Monday, 31 December 2018

To Conclude: The Songs Of 2018

With 2019 just a few steps away, it's that time of the year again where we look back at the music and listen to the songs that made our Year merry, bright and entertaining. With sweet, cautious and beautiful tunes to keep us going, let's listen back to the Songs of 2018 before we conclude the Year that was...

Despite thinking that I was a little out of the loop for the whole year, I have actually listened to my fair share of music. Initially, my track list for this entire list consisted of well over a hundred songs, but after knocking many of them out, I was finally able to manage this list, plus the Special Mentions. Sure, it's not a big list, by any means, but it was hard to come up with and comment on, as per the usual.

Still, I am happy with the final outcome, and even though I feel like I have not branched out that much in terms of sound, groups and the like, I am happy to note that once again, a group that's not gthe usual in suspects comes out on top. Yet again, I have a completely different group Topping my Year End list of songs, and once again that delights me. I rather like it when a group / singer that hasn't won before wins, especially if said group / singer is someone who has never ranked prior to this, or who I never listened to before the year this list is set for.

No matter what, each year always makes for an interesting list.

Anyway, it's time to cut the rambling and move forward this list. So, without further ado let's get into my latest Conclusion for 2018, this time in Song. For the Year to Go, which songs stood the test of 365 days, and which ones only just missed the final placement? Let's read on, find out and pass our judgements.

To Conclude: The Songs of 2018 (at least, according to Chiima).

Forgettable Songs Of 2018

I am quickly going to start this off a little more negatively than I would like, but that's only because I want the end of the post to stay positive in all its songs-I-loved glory. So, we are opening this mess of a list with the songs I couldn't remember this Year gone by, in a fashion which I consider a little controversial, only because it's a few songs from groups / companies people actively adore and enjoy.

In general, be aware that these are my opinions and therefore a reflection of what I enjoy or dislike. I expect none of you to think as I do, nor do I expect you to dislike or like the things I dislike and like. Take everything I say with a grain of salt, listen to the songs yourselves and pass your own judgements. My word is certainly not law, and for those who believe my word is some form of law... well, please just listen to something and see what you think yourself.

Please, though... respect that this is an opinion. I am not here to turn you away from your beloved music. Thank you.

ONTO THE FORGETTABLES! (Of which have no number rankings, because they are all equally forgettable, bland and boring in my eyes).

YEAH YEAH YEAH by Hello Pro All Stars (20.10.2018)

I won't spend too long on this, but... what did this sound like again? I really cannot remember it, and to be honest, I recall not caring for it that much upon its release, which is sad really, because this is supposed to be the leading 20th Anniversary track for H!P.

It's a shame that this one is the leading track, actually, because there were two songs on this whole single that actually stood out, were catchy and fun, and actually represented the idea of H!P perfectly. This one just fell flat, and I'm okay with not recalling it. It's a weak-ass song and doesn't deserve to be an A-side. NEXT!

Hana, Takenawa no Toki by Hello Pro All Stars (20.10.2018)

Okay, I don't recall this track either, but I do remember thinking that this was a really shit ballad, a piss-poor cover of a good song, and a track that is just worse thsan YEAH YEAH YEAH. I didn't like this song, mostly because H!P screwed up a ballad.

It was boring, I yawned... I just feel good with the fact that I forgot what this piece of trash sounds like.

Sentimental Train by AKB48 (19.09.2018)

Here's another one I forgot, thankfully. It wasn't inspiring, memorable or unique in any way, and as a senbatsu winning song, it just didn't work or showcase the true power and skill of Jurina. I wish it could have been better, but no, it was weak and lacklustre, and I forgot all about it. If it wasn't for the fact that I had gone in search of AKS songs from this year, I would have completely neglected this piece of crap altogether.

I'm sure it has its fans, but for me this one is a bit of a flop. Scratch that, it's a big flop. NEXT!

Teacher Teacher by AKB48 (30.05.2018)

I have a damn pattern here for groups / companies, but damnit, I couldn't remember Teacher Teacher aside from the lyric Teacher Teacher. It wasn't a song I seeked out, and it's a song I forgot quite quickly after listening to it. Granted, it's probably one of the best in this list of Forgettables, but it wasn't memorable enough for me. I recall the PV, however.

Teacher Teacher is actually well-liked by others, and I respect and appreciate that. For me, though, it's pretty damn low, song-wise. It's not the worst, but it's not the best either, and it's certainly not the most memorable. Bye, Teacher Teacher.

Naite ii yo by Juice=Juice (18.04.2018)

Okay, so I will admit that this one is pretty, but for a ballad-lover, this song is just trash. I've already forgotten it - despite having heard it 10 minutes ago - and for the life of me, I cannot tell you how it sounds other than 'pretty'. It's disinteresting, there's no unique quality to it, and the members just feel flat and bored. I feel zero emotion, and regardless of how talented Juice=Juice is, they just suck at ballads.

Another fail from H!P for me this year in the form of a ballad. Yeah, I feel bad for placing them on this Forgettables list three times, but it's just how it is. This song sucked.

What by Dreamcatcher (20.09.2018)

What? is the phrase I use when people ask me about this song. What did it sound like? What was its hook? What the fuck did Dreamcatcher do to get something so forgettable, bland and easily dismissed? What did we as fans do to deserve such a meh release?

I love Dreamcatcher, and when I listen to it, I do enjoy What. Yet once it is over, I forget this song and all it holds, so because of that I will place What here, in a pile of forgettables that I couldn't care less about from the Year 2018. Sorry, not sorry.

