It’s the end of the year, and cautiously I’ve decided to start an end of the year lists reviewing some pretty nifty music I’ve come across. These lists won’t be in a particular set order since I’m terrible about doing that sort of thing. My brain all of these years later still tends to indicate order of importance, rather then just them being neat and the like.
These aren’t the only songs I listened to this year of course, nor are they particularly the ‘best’ of this year’s music. However, for one reason or another these artists and songs ended up on my radar and ended up being my top pick. Here’s hoping you find something intersting on my list!
Without further ado, here’s my top ten picks for JPop – Female Artists in 2018.
東京女子流 – ラストロマンス
I’m actually haven’t been the biggest fan of Tokyo Girls’ Style, but this song is absolutely a banger. I listened to this track at random, and I regret nothing. When I took long walks in the summer this song was nearly always on my ‘take a walk’ playlist.
Nearly a whole year later and I am still jamming to this song. I love the bit absurd but reasonable music video. The girls look wonderful, the dance is really cute, and the music video is pretty distinct as well. Not for everyone, but certainly something I stand by.
校庭カメラガールドライ- Girlz Can’t
I really started seriously digging into alternative idol, or alt-idol as those of us who are fans call it. One of the groups I started listening to more is Koutai Camera Girl Drei, who is featured above.
The song is soft, with rap and somehow the mix just really stuck with me all these months later. I have some good memories of walking from the train to my workplace with this song going to put me into a solid mood.
A lyric video doesn’t give too much to comment on, but it really let’s the girl’s vocals shine.
Satellite Young – Break! Break! Tic! Tac!
Satellite Young is an artist that I hesitate to put in pop. Her and the band, which only when writing did I realize it was unit (oops) are a 80’s synthwave group and they are FUNKY FRESH.
Seriously, I’ve been getting more into vintage idols/city pop/etc from Japan, and having Satellite Young being the modern contender has been wonderful. It’s catchy, pop-y, and just so completely different from what else is available. So despite it being a band, not just Emi Kusano the vocalist, it still needs a spot and I’m not changing the list.
Bananalemon – LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME
If you’ve been looking for a group in Japan with a more refined street-style; please check out Bananalemon. If you’re looking for a group that has non-artificial diversity, please check out Bananalemon. If you just want raw talent and charisma; you get the point, check out Bananalemon.
I genuinely do believe that Bananalemon is bringing something new to the table in terms of who can be be a JPop idol, and how they’re doing it. They’re obviously fun and female, but they have impact. They ooze confidance and sensual appeal. For only having a small discography and loosing member R!NO earlier this year; they still played in South Korea, were can opener for Hiroomi Tosaka and released this track on top of it!
This realize was a bit more sexual then before, but the energy and confidence to pull it off is real. They’re one of my favorite up and coming groups and I’m excited to follow them into the new year.
Dream Ami – Wonderland
Dream Ami is a staple in my life. She just is. Despite how isolating her voice can be for people, I personally find it perfect.
From song, video, and just everything it was hard to pick which song of Dream Ami’s I wanted to feature this year, I chose Wonderland since it’s just quirky and cute. She’s my staple JPop soloist.
E-girls – Perfect World
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t really feeling this song when it came out. I love E-Girls and all of LDH’s female artists but this song seemed off to me. Or at least I wasn’t in the right head space to appreciate it like I am now.
Genuinely, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard and saw how well it fit with the movie ‘Perfect World’ when I watched it in theaters. I guess everything just clicked and I ended up falling in love with it more. Seeing a few live performances on tv just made me grow to appreciate the current vocal line in E-Girls as well as their ability to incorporate such fantastic performances. (Not to mention how stunning they all look in this MV!)
モーニング娘。’18 – Are you Happy?
I never considered this track as a potential on my list. I never hated Morning Musume or Hello! Project, but I’m not the biggest fans of them. However, this song kept creeping back into my playlists and thoughts.
It crossed over into being a good song to run to, pump me up, dance along with, and so much more that I couldn’t not include it on my year end list. I might not follow H!P but Morning Musume released some pretty impressive tracks this year and this one takes my personal crown. I mean, come on I even sang it in karaoke!
ヤなことそっとミュート – Nostalgia
Along alt-idol group I’ve followed for a long time, but have yet to get to write about. I genuinely think that vocally Yanakoto Sotto Mute or Yanamute, is among the best vocal units currently in alt-idol. I’ve thought that since last year when I started listening to them but really only had the chance to talk about it now.
‘Nostalgia’ ‘s opening actually reminded for a split second of ‘Withering to Death’ era Dir en Grey and maybe that’s why I’ve taken it to this track so much? I also appreciate the simplicity of just showing them in the recording studio. It really shows line distribution, each of the girls little quirks when recording and I’m just a big fan of the piece in general.
In an alt-idol group it has the right distribution of things for me and I had to share!
I’ve talked about Yamazaki Aoi in my monthly November round-up and looking back; it was almost a sure sign I would talk about her in my end of the year list. There’s something about how all the elements of the music video as well as the song come together. I love the use of blues, how the lyrics are on screen and incorporated into the direction of the MV and so much more.
Not only is it a slick and well put together music video, but the song is just so pretty. It’s the type of song I would listen to on a rainy day, or a humid summer night… the possibilities are endless. I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing was Yamazaki Aoi does next year!
Maison book girl – 夢
Closing out my list is another alt-idol group I’ve actually followed for quite some time, Masion Book Girl or BookGal as the fans call them. They’re in a similar vein of alt-idol like YanaMute, and I often have a hard time picking which group is my favorite.
BookGal had a steady string of releases this year as well, so I was personally surprised when I found myself coming back to this track, Yume or Dreams since it was only released recently.
I guess, the use of white noise in this composition really got me. It’s almost calming at times to hear it disrupt the song and overall arrangement is just super spot on for them. Their releases rarely ever fall flat for me, and Dreams was no different.
And that’s about all I have! Just a small sampling of all the amazing music sung by female performers (and one band) from 2018. I’d love to hear your thoughts on anything I’ve missed or should check out!