs, the bass and drums are fast paced, the synths are more in fun-mode, and the female singers give off a sense that the adventure will be epic, but it will be fun.  And did I mentions that this has a guitar solo?  Seriously, Japan has guitar solos in their Top 40, and we don’t!  I’ll say it again.  America, our pop music sucks when Japan has the better Top 40.  Overall, it’s just a fun song to listen to.  And I hope to get caught-up on this series.

29.       Kiseki – Green Boys (13 last week): May review next time if I get 230 views for this entry
30.       We are – ONE OK ROCK (22 last week): May review next time if I get 240 views for this entry (hopefully)
31.       Orion – Kenshi Yonezu (New Arrival):

Another March Comes In Like a Lion Theme?  Unfortunately, due to time constraints and lack of easy to access ways to get the full song legally, this will be VERY short.  But from what I’ve heard from covers and short versions, it’s a sad-little song that’s both melodic and beautiful in its melancholy.  It’s more reflective of dealing with loss and the effects on how it affects your being.  But that’s my interpretation, if you can find it, then tell me what you think.  Now I need something cheerful.

32.       Sekai Ni Hitotsu Dake No Hana – SMAP (40 last week): May review next time if I get 250 views for this entry
33.       Closer – The Chainsmokers Featuring Hasley (43 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 260 views for this entry
34.       Michi – Green Boys (36 last week): May review next time if I get 270 views for this entry
35.       Emma – News (Returning entry):
Another boy band?  At least it’s a happy-sounding tune.  But with that spy-movie guitar line, this gives off this sense of mystery that permeates throughout this song.  As for the song, it’s a simple, easy-to-follow song that about this chick named Emma that the dudes are all into, or singing to so that her spirits are up.  But with this song’s mysterious, almost epic feel, I get the sense that it’s more trying to solve the mystery surrounding her.  But is it a bad song?  I don’t think so, and I’ll be getting to something terrible, I know it (based on my biases, it might be from stateside).  And that flute adds a sort of western feel to the song, making it as if News are a bunch of cowboys and Emma needs saving from Dirty Dan or something like that.  Definitely a decent tune.

36.       Sayonara No Imi – Nogizaka 46 (38 last week): May review next time if I get 280 views for this entry
37.       Dear Bride – Kana Nishino (42 last week): May review next time if I get 290 views for this entry
38.       Yes! Party Time!! – Uduki Shimamura (Ayaka Ohashi),Rin Shibuya( Ayaka Fukihara),Mio Honda (Sayuri Hara)… (New Arrival):
At least they got the title right.  It may not be as wild as thrash metal parties (check with Municipal Waste on that one), but it’s enough to get a rave going.  And with all the extra musical flourishes, it gives off the sense that this party is wilder than what KISS is capable of (maybe as wild).  The girls sound great, the synths are surprisingly well-mixed, and the rhythm keeps you on your feet as the song goes on.  But to get this out faster, and because I need to get the next Let Them Eat Metal out soon, I’ll leave it at that and let the music do the talking (reference KISS, then Aerosmith?  I’m such a rock geek).

39.       Paris – The Chainsmokers (51 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 300 views for this entry
40.       Castle On The Hill – Ed Sheeran (65 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 310 views for this entry
41.       A.G.I.T. – Suchmos (20 last week): May review next time if I get 320 views for this entry
42.       Tokyo Girl – Perfume (56 last week): May review next time if I get 330 views for this entry
43.       Zenzenzense (pt. 2) – RADWIMPS (30 last week): May review next time if I get 340 views for this entry
44.       Uptown Funk! – Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars (48 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 350 views for this entry
45.       Sun – Gen Hoshino (35 last week): May review next time if I get 360 views for this entry
46.       Say You Won't Let Go – James Arthur (18 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 370 views for this entry
47.       Wherever You Are – ONE OK ROCK (54 last week): May review next time if I get 380 views for this entry
48.       Rhapsody Of Blue Sky – fhana (44 last week): May review next time if I get 390 views for this entry
49.       Ibasho – KREVA (New Arrival):
Damn lack of places to find it.  I’ll probably just buy this one for reviewing purposes.
50.       Saigo Mode – Itowokashi (New Arrival):
So this is a nice-sounding song about that apparently was used to advertise Kit Kat bars.  I might need more information on this one, but I do know that Kit Kats are a big deal in Japan (to the point that there’s a green tea flavor).  But for the song on its own, it a nice ballad with well-sung vocals, great instrumentation, with the guitars, bass, and drums being strong, good use of piano, orchestra, and synthesizers, and so on.  It’s a nice song to listen to, but it isn’t the best thing ever.  Hopefully, things will get more interesting.