Okay, let's move on.

To Conclude: The Songs Of 2018

With the Forgettables out of the way, it's time to focus on the important songs: the ones that made my Top List for the year of 2018. With 35 songs to rank, there can only be one that stands the test of a Year's time before I conclude my 2018 and withdraw into 2019. So, without any further delay let's get into my latest ranking for the year and check out what music captured my ears, and which groups sang these delightful songs.

Are you ready to fall into a pit of sound and joy? Pop on the headphones, plug in those earbuds and crank up the volume. This is my Year End Conclusion in Music for 2018, one of the better ways to end 2018 before we start anew.





Y Jiro no Tochuu by Morning Musume '18 (24.10.2018)

I am aware that, by placing Y Jiro no Tochuu so low on my list, fans of the song will think I don't like it that much. Actually, I do, but there's a reason it is so low in rank. Due to not listening to it excessively since it's release - in fact, I only listened to it a day or so before Harunan graduated - I don't think it would be fair to place it any higher than where it stands now. Regardless, I liked it enough upon first listen to realise it had to be in this list as one of my preferred songs for 2018.

It's pretty, sentimental and a perfect song to end Iikubo Haruna's idol career. Of course it should have been an A-side, but we are not that lucky as fans of the charismatic girl. Still, it's pretty, and at least she got a graduation track.

Kon'ya mo tottemo Dansu de Zansu! by BANZAI JAPAN (01.07.2018)

Though this song has been listened to a lot less than I would have liked, I really do enjoy Kon'ya mo tottemo Dansu de Zansu! by the energetic and delightful BANZAI JAPAN. A song that should be experienced live, this is a really entertaining, fun track that befits the group well. It's jumpy, fun to sing along to, and probably even better to dance along with! It really is a great dance track, one that is full of personality and zest!

I would have loved to place this song even higher on the list, however much like Y Jiro no Tochuu, I have not listened to it enough in the past month or so to favour it any more than other songs. So, at 34 it lies, but damn... it is so good, and I can't wait to relive this song over and over again in 2019!

Nakitai Kurai by Ohara Sakurako (25.04.2018)

Another year goes by, and it is another year that I love all Ohara Sakurako creates. Granted, I have not followed her as much this year like I did last, however she has had a slower release schedule, but that does not mean her releases were lacking. Nakitai Kurai is the sole single that Sakurako brought out this year, and damn, once again she creates a pretty, enjoyable leading track to suck us all in. Once more her clean vocals stand out, and the simple but charming instrumental track compliments her singing beautifully.

Much like the two songs above, this is another one I did not pay that much attention to throughout the year. Still, listening to it once again for the sake of this list is bringing back some early-2018 nostalgia. I'm sad I neglected you, Nakitai kurai, so please forgive me for putting you so low on my list.

"Bukatsuchuu ni Me ga Au Natte Omottetanda" by =LOVE (16.05.2018)

Another light-hearted, cute track, "Bukatsuchuu..." is a stark contrast when compared to the A-side track for the single it is a part of. Charming and upbeat, this song befits the image of =LOVE perfectly whilst also showcasing the sweetness of their vocals really well. It's adorable, and for those who love this specific image of the group, I feel like this song will be great for those who were shocked by the image change with Teokure Caution.

It's downright adorable, and I love it. I just wish I had paid more attention to it this year, because if I had it would definitely be higher. Still, it ranked high enough to be placed on the list, and I can't help but think it rounds of the single rather nicely. I love the contrast between this song and the first.

start again by Suzuki Airi (06.06.2018)

Here is another song I did not listen to enough, but I did listen to it a lot when it first came out. Still, despite not listening to it as much as I would have liked to, I can't help but remember start again fondly. The lyrics are memorable, the tune is catchy and - obviously - Airi's voice is angelic and a perfect fit for such a great song.

This is one of my favourite's from her debut tracks that were given PV's, despite it being the simplest of them all, potentially. then again, I have a love for all things dance-track and simple in style, and this is just a pretty tune with a hopeful outlook that is so fitting for Airi as she starts out alone in the idol world thanks to her re-debut as a solo artist.

It's the perfect beginning for Airi's career, and a wonderful end to her first full-length album. I truly think that start again deserves its spot on my list in the top 35 songs of 2018.

HOPE, RESTART ~Kibou no Hikari sasu basho e~ by HouPri YOUTH (16.05.2018)

HOPE, RESTART is the first single from Houkago Princesses little sister unit and trainee group, HouPri YOUTH, and is the perfect call-back to the original groups indies sound before they became the story-book group we see HouPri today. Cheerful, upbeat, hopeful and sweet, this is a perfect track for the HouPri hopefuls as they train to become a member of HouPri itself, and I really can't help but adore the track for its innocent appeal and generic approach.

I love this track a lot, but there are admittedly better songs on this list that deserve to be hire. So, position 30 feels fitting. I do hope people give this track a try, but only if you can find it. Regardless, it's a fun, light-hearted piece that feels so fitting for the group, and I can only hope that next year the YOUTH members come out with a new single or digital release for us all to enjoy come the New Year.

It's a lot of fun, and if you're fond of the old-school HouPri sound, then this is the track for you. Enjoy!

