Thursday, 12 December 2013

My top 10 H!P songs of 2013

Celestia is holding her annual vote for the top 10 of 2013 H!P songs here.
Since I went through all the trouble of going through all the songs, here's my top 10:

10. 新・日本のすすめ! (Shin Nippon no Susume!)

I was floored the first time I heard the opening. I would've suspected Maro, except that the lines following that were undoubtedly hers.
Which brings me to MeiMei. My prior expectations of her have been revised from high-energy vampire to include her singing ability. As far as I'm concerned, she and Maro now make up the backbone of S/mileage's vocals.

9. 愛の軍団 (Ai no Gundan)
This is Tsunku showing off that he can make artsy pieces, not just hit music. No strong hooks, but a smattering of things here and there. Nothing that stands out directly, but underlying it are hints of what Tsunku's learnt from all these electro singles. At the very least, the (not very educated) music snob in me enjoys it.
And the choreography is similarly interesting. Again, there's nothing flashy. Yet it's very precise, controlled, very deliberate. Not only is that tiring to perform, it also means that mistakes become even more obvious. So even dancing-wise they had to push themselves to the next level.

8. 涙も出ない 悲しくもない なんにもしたくない (Namida mo Denai Kanashiku mo Nai Nanni mo Shitakunai)
MaiMai is my least favourite C-ute member, be it for singing or in general. Yet this song is undoubtedly MaiMai-centric. So I had to wonder - was I liking this song despite MaiMai being the lead? Should I place it higher for that?
After looping it, I've come to the conclusion this song actually makes the most of MaiMai's vocals - that slight, pleading lilt that finishes off each phrase fits it well. I'm impressed.

7. すっちゃかめっちゃか~ (Succha ka Meccha ka)
For Berryz, I tend to prefer them when they're doing fun, upbeat songs. This is a classic example of them in that element - a hyper genki song with them in pajama hoodies! Sign me up. I'd say Saki's version is my favourite, with her hooks and uppercuts.

6. 哀愁ロマンティック (Aishuu Romantic)

My take on this is that it's a continuation of Suki da na Kimi ga. Arranged by the same person as well.
Suki da na Kimi ga was set at the early days of the relationship, where the girl is in madly in love and sees no imperfections.
Aishuu Romantic is set further along the relationship. The girl is starting to get more possessive, more jealous of the guy's interactions.

5. ねぇ 先輩 (Nee Senpai)

Representative of the cool S/mileage style, this time with a touch of parapara.
Plus points because I think that I'm typical of the senpai alluded to in the song.

4. あったかい腕で包んで (Attakai Ude de Tsutsunde)

Probably the slowest song on this list.
Am reminded of Very Beauty - a minimalistic song, no electronic gimmicks, mainly hinging on the strength of the vocals.
And you can trust C-ute to do such a song justice.

 3. A B C D E-cha E-cha Shitai

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 *smooch* I love you 'Uh-oh'

2. Crazy 完全な大人 (Crazy Kanzen na Otona)

C-ute decked out in grungier versions of the Kiss Me Aishiteru outfits.
There is some slight bias in this choice, as it was in the Crazy Kanzen na Otona events where Tsunku made that epic Budokan and France announcement. You know shit's going to go down when you hear a Tsunku version of any song. And of course, I re-listened to that Tsunku version several times before daring to actually continue on and listen to the announcement.
Even without that though, it's a solid dance track that I'm happy to stick on repeat. And it's C-ute, so I'd be happy to watch it all day long as well.

1. わがまま 気のまま 愛のジョーク (Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke)

Not. Even. Close.
I say that, but I was torn between this and Crazy Kanzen na Otona. The reasons for that are more to do with my feelings as a fan to the Crazy Kanzen na Otona release event though. Objectively, I'd say this is the better song.
This is Tsunku showing off that he knows how to write a hit song. Contrast that with Ai no Gundan, where he shows off that he knows how to make pretty art.
The 'thump-thump-thump' of the slap choreography.
The repeated "Makenai", repeated not just in words but in music -  the same note repeated the first time around, with just a minor change in the first word when it comes around again.
The whispered "Aisaretai"'s building into a huge drawn "A - I - SA - RE -TAI".
And that decision to have Maachan do the final 'Aisaretai'.
That - sheer genius. Especially when you hear it live.
It's not that she does it well. Truth be told, with each note, you wonder if she'll pull the next one off. And yet she does, syllable by syllable, leaving you super pumped in the end.
I dunno, if it was done by, say, (Takahashi) Ai-chan, I know Ai-chan would've pulled it off well while still making it seem like a walk in a park. But you know, listening to Maachan struggle for it and finally pulling it off - isn't that part of what being a fan is about?

Honourable mentions:
Everything by Juice=Juice: I love them to bits, all of them, yet nothing was awesome enough to break into the top 10.
S/mileage - 大人の途中 (Otona no Tochuu): "Oh My - God!" More parapara from S/mileage, and I love the piano part in the mid 8
Morning Musume - ふんわり恋人一年生 (Funwari Koibito Ichinensei): Laid back, mellow song about being on a date, with Eripon and Ayumin rap parts. What's not to love?
S/mileage - ええか!?(Ee ka!?): Another example of the cool S/mileage, this time with a hip-hop feel.
Morning Musume - ブレインストーミング(Brainstorming): TORIPURU II KOTO GA ATTA NANDAKA II KIBUN

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