Sunday, 5 January 2020

The Definition Of 2019: The Best Of Debut and Graduation Songs

Continuing the start of our 2020 with our ranks from 2019, it's time to take a look at the debut and graduation songs that swept us away and appreciate what our Idols have given us in terms of their greetings and farewells.

Sometimes it can get emotional, but with every end there is a new beginning. Once again we will define our 2019 in music. Are you ready to say hello to the Idols of the Reiwa era, and goodbye to those from the Heisei period?


Returning to my 2019 rank lists, I thought that this year it would be a good idea to dedicate some time to the debut and graduation songs from the year gone by. With a fair few departures that have rocked both mine and many others' fandoms, I didn't just want to acknowledge these songs flippantly on my full list of favourites from 2019. Likewise, I wanted to celebrate the few Idol group debuts I knew of properly, and showcase groups that you may have overlooked or simply not heard of.

It isn't a massive list, but I had a lot of fun re-discovering a few gems from the year gone by and reliving the fun that was hearing some of these songs over and over again. I also shed a few tears when it came to the graduation tracks, because this is me, and I am a crybaby.

Anyways, behold the list that is made up of Debut and Graduation songs. For the Idols we will get to know and those we must say goodbye to, let's pay a proper amount of respect to each and every group here.

It's time to define 2019 in song once more. Who will you discover, and which Idols will you grieve over in the process? It's time to find in The Definition of 2019: The Best Of Debut and Graduation Songs (According to Chiima).

It's time to check out some Idol music...~
Best Of:
Debut Songs

Starting off this segment of the post, I would like to quickly say that I have not heard all of the Idol music released in 2019, nor have I followed all the groups or listened to each and every debut track. I would also like to note that these are simply my views and that you are in no way, shape or form obliged to follow my line of thought or share my opinion. We are human, our thoughts and views are our own and you should not feel like you are being pressured to think a certain way.

This list is here to share Idols and their music with you, that it is all. Take the ranks with a grain of salt, and choose on your own which is better or worse.

The singles and songs below are simply based on how much I like them, as well as whether the group had an official release for the first time in 2019. This includes digital and physical releases. I won't count original songs that never had a solid release.

FINALLY, I will also be linking the groups / singers' social media accounts and any other relevant links such as Spotify or Soundcloud. Every little helps when looking up new groups, so hopefully i have you sorted!

Okay, on we go~

6

Angel Heart! by Ange Mignon (08.11.2019)

Debuting back in June this year, Ange Mignon is the second Idol group to debut under Fine Promotions and have an 'Angel' theme, in which all four members are Angels as their 'guardian's (fans) watch over them. Recently, former AKB48 member Sato Sumire co-ordinated a stage costume for the group after watching their live show and feeling inspired by them.

Made up of four members - Shindo Manami (Angel of Peace), Momoha Airi (Mysterious Angel), Natsukawa Aoi (Midsummer Angel) and Mikoto (Mischievous Angel) - the group has been actively performing since their initial stage debut. Both Airi and Mikoto are concurrent members, with Airi also acting as a member of LONDON BLUE and Mikoto performing in the cross-dressing unit Hana Kotoba Kimi. Mikoto will graduate as an idol in both groups on February 24th, 2020.

Angel Heart! is a single I have struggled to find upon its release, mostly due to my personal ban of buying copious amounts of physical CD's this year, and also because the groups content is not available for digital download as of yet. With that said, a few select performances of Ange Mignon can be found online, with their title track being the first song they perform in these videos. Thankfully, the audio quality is decent and the performances are fun to watch, however because I don;t have studio quality MP3's to back up the full quality of the song, I don't think that I can make Angel Heart! my favourite debut of 2019, though it was certainly one of my most anticipated of the year gone by.

With that said, I like the sound of the song when sung live. I also love the energy that these members bring, as well as the cuteness they have overall. I find the angel concept really endearing, however the name of the group itself is certainly a product of its time, but honestly, it's one of the cuter 'Ange' names out there. Maybe that's just bias, or perhaps it's simply because it literally means 'Cute Angel'.

Anyway, I like the group as a whole and find the leading track really fun and intriguing. This was the group I anticipated the most when it came to a CD debut this year, and though I haven't managed to hear it in full, studio glory, I am glad I at least have a few performances to fall back on, because this group is so, so good, and I adore them a great deal. Here's to finally hearing the studio versions of the tracks on this single in 2020, and to future single releases from the charming Ange Mignon.