Vivid Midnight by Juice=Juice (18.04.2018)

When it first came out, I really did enjoy Vivid Midnight. A catchy, fun track, Juice=Juice really did capture the energy and style of cute k-pop mixed with a little bit of 'sexy' in its sound, and I do think that of the three songs given on this release, this one is the most memorable. Of course, that is debatable - everything is debatable in a game of personal taste - but for me, this was the winning song. Thankfully it still holds up toward the end of the year, and I remember it fondly enough to place it here.

I think it's a good track, one of the more memorable songs from Juice=Juice this year, and I love the colourful, festive feel it creates and the energy it produces. I love singing along to it as well, and it's the memory of how fun, charming and enjoyable it is that gives it a spot on this list.

I enjoy it immensely, and for all who have yet to listen to it, please check out Vivid Midnight before delivering your verdict.

Sugar Sugar Sweet by Chuning Candy (21.11.2018)

Despite it being a later release from the Year to Go, Chuning Candy are still fresh in my mind with their latest track, Sugar Sugar Sweet. A fun, vibrant piece, this song is a bundle of sweetness that caught my ears and reeled me in thanks to the energetic and cute sound. Yes, the vocals are a tad grating and, yes, it's generic and adorable, all things idol if you will, but I really can not help myself. It's a good track, and for that I have to put it in the list!

Another factor for why it is here is because lately, this is the song I have been obsessed with, right next to another cute idol-pop song. It's too catchy to neglect, and i adore it. That said, I am aware i prefer other tracks more than this one from the year gone by, which is why it won't go any higher than this. I love it, I want to listen to it more, but I won't let this current fever I have for Sugar Sugar Sweet cloud my judgement enough to drag it into the top 10, which was my original intention.

It's adorable, it's catchy and it's so damn idol. If you want a rush of joy and cuteness, check it out, and look out for Chuning Candy's other releases whilst you're at it.

Mangetsu no Encore by Houkago Princess (10.10.2018)

Though it is not my favourite song from the single itself, I give props to whoever created the track listing for Kaguya ni Negai wo, because damn, each song is a masterpiece in itself. For Mangetsu no Encore, I love the follow-up to the traditional sound that most of the songs on this release hold, with this being the 'encore' of sorts for the Kaguya-hime story the group has created this time around. It's a beautiful, upbeat piece, one that has a traditional and nostalgic sound.

This is a pretty track, a good song and the vocals are at times gentle before becoming powerful. I love this piece, I love the feelings it brings up and the various textures it has in vocals and more. It may not be my favourite, but damn, it is a good one to listen to if you're in the mood for some HouPri.

Chippoke Hero by 2& (??.06.2018)

After discovering 2& in all her glory this year, it made some sense that I would begin following her music, and man, I have zero regrets! Though Saki herself does not release much music nationally these days, those who attended the NECRONOMIDOL UK Tour this year were able to purchase a copy of the singers CD that featured most - if not all - of her solo tracks, as well as some re-makes of songs she had done when 2& was a duo. The final result is a really fun collection of songs, with Chippoke Hero being one of the more memorable tracks.

This song sticks out to me, probably because the vocals are raw and emotive, and secondly for how catchy and entertaining the song is. I love singing along to it, and when performed live it's just incredible. I adore every moment of this song and think super highly of it, so I definitely had to include it in my list of favourites for the Year that was.

If you can find it somewhere online, please give Chippoke Hero a try. It's a promising track, and Saki is just wonderful throughout it all. So, yes... check it out now.

Strange Aeons by NECRONOMIDOL (17.01.2018)

2018 was the year of knowing NECRONOMIDOL, and with my new-found love of the group came a desire to hear their music, and what better track to fall for than Strange Aeons? A mixture of darkness and tantalising pop, this is a fun, entertaining creation that perfectly showcases the textured vocals of the members, as well as their flare for cool and enchanting music that is both dark and catchy. It really is a lot of fun to listen to, and I'm actually a little peeved with myself for not purchasing this single, because it's actually great from start to finish.

This is a great song, and though it may not be considered the groups strongest, it's still a lot of fun. This is a track I think that is better heard live, however the studio version is amazing in its own way, too. I love it, and I can only hope you give it a listen.

Please, fall into the abyss that is NECRONOMIDOL's music.

Cinderella Girl by King&Prince (23.05.2018)

I have honestly enjoyed King&Prince's debut this year, but I have to admit that, after a fair few listens, I lost some interest. Still, whenever it comes up on my playlist I love every moment of it thanks to its easy sound and appealing nature. It's pretty, soft and flowery thanks to the romantic vibe it delivers. It's a gorgeous song, though fairly generic for a JE release. Still, I can understand its appeal well, only because it is the exact type of song that appeals to me as a listener.

This is a wonderful spring track, one I listen to a great deal, and despite it getting boring after a while, I know that I will eventually come back to it once the mood strikes. Because of this soft spot I have for it, I feel it's deserving of it's #25 placement. It's honestly a good track, a nice debut for the group, and a pretty tune that will garner a few fans who like this style of sound, as well as the look and vibe of the group itself.

Attempt it and see if you like what you hear. I hope it doesn't disappoint you! 

Yume wo Miteiru Aida (IZ*ONE ver.) by IZ*ONE (29.10.2018)

With a lovely ballad quality, I can not help but enjoy IZ*ONE's Yume wo Miteiru Aida. Yes, I am hot and cold with this group, but I have to appreciate beauty when I hear it, and so I will appreciate the beauty of this song and all it has to offer. Damn, it really is gorgeous.

