I swear, this is a yearly feeling, but I really am not prepared for these Year End posts. How has it come around so quick? It feels like there is so much to do, and so little time to prepare, especially with work and life throwing themselves into the mix...
Well, what can I do, aside from get on with it, and throw out these posts like they are hot potatoes? It's time to get my head in the game, sit back, work my typing fingers, and unleash the posts that will celebrate the Year's End.
Dear Readers, it's that time of the year again. Are you ready to look back at 2017, before running into 2018 head-on?
Let's do this!
Another Year (almost) over, another set of posts to type up! And to kick-start it all, we're going to look back on some of the shining stars of 2017, the groups, artists and Idols who made it all worthwhile in the year gone by. Of course, as with any other post from years gone by, this article includes the groups, artists and Idols that I have personally enjoyed. Though I might include a few that have been suggested by friends, I can't say for sure that I will include every single group you have agreed with and adored from the year gone by.
I am one blogger, and this is all based on my opinion, as well as my feelings towards these specific groups. Of course, a little help from my friends allowed me to make this list a tad more diverse, but otherwise, all of the Top suggestions are entirely my own.
Also, I would like to point out that, despite this being a ranking of sorts, there is no clear order about which I group I preferred over others. Though I do have a winner in mind for 'Idol(s) Of The Year', everyone else is just as wonderful, and can't rank any higher or lower than others for those that are listed.
So. One winner. A whole bunch of amazing groups. But who will come out on top, and which groups will I be looking out for in the year to be? Let's whittle it down, and take a look at just who made my 2017 worth the while.
Are your favourites going to appear, too, and will your Idol(s) of The Year come out on Top, and find themselves crowned as The Promise of '17?
Read on and find out. Are ya ready, Readers?
★Idols Of The Year★
Once again, the Idols listed below are based purely on how much I have enjoyed their releases, and themselves, this year. There will be groups, as well as solo Idols, in what I hope is a good variety. Though you may not always agree with my choices, please respect the Idols I have decided upon, and also, enjoy yourselves.
Of course, if you want to add your own Idol list, please feel free to do so! I love to see which Idols you guys love as well, and to hear your own reasons for who made your year wonderful!
Now, without further ado, let's take a look at some Idols. Who will you spot, and who have you enjoyed this year, too?
I'm throwing my beloved Houkago Princess in first, because we all know they'll turn up her, at some point. So why not show them off in the very beginning?
Though I have had some issues with the group this year - management dropping Saho back to Candidates, Nina graduating, Mayumin and Himarin not getting solo covers, etc, - there is always something there to allow the group to climb back up. I swear, they reel me back in, and allow to me realise why I adore them.
It's been a bit of a weird year for HouPri, both positive and negative, I suppose. They have lost a few members along the way, demoted a Regular member, experienced their first true scandal, and lost their contract with Universal Music Japan last September, bringing them back to Indies status. However, they have also had three single releases, two full-length albums, brought on a bunch of new members through a YOUTH audition, and Maika herself released a solo song in both Japanese and Korean, which is being used as an insert track for a Korean drama. They also had a few PB releases (Nana and Sasara), and overall, each single and album release they have had included some good songs, all of which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
No matter what, Houkago Princess have turned their negative energy around, and shown a positive. Though I have had a few grumbles about the group, I still love them dearly, and I know that bumps will come along, but this year definitely tested my strength with this group.
Still, regardless of things that have happened, 2017 has, overall, been a good year for HouPri.
Even though Kasai Tomomi hasn't been back for long, the come-back of this much-adored Idol (okay, I might be exaggerating, there) was both a surprise and a delight for me. Though I was never the biggest fan of Tomomi's, I did enjoy the releases she had way back when, and after listening to her return album, STAR-T!, I have found a new love for her again.
This comeback has sparked a desire within me to follow Tomomi into the next year, to watch her grow in her return to the industry and to see her progress as a singer and performer. I feel confident that Tomomi will do some wonderful things, as well as deliver some beautiful and cute music along the way. I can't really say much else because, again, her comeback is quite recent. Still, it made the latter half of my year a lot brighter, and a lot more positive.