Further Links:

5

Megane no Otoko no ko / Nippon no D.N.A! / Go Waist by BEYOOOOONDS (07.08.2019)

The concept of tw new Hello! Project groups was teased way back in 2017, but due to the mind-fuckery that is Hello! Project, as well as their inability to actually have successful auditions and debuts back then, the group that eventually became BEYOOOOONDS actually didn't come to fruition until October of 2018, and their debut was officially released in August of 2019. So, after 2 years of waiting, H!P fans finally got the new group(s) that they had been waiting for.

And honestly, it may have been worth the wait if I wasn't so bitter with how badly H!P handled everything, and the quiet period they forced everyone under including the members themselves.

Made up of 3 teams - CHICA#TETSU, Ame no Mori Kawa Umi and the fan-titled Only 3 - BEYOOOOONDS acts as a super-group of sorts within H!P, and have since released an album in November. The group also won Newcomer of the Year, which isn't that surprising, given the company they're under.

With all that said, I do think that this has to be one of the best debuts of the year, though certainly not my favourite. Perhaps it's because i haven't paid much attention to this single since its release, but I honestly find it difficult to recall the sound of any song that isn't Nippon no D.N.A, the true gem of this entire release. Regardless, I do think this is a great single, one that I probably should have listened to a little more, but eh. I don't regret placing it here because... well, I have a few debut releases i prefer a little to a lot more...

The songs and music videos are great, the comedic feel this group has is both intriguing and refreshing, and I enjoy the power each of the songs have on this release. Megane no Otoko no ko / Nippon no D.N.A! / Go Waist is entertaining to listen to as a whole, but it's definitely Nippon no D.N.A! that stands out as the best track on here by a long-shot. It's simply charming, encompasses that old-school H!P sound I am fond of, and just feels like a cheer song that helps to motivate you. I really do enjoy it!

Much like any H!P release, you can find all of the music videos on YouTube. So check out Megane no Otoko no ko, Nippon no D.N.A! and Go Waist when you have time.

Further Links:


4

365-Nichi no Heroine by Theme Park Girl (21.08.2019)

Making their CD debut with the charming 365-Nichi no Heroine under Warner music Japan, Theme Park Girl have actually been active since 2017 and regard themselves as a YouTube girl group. Their concept is 'everyday is a theme park!'.

Made up of 5 members - Igusa (13), Emi (15), Kanami (16), Kelly (14) and Momoka (13) - Theme Park Girl not only release their own original songs, but also create covers and dance videos. The girls also post on instagram, twitter and TikTok and are seen as SNS influencers of generation Z. The group is popular with younger fans.

The single itself is a promising start to Theme Park Girl's career as Idols. Yes, they have original content out there already, however 365-Nichi no Heroine is both an emotional and energetic start for the cute girls who want to create joy with their music. Leading with the title track, 365-Nichi no Heroine depicts the strengths of a mother who works hard to protect her family every day of the year, and the thankfulness that the members have towards their own mothers. It's a sweet song that will speak to many people, and one that has lasting impact thanks to its beautiful sound and the emotion within the members' vocals.

101 Kai-Challenge is a more upbeat track, one that totes the positive message of continuing to challenge yourself and never giving up, even when you're afraid or have failed over and over again. It's charming and bright, a song that really speaks to the listeners and encourages them to continue in all they pursue. It is an enthusiastic and positive song, something that seems consistent with the groups music in general, and I can only view Theme Park Girl as a positive impact on the idol scene right now.

I also believe that 101-Kai Challenge is a perfect addition to the track list thanks to the struggles these girls must have gone through in being Idols as well as school girls, and finally being rewarded for all their hard work and persistence as Idols with this CD debut.

It's a great single, one that hits all the right points and showcases the talent and passion Theme Park Girl has. Definitely check it out, because it's worth it.

You can listen to the groups debut single on Spotify and check out the music videos 365-Nichi no Heroine and 101-Kai Challenge on YouTube. Be sure to check them out, and please let them win you over with their cuteness!

