What a year 2015 has been. There were so many highs, a few lows, and yes, so many idol songs. I would say this was a year that I stood a little apart from the whole AKB48/Nogizaka46 line and went towards other idol groups, and boy were there a lot of idol groups.
The main reason why I want to write this article is because there are five idol songs released this year that all share a special story. Each song defines my 2015, and I am willing to tell you exactly why. If you want you can give all five of these songs a listen! Just make sure you can find a way around YouTube’s prohibition on Japanese pop music, because one out of these five is unavailable. [Editor's Note: This may be worked out in the future]
No, this is not a “Top Five” list.
Let me lay one important thing about this article: this is an idols only set. Unfortunately, that means no Kyary Pamyu Pamyu or Perfume on this list, which is a shame because I would definitely include “KISEKAE” by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and “STAR TRAIN” by Perfume easily on this list…but without further ado, here are five idol songs that shaped my 2015.
“Akiba Romance” – Hiiragi Rio
This year was the first time I visited the Japan Expo in Los Angeles. Despite the rather weak turnout, the event overall was a fun experience. The real star of the show was definitely the idol performances. From some up and coming acts (Linkstar’s, Roli Angels) to some more well known acts (Cheeky Parade), the idol performances as a whole were a sight to behold. Despite the variety, the best performance in my book was Hiiragi Rio. Let’s just say that she has an idol song that celebrates otaku and wota culture. The real hook behind the song is that it is one of the bounciest songs you will ever listen to. Even when Hiiragi Rio was performing this live, you couldn’t help but to rock back and forth during the chorus.
Fortunately, this song was not blocked in the United States. Give it a try!
“Halloween Night” – AKB48
Because I am an honest fan of AKB48, at least one of their singles had to be here. What better way than the Sousenkyo single for 2015?
Let me tell you the story about this one. A few of my friends had a get together for the Sousenkyo election, as we counted down every member who ranked. Most of us wanted someone other than Sashihara Rino to take the crown, but she won in a completely dominating fashion. The night overall was fun and exciting, most especially due to the reactions we had over every entry.
Fast forward to a few months later and the first performance of “Halloween Night” happens. At first it sounded a little weak and almost like a B-side, but like most AKB48 songs this one grew on me. This had a disco feel and I have a thing for 70’s disco. It even came with a dance routine! Of course, I jumped right on this and my friends and I filmed the routine to present to AKB48 management. It took several tries to get all of the steps, as this dance routine was not as easy as “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie” or “Kokoro no Placard”.
Unfortunately, the recent YouTube prohibition hit AKB48 the hardest, and nothing is available on AKB48’s official account to American fans. Looks like I may never see how the “Halloween Night” routine turned out…
“Kimi ga Ite Boku ga Ita” – Rev. from DVL
Throughout 2014 and 2015, I heard rumors of some idol who was one who showed up “every 1000 years”. Of course, I grew kind of curious as to who this “Idol of 1000 Years” was. I found out it was a girl named Hashimoto Kanna, and that one image can give you that title.
This was the first year I have one of Rev. from DVL’s songs a listen. I did like what I was listening to, and I will admit that Hashimoto Kanna was able to stand out in the music video. Let me just say that I did jump on the Hashimoto Kanna bandwagon and am not ashamed to have done so.
I feel like the more I talk about Hashimoto Kanna, the more I am doing a disservice to the other idols in the lineup…but really, the only person whose aura resonates in my book is Hashimoto Kanna. She is more of an idol cyborg than Watanabe Mayu, and that’s saying something.
Surprisingly, Rev. from DVL is not blocked on YouTube, so take a look.
“Ima, Hanashitai Dareka ga Iru” – Nogizaka46
With Nogizaka46 receiving one of the biggest snubs on the NHK Kouhaku the previous year, they had to make a statement. With three releases throughout the year, a baseball-based comedy/drama, and a slew of new shows, Nogizaka46 was a lock for NHK Kouhaku this year. No scandals even got in the way this time.
There was a reason why I picked “Ima, Hanashitai Dareka ga Iru” over the other two singles. I would say “Inochi wa Utsukushii” sounded powerful and a tad dark, and “Taiyou Knock” was bright and energetic. Then we get to this single, and basically everything that this song is used for makes you cry. This song was used for the animated film, The Anthem of the Heart. Even watching the trailer of the film makes you want to tear up! Then there’s the music video, which makes you tear up even more than that.
I swear that a good chunk of singles Nishino Nanase centered for will probably make you want to tear up. There was “Kidzuitara Kataomoi”, and now there is this.
Unfortunately with Nogizaka46, all of their main channel videos are blocked, and this was before the big YouTube prohibition. The good thing is that Sony Music Taiwan has the music video available.
“Icchatte♪Yacchatte♪” – SUPER☆GiRLS
2015 was a year where I expanded my knowledge of J-Pop groups and idol groups. There were plenty of groups I discovered this year alone, with Musubizm, Cheeky Parade, FES☆TIVE, and Keyakizaka46 to name a few. Then there was this group, SUPER☆GiRLS.
How I discovered SUPER☆GiRLS involves a web show that I wanted to be a part of. On the web show “Basugasubakuhatsu the TV”, I wanted to be a guest host and watch some idol videos while giving commentary. One of the videos was “Icchatte♪Yacchatte♪”, and I got hooked to this song once I heard it. I also found a SUPER☆GiRLS oshi right off the bat in Tanaka Mirei. Perhaps it was her smile or perhaps it was because she was an amazing center in this song. Either way, she became my SUPER☆GiRLS oshi right away, and it does not look like that will change anytime soon. I mean, I spent a good few weeks trying to find her photobook, and only found out that it has been out of print for a year…but I digress.
The song itself was joyful and gave a very bright summer vibe whenever I played it. It also helped that 90% of the video is of the members in bikinis, so of course that got my attention. Keep in mind that the video posted below is not exactly safe for work.
Basically, since the theme of the year was spreading knowledge away from 48 and 46, and towards other groups, no other song epitomized the theme of the year better than this one.
These are the five songs that defined my entire 2015. What idol songs defined your 2015? Let me know in the comments below.