I am honestly excited at what 2018 will bring for us in terms of Kasai Tomomi, and I am so happy to see that she's back! A few more dedicated fans will have so much more to say on this matter, but for me, 2017 would not have been complete without the joys of Kasai Tomomi and her beautiful album, STAR-T!. It's so nice to see her back, and I hope to see more from her this coming New Year.
Though I haven't listened to as much music from BiSH as I would have liked to, there is no denying that I've followed them a lot more closely than I would have thought. After Orchestra's release back in 2016, this group has managed to keep my interest, and through that, I have found a favourite new Idol, who I have been watching even more closely than the group itself.
Not to say the music this year hasn't been good, mind, because I have truly enjoyed Promise The Star and GiANT KiLLERS, however, I just find the members themselves intriguing, more specifically, LiNG LiNG. I've had a lot of fun following her twitter feed, and developing my interest in her as an Idol.
This whole group is magnificent, though. There are such intriguing members and varied vocals, giving the songs a lot of texture in its sound. Their music is really good, too, and allows me a lot more variety that goes beyond ballads and bubblegum pop, so I have to thank BiSH for really spicing up my playlist this past year. Admittedly, Promise The Star is anything but spicy, but it certainly allows me to hear the charm of each members' vocals, especially Aina's. She really does have an incredible voice.
BiSH is a truly entertaining group, one that delivers a little bit of bite to my typical playlist. I hope that come 2018, they intrigue me even more, and I pray that I become so much more invested in them than I am now. They deserve dedication, and I want them to win me over.
I wasn't going to actually include LiNG LiNG on my list, but given how much I have followed her this year, I actually think it would be a crime to not include her. After all, she has been one of the Idols I followed the most this year, next to a few choice others.
I have honestly enjoyed seeing what kinds of things LiNG LiNG says throughout the year, and I love the dedication she has towards BiSH and other idol groups. She's a true fan, this girl, and I love that, despite her creepy and even rude side, LiNG LiNG is still cute and fan-girlish at heart. It's wonderful to see these two sides to her, and to see that she's not just a flat personality like some Idols can be.
LiNG LiNG has hooked me so much, that I kept looking for articles that included her. I really would love to learn so much more about LiNG LiNG, and develop this interest I have in the Idol. She is such a funny, entertaining person, and I think that because of LiNG LiNG, I can become a true fan of BiSH. Let's hope that 2018 sees this happen, yeah?
BOYS AND MEN
I have developed such a keen interest in BOYS AND MEN, and it's a little scary, aha. After viewing Ho wo Agero! for the first time, I wanted to know more about this group, and became so besotted. As you all know, I am a highly invested Idol fan of girl groups, with rare moments where I will enjoy a boy groups song and review it. Of course, my love for a boy group never lasts beyond a certain song.
I did love Sexy Zone at one point, but because of whatever went on in the company way back when, I came to dislike them greatly. I didn't expect to be won over by another boy group any time soon, but somehow, my heart has been taken. I really do adore BOYS AND MEN, even though I have known them since July time.
Not only are BOYS AND MEN entertaining, but they are also hilarious and charismatic. From previous music videos, interviews, live performances and TV shows, it's very clear that this group is full of funny, charming young men who really know how to work in front of a camera. They're a genuinely funny, cute group, not just in music videos. I feel so blessed to have stumbled upon them and fallen in love with Ho wo Agero! as both a video and a song, because it lead to me such an energetic, wonderful group.
It's nice to see a boy group in this industry who do not try to pass themselves off as cool or serious. BOYS AND MEN is so refreshing, and they're such dorks that I really can't help but love them. I hope that for 2018, this love blossoms, and I become a true fan of the group. They're incredible, and once again, I feel blessed. Ho wo Agero! opened up a door for me, and it revealed the joys of male Idol groups.
I have freakin' adored =LOVE since they came onto the scene with their self-titled debut this year, and I really can't see that love going anywhere next year. Hopefully, it continues to rise, because =LOVE has to be one of the best groups this year, a true favourite if ever there was one. Cute, charming and fun, everything this group does is wonderful. I suppose that's the power of a Sashihara made unit; that Idol really knows how to pick 'em.