The final track on the groups debut mini-album, this song has a light, beautiful quality to it that fits most of the members' vocals well. Sure, there's a bit of a strain at times, however I truly enjoy what the members bring to the plate in this track, and because of how much I enjoy it (and the amount I looped it upon hearing it), I know that I need to put it on this list. I really love it, it's one of my preferred ballads of the year, and I will not deny the beauty that IZ*ONE have created for us all.

Yes, it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I really do enjoy it. So, if you actually like ballads, please check it out. You're welcome.

Momoiro Typhoon by Haruna Luna (22.08.2018)

Though I initially never cared for this song, I have to admit that it grew on me. With its cheerful, catchy sound and fun approach, Haruna Luna's Momoiro Typhoon has taken me for a bit of a spin and become one of my most memorable tracks of the year. It's a catchy ear-worm that sits in your brain and refuses to leave, and despite wanting to simply tolerate it at first, I have learned to adore this song. I no longer skip it and will now sit down and sing along instead. It's just that entertaining, I guess.

This is a cute, charming piece, but sadly it is the only single that Haruna Luna released this year. Still, I'm glad she came out with something so charming and adorable. It's a worthwhile listen, and for anyone who may not care for it at first, I say keep giving it a try. I learned to really adore it, and even woke up thinking of and singing it some days.

This is a great track, one that just gets to you as time goes on. I'm glad I really like it now - it's a fabulous track - and I hope that this will become the beginning of my new love affair with Haruna Luna's cute and enchanting music collection.


With their major debut track, I give you LONDON BLUE. Another song I have listened to obsessively over the course of the past few months, LONDON CALLING has to be one of my favourite singles from the year, though not my favourite in terms of individual tracks. Still, I find the whole creation an absolute delight, and regardless of where the title track is displayed, I want you to know that I adore this song and all it has to offer.

Easy to follow, catchy and upbeat, LONDON CALLING fuses both J-pop and UK rock music for a nice fusion of guitar rifts and bouncy pop. It has its cute and cool moments, hailing to the groups theme of 'cool and cute girls', and the lyrics are enjoyable thanks to a good chunk of them being written in English. Its entertaining, to say the least, and I really love how it sounds.

If you haven't checked LONDON CALLING out yet, be sure to have a look for it. It's a bundle of fun, and hopefully it will interest you in the group before the new Year hits.

Uraha=Lover by ANGERME (09.05.2018)

I love this song, and if you forego the place it's at, believe me when I say that this is one of the best original pieces I have heard from ANGERME in a while. Melancholic yet upbeat, cute yet serious, this is a wonderful track that all fans of H!P and ANGERME should check out if they haven't yet. It's a masterpiece, one that showcases the talents of the girls beautifully. Plus, the PV is a lot of fun to watch, and the song is just as catchy to listen to.

I really love it, and I just hope that others can see why it's such a charming, fun piece. I am so happy that this year we were given something so intricate and charming in sound, and something that fits the group so beautifully.

Uraha=Lover is beautiful in sound, and whilst i appreciate and cherish it so much, I have other songs that I prefer above this and listened to more throughout the year. Still, it's a great track, one that showcases the style of ANGERME well. It's gorgeous and, for me, it is one of the best tracks the group has offered us this entire year gone by.

Teokure Caution by =LOVE (16.05.2018)

I had to debate with myself extensively regarding where this track would go. Would it have been higher, lower...? I had such a discussion with myself because, truthfully, I adore this song, but I also left it for a long time after it was released. So, after thinking it over I decided to put it here, because whilst it is a high song in my ranks, it's also a song that I was not interested in pursuing throughout the year some time after it was released.

Still, Teokure Caution is a good song and a wonderful change of pace for the typically cute and loving group. With a powerful look and a new-ish sound, this took the group to a whole other level that showcased a serious and dominating side to them. it's refreshing and, damn, the song is catchy. I can imagine the darkness that's encasing their minds whenever I listen to this, and at a certain point I can even hear Iori's scream from the mV. It's incredible.

This song is atmospheric and different to =LOVE's other stuff. Sure, it isn't as dark as some other songs out there, but it's still incredible. I love it, I won't forget it, and I am so happy this song is a part of my personal CD collection now. Teokure Caution is definitely one of the most memorable tracks I experienced this 2018, and you should totally check it out when you have the time.

Machigai Darake by 2& (??.06.2018)

I actually aimed to place Machigai Darake higher on the list because - Gawd damnit - this is an awesome song. That said, I have not listened to it nearly as much as I would have believed I did, which is why I am placing it here, at a comfy #18 spot. Regardless of its position, however, this is still an awesome track, one that was so memorable I knew I had to put it somewhere on my Year End list for music.

Catchy, energetic and another perfect representation of what Saki can do as a vocalist, Machigai Darake has to be one of my  favourites, if not the favourite of this release. It is a passionate display on Saki's part, showcasing the raw energy she puts into her music and performances. It's incredible, and when performed live it's even better. I really can't help but find this to be an impressive display of Saki's talent as a singer and performer.

Again, if you can find this anywhere on the world wide web, please do so now. Saki as 2& is incredible, and I really don't want people to sleep on her talent just yet.

Glass wo Ware! by Keyakizaka46 (07.03.2018)

This is - undeniably - one of my favourite songs that 2018 has had to offer, however I cannot deny that it lost its lustre after some time. Still, I remember this song fondly and when it comes on, I will sit back and enjoy it, sing along and appreciate everything about it. From the lyrics to the vocals, the blending and more, I really love all that this track has to offer.