Further Links:


3

≠ME (Not Equal Me) by ≠ME (03.08.2019)

Revealed as the sister group of =LOVE, ≠ME was revealed with an 11 member lineup in February 2019, however an additional member was revealed in April that year, bringing the member total to 12. The groups name means 'NOT EQUAL ME' and is produced by Sashihara Rino.

Made up members Ogi Hana (16), Ochiai Kirari (18), Kanisawa Moeko (20), Kawaguchi Natsune (18), Kawanago Natsumi (14), Sakurai Momo (15), Suganami Mirei (19), Suzuki Hitomi (18), Tanizaki Saya (20), Tomita Nanaka (19), Nagata Shiori (15) and Honda Miyuki (15), it seems the group follows a similar concept to their sister group, which is a Seiyuu-Idol theme.

Upon ≠ME's debut, the group has since released a coupling track on =LOVE's 6th single, and have been the opening act for =LOVE.

I really enjoy ≠ME as a song and all it has to offer, but let's be real: that was to be expected. I think that =LOVE are a great group, so I anticipated enjoying ≠ME's content just as much, and whilst this wasn't the debut I expected, it certainly impressed me enough to warrant its inclusion on this list. That, and it's the debut song from 2019 I have listened to the most upon its release. I just really like it and find its cute, upbeat nature very appealing.

With that said, I do think a lot of my apprehension to make this #1 is down to the fact that it isn't a full-on single release, but instead a digital track. It would have been nice to see this song backed up by a few b-sides to give us an idea of what sort of music style they will have, and if they will differ from their older sister group.

Still, ≠ME is charming enough as is, and I like the sound they're toting. Yeah, they're in a similar ball park to =LOVE, but given who produces them... yeah, I am not that surprised. It's a generic, cute sound that works for the group, but it's catchy and memorable enough that you won't forget ≠ME as a sound any time soon. Still, it would have been nice if this could have been released in a single format... there's a lot of lost potential here, and it really does feel more like Sashihara is testing the waters with this one, when she knows full well the group will work out and sell. Because Sashihara Power, and all that shit.

Whatever. I like it, I think it's a fun song and I have played it far too often. I'm pretty sure my YouTube is sick of having the PV on loop.

Check out the official ≠ME music video. You know you want to~

Further Links:


2

Family name by ZOC (30.04.2019)

Making their stage debut in September of 2018, ZOC - Zone Of Control - finally released their first single under T-Palette Records just this year with the impressive Family Name. Produced and lead by singer-songwriter and idol fanatic, Oomori Seiko, this passion project is one that will appeal to both fans of generic idols, as well as those who are more-so invested into the alternative or anti-idol scene.

Currently made up of five members - Aizome Karen (22), Senritsu Kanano (21), Kashii Katy (Formerly of meltia), Nishii Marina (22) and Oomori Seiko (32) - ZOC have since released their second single in October 2019, Danshari Kareshi.

I don't know a lot about ZOC other than the fact that I like their music. I have not really delved into the lore of the group, the members themselves, or much else for that matter. I simply enjoy Family name and A Innocence, because both songs are bomb. With that said, I do feel like ZOC really brought along their A-game with this single release. Sure, I don't listen to the b-side, Chu-puri, that much, but I enjoy the single as a whole and find it extremely appealing.

Oh, and it reminds of BiSH songs. So, there is that. (No wonder I like it).

I actually have nothing else to say regarding this single other than: I like it, it's one of my favourites from 2019 and I think it's very deserving of being a #2 spot on here. Family name is simply a great song, one that is reminiscent of a sound that I swear BiSH has had before, and I love listening to and singing along with it. It's a great track to lead the entire single, and Chu-puri is a nice add-on that compliments the title song well. I enjoy it, and I have nothing more to add other than this:

Go listen to Family name. N-O-W. you can find Family name's PV on Youtube, as well as Chu-puri.

Further Links:


And with #2 wrapped up, it's time for us to move on to the #1 spot! But of all the debut releases that have come out this year, just who managed to top the rest? The list might be short, but it is nothing short of impressive (awkward wink ensues), so let's take a look at the Debut that won my heart as well as my year. It might be a surprise, it might not. Either way, let's take a look at my Debut of the Year...

Drum roll, please~






 ✰ ✬ 1 ✰  ✰ 
The Definition of 2019:
~Debut Song Of The Year~

CARRY LOOSE by CARRY LOOSE (22.10.2019)

Heck. Yeah. It's a WACK group, y'all.