Musically, =LOVE is fun and energetic, and physically, all of the girls are cute and appealing. Their energy is also infectious, the choreography is generally cute and quirky, and their PV's are entertaining and pretty to look at. I won't go as far to say they're the best group out there, but they have honestly charmed and intrigued me, something that other AKS groups have yet to do. But are they actually AKS, I wonder? I wouldn't know.
=LOVE are fun, and I want to keep on following them into 2018 to see how they develop, and to see if my adoration for them grows. They're still rather new, but so far, they have shown great promise and determination with the few singles they have released already. I can only expect great things from them for the future, and I think I'm not the only one who has this thought.
Despite Hello! Project's rather hectic year, Tsubaki Factory are one of few groups who have not only come out unscathed, but also managed to stay on the top of their game and proven themselves to be one of the highest quality groups within the company. This year, they released two incredible singles (with at least one fuck-up song, Just Try!), and have continued to dominate the fandom with their high quality performances and charm. Not only that, but the group also managed to change the opinions of a lot of other fans, and bring them over to their own little fandom! That's amazing.
I am honestly impressed by Tsubaki Factory, because their content has been consistent and fun, and they have shown us a variety of sounds that they tackled head-on, with amazing results. This group is amazing, and I am so happy that their major debut year was so promising and strong. They even managed to snag Rookie of the Year award thanks to their strength and determination.
Of course, I can only hope that next year, we see as much promise from the group as we have this year. Given recent circumstances within H!P (fuck-ups galore), I'm actually on the edge regarding how much faith I have in Tsubaki Factory, and their ability to stay together. But, I should not think of the negatives, and only look forward to positive outcomes. So, I wish for a successful, fun year with Tsubaki Factory, and to see them rise even further in the H!P ranks.
Tsubaki Factory are a great group, filled with wonderful members and fun songs. With them, H!P might be able to grow stronger, and show us that, yeah, they are capable of producing a good unit every once in a while.
This year, I really got into Sakurako Ohara's music. I enjoyed what she produced last year, and thanks to discovering her back in 2016, the year that has just passed has allowed me to truly appreciate the beauty and talent of Ohara's voice. She is really incredible, and I have so much adoration and respect for this beautiful young singer.
Honestly, a lot of my most played songs this year include some of Ohara's releases. She has truly filled my ears with joy and warmth, as well as a tinge of sadness and melancholy. Sakurako Ohara is such a wonderful singer, and she is honestly one of few Idols / artists that I will actively listen to, instead of watch. Though her music videos are pretty, I'm just here for the music, at the end of the day. These songs brighten my day, and though I do have clear favourites from each of Ohara's singles, I can't actually say that I dislike any of her music. It's all far too appealing, and caters to my tastes way too closely.
So, yes, I love her voice, and I love the music she brings out. I'm glad that this year, I could appreciate Ohara fully and enjoy her music even more than I did in 2016. She has proven to me why I should continue following her, and introduced me to even more amazing music throughout the year of 2017. I just hope that, come 2018, my appreciation for her heightens.
Honestly, though, I'm already anticipating her next single/ I hope it comes out soon!
I was having a tough time thinking about where to put ROSARIO+CROSS, as either a main pick for my Idols Of The Year, or an Honorable Mention. But, looking back at some of their releases this year, I honestly have to say that they are one of those groups that made my year great. I have really loved a lot of their releases, and I really have looked forward to each release they put out (even when I didn't necessarily listen to it).
ROSARIO+CROSS, though not well-known, are such an endearing, fun group, and they really know how to entertain. Their music is catchy and varied, and they try so many different styles that actually suit them beautifully. I love that they don't shy away from different sounds, even when I do prefer their cute, energetic tracks over others. HELLO! Mirai and Seishun Call Me are my two stand-out songs from the group, though.
I just love how enjoyable these girls are, and how they try their hardest with each song they are given. They're a delight, and such fun to follow and watch. Hopefully, 2018 sees this group release more fun, entertaining songs that will reach even more fans, and allow them to grow in both the Japanese and Western fandom! They deserve so much love, and they deserve to be known. Hopefully, 2018 will see them get bigger. I hope so!
My days, I love Ueno Yuuka. But, believe it or not, I was originally going to place her in the Honorable Mentions section, until I realised just how much I've enjoyed her this year. Sometimes, writing out a few sentences can make you realise you're wrong, and change the direction you're going in.