51.       Emu – Uverworld (New Arrival):

From what I can gather from the melody, this is a pretty rad song.  Too bad I’m sure that Sony Japan won’t let me jump in unless I buy the album (well I know what’s on my list of things to get).

52.       Welcome To Tokyo – Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE (55 last week): May review next time if I get 400 views for this entry
53.       Kanade – Sukima Switch (Returning Entry):
So yeah, this song is an older one, but it’s something that I think deserves to return to the chart.  It’s a powerful, emotional ballad with all the trappings of a good one, such as well-mixed instruments like guitars, piano, organ, orchestra, bass, and drums, while the vocals are great, and the duet versions are really good.  It’s a good song to listen to, and it has the power and punch to deliver some quality pop to your earholes.  And the rises in emotion in the song throughout is also welcome.  The final major strength, especially when it’s a duet, is when the two singers sing together in harmony with all the emotion having been built up.  Definitely recommended.

54.       Wanna Go Home – Aqua (Sora Amamiya),Megumin (Rie Takahashi),Darkness (Ai Kayano) (New Arrival):
Is it me, or does the country/western vibe of this song fit with what I’m sure the song is about.  Specifically that desire to return to your home after a long quest slaying dragons.  Yes this is a Konosuba song, and it’s a calm, relaxing one at that.  The guitars are all good here, from the acoustics to the slide, the drums are steady, the bass is fine, and the three seyuu singing as their characters manage to have good tones throughout.  Not much to say here, as I’m sure most versions out now are short unless you buy the full version, but this is a great first impression for me overall.  However, if you’re a fan of classic country music, you’ll definitely dig this track.  If not, then we have a serious disagreement.

55.       Harajuku Iyahoi – Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (46 last week): May review next time if I get 410 views for this entry
56.       Be Noble – Boku No Ririkku No Bouyomi (50 last week): May review next time if I get 420 views for this entry
57.       All Day Long Lady – E-Girls (33 last week): May review next time if I get 430 views for this entry
58.       Silent Libre Mirage – UNISON SQUARE GARDEN (New Arrival):

I’m about to give up on the whole sharing-music part of this due to how difficult this turned out to be.

This is an anime theme, I know it.  If not, then correct me.  But regardless, it’s a rather interesting song to have on the chart, based on the rockier elements.  However, due to a lack of finding this song online, then I’d recommend trying to find this yourselves and checking it out.  It’s a decent sounding song regardless, so I give it a recommendation.

59.       Kanpaku Sengen – Masashi Sada (New Arrival):
So this is quite the ballad.  What I mean is that it’s been around for a long time.  Probably the 70s to be exact.  It’s such a weird moment to see this on the charts like this, probably because I get the sense that it’s probably been on there for a while, then returned.  But beyond that, it’s practically a Japanese-Guy-With-Acoustic-Guitar song, and it’s probably better than most of the White-Guy-With-Acoustic-Guitar songs we usually get.  Plus the incorporation of drums and organ gives it a slightly more fun vibe while being a fun song already.  I mean is that it’s a fun sounding song that might be great to sing at karaoke.  In short, I think it’s a good song.