Debuting this year with two former 2nd generation BiS members, a WAgg trainee and a newly appointed member, CARRY LOOSE - temporarily named Curry Rouxz - made a fairly swift debut this year under T-Palette Records with their self-titled album. They are currently the 5th active main group within WACK as of 2020.

Made up for 4 members - Pan Luna leafy, YUINA EMPiRE, Uruu Ru and Yumeka Naukana? - the group are currently preparing for their up-coming single debut, which drops on February 11th, 2020.

I honestly didn't even know this album existed until I did some digging some time ago, because at the time of creating this post I had about 3 Idol groups that I knew had debuted in 2019. And then I remembered: CARRY LOOSE, they existed just this year, right? And - low and behold! - they had released an album in October 2019, and it was readily available on Soundcloud for my listening pleasure! So I tuned in, not expecting much of a reaction if I'm honest with you, and...

And I loved it. So much so that I immediately said to myself 'this is my debut release of the year'. And that was that.

It's still my debut release of the year, hence why it hit the #1 position over the others, because it is so genuinely good and well-rounded as an album, plus it's packed to the brim with awesome songs. CARRY LOOSE is an incredible release that gives you a variety when it comes to sound and style, allowing us to appreciate the diversity this group has, as well as allowing us to appreciate their vocals in different music styles.

CARRY LOOSE is just amazing, and whilst I haven't listened to it as much as I should have upon its release, I am glad that I remembered how awesome it was even after some time away from it. There is lasting impression here, and I think that it's a release that must be heard, especially when you consider that you can listen to the tracks free on Soundcloud at your own leisure.

So, yeah. Listen to it, fall into the mesmerising sound of CARRY LOOSE, and see what you think. I honestly believe there will be something for everyone to enjoy here, even if you aren't a big fan of WACK or its groups.

They're all good songs. I can't fault any one of them, so my suggestion is simply this: Listen, appreciate and enjoy. Also, here's the Soundcloud. You have no more excuses. LISTEN TO IT.

Further Links:


Best Of:
Graduation Songs

And now it's on to the emotional part: the graduation songs. 2019 has brought an abundance of sadness with its plethora of graduations, and though I haven't followed all of the groups - I am but one human bean - I am aware that a fair few Idols have graduated, some groups have disbanded, and more. It's sad, but this is the way of the Idol world, whether we like it or not.

The criteria for this category is a little bit heavier than the previous one. Though it certainly is about what I liked, I also wanted to list the songs accordingly based on how they made me feel, whether it made me want to cry, if it fit the idea of an Idol graduation, and so on and so forth. In general, I find that even the happiest of Idol songs can make me cry, but that's because I'm an absolute sap.

Anyway, once again this list is just a rank of my own personal creation. Take it all with a grain of salt, don't get offended by my song placements and understand that our views and tastes differ, which means that you will see these songs in a different light to myself. That's okay, and that's what makes us human beans so wonderful: we're diverse, different and wonderful, and our tastes are our own. You are not wrong for liking or disliking a song that I may have listed. Oh, and I haven't heard all of the grad songs... so what's listed is basically what I have heard and remembered above others. please do take that into account.

Also, as an additional tidbit: There will be repeat groups on here, and repeat singles. Because graduations. Now, pass me the tissues... -cries-

10

Totte Oki no Oshare wo Shite by Katsuta Rina of ANGERME (16.09.2019)

I feel like this one is a little weird to place, only because it feels nothing like a graduation song. The again, this is Katsuta Rina we're talking about: I have no doubts that she would only want to walk away with a smile on her face as opposed to tears, so something like this feels perfect for her as a final hurrah when it comes to songs.

That said, this song reminds me far too much of Michishige Sayumi's own graduation solo, Shabadaba Doo~, which pretty much has the same instrumental, save for a few select changes, and that throws me off a little with this release and makes me overlook it. Not that this is a bad thing, per say, but whenever I hear Totte Oki no Oshare wo Shite playing, I just think of Sayumi's song instead and immediately want to listen to it. But, that's my problem.