From the get-go I knew that this song would be on my list, however it's position has fluctuated since I first heard it. Initially, when I first fell for Glass wo ware!, I wanted to place it pretty damn high on the list - in the Top 5, at least - however, there are songs on the list that are more deserving, ones that have stayed with me all year to a point where I have a damn emotional connection to them. For Glass wo ware!, my connection is not with the song. That connection is with the MV, instead.

Still, I love this song. It's a masterpiece and my favourite from Keyakizaka46 this year. This is art, and I really do wish I had bought it.

Aikatsu Happy End by =LOVE (17.10.2018)

I adore this song. Sure, I have not listened to it that much, but damn it left a pretty big impression on me! With it's adorable sound, the energetic beat and a cheerful outlook, I can't help but adore everything Aikatsu Happy End has to offer. It truly is a happy end to this entire single, and it's a track I will happily listen to on a loop again and again.

I feel like this is another testament to =LOVE's talent as a cute idol group. It showcases their energy and sparkle well, and while the song itself might seem generic to some, it will please and entertain others. Personally, this is the perfect pick-you-up track that can get you through the darker days. It's such a warm, gorgeous track.

Also, it sounds so damn anime. if this is an AniSong, then I'm pleased, because it would be perfect for a slice-of-life style anime show. Anyways, definitely check it out and allow =LOVE to fill you with joy and cuteness this cold winter's eve.

dirge of baldr by NECRONOMIDOL (17.01.2018)

i really have loved NECRONOMIDOL this year, but damn, dirge of baldr has to be my favourite song from their releases this year. Granted, I have not dedicated my time to all of their releases, but from what I have heard... well, this one has to be the best. It's fun, upbeat, reminds me of a club remix in a way, and it's just catchy in general. I love the vibe it has, how it moves so effortlessly from upbeat, dance-track to semi-dark and cold. It's really fun, and it just sticks out as a winning track from me.

The vocals are really fun, too, once again showcasing the texture of the members' voices as well as the calm, eerier approach that only a member like Sari can bring. It's a really interesting song, one that plays around with textures and sounds to create something unique, vibrant and entertaining.

dirge of baldr is a lot of fun, a song that I will happily relive again and again. I really do wish I had bought this single now, because it's amazing in so many ways, but the final track that is dirge of baldr truly cements its brilliance, ending the listener on a high note.

Itoshiki hibi no naka de by LONDON BLUE (05.09.2018)

I really adore this song, and it will come as no surprise that my favourite track from LONDON BLUE's latest single is a pop-ballad, of sorts. It's beautiful, easy on the ears and pleasant, but it still has those tell-tale guitar rifts sprinkled throughout the release, but for the most part it is a calm, beautiful tune that rounds of this release perfectly.

I find Itoshiki hibi no naka de to be the perfect contrast against all the other songs on this release, because it's the only calm-sounding piece, but it's also the song that showcases the members' vocals nicely thanks to its relaxed tune and quieter instrumental track.

It's beautiful and keeps me at piece, and of all the songs on this single, it is Itoshiki hibi no naka de that I am drawn to the most. I adore it, so please check it out if and when you have time, and if you can find it for yourselves, of course.

Love Fighter by Sekine Sasara (10.10.2018)

Here's another song I have had a hard time with, firstly because I adore everything it has to offer, and also because it's HouPri. But, I had to make myself aware that - once again - there are songs more worthy of hitting the Top 10, so here we go. Sekine Sasara's Love Fighter is amazing, a true idol track that is catchy, cute and energetic, and i freakin' adore it. The idol really does give her all here, and I swear you can hear the smile in her voice as she sings this iconic piece. Sure, it's generic, but that's what is so great about it - it is everything that Sasara loves about the idol world, and it suits her so damn well.

I have sung along to Love Fighter a lot since receiving the CD in the mail, and there have been times where I simply listen to this song separately from the others. It's one of my favourite tracks on Kaguya ni Negai wo, though not my favourite of them all. Still, it's great and has its merits, and I can't help but be endeared to all that it has to offer.

I'm glad Sasara got her solo song, and it is fabulous. For lovers of generic, poppy bubblegum tracks, please check this one out. It has idol written allllll over it!

Kitto Watashi wa by Kobushi Factory (08.08.2018)

In general, I have loved Kobushi Factory's year as a group. Their songs have been memorable, emotive and strong, and their PV game is just as great. With that said, I am so delighted that Kobushi has ranked so high on my list, especially after last year's fiasco in member losses and a lack of single releases. Moving on from that, I feel like it's pretty obvious why they're ranking so high on my Top 35, because music wise, Kobushi have killed it and are just showcasing their strength as a five member unit.

From the hopeful sound to the fun rap, this genre-switching release is entertaining in so many ways. It's also a great way to show off the singing and rap skills of the members whilst creating this hopeful and vibrant sound that is perfect for the current incarnation of Kobushi Factory. It's a whole lot of fun, and from the year that is about to depart us, it's a song that I remember fondly and have had a lot of fun listening to.

I sing along to it, I nod my head and would happily dance to Kitto Watashi wa. It's a great addition to Kobushi Factory's collection of songs, and it gives me a lot of hope for what they will produce in the near-future. Here's to hoping they continue this streak of interesting, light-hearted and fun music that inspires us all and brings new hope for one of Hello! Pro's more talented groups.