With Yuuka, as always, I have anticipated each and every release she's delivered this year, and enjoyed the music she creates thoroughly. In fact, I think that this is one of her better years for variety in her sound. Her album, Sweet Dolce, was afreakin' delight, sound wise, and opened Yuuka up to some more diverse and fun sounds, allowing her to break free from the ballad chains she had somehow shackled herself to. It was a welcome surprise, but it allowed me to appreciate Yuuka as a singer more, especially when her silly, energetic sound came out. That was fun!
I've actually loved all of the music Yuuka released this year, and thought highly of her songs and voice. I swear, she improves more and more each year, and her songs only get better. Of course, Yuuka does sometimes go back to the songs that work best for her, and yes, they can sound familiar and similar, but I still adore them, and I adore her.
Ueno is a wonderful singer, a good Idol, and someone I love. I'm glad that I was able to realise my mistake in placing her within the Honorable Mentions, and that I put her here, where she belongs. She truly made my year fun, and allowed me to fall for her more. I wonder if in 2018, I'll just fall into a pit that's as deep as my love for Yuuka? Ha.
I feel like it would be a disgrace to not include ℃-ute, especially when they were one of the groups that truly made my 2017 incredible. Because of ℃-ute, I was able to see my first Idol group live, and even participate in a fan event. Though the group has been disbanded for half a year now, I still think that this 2017, ℃-ute are one of the top groups, and have left a lasting impression of something amazing for so many fans.
In performance, sound and vision, ℃-ute has truly dominated the Idol world and shown us just how its done. They gave us the perfect send-off, showing the cool, cute and vulnerable sides to themselves, but still allowing us to appreciate their charisma and charm. Even though they only performed for half a year before disbanding officially and going their separate ways, as fans we saw the strength of the group, as well as their determination to show what good Idols and performers they are. I truly appreciate all this group gave us, in the short time they stayed with the fans for the first half of the year.
℃-ute are amazing, both behind a screen and in real life. I can't help but feel in awe of this group, months after they disbanded. For so many people, they made the year worthwhile, and I am one of those people. I'm glad that they ended on such a high, and that the memories we hold for them are positive and bright. There were no regrets for ℃-ute, and no regrets for the fans, either.
I feel blessed, because ℃-ute was the first group I saw live. I was given a high-quality performance, and met some kind, beautiful members who I will never forget. For 2017, ℃-ute truly made me appreciate being an Idol fan, and allowed me to see the true power of an Idol group who has lasted as long as they have. They are the true Queens of J-pop, and it will be a damn long time before any other group can take them off that throne.
And there we have just some of my Top Idols Of The Year! Of course, there will be a few Honorable Mentions, groups and Idols that I have enjoyed from the year, just not as much as the others. This does not mean that I like them any less, but, it's more that the groups listed above are the ones who truly made 2017 what it was, and allowed me to fall in love with them more, and to anticipate their up-coming 2018 releases with excitement.
Oh, but I've still not listed my most promising Idol(s) of 2017. Because it's the Title Idol(s), I want to leave who I consider the best, til last, so if you want to know who became my #1 for the Year 2017, then please keep on reading past the Honorable Mentions, and look who it is.
For now, however, let's take a look at some of the Idols and groups that were appealing to me this year, but didn't quite make the cut, for whatever reason. It's time to check out some groups, and see if any of your favourites placed there, or not.
I wonder... will there be a surprise in store? Read on, and find out!
Okay, so originally, I intended to throw Nogizaka46 in here because other people have enjoyed them. However, thinking back, whilst I haven't necessarily liked their music (garbage), I have loved their music videos. Of course, that's no surprise: Nogizaka46 videos are legendary, and I consider them some of the best in the industry.
Honestly, I'm not a fan of the group that much, but I do love their visuals. So, they're here because their videos leave an impression on me, not because their music is good. Maybe I should look beyond the visuals, and attempt their single releases one day?
YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, IT'S A K-POP GROUP! But, damn, they're a really good K-pop group. That's not me trying to be a bitch and say K-pop is bad, because it isn't, but honestly, K-pop groups never interest me. And then, damnit, I was introduced to Dreamcatcher's Chase Me PV, the groups debut song for 2017. And it was hella good.