Regardless, I think that the song chosen for Rina was a good choice, as it matches her voice really well and encompasses an almost unique sound, one that H!P don't play around with a lot. It's classic, a sound reminiscent of the early 1900's - my brain is saying '1920's', but I'm possibly wrong - and it feels smooth and relaxing, a vibe that Rina herself has. So, yeah; it's the perfect song for her to leave us with.

It may not not have been changed much from Sayu's Shabadaba Doo~, but it suits Rina. I just wish she had had something that was more recognisable against its twin. Ah, well.

Thanks for everything, Rina! You worked hard within H!P, showed us a cute and cool side, and became H!P's own fashionista. We will miss you in ANGERME's lineup.

9

Himitsu no Umbrella by Chiba Sakino of READY TO KISS (17.12.2018)

Despite not having heard the single in full, KING RECORDS did us all a deal and gave us a lyric video for Sakipyon's graduation solo track, Himitsu no Umbrella to crank up our feel factor, and to prepare us for Sakipyon's inevitable goodbye on December 29th.

And yeah, I felt sad when I first heard it because, first of all, it's basically a cute pop ballad, and second of all: SAKIPYON. This girl is one of the original first gen members of Houkago Princess, and despite her leaving the group in 2013 and creating READY TO KISS that same year in October, she still holds a place in my little old heart as an Idol that defined my love for an indies idol group way back when.

I'm getting away with myself there, but still: this song is somewhat sentimental to me as a not-so-big-Sakipyon fan because of the nostalgia I hold towards her, and also because it's basically the last solo we will hear from her as an Idol now that she has graduated. That's pretty big, but I do understand that for others, this won't mean so much. Still, I enjoy the cuteness and nostalgia that Himitsu no Umbrella brings me, which is why it's on this list.

I'm happy we could receive one solo song from Sakipyon. I'm happy it was something that suited her but still felt reminiscent of her time as an idol, and I am happy that it was released as a lyric video (which is a cute video, by the way). If I didn't have the lyric video available, I wouldn't have heard this song until maybe February, way after these lists should technically be completed.

Thank you for such a cute song, Sakipyon! I will miss your cute little voice.

8

Tenshi no Namida by Nakanishi Kana of ANGERME (18.12.2019)

I have not really paid much attention to Tenshi no Namida by Nakanishi Kana, but it was a very recent release, so I need to forgive myself a little in regards to this one. With that said, I am happy that Kana was able to record one last solo before graduating from the idol world completely. Something like this means a lot to the fans, even if it is just a digital release.

Tenshi no Namida is a very pretty song, one that can bring up a few emotions if you think about how far Kanana has come since debuting as 2nd generation member of S/mileage all the way back in 2011. With just over 8 years under her belt, Kanana basically became the duck who turned into a swan thanks to persistence, a lot of training and hard work. Sure, she isn't the best vocalist out there, but she still managed to improve herself and has continued to showcase just how much of a precious member she is within ANGERME.

I love Kanana a lot, so having this song is important to me as someone who is her fan. Okay, so it doesn't make me cry or feel overly sad, but I love hearing it and thinking that this is what Kanana's years of hardwork have amounted to: a song that is completely hers, something that she can leave us. This song is a testament to her time within H!P, a way to appreciate all she has done, all she has challenged and the walls that she has climbed.

I can only feel proud of Kanana when I hear this song. I'm so happy she could sing something this pretty and thankful that Kanana has done all she wanted to do as an idol. So thank you, Kanana. Thank you for everything.

7

Goodbye & Good luck! by Juice=Juice (13.02.2019)

The first of two graduation single releases from Juice=Juice, Good bye & Good luck! is the cute, fun little ditty that pays respect to Yanagawa Nanami just before she set off from her respective groups and Hello! Project in order to focus on her studies. Upbeat and bright, this is a pretty fun song that neglects the typical sad formula some graduation songs encompass.

Honestly speaking, I do really like this song! It's actually one I remember pretty well, and though I could never regard it as my favourite graduation song, I can't deny the fact that I will sometimes sing this to myself at really random points in my day, all thanks to how catchy it is.

I think one of the strong points of this single - aside from its catchy and cute nature - is that it showcases the positivity of Juice=Juice really well. Even when there is a graduation it feels like there is nothing but love, affection and happiness from the members as they support one another towards their individual dreams, and I truly admire that. I'm glad that these kinds of feelings could be brought across in Good bye and Good luck!, because whilst Yanamin wasn't in the group for that long, she was still a key member and someone the other members cared about.