Kimi Dake ja nai sa... Friends (Acoustic ver.) by ANGERME (09.05.2018)

This song was initially going to be a 'Special Mentions' deal because, whilst I adore it, I was also on the fence with how much I liked it. And then I remembered that, screw it, this was an awesome release, and I have to give props to H!P for creating yet another memorable track for one of their better groups this year. Seriously, this is a beautiful rendition of the original, delivering so much more simplicity and a whole lotta emotion. I'm glad they re-did this song and made it into something a little different, whilst still keeping the meaning alive.

Kimi Dake ja nai sa... Friends (Acoustic ver.) is delightful to listen to, and whilst I understand why some may not like this re-do of an already awesome song, I think that this is a very fitting re-do that worked well with an already wonderful single. It's pure, gentle and a good listen, and I just love hearing everyone's vocals in this style of song. Sure, some are strained, but I think that creates a more realistic, raw quality to the song.

This is an emotive piece, one of my favourites from the group this year. It's absolutely gorgeous, and for ballad lovers alike, please check it out. Finally, a ballad well done from H!P, who typically screw these beautiful pieces up. Well done, ANGERME!

Everything will be all right by LaLuce / Last Idol (24.10.2018)

II initially placed this song a step below what it is now, but after much thought and a sudden new placement for a song, LaLuce comes out at the #10 spot, a spot I had initially guaranteed for someone else. That said, I am thankful to realise that LaLuce are now in their rightful place - my Top 10. This is because Everything will be alright is an amazing track, one of my most memorable and favoured songs from 2018, and it's an absolute pleasure to be reliving it right now as I write this post out.

Everything will be all right is so incredibly catchy, I might get whiplash. The song is fun to sing along to, easy to remember and just delightful to belt out or clap along to, depending on the time of day. Right now, I'm clapping madly when I'm not typing, so I give props to the song and its composer for making me want to actually move around instead of write. It's just incredible, to a point where I feel a surge of joy whenever I hear the opening bars.

This song is just pure delight and happiness, and I adore it. I am so thankful that Last Idol came into my life this year, because there are some wonderful tracks that they have created, with this one being one of the finest to come out of that project. Everything will be all right... damn right it will!

First Rabbit by MNL48 (01.12.2018)

The plan was to put this song at #10, because I adore it and also because I feel like it shouldn't be any higher. But, as fate would have it, First Rabbit goes a little beyond my own expectations and comes out at #9, making it my highest ranking non-J-pop song of the year, and one of my all-time favourites for 2018. It's too good to put any lower, and I am honestly happy that it has ranked so highly, despite it being a newer track, as well as a cover song.

]I have listened to the original First Rabbit before, but I never caught onto it like I did with MNL48's. This charming, adorable rendition is just so pleasant, the blending is lovely, and I can't help but adore how easy it is to sing along to or how gentle the vocals feel to the ears. It's absolutely lovely, and ever since I first heard it around a month ago, I have been hooked.

First Rabbit is my inspiration song of the moment, a track I listen to willingly in order to help me write. It's motivational and, for the year of 2018, my favourite release from MNL48. Regardless of how I felt about them at the start of the year, you can now see that I rank them somewhat highly as both a group and a set of singers. They're wonderful, and I am delighted to see their song in my Top 10 for 2018.

Want you! Want you!  by =LOVE (17.10.2018)

Here's a song that just brings me absolute happiness, one that I just continue to think of and sing along to, even without the song in the background. Yet again, =LOVE make my list this year with another bangin' tune, this time in the form of their most recent promotional track, Want you! Want you!. Catchy, cute and a little bit K-pop in its style, this song is just too adorable to resist! It makes me feel incandescently happy, and I wouldn't have placed it any lower. I just adore the song too much.

=LOVE as a group have simply rocked this year, and though this is a return to their roots as a cute, bubblegum pop style group, it's a great showcase of their strengths as idols. It's perfect, and I love everything about Want you! Want you!

I can listen to this track over and over again, but I had better not... I kind of have other songs to discuss, so let's go!

Kaguya-hime, Tsuki ni kaeru by Houkago Princess (10.10.2018)

Houkago Princess once again pull up in the top ranks of my list, this time with their beautiful b-side track to their most recent single. Of all the tracks on Kaguya ni Negai wo, it has to be Kaguya-hime, Tsuki ni Kaeru that stands out the most for its beauty and tranquil sound. I love this track, and it is certainly the song I pick out the most of the four that this single contains.

A nice follow-up to the A-side song, this track creates a sequel to Kaguya ni Negai wo that feels a lot more hopeful and upbeat, despite it being a pop-ballad. It's just beautiful, the music is so soothing and the vocals are just incredible. This is definitely a track to be heard, especially as it showcases the best vocals I have ever heard Odagiri Nana deliver. She really is delightful in one of her final tracks as a member of Houkago Princess.

It's gorgeous, one of the best musical pieces HouPri have created in their entire career, and it feels right that this would be a graduation song, of sorts. It's an emotive piece that calls out to the listener and it creates a beautiful story, much like previous works from the group. I love it, it's my favourite from the entire release, and I feel so thankful that I was able to experience such a gorgeous, memorable piece from Houkago Princess just before they changed their lineup almost completely.

Kore kara da! by Kobushi Factory (28.03.2018)

... Did you think I was going to end my Kobushi ranking at the #12 spot? Because no, I'm not done with them yet. After such a wonderful year in music from them, how could I forget one of the songs that started the year off so nicely for me as a listener? I mean, c'mon... it's incredible! A hopeful, delightful sound that really shows off the strength of Kobushi Factory, Kore kara da! is definitely a favourite of mine from 2018, and I am happy that I have gone back to it frequently throughout the year.

