Sunday, 26 April 2020

Music Digest: 1st Quarter 2020

In which Chiima creates another list-based series where she displays the music she enjoys from the year that is, and shares some thoughts with everyone about the releases...

Around the middle of April an idea sparked in my mind regarding a new form of favoured music updates for the months gone by, one that would essentially allow me the time to compile it without having to dedicate myself every other week, or even within a months period. And because I liked this idea so much, I decided to implement it into my regime for 2020.

Pretty much the love-child of my Music Selection series from 2017, Digest Quarterly was born from the desire to keep myself updated with my favourite releases of the year, whilst also pandering to my laziness in updating this blog. It's a win-win situation here, because I can now keep a log of my favourites from the months gone by, yet still not have to dedicate myself to it every single month. Instead, I will update it every three months, because supreme laziness!

I will have to note that, despite listing my favourite songs here on a quarterly basis, does not mean that they will allbe present in the Year End overview of my favourite songs from 2020. This is because, more often than not, I will fall in love with a single or album well after its release date, or I will fall out of love with something as time goes by. It is just the way it is.

Anyways, the ultimate aim of this list is to:
  1. Log my favourite songs for the impending Favourites of 2020 list.
  2. Share my music favourites with everyone! Because sharing is caring, y'all~
  3. Write my quick thoughts on the release, and why I think it's good (without having to write a full-on review).
  4. Because I wanted to fill a void, one that is ultimately there because I miss my Music Selections.
  5. Mambo #5.
  6. It's also a fun way for me to recommend music to people, and a reason to make lists. Because lists are good.
... And that's it. Those are the reasons why I wanted to create this, though I never needed to explain it. I just wanted to, because words and writing and all that rambling fun.

The ultimate goal of this Quarterly Music Digest is to simply share my favourite music finds with everyone, as well as to keep a log and recommend music that I think people will like. At the end of the day, I think that sharing what we enjoy in J-Pop, K-Pop an any damn bop is a good thing, and will further our music interests along the way. It's also a great way to discover new musicians, idols and artists to follow, or perhaps help you to rekindle a long lost interest in a group you abandoned way back when, for one reason or another. Either way, this Music Digest is here for both myself and my readers as a means to keep ourselves occupied with music, and to find new groups and singers to invest our time (and maybe even money) in.

So please read on, and enjoy! Hopefully you find some new groups and music to lose yourself in, or perhaps rekindle your love with an old favourite. Heck, you might just return to the same old groups, idols and artists you have been following for the last half decade. Whatever it is you happen to enjoy, we won't judge you...

Let's listen to some music~



Free Turn by TrySail

Release Date: January 18th, 2020 (digital) / January 22nd, 2020 (physical)
Editions: 3 (Limited Edition / Limited Anime Edition / Regular Edition)

Of the singles I have heard from this year already, Free Turn is my favourite. I have continued to enjoy the bubbly, upbeat nature of this release since it dropped, and I don't see my allegiance towards it waning any time soon. It's just so good!

Free Turn is a returning favourite of mine, and whilst I do listen to it as a part of a playlist, I am more often than not giving this single a whirl all by itself. It's a catchy, fun and addictive release that managed to charm me, and I simply adore its cute and cheerful sound. Can you blame me?

Be sure to listen to Free Turn here on Spotify.

set fire to now by Yoneko

Release Date: January 21st, 2020
Versions: 2 (Digital download / Physical copy)

I don't listen to it as much now, but when I first heard Yoneko's set fire to now I was kind of obsessed with it. With  a powerful sound, raw vocals and a flurry emotions channeled into it, Yoneko's first song of the year is a stimulating piece that represents her current journey as a singer-songwriter.

set fire to now is beautiful in an unsettling way, and was a great start to the year for music. This is the kind of song that gives me goosebumps whenever it plays, it's just that amazing.

Be sure to listen to set fire to now on Spotify.

KOKORO&KARADA / LOVEpedia / Ningen Kankei No way way by Morning Musume '20

Release Date: January 22nd, 2020
Editions: 7 (Regular A / Regular B / Regular C / Limited A / Limited B / Limited C / Limited SP)

Morning Musume '20's 68th single took me by surprise in the best way possible, and whilst it might not be my favourite release from the past three months, it's still a great release. Upbeat, fun and strong in song, this single is a great listen from beginning to end.

I like all of the songs on here, and whilst I do need to take a breather from at least one of these songs every now and again, I can't deny its replay factor. All three songs can be enjoyed individually or together, and each has their own unique charm. It's definitely worth a second or third listen, if you ask me.

You can listen to KOKORO&KARADA, LOVEpedia and Ningen Kankei No way way on YouTube.



