Jpop – Top Ten Picks Male Artists 2018

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 – Male Artists in 2018.

SKY-HI – 何様

Do I really need to go into this one? I mean Sky-hi has been on fire with releasing music this past year. I mean, he dropped 12 versions of the same album just this month! But in all seriousness, this is my favorite track of his this year. It’s got the production, energy and so much unique style to it.

If you want more info on the whole video, just check out this post here.


EXILE – Turn Back Time feat. FANTASTICS

Ugh, my FEELINGS for this song. After all that’s gone this year for EXILE TRIBE, touring a new album, mutliple members in multiple projects this was just a cute video of encouragement for Nakao Shota.

The song really extends beyond just encouraging Shota, but it something I’m sure that all of FANTASTICS will treasure. I mean, just re-watching it has me tearing up…


EXILE – Heads or Tails

… I tried really hard not to just fill the list with EXILE TRIBE and I will ultimately fail. I am trash for EXILE TRIBE/ LDH Entertainment and it shows with the shameless-ness of posting EXILE twice in a row.

However, I needed a track to pick me up after crying over ‘Turn Back Time’ and what would you know but ‘Heads or Tails’ does just that. It’s everything that EXILE TRIBE is known for and a little more this time! Instead of just Atsushi and Takahiro trading lines, Shokichi and Nesmith get some time to shine too. The moves are polished, the song is just a sone so versatile in ways to pick you up I had to include it. And yes, it frequently makes an appearance on my list to list to when taking a walk or running.


Shinjiro Atae – GOLD MINE

Easily, the rudest song on the list Shinjiro out does himself again with the metaphors in ‘Goldmine’. I mean, the man is attending classes in California, he doesn’t not know what he’s implying in his English lyrics.

Coupled with the sleek dancing, well chosen breakdowns, great location scouting, the song just oozes a rude vibe that I was not expecting but overall; I’m digging it. If you don’t think I haven’t had to catch myself from singing this aloud at work you would be wrong.


SIRUP – Rain

I don’t know how I found SIRUP, or why I found him, but he’s easily the best discovery I’ve had this year. His voice is one of those voices that just has the right everything. From the seamless transition from Japanese to English and back, the right range in vocals, his particular flow and delivery just everything has a type of confidence to him.

Not cocky, not overtly sexual or particularly suggestive but just good delivery with an air of confidence that’s truly striking. How the world didn’t let me know about him sooner is a true tragedy! I’ve been spending the time since I discovered him until now getting my fix and catching up on his releases and events!

Easily, one of my top artists to keep my eye on in the new year, and hopefully track down a date to see him live one day!



Told you I was a trash can okay? At least it’s EXILE TRIBE, it’s the RAMPAGE so move that body from side to side. The Rampage has been been on fire with all their releases with ‘Fandango’, ‘Only One’, ‘Can’t Say Goodbye’, and ‘Hard Hit’. ‘La Fiesta’ ended up being the lead track of their first full album.

Originally, I wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t think it was going to top ‘Fandango’ for me, but as time continued on it took over. I’ve sang it in karaoke (poorly) and it still slaps all these months later.



Ugh. So many feelings with this being dropped so quickly.  It’s so sleek, aside from Jeese’s dumb pose in the preview (above) but the song is fantastic. If you want my full thoughts on the MV, then take a peek at this previous article.

Again, still jamming, still the first Johnny’s full music video to be on an official YouTube.


Hoshino Gen – Idea

If you don’t know Hoshino Gen, please excuse yourself from this article and go listen through his entire discography. I’ll wait for you to come back.

I’m only partly joking about doing that by the way.

Hoshino Gen, is a fabulous and upbeat performer. His voice is really distinct and each piece of music has a distinct energy to it. ‘Idea’ is no exception and really keeps a fun beat that makes it addicting to listen too. With the quirky music video that has become a staple, it’s just too fun not to include.

Rude-a – Take me back

My man, Rude-a. He’s still incredibly young, and he has been absolutely on a roll since coming back from Japan night. ‘Take Me Back’ is a bit different, with it’s MV shot in Taiwan but still keeps the soul of his work in mind. The fine line delivery between the English verses, and Japanese is brilliant. I’ve mentioned him over and over, so it’s only fair that he gets one more spot in my blogs.

FLOWBACK – Still in love

Similar to Yamazaki Aoi, I knew I’d have to bring up this track to round out my list for this year. It’s catchy, fun, and got me seriously thinking about becoming a FLOWBACK fan for real. Although it’s only three out of five members performing the track, there’s no holes and the delivery is still strong. It really shows their strength as a unit and group.

Lastly is both my favorite debut and final song on my list and of course, a group I’ve talked about extensively on my blog.


Were you even surprised? I can tell you aren’t. Nonetheless, I truly loved their debut, despite my initial lukewarm feelings I wrote about here. Despite it all, they made it. They made it to debut, with the support of their fellow labelmates, fans, and even the Japanese public.

I will truly be following them as much and as long as I can. I’m still forever proud of FANTASTICS9.

A bit of a mish-mash between genres, artists and songs but my picks for this year. Drop a comment if I helped you discovery someone new, or some of your favorites! Be sure to check out my list about female artists here!


  1. I’ve only heard of SIRUP from of a remix he did with another artist, SHE IS SUMMER, but man, his voice is smooth! He (and his style of music) reminds me a bit of LUCKY TAPES and the main vocalist, Takahashi Kai.

    And of course, Hoshino Gen is a great choice. I recently had a chance to listen to his new album and I love it! “Idea”, “Koi”, “Pop Virus”, “Hada”; he just simply makes enjoyable music and that’s probably one of the main reasons why he’s one of my favorite J-artists 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • SIRUP is literally sirup for the ears. I’ll have to check out the remix of the SHE IS SUMMER track! I didn’t know about that.

      I haven’t checked out the new album yet, but now I’m more motivated to do so!!

      Liked by 1 person

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