60.       Walkure Ga Tomaranai – Walkure (78 last week): May review next time if I get 440 views for this entry
61.       Automaton – Jamiroquai (New Arrival, gaijin hit):
Finally, something in English.  If you’ve never heard of this artist, then you probably would be interested to know that he did that song “Virtual Insanity.”  And here, he records a spacey electropop song about what is probably about a robot created by aliens (that’s what I gather from the music video).  But despite that, this British performer manages to have more personality than most artists who rely on electronica to mask their lack of creativity and talent, which is more artists that make your charts than you think.  But this banging track is what would happen if an artsy artist saw how Daft Punk decided to sell out and said “I’ll going to play what they used to play.”  The instrumentation is great, using spacy synthesizers and electronics to create a cyberpunk vibe, then incorporating a few other instruments such as guitars when necessary.  But if there’s a tone that you’ll enjoy about this song, it feels like a continuation of what Jamiroquai was going for with “Virtual Instanity” and taking it up to 11.  In short, this is highly recommended.

62.       True Destiny – Nao Toyama (New Arrival):

Link Here:

Again, issues finding a link to share.

So this is the epic theme for Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas.  In short, this has a very rock-based, epic vibe that gives off a sense of action and dread, while provided the urge to fight on.  The instrumentation mixes guitars, synthesizers, piano, bass, and drums with finesse and energy, while Nao Toyama sings her heart out to sell this.  And somehow, I found a way to listen to the whole song (Hooray!).  And the overall musical force manages to be a lot more interesting than expected being a song that has enough elements of j-pop, symphonic power metal, hard rock, and so on mixed with the right elements of anison to make something definitely worth checking out.  In short, if cutesy rock with an epic feel is your thing, then check this out.

63.       Sekai Niha Ai Shikanai – Keyakizaka46 (64 last week): May review next time if I get 450 views for this entry
64.       New Me – Osaka Syunkasyuto (New Arrival):

(Look it up).

So this track has a jazzy feel to it.  That’s what it is initially, but there’s also a more modern sense to it.  If there’s an overall issue, it would be the use of said modern production techniques, though that would be the result of the Lazerdisk remix.  Rather than that, this song has a good melodic line created by the jazzier elements of the song, and there’s also the vocals, which are pretty good here.  The pitch shifting might be off (again, a result of the Lazerdisk remix), but it’s a fun song regardless.  The instrumentation, with piano and electronics, plus what sounds like a recorder, is fine.  Nothing to blow me out of the park, but I also wonder what their old sound was.

65.       Koi No Hajimari Wa Itsumo Totsuzenn Ni – chay (65 last week): May review next time if I get 460 views for this entry
66.       Yattemiyou – WANIMA (Returning Entry):
Okay, this song is a ton of fun.  With its rhythm and sense of fun, this reminds me of the demented sense of pleasure that exists in punk rock, especially pop punk.  I’d say that this would be considered pop punk, definitely, with its instrumentation favoring heavy guitars and instrumentation, thick bass and drums, and loud, youthful vocals.  But the song’s feeling of fun is infectious, so if you hate fun, then you’ll hate this.  Thankfully the video is as demented and fun as the song itself.  This is pure fun, and that’s all I have to say about that.

67.       Cocoa – AAA (New Arrival):
A fun little j-pop number that makes me all warm and fuzzy?  BRING IT ON?  But despite the possibility that this song might be on the sugary side (ya think!?), it’s the kind that I’m kind of a sucker for.  I mean, I do like ballads by Firehouse, so there’s a sense that this as the same amount of fluff.  But there’s one minor nitpick.  It’s probably just about hot chocolate.  Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not something I’d sing about unless I’m missing something.  The music is nice, with its guitars, drumwork, bass, and flourishes of orchestra and piano, but it’s not something I’d listen to over and over again.  But if it’s on, I wouldn’t mind it.  It’s a sweet song, and that’s about it.  Plus the video is fine.