Again, this is not my favourite release by any means, but it's definitely one that I have listened to more than once and think of fondly. I'm glad that Yanamin was given such an energetic and sweet goodbye, and that the feelings of Juice=Juice could be reflected through the song.

I hope Yanamin is having fun in her personal life, and I hope she looks back on this single with happiness. She really did get a good single as her final goodbye to Juice=Juice and the fans.

6

Sono-Saki no Mirai e by READY TO KISS (17.12.2018)

Though I didn't start to fully appreciate READY TO KISS until 2017 (because Miho), original member and leader Chiba Sakino was someone who, despite never being a favourite, always had an odd place in my heart. Thanks to her being an original member of my beloved HouPri, I continued to follow her activities in R2K and enjoy the music that was put out.

Now, as of December 29th 2019, Sakipyon has graduated from READY TO KISS and retired from the Idol world. In many ways it feels very odd, but I am also happy that Sakipyon was able to do everything she wanted as an idol. It just feels surreal to think that the two original aces of HouPri, Nana and Saki, have retired and are living their own lives.

Honestly though, I am super glad that Sakipyon was given such a pretty lead song for her graduation single. With such a hopeful sounding title - and hey, her name is in the title, too! - Sono-Saki no Mirai e acts as both a chipper look towards the future, as well as a letter of goodbye to the last remaining original member of READY TO KISS before she sets off towards a new path. It's a little emotional, but above all it's pretty and suits Saki well as her final hurrah within the group.

I really enjoy listening to this song, however I will admit that, for those of you who don't listen to READY TO KISS, this track won't feel as hard-hitting due to its lack of emotional impact. After all, it's pretty much a versatile, cute Idol song that can be sung during a regular performance. For those who have watched Sakipyon grow however, this will probably hit you a little harder, especially when you get to the bridge and hear Sakipyon sing the last solo line. That's when reality hits and you realise 'Ah, shit. She's graduated'.

This was a great goodbye release for Sakipyon, though certainly not the best graduation song out there. Still, it did Sakipyon justice and sent her off in a cute, memorable fashion. Thank you for everything, Sakipyon! I will miss you ;^;

5

Tsubame by Fudanjuku (30.01.2019)

When it comes to Idol graduation songs, Fudanjuku are always up there in terms of hitting you hard with the feels, and Tsubame is no different. Old-school Fudanjuku in sound, fun in tone and a little bit emotional at the bridge, Tsubame is the perfect send off for Seto Kouki, who graduated from the group in February 2019 after almost 9 years of dedication to the group.

Listening to Tsubame simply makes me want to dance and cry. It's the sort of song that, despite being so happy and energetic, is still emotional deep down because it's a goodbye track for a long-serving member of Fudanjuku. It's also the sort of song that reminds me just why Fudanjuku are such a great group, because this is a wonderful track. Sadly, I only ever seem to come back for the graduation releases. Why am I like this? ;^;

Anywhoo, does its job magnificently. It represents that core Fudanjuku sound, celebrates Kouki's time within the group and creates the perfect send-off for him as a graduation track. It's beautiful, poignant at times and perfect, and I'm glad that Kouki - who was a favourite member of mine for a while - was able to receive such a nice song as his final hurrah.

Thank you for everything, Kouki. I miss your presence in Fudanjuku. Now the group that I knew has well and truly changed, and only Aiba remians... ;^;

4

25sai Eien Setsu by Juice=Juice (05.6.2019)

Hello! project has truly outdone themselves in regards to their graduation tracks this year. Sure, I have a few I don't exactly care for, but of the few I do like... well, they're all winners in my eyes, and there is honestly no greater track than 25sai Eien Setsu. This is honestly one of my favourite songs from H!P all year, with the track itself being this gorgeous, fun piece that doesn't feel sad at all. And honestly, it's super fitting for recently graduated Miyazaki Yuka, the former leader who still shows her love for Juice=Juice despite having graduated the group she lead for so long.

I love that now when an Idol graduates, a song no longer has to be a ballad or filled with sadness. Instead a graduation song can now deliver hope, happiness and a means to beginning a new chapter, or a new story altogether. This is what 25sai Eien Setsu does for both Yuka and Juice=Juice - it's the final chapter of the first story, but the hope and desire to continue that story and its history in a new form is evident.