I know it's not everyone's favourite, but for me Kore kara da! created a sense of hope and fulfilment. At a time where I was a little lost myself and wondering what to, Kore kara da! was one of those tracks that pulled me out of the darkness and gave me some sort of motivation to keep going. I think the PV itself helps as well as the lyrics, but the sound in general is very appealing and creates this image of 'keep going!'. I appreciate that about it, and I am glad that Kobushi Factory were given such a song, especially after last year's issues.

This is a great song, one that is deserving of its high spot on my list. I have a lot to be thankful for with this song, and because of how much it helped me as a listener and an idol fan, I think that it's #6 spot is very, very well-deserved. What do you think?

I Need You ~Yozora no kanransha~ by Tsubaki Factory (21.02.2018)

I originally aimed to pop this one at #3, however there are other songs I rank a little higher. Still, I owe a lot to this song, because throughout 2018 it has kept me going. In its sound, its romantic vibes and beautiful vocals, I Ned you is a delightful piece that I have come back to frequently, and it is definitely one of my favourite songs from Hello! Project this past year.

And yes, for someone who claims to no longer be a fan of H!P as a whole, I have an awful lot of songs from that company on here. Sorry for having taste and enjoying the good tracks this company has delivered throughout the year.

It's a great song and one of Tsubaki Factory's finest of the year. Incredible, it is also the only Tsubaki Factory track to make it on my final Top 35 list, but that's because I rank it so damn highly above the others, and also because despite Tsubaki's year being damn good, there are songs i simply preferred or enjoyed more. Still, I'm happy that this one at least ranked pretty damn high. It's a good song, yo, and it's a pop-ballad, to boot!

Ballad-Lover-Chiima strikes again!

Again by Haruna Luna (22.08.2018)

I don't know if you know, but damn, it's hard to do these rankings, especially when you come to the final stretch. Amazingly, Again was not supposed to be this bloody high, but here it is. Originally supposed to be placed in the top 15~20, somehow Haruna Luna has managed to creep her way into the Top 5 by simply bringing forth a gorgeous, memorable ballad track that I have listened to again and again. Rather apt, given its name.

This is one of my favourite songs of the year, and I have to thank my friend for purchasing this for me and allowing me to further discover the beauty of Haruna Luna's voice. Of all the songs on this very single, it is this track that stood out to me first, but I am simply overjoyed that it has continued to stick with me since I first heard it. If it hadn't stuck with me, I wouldn't have ranked it so highly.

Haruna Luna is an impressive singer, and through this track I am able to hear even more than the cute voice she showcases in some of her A-side works. She's amazing at what she does, she is emotive and passionate, and this track is just one piece that allows me to understand just why people adore her.

2018 has allowed me to follow Haruna Luna a little better, but I can only hope that for 2019, Haruna Luna will fill my year with music and sweetness. Again is brilliant, truly deserving to be here, and I am so happy it managed to break my Top 5 and sit comfortably in the #4 spot.

Kimi no Achoo! by Choux Cream Rockets / Last Idol (18.04.2018)

Come the Top 5, I understand that I have a hard time placing songs, and it's around this time where everything changes; my #2 could easily become a #4, and the #5 can become the #1. This time around, my #2 became the 3rd song in my ranking, and here is where I present to you Kimi no Achoo!, a song that in sound is probably a little lacklustre, but in so many other ways it is charming.

I have to thank the music video for alerting me to the song, because without it I would have never discovered this adorable display or musical joy. It's just so cute and light, a spring-like quality encompassing the final product. It's just so enjoyable and feels so soft and sweet. There is a lot to like about this track, and over the course of the past year it has been a favoured track. I knew that it would be one of my top contenders by September, and I am glad it has proven to still be a track I rank highly from the year that will be.

I never anticipated falling for the charms of Last Idol, but after the music they pulled out this year and the gem that is Kimi no Achoo!, I look forward to what they bring in terms of songs and PV's come the New Year. This is but one of many that stood out to fans and listeners alike, but for me it is the reigning track from the Last Idol Family, and I am happy to see it standing tall in my rank at #3.

Ashita Tenki ni Naare by Kobushi Factory (28.03.2018)

This track has caused me some grief, because initially I was not going to place it. I thought it was a last-year track, but after re-discovering it, re-listening... it had to be in here. I just didn't know where to place it, and then after some thought, a few more listens and a lot of nostalgia, I remembered that this is a track that really helped me out this year. Much like Kore kara da!, Kobushi Factory's Ashita Tenki ni Naare pulled me up when I needed it most, and despite not listening to it much towards the end of the year, it's a song i have revisited more than a few times.

It's safe to say that I love this track. and in my personal opinion, it's the best track I have heard from Hello! Project all year.

Ashita Tenki ni Naare might not be up everyone's alley, but for me it's incredible. Powerful, fun, upbeat and jumpy, this track is a great idol piece that showcases the renewed energy of the group whilst also showcasing their strength as five. It's a renewal of faith and delivers hope for those who had doubts about the groups future, and for the listener it creates this sense of belief and self-worth. For that I love it, but it's also the knowledge that this is a rebirth of Kobushi Factory of sorts that makes me adore it even more.

It's one of my favoured songs of the year, but like every year gone by, the #2 spot is not necessarily my favourite. There is a song that has dominated the year for me, one that stood the test of time and gave me joyful listen after listen no matter what mood I was in, no matter the month and no matter the time.

But first... Special mentions!