Passion by Ohara Sakurako

Release Date: February 5th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Limited Edition Type A / Limited Edition Type B / Regular Edition)

A favourite from the early days of 2020, Ohara Sakurako's Passion is exactly what the title suggests: a passionate affair of songs all packed into one album, and very little room for disappointment. It's an absolute gem, and whilst I am still undecided as to which album is my favourite right now, Passion is certainly high up there for me.

This album is incredible. I enjoy everything about it from beginning to end, and can't fault Sakurako for delivering such an impeccable release. It's the best I have heard from her since I became a fan, and that is saying something, because Sakurako always delivers, and she is always slaying the music game. Passion is on a whole other level though, and I am completely besotted by it as a release.

Be sure to listen to Passion here on Spotify.

BRIGHT NEW WORLD by Little Glee Monster

Release Date: February 12th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Limited Edition Type A / Limited Edition Type B / Regular Edition)

Another album favourite from the beginning of the year, Little Glee Monster's BRIGHT NEW WORLD was a pleasant surprise upon my first listen, only because I didn't expect to hear such beautiful music. I'm aware of the group, I have heard some of their music, however I have never really taken the time to sit through a full release of theirs until recently, and yeah, I was left impressed. This is a solid album.

This is a good album, one that is powerful, expressive and well-balanced in its sound. There is going to be a track on here for everyone, and I'm honestly kicking myself for not listening to Little Glee Monster as attentively as I have been with this release. I am a fool, but I'm glad that this album has allowed me to see the metaphorical light.

Be sure to listen to BRIGHT NEW WORLD here on Spotify.

Dystopia: The Tree of Life by Dreamcatcher

Release Date: February 18th, 2020
Editions: 4 (Edition E / Edition V / Edition I / Edition L)

This was a much-anticipated release from Dreamcatcher, and after having listened to it repeatedly as a part of a playlist and by itself, I do understand why so many people enjoy it. Varied in sound, emotive and full of power, Dystopia: The Tree of Life is an incredible trip that will take you on a Dystopian, sound-fuelled journey.

It's one of Dreamcatcher's best releases that I have heard, and I honestly can't fault this album and what it brings to the table. Sure, some songs are weaker than others, but irregardless of that it is still a fantastic compilation of tracks. It's impressive, so be sure to give it a chance.

Be sure to listen to Dystopia: The Tree of Life here on Spotify.


Anata ga Iru Koto de by Uru

Release Date: February 9th, 2020
Versions: Digital download

A gorgeous winter ballad, Anata ga Iru Koto de is a breath of fresh air in my playlist of upbeat, catchy pop tunes, and its all thanks to the breathy, relaxing vocal style that is Uru's voice. This is such a soothing song, and for anyone who loves to hear a ballad every now and again, this is the perfect release to chill out to.

Uru is a new singer for me, however I was completely besotted by her relaxing voice the second I heard this song. It's undeniably sweet, and I have no trouble relaxing to this song and finding myself at peace after listening to it.

You can also listen to Anata ga Iru Koto de on Uru's album, Orion Blue.


Release Date: February 11th, 2020
Editions: 1

A delightful follow-up to their debut mini-album, Ningen is a fun duo of songs that not only showcase the raw and attractive vocals of the members, but also reflects that familiar ad catchy WACK sound. It's a pleasant listen, and the gentle balance of rock and pop that both songs adhere to is pretty addictive.

This is a catchy, bright release that is a welcome addition to my playlist, and I really can not fault either song. Both provide great entertainment for me, and both have wonderful replay value. Ningen is a great debut single for CARRY LOOSE, and it honestly has me looking forward to their future releases.

Be sure to listen to Ningen here on Spotify.

Plunderer by Ito Miku

Release Date: February 12th, 2020
Editions: 2 (Limited Edition / Regular Edition)

Acting as the opening theme for the anime of the same name, Plunderer is Ito Miku's first release of 2020 that is well-rounded in terms of its energy and maturity. With two tracks to tune into, you can easily fall into Ito's world of cheery, upbeat pop before entering an entirely different world in the coupling song.

This single is pretty varied in what it offers. On the one hand you are given a typical, cheery Anime pop tune that is fitting for Ito's vocals, only to follow up with a smoother, speakeasy-toned track that reflects Ito's vocals well. It's a great release all round, one that is undeniably catchy and charming.

You can listen to Plunderer here on Spotify.

Hoshi wo Atsumete by fhána

Release Date: February 26th, 2020
Editions: 1

A cute, fun-filled release, fhána's Hoshi wo Atsumete is one of those singles that makes you feel good from beginning to end thanks to its vibrant and catchy sound. With three upbeat tracks that vary in degrees of happiness, this is an audibly colourful display of music.