... Am I even making sense here? XD

I want to say that for this release, 25sai Eien Setsu does a good job of creating this hopeful, bright environment for Yuka as she steps away from Juice=Juice, whilst also acknowledging that even when she isn't there, she's still a big part of the group in their hearts and that she will always come back to care for them. There is so much meaning, so much love and care poured into this track, and I feel like Yuka herself did a wonderful job both vocally and in the music video. She really is a leader to treasure, and despite being one of the less popular members, she still treasured the group a great deal and worked hard to keep them as a family.

Thank you, Miyazaki Yuka. You probably left a little earlier than anticipated, but you did a wonderful job at creating a beautiful group full of heart and liveliness. Thank you for being a part of the Juice=Juice family.

3

Watashi Datte Idol by Sashihara Rino (13.03.2019)

What is it with all these graduation songs being upbeat and peppy this year, huh!? I mean I love it, don't get me wrong, but it does feel like we have had a shortage of sadness this year thanks to all of these songs being more a celebration of the Idols finding a new path, and Sashihara Rino is no different with her own solo track, Watashi Datte Idol.

More of a fun poke at her career as an idol, Sasshi's last solo hurrah as an AKB and HKT48 member is probably the most memorable grad solo of the year gone by. Filled with Sasshi's own experiences, she pays respect to only her fans, but the career she has had, as well as the career she hopes to return to when she's reborn. It's a great send-off for Sasshi both lyrically and in video, and I like that this song pays respect to one of Japan's most notable Idols from the past decade.

Watashi Datte Idol is cute, fun and addictive, and I do remember this song well despite its rather generic, AKB-esque sound. It's also 100% Sasshi in sound, so despite its generic tone it really is a perfect fit for AKB48's #1 Idol, and I'm glad that she was given something so carefree and charming because, let's be real, that's how Sasshi roles. Something like a graduation won't keep her from singing a song like this, and I'm glad. If she had had a pretty ballad, it wouldn't have meant as much as this song does.

Oh, and the music video is great, so definitely check that out when you can. It's fun seeing Rino basically equate her graduation to the death of her Idol career, or Idoldom as a whole.

Anyways, this is a fun track and I enjoy it a great deal, hence why it's so high on the list. I've listened to it a fair few times as well, and just think that Watashi Datte Idol is simply deserving of my third place spot. That, and I think super highly of Sashihara Rina. So, yeah. Thank you for all your hard work over the years, Sasshi. HKT and AKB will be so different without you.

2
Yumemita 15 by ANGERME (10.04.2019)

Wada Ayaka. An Idol I once disliked, and then an Idol I admired, Dawa is someone who is an important part of my history as a fan. With her official debut as a S/mileage member in 2009, Dawa is the remaining member from the Hello! Project I came into, and with her graduation the H!P I once knew has effectively come to an end.

What a bittersweet realisation.

Of all the songs on this list, I feel like Yumemita 15 is the one track that actually fits the idea of what we perceive a graduation single to be. Sentimental, hard-hitting and a little bit sad, this track really packs a punch thanks to all of the memories and feels that have been embedded into it, and it's clear as day that it was created to make you some form of pain. Written by former original member Fukuda Kanon, this song pays homage not only to Dawa's years with ANGERME, but also the groups major debut song, Yumemiru 15sai. From the beaded curtains to the white outfits, the title of the song and even Dawa's own ponytail, this song is a bucket full of sentimentality and more. 

Whenever I hear it or watch the PV I become overwhelmed, and even after I stop crying I know that at some point I will start again. I guess that's the power of Yumemita 15. It evokes emotion, it brings back memories of a time where I adored H!P, S/mileage and their music, and it reminds me of how important Wada Ayaka was as an idol and the influence she has had within the Idol world and Hello! Project.

I am thankful that, out of all the songs on this list, Wada was given something that speaks to your typical idol graduation song as opposed to something hopeful, cute and upbeat. I think something that is a little more mature and sentimental is needed when an Idol of Dawa's status graduates, especially when you consider that she has worked under Hello! Project for 15 years, and has been a member of S/mileage and ANGERME for a decade. So yes, something like this is perfect for her as a sendoff, and I'm glad that it is a song that makes me cry, because we all need to shed a tear or ten for our Idols sometimes.