~☆Special Mentions~

After a lot of thinking, a lot of deleting and a final once-over, I have managed to whittle my list down to the Top 35 that I have enjoyed this year alone. It's been a long one, but I have really enjoyed a lot of music that 2018 has had to offer. Alas, I could not rank it all, but don't fret! There are some special mentions that must be acknowledged before we hit the #1 mark.

So, without further ado, let's take a look at the songs of 2018 that narrowly missed the mark, but were still just as wonderful all the same. Will any of your favourites appear?

Ambivalent by Keyakizaka46 (15.08.2018)

SEXY SEXY by Juice=Juice (18.04.2018)

Hide the Blue by BiSH (27.06.2018)

Pag-Ibig Fortune Cookie by MNL48 (01.12.2018)

Palusot Ko'y Maybe by MNL48 (01.12.2018)

Furari Ginza by Morning Musume '18 (24.10.2018)

Ima, Kono Fune ni Nore! by =LOVE (17.10.2018)

AitakatTa by MNL48 (28.09.2018)

Akogare no Stress-free by Hello Pro All Stars (20.10.2018)

Kaguya no Negai wo by Houkago Princess (10.10.2018)

Teion Yakedo by Tsubaki Factory (21.02.2018)

Shunrenka by Tsubaki Factory (21.02.2018)

Sweet Story by TokyoFlavor (16.05.2018)

Houkago Sympathy by Tentenko (03.10.2018)

Kiken na Highway by Tentenko (03.10.2018)

Aoi Kisetsu by Ohara Sakurako (27.06.2018)

Talulot ng Sakura by MNL48 (28.09.2018)

Resu by 2& (??.06.2018)

Memory by IZ*ONE (29.10.2018)

Kon'ya Dake Ukaretakatta by Tsubaki Factory (18.07.2018)

Junjou cm by Tsubaki Factory (18.07.2018)

Shinka Riron by BOYS AND MEN (09.05.2018)

Destiny by LONDON BLUE (05.09.2018)

Groovin' by LONDON BLUE (05.09.2018)

Hola! Hola! Summer by Akishubu Project (15.08.2018)

And with that mini-list of Special Mentions over and done with, it's time for the real-deal. Though there have been a lot of songs to enjoy this year, only one can come out on top. Yes, it was narrow in terms of decisions, and admittedly I almost ended up with a tie thanks to the Top Two songs being such close contenders, but after much thought and a lot of listening to the same tracks over and over again, I feel comfortable and content with the decision I have made in regards to #1 position for the year of 2018.

It was a tough battle, a battle that this song won against. With the Year 2018 coming to its end, let's take a look at the song that made it worthwhile for me. Out of all those groups, the singers, the songs and all the other idols, which one ranked above the rest?

It's time, my dears. Let's go~

To Conclude: A Song For 2018

Nanairo no Tsubomi by 26-ji no Masquerade (06.05.2018)

Despite there being some hassle with all the other songs in my list this year, it was Nanairo no Tsubomi that actually stayed consistent in its ranking. Yes, I had some second thoughts regarding whether it should be #1 or #2, but from the get-go when I began this list, 26-ji no Masquerade's spring track was the first to be placed, as well as one of only a few tracks that never moved during the sorting of all these songs. I seem to have held a lot of faith in its placement.

This might be overlooked by some, but ever since I viewed the music video for Nijimasu's spring track, I fell in love with the song and have listened to it almost every month since its release without fail. I remember it so well, I sing along to it with dedication and I can not help but fall even more in love with it every time I re-listen to it, over and over again. I have never gotten tired of this song, I have not forgotten it, and I am so happy that finally, there is a song that I held so much confidence in for my ranking that it actually stayed in its place, instead of being moved around like all the others. For once, I placed a #1 song in the spot it deserved from the get-go, and I have no regrets in putting it here at all.

For me this song is important. Nanairo no Tsubomi saw me through 2018 in a way no other song did. Whether I was happy, sad, angry or lost, this is the song that brought me into a better place and allowed me to enjoy myself and relax. It's this song that relieved me through some of my more stressful periods, and it is this very song that brings me absolute joy each time I sit down to relive it. I honestly can not imagine my 2018 without this track.

And thanks to this PV and song, I was able to discover the joys of Nijimasu. Though they may not be my favourite group, I anticipate all they bring come 2019. So, aside from the fact that it made my 2018 memorable and fun in sound, this song also brought me to the attention of a brand new group, and I am extremely thankful for that.

So, here lies my #1 in sound for 2018, a beautiful song that is soft and caring, cute and energetic. It brings a smile to my face each time I hear it, and I cannot express to you all just how much I adore it. This song is precious, it is the sound I needed throughout 2018, and it is the song I hope I will listen to before I head into a New Year.

For all that 2018 has brought me in music, this is the one that stood out the most. It might be simple, it might be unoriginal, but to me it is a representation of my 2018 in music. There has been so much in terms of sound and style, music that I have truly enjoyed throughout the year that passes us by, but for me this is The One, my Music Conclusion for 2018. I only hope that you can enjoy it even a little as well.


And with that we end this post. Thank you for reading and joining me once more in my journey through the music I loved this year. Despite my absence, I have been able to enjoy and appreciate so much in music and found some real gems that saw me through the Year that was 2018. Hopefully you, too, have experienced some incredible tracks and tunes along the way, and I would love to know just who inspired and captivated you in sound this year.

Once more, thank you. I am happy to end the year with all of you.

Until the next one, Adieu and take care.

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