I kinda curse my friend for this, because whilst I haven't exactly followed the group, they've left an impression on me, and lasting impressions... Well, they last.
The reason that Dreamcatcher isn't higher up, and is only an Honorable Mention, is because I haven't followed them. I kind of wish I did, but 2018 could be that year. I hope so, because as I said: THEY GOOD!
Though this hasn't been the best year for Country・Girls, what with H!P shamelessly cutting their strings because they just couldn't be bothered to keep them full-time, I still feel like the group has done all they can to stay afloat, and to show us that, even without Tsugunaga Momoko as their biggest selling point, they are still a damn good group, and worth our time.
And yeah, they are 100% worth our time, especially with all these cute songs they have been releasing as a digital singles. I just wish that H!P would appreciate them more. Le sigh.
Really, though, Country・Girls is so charming and cute, and I love their sounds. Though I don't like all of the digital tracks they have released so far, I can't deny that, as a whole, they are adorable and sweet. I just wish that they'd had a more active year, because if they did, then I would have paid more attention. I'll just blame H!P for that hiccup, though. We will all blame H!P.
I was so excited for wasuta this year, and whilst I have enjoyed what they released, I haven;t really anticipated them as much as I would have liked. That said, I still hold high hopes for 2018 - after all, wasuta are a really good group, and they appeal to me greatly. Their videos are also highly entertaining.
A cute and quirky group, I love the overall aesthetic of wasuta, and their sound is really enjoyable. That said, it's actually their sound that let me down this year, I think. Before, their past releases had such a unique, varied sound that switched tones throughout one song, and at the start, that endeared me to the groups music, right next to their image. However, this year it's become so mainstream, and yes, it disappointed me. Not to say it's bad, of course - actually, the songs they've released are good and some of my favourites - but, it wasn't what I expected.
I hope that the sound they had before returns, because it made me love wasuta for how unique it was. I'd be happy if they kept up the cute, idol pop sound they have for PriPara, too, but for b-sides. I want my whacky A-sides back!
I'm putting ANGERME here because, honestly, I'm scared my dear Readers might kill me if I didn't.
In all honesty though, I've actually ignored ANGERME this year, but because a few friends and yourselves love them and found this year to be a promising one, I wanted to include ANGERME. Of course, I did enjoy the first single they released this year, but because I've not heard the second one... Well, I can't really comment. Still, their first release for 2017 was great, nicely varied, and I loved at least one of the songs a great deal.
But, seriously. I can't say much, because I really haven't cared about ANGERME all year. That's the truth, and they're here because I know you all love them.
So much for me and my own opinions XD I am following you guys blindly, at this point~
Morning Musume '17
Both musically and in image, MoMusu '17 haven't sucked. In fact, this has been a damn stellar year for the group, in sound and in vision. I am honestly impressed, and my faith in them is slowly but surely being restored. Okay, lies: It's returning like fucking lightning, and that makes me unhappy. Nah, that's a lie, too. I'm actually happy about it, though conflicted. I guess I've wanted to hate H!P for so long, but somehow, they're winning me back.
That said, the reason MM '17 are Honorable Mentions, is because I just don't care as much about them, either. Their music, though good, hasn't been that impressive, either. I have songs I enjoy, and the music this year is actually memorable, but there are still a few flaws to get by. The videos, however, have massively improved, and I am super thankful for that.
2017 has been good to MoMusu, and I'm glad. Hopefully, they won't be stuck in Honorable Mentions next year, and I will love them fully again. Until 2018 happens, though, I don't know how I'll feel. A year is a long time to love or lose love, after all~
SHAMROCK has been one of my playlist jams, and damn, I am so thankful that SHAMROCK made me see the light. THE HOOPERS are incredible, yo.
Thing is, SHAMROCK is the only thing that has kept me entertained by this group so far, and until the next single comes out, I'm unsure about my feelings for them. So, I thought that an Honorable Mentions would suffice, because I do like them, and I feel like they need a mention. After all, my year wouldn't be what it was without SHAMROCK, or its pleasing video.