68.       Loser – Kenshi Yonezu (85 last week): May review next time if I get 470 views for this entry
69.       Monochro – Flower (58 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 480 views for this entry
70.       Ikkyu San – Wednesday Campanella (Returning Entry):
Why do I feel that this is going to be a fun song to have at parties?  Probably it’s because of the elements of disco that are prevalent.  Plus it’s interesting that there’s also strong elements of hip hop used here.  Not just in the rapping, but in the beat matching with the other funk and disco elements.  It’s weird that, despite being on the rocker side of things, I have a side that likes disco.  But I’ll have to give this song credit for having a small guitar solo here.  But that’s not where the song is completely strong, as that bass line is the kind that encourages dancing.  You also have the other musical elements being strong here.  Plus, you have the video, which might run extremely well here in the states, considering that it deals with romance, dreamscapes, and a building getting blown up at the end.  Definitely a winner.

71.       Shukan Shonen Jump – RADWIMPS (New Arrival):
If you’re wondering, this is about the manga magazine.  The one that gave us Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, and so on.  Starting with a piano and the singer’s vocal performance, you get the sense that this is entirely about how much the magazine means to them.  And for a lot of people, Weekly Shonen Jump means a lot, especially manga readers, and its influences on Japanese culture can still be seen today.  If you were expecting something louder, heavier, or more hot-blooded, you shouldn’t, as this song is definitely more on the ballad side of things.  It’s a great reminder of how much manga means to its fans.  And it’s also a tribute to the legacy of the famous manga magazine and the works presented in it.  I’m sure you’ll recognize most of the series referenced in the video, and if not, then you should be able to recognize at least one.  Definitely a good song for what it is.

72.       Hikari – Hikaru Utada (58 last week): May review next time if I get 490 views for this entry
73.       TT – TWICE (66 last week): May review next time if I get 500 views for this entry
74.       Mori No Kuma San – Parma Taisa (80 last week): May review next time if I get 510 views for this entry
75.       What Do You Mean? – Justin Bieber (77 last week): May review next time if I get 520 views for this entry
76.       My Boo – Shota Shimizu (Returning Entry):
And here’s the Asian equivalent to our R&B ballads.  Not to say it’s awful, but it’s probably weirder that there’s a R&B hit with all the trappings of our versions of this song, such as over-processed music (though it’s a lot less abrasive than what’s going on with the pop charts here), the melody, the song being about a girl he likes, and the friggin’ use of AutoTune.  Seriously, this song uses AutoTune, and it’s so obvious that it lands Shota Shimizu in the category of T-Pain-style crooner (which is something that I’m sure most artists today would hate to be considered).  In short, it’s a pretty bleh song, but it’s inoffensive enough that I wouldn’t mind it playing in the background (there are ways to tick me off in this regard).  But I was only able to find a short official video, so there might be some elements later in the song I would have enjoyed, but unable to now due to massive time constraints.

77.       Uso To Bonnou – KREVA (New Arrival):

Search for it to get it.  Right now.

Somehow I was able to find this one.  However, this song is not in the ultra-enjoyable side of j-pop.  It’s more in the weird parts of that scene.  Its structure is very off-kilter and driven by an electronic line, with a surprisingly good bass line.  Then you have the vocals, which have some pitch shifting, but are also adding to the madness.  If I can describe this song, it’s musical madness.  Controlled musical madness, but musical madness regardless.  If that’s your thing, then you’ll love this track.  If not, then I’d recommend skipping this one.  I’m more in the middle on this one right now.

78.       Crazy Crazy – Yasutaka Nakata/Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (41 last week): May review next time if I get 530 views for this entry
79.       Tokimeki Experience – Poppin'Party (New Arrival):
Yep, this is from that band anime that has been creating the buzz for a “band boom” to replace the “idol boom.”  Any my thoughts?  It’s decent.  Not to say it’s terrible, but it does put a smile on my face in the moment, and it’s clearly taking influences from idol music while giving it a rock edge.  So yeah, this might be the “next big thing” in regards to anime about girls making music, but I also feel that it has been done before (K!On and Love Live come to mind immediately).  Is it good on its own?  It does feel like the five girls (apparently the seyuus for the girls in the show actually played their instruments) are the only ones who are playing their instruments, though I’m sure that they got some connections at a studio somewhere to get this recorded if wasn’t their talent agency.  But the riffs are decent, with a  a fine guitar solo, the bass is given some punch, the drums are pretty good, the keys are pretty well used, and all 5 girls manage to add to the cute factor.  If you hate cute, then the above decent (to the point where it might be great) instrumentation is not going to convince you to give this a shot.  But if there’s a silver lining, this might mean that we might get more rock bands that don’t have to rely on testosterone poisoning to gain exposure worldwide *cough*Five Finger Death Punch suck now*cough.  Sorry, just had a bad cough there.