Yumemita 15 is beautiful, heartfelt and powerful. It's a graduation song that is befitting of an idol who overcame so much, cared for a group she probably never thought would grow and achieved more than she could have imagined. After being an Idol for so long and experiencing so much, travelling to the places she has longed to travel to and becoming one of hello! Project's most noteworthy Idol's and leaders, this is the perfect song for Dawa to leave on.

Thank you for everything, Dawa. Throughout your time as an Idol have unfairly disliked you, only to realise how hardworking, vibrant and dedicated you were as an Idol. In the end I only to admire and like you, and I'm glad that at least once I could meet you in my lifetime. I am grateful that you could be an Idol I followed in my time as a fan. 

For 15 years of your time, energy, love and persistence, thank you.

...

Okay. It's time for the graduation song that did something to me emotionally, a song that has pretty much been with me since it was unveiled, a song that I have listened to over and over again. It may not be everyone's definition of a good graduation song, but for me it's the Graduation Song of the Year.

But what is it? Read on to find out...~





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The Definition Of 2019:
~Graduation Song Of The Year~

Jiwaru DAYS by AKB48 (13.03.2019)

I am fairly sure my friend will hate me for this - she really doesn't like Jiwaru Days - but screw it, I love this song! In fact, this is probably one of my most played graduation tracks from 2019 because it's so addictive. Sure, it's one of the weaker graduation tracks in terms of composition on here, but I love the feel of it. Plus it's Sashihara Rino's AKB48 graduation song - of course it's going to be catchy and cute! 

Honestly, I just love how fun song this is and the happiness it brings me. It really does feel like a celebration of Sasshi's time as an Idol, and the video only enhances that feeling - with all of her costumes strewn about on the floor and up the walls, the members surrounding her and the smiles she shows, I can't help but think 'this is the Sasshi we know and love, the Idol we celebrate today'. It's a great song, a great video, and it is a worthy graduation track for an Idol who has done so much within the industry despite all of the hardships she initially faced.

And yeah, I love the song. I think it's great and will admit that right away. It really is one of my favourite songs from 2019, as well as one of my top graduation songs, period.

Jiwaru DAYS gives me butterflies. It makes my stomach flip, creates happiness and makes me want to dance. At times it even makes me want to cry, but more than anything I simply have to celebrate the song and Sasshi's time as an Idol. It does all the things I want an Idol song to do, and for that I love it. Yet the fact that it gives me butterflies when I hear and watch it is very telling I think, and whilst it may never be considered a perfect Idol song, I know that it's a winner in my heart.

I won't deny it any longer. For the year of 2019, Jiwaru DAYS stands as my favourite graduation song. Though it isn't perfect, though it isn't hard-hitting or as powerful as others, it's still a song that creates butterflies in my stomach and makes me smile. It makes me reminisce on all that Sashihara Rino has accomplished, allows me to admire her more and gives me a chance to appreciate all she has done not only for herself, but AKB and the Idol industry as a whole.

I only hold admiration for Sasshi, and I'm thankful that even when she went through a scandal and found herself at the bottom she still managed to work hard and bring herself to the very top. She is an inspiration, someone to look up to and aspire to be like. She isn't perfect and neither is her graduation track, but that's what makes her such an amazing young woman. Even with all her flaws, a scandal and all of the odds stacked against her, Sasshi still came out on top and showed us that being an Idol doesn't have to be about looks or talent, but about owning your mistakes and doing all you can to shine against everyone else.

Thank you for everything, Sashihara Rino. You are truly the Idol that others should aspire to be like. Never change.

... And there we go. With that, The Best Of Debut and graduation Songs for 2019 comes to an end. Though these may be my definition of the year gone by, what debut and graduation songs defined your year gone by? From the big groups to the small, please share your favourites with me and open me up to a world of even more Idols and music. I look forward to seeing what you unveil as your favourites.

For now it is time to say good. I hope that you have all enjoyed this post, found a group to follow and perhaps a realised how precious a Graduation song can be. Or even if this was just a way to pass time, I am thankful that you could be here and read this post, if even for a moment.

Thank you so much everyone. Please take care of yourselves, love your idols and stay happy and healthy.

Until the next time. Adieu and A Happy New Year,
Chiima~

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