They are a good group, and I look forward to seeing more of them in 2018. Hopefully, I will also see my interest in them piquing, and I look forward to following them more. I anticipate all that 2018 brings for this group.
Okay. So I have two K-pop groups on my blog, for once. What of it?
Amazingly, I have fallen in love with BONUSBaby this year. The sad thing is, after the release of If I Become An Adult, the groups not given us anything else in the form of songs, hence why they are on my Honorable Mentions list. I guess I should have found live performances from the group, but... Meh, I am lazy. Maybe next year?
Seriously though, I like this group, and If I Become An Adult is my jam. I hope they release more in 2018, because their whole look and sound is totally my thing, and I think they're adorable!
I'm so glad that Balma suggested this group to me. Balma, you star! Thank you!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND the Honorable Mentions are done, which can only mean one thing!
It's time to see who The Promise of '17 will be! But, given the groups already listed, both Top and Honorable, I don't think that figuring it out will be that hard. After all, what group hasn't been mentioned, that I've enjoyed this year, regardless of how I felt about them before?
It's time to check out the Idols that made 2017 amazing! Do you know who it is, and will it match your own Top Idols of the Year? If it does, let me know!
And now... let's go! It's time to reveal the winner, and revel in all their glory before 2017 ends!
ARE YOU READY?
☆★☆The Promise of '17☆★☆
Is this even a surprise? No? Didn't think so.
I mean, it's a little obvious, I suppose. This year, my opinion of Juice=Juice did a complete one-eighty, and I found myself going from being bored by them, to completely idolising them. Their London concert this September helped in boosting my opinion of them, but also, their recent singles, as well as the member additions, truly allowed me to wake up and see just how good Juice=Juice were.
Guys, they stopped being stale. Now, these girls are precious, and they 100% made my year. I feel so happy that I was able to start thinking about them so positively, instead of believing that I wouldn't care about them any more.
Juice=Juice are a great group, and whilst I have enjoyed them as a 5nin unit, I believe that the recent member additions has truly revamped and refreshed the group. With 7 members, Juice=Juice looks great, and their first digital release together was spicy, energetic, and blew the fandom away. If there is any group that has been in top-form this year, it has to be Juice=Juice. They really are incredible, and have exceeded expectations on all sides!
I'm happy that I was able to watch them live - that really did turn my opinion around, because they are incredible in-person - but I am also glad that this year, Juice=Juice was able to revamp their look, and also bring in some new, much-needed members. I feel like it was a necessary addition, and right now, Juice=Juice feels even more complete. They were good with five members, don't get me wrong, but now they're even more powerful. It's such a positive change, and thankfully, it's a change the fandom has fully accepted.
In so many ways, J=J have been incredible, and for 2017, they have truly stood out among the rest. They have shown their fun, cool, cute and serious sides, and they have brought their music to the world in their first ever world tour. They have been incredible, and as a result, we have all fallen in love with them even more than before, or returned to them with confidence and anticipation. Hopefully, they continue this path of success and delight in 2018, because I would love to see more of Juice=Juice, and become an even bigger fan of them.
It has been such a joy watching Juice=Juice grow this year, and it's been amazing to watch them live, too. As a group behind a screen for me, they have been fun to watch, and entertaining. On the stage, however, I have loved them, and realised just how strong a group they are. They are amazing, and they are strong, and they 100% deserve to be The Promise of '17, because out of all these groups, they are definitely the most promising, and the best that 2017 has given to me.
And so ends my Idols Of the Year list. Hopefully there were a few Top and Honorable Mentions in this list that you enjoyed as well, and if not, I am sorry. At the end of the day, our tastes will always differ, and of course, I can't watch every Idol group out there. Still, I hope that whoever did appear on this list, there is at least someone you can tolerate.
It feels good to post this, even though I wasn't prepared to do it at all. Still, it seems like a varied list, and it feels complete, which is all I ask for when I create my End of Year posts. And as always, if you have your own list, please send it to me! I love seeing who other people have liked over the year gone by, and the Idols they think made their year. As individuals, we all have unique tastes, so I want to see just who you guys loved and adored, and even the ones you didn't!
So, please let me know, and of course, please enjoy the Idols who have made this year brilliant.
Until next time, dear Readers. Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you next time.
Much love and promise,