80.       Nandemo Naiya – RADWIMPS (59 last week): May review next time if I get 540 views for this entry
81.       365 Nichi No Kami Hikouki – AKB48 (68 last week): May review next time if I get 550 views for this entry
82.       Fairy Tale – Sangatsu No Phantasia (New Arrival):

No link here as well that has the full, original song yet.

If you’re wondering, this is the ending theme to Interviews with Monster Girls, and it’s a relatively nice-sounding song.  Its melody is that of the sort where you look back on the day you had and reflect on how it was.  It also reflects on the fact that even if you are different, there are others dealing with the issues that you may have.  That and it’s beautiful musically.  Plus the singer manages to sound amazing here.  In short, it’s a nice little song that reflects just how sweet the series is as a whole.  Definitely a good one.

83.       Over The Top – Hey! Say! Jump (New Arrival):
Hey look, another boy band.  Is this a bad song, then?  I know that this is definitely for the tween girls that are reading this (I don’t know if my combined influences appeal to tween girls anyway).  As for the music, it’s alright, with a decent key change and some good singing from the boys.  Is it for me?  I don’t think so.  But I may need to find the full version to determine if it’s a good song overall.

84.       Boku Igai No Dareka – NMB48 (73 last week): May review next time if I get 560 views for this entry
85.       Mint – Suchmos (79 last week): May review next time if I get 570 views for this entry
86.       Okinotayu – Wagakki Band (New Arrival):
If you don’t know who this band is, and what style to expect, here’s the basics.  Imagine folk Japanese instruments used to play rock music with the addition of the usual electric guitars, bass, and drums.  In short, you get something awesome.  As for this song, it definitely falls into the ballad side of their music.  As a result, you may not be able to understand until how hard they rock unless you see them live, but this still has enough to keep you satisfied.  The instrumentation is lush and beautiful, the rhythm is steady, the vocals are emotional and powerful, and the combination of folk and rock instruments is so well done that they complement each other.  Hell, the keys used for the music add to the wintery beauty of the song itself.  In short, this is a must-listen for anyone interested in Japanese culture.

87.       See You Again – Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth (100 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 580 views for this entry
88.       On Hold – The xx (53 last week, gaijin hit): May review next time if I get 590 views for this entry
89.       Flash – Perfume (97 last week): May review next time if I get 600 views for this entry
90.       Kawaiku Naritai – HoneyWorks Featuring Sena Narumi (New Arrival):
A nice-sounding, sugary song sung by a girl that involves girly things with musical elements of bubblegum?  It’s not as if this was a curveball.  If you know anything about modern Japan, this is pretty easy to understand being popular.  Does that make it a bad song?  Not really.  It’s a fun little song dealing with the girl and her usual antics, plus trying to appeal to a boy.  All wrapped in elements of Japanese bubblegum such as acoustic guitars, jangly guitars, touches of synthesizers and bells, and awkward-sounding vocals.  Is it a fun song?  Yes.  Is it a filling song?  Not really.  Is it ear poison?  Only if you listen to nothing by black metal (and I’m sure there are enough try-hard fans that do that).  But is it a nice song for play during the afternoon, or with your girlfriend?  Sure, but don’t expect the evening to be filled with fire if you play this to her.

91.       Konya Dake Machigai Janai Koto Ni Shiteageru – Awesome City Club (45 last week): May review next time if I get 610 views for this entry
92.       Heroine – back number (74 last week): May review next time if I get 620 views for this entry
93.       Ashita Mo – SHISHAMO (New Arrival):

Link unavailable

From what I can gather from the melody, this song should interesting to hear on its own, but thanks to how things are done, I’m gonna have to find another way to listen to it, then share how I did.  Good from what I can gather, though.

94.       Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer – ONE OK ROCK (93 last week): May review next time if I get 630 views for this entry
95.       Hanataba Wo Kimi Ni – Hikaru Utada (86 last week): May review next time if I get 640 views for this entry
96.       Wataridori – Alexandros (Returning Entry):
So this is a returning entry?  So for what this song is about, I’m sure that it’s about the singer having some sort of romantic feelings for a girl he knows.  I’m sure that’s why he’s playing an acoustic guitar in the video while cosplaying as Todd in the Shadows.  Or this is about something else.  But regardless, this is a fun, little pop rock number that has the energy and emotion to ensure that this song will be on my radar, no matter the season.  The guitars are done well with the acoustics providing some melodic backbone while the lead electric guitarist provides the riffs and licks to keep things energetic.  The bass and drums maintain a jumpy rhythm throughout this fun, happy song.  And that’s what it is, a happy song.  One that is definitely in my playlists for this year.

97.       Happy – Pharrell Williams (Returning Entry, gaijin hit):
Speaking of happy songs, we have what should be the happiest one ever.  And yes, it’s a little weird that it’s until now that I talk about this infectiously happy track.  And let me the big grouch and admit it’s extremely overrated.  It’s a fun song on its own, and Pharrell manages to sell this song with gusto while providing stellar production, making sure that every instrument and singer has the clarity they deserve.  The issue is, or was, the overplay it got when it first came out.  THIS WAS EVERYWHERE!  And now it’s back in Japan, and I have to review it.  Does that mean I now hate this song more, or do I like it more?  The song is better without the overplay ruining it, and I feel that I can dig this song more.  I’ll also say that it’s a good kind of dorky, as in it’s so happy-go-lucky that it’s impossible for a serious artist to have made this.  Pharrell is a massive dork, as N.E.R.D. and his work with the Despicable Me movies have proven.  And while I can’t go further without repeating words spoken my other critics, let me say that I give this song a recommendation for a fresh re-listen.  Plus, it gives you the context for this Weird Al parody:
As for why it’s popular?  All I can say is that the Minions have overstayed their welcome.

98.       Bang Bang Bang – BIGBANG (92 last week): May review next time if I get 650 views for this entry
99.       Himawari No Yakusoku – Motohiro Hata (76 last week): May review next time if I get 660 views for this entry
100.     Sugar – Maroon 5 (Returning Entry):
Oh, I am going to anger a lot of people with this one.  I think this song is so lame that it’s only on the chart because of the title (Japan has as big of a sweet tooth as Gintoki Sakata).  But before I discuss anything good about it (there’s very little), I’ll get to the crap.  The vocals by Adam Levine are an acquired taste, but it’s so high, nasal, and squeaky that I can’t take him seriously as a sex idol.  Then there’s the very processed sound of this song, so processed that I’m not sure if the rest of the band played their instruments here, or if it was a computer program.  When Poppin’Party is more authentic with their instrumentation then Maroon 5, then the latter definitely screwed up somewhere.  And the lyrics are very generic.  But if there’s an aspect I find alright, it’s the disco influences.  Yes, the disco influences.  While I think that this is so white that being a hit in Japan doesn’t help the wafer-thin quality of this song, it’s an average dance track at best.  But despite me wanting Maroon 5 to return to their old sound, which is impossible now since they sold out, I’d give this song a very low recommendation while I stick with this “Sugar”:
Now that is a song I can play with Japanese Idol pop.  \m/

So those were my thoughts on the charts and the new arrivals.  If you feel that I skipped out on certain songs, then feel free in the comments what songs you want me to elaborate on.  I have plans depending on how this is received for what I review will next time as well as what is new next time for the chart I ultimately look at.  If you have different opinions on the songs I reviewed, feel free to tell me in the comments as well.

Until Next Time, This is The Rock Otaku.  Live Loud and Play Hard.

All used references are done under the rules of fair use and are owned by their original creators. 

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