It's simply a joy to hear, and whilst I have not really given fhána much of a listen before this, Hoshi wo Atsumete is giving me reason enough to continue pursuing their releases, past and present. It's an enjoyable release, and I am having a whale of a time tuning into all this single has to offer.

You can listen to Hoshi wo Atsumete here on Spotify.



Orion Blue by Uru

Release Date: March 18th, 2020
Editions: 4 (Limited E"Video" Edition / Limited "Cover" Edition / Regular Edition / Digital Special Edition)

With an equal split of new and previously released tracks - as well as an additional handful of cover tracks depending on the edition - Uru's Orion Blue is a beautifully profound display of music. Uru's voice is absolutely splendid throughout the entirety of this release, and the accompanying instrumentals only aim to capture and enhance her vocal style.

If you are a fan of pop-ballads or soulful pop, then Orion Blue is a pretty solid release that must be heard. It's a wonderful compilation of songs, with many encompassing peaceful, steady sounds that will soothe the soul. This is a gorgeous release, and another favourite of mine from the first quarter of 2020. I really can not fault this release or its beauty.

Be sure to listen to Orion Blue here on Spotify.

Konya Atashi ga Naitemo by Ueno Yuuka

Release Date: March 18th, 2020
Editions: 2 (Limited Edition / Regular Edition)

Though an accomplished singer already, Ueno Yuuka opens 2020 with a new mini-album that shows off a new airiness and maturity to her vocals whilst still perfectly capturing the charm of her voice that initially drew people in. With 7 new tracks to enjoy - all a little different from the other, and all equally charming - this new release from Ueno is an absolute delight that should be enjoyed by many.

I am inexplicably overwhelmed by the beauty of this mini-album, and though it is no secret that I am a fan of Ueno's works, Konya Atashi ga Naitemo feels different. It's a refreshing release from one of my favourite soloists, and I am honestly enjoying this matured version of the singer. This mini-album is worth every second of my time, and yours (but only if you like pop-ballads and slow songs).

You can listen to Konya Atashi ga Naitemo here on Spotify.


Seishun no Hana / Start Line by Kobushi Factory

Release Date: March 4th, 2020
Editions: 4 (Regular A / Regular B / Limited A / Limited B)

Upbeat, nostalgic and simply emotional, Kobushi Factory's 8th single is a wonderful display of the groups roots as both a fun and serious group, as well as a great showcase of their vocals and harmonising techniques that they have been honing since their debut. Seishun no Hana / Start Line is a great release, one that is regrettably the last for the group.

Seishun no Hana / Start Line are both emotional tracks in their own way, and ultimately encapsulates the serious side that the group came to be known for, as well bright, energetic style that many fell in love with in the early days of their career. This was a perfect send-off for the group, but felt far too soon, far too fast.

You can listen to Seishun no Hana and Start Line on YouTube.

3月9日 by MACO

Release Date: March 6th, 2020
Versions: Digital download

A pop-ballad perfect for the Spring and graduation season, MACO's cover of  3月9日 comes in two versions on this release: the normal cover version, as well as a piano version. Though similar in style, the piano version of this track certainly creates a more grounded, realistic experience thanks to the echoes of the keys.

This is a pretty release, one that really shows off the beauty that is MACO's clear voice, but it certainly isn't my favourite. It is still a great release of course, one that I have listened to a number of times thanks to how beautifully MACO sings. Still, it isn't the best cover version of this song that has come out this year - that goes to Uru - but it certainly isn't the worst.

You can listen to 3月9日 here on Spotify.

Hana Hikaru by Ohara Sakurako

Release Date: March 9th, 2020
Versions: Digital download

Following from her upbeat album release back in February, Ohara Sakurako delivers a ballad suitable for the spring and graduation period. Written by her sister and composed by a university friend, Hana Hikaru feels a little more unique against Sakurako's other ballads thanks to the use of a flute throughout the instrumental, as well as the personal touch to the songs lyrics.

Hana Hikaru was made to be an upbeat and uplifting pop-ballad, one that creates a feeling of new beginnings within the spring, as well as hope for the future of recent graduates. It's beautiful, and it is certainly something everyone should experience at least once this spring.

You can listen to Hana Hikaru here on Spotify.

PEACE!!! by Haruna Luna

Release Date: March 18th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Limited Edition / Anime Edition / Regular Edition)

A cute pop track, Haruna Luna's PEACE!!! is an energetic display that is extremely fitting for the AniSong singer, and will be a perfect addition to your playlist if you want to throw away those spring-time blues.

This is a colourful release, one that I admittedly was not keen on at first. The more I listened to it though, the more it started to grow on me as a song, and now I can't stop thinking about it. PEACE!!! is a fun track, one that will get stuck in your head and have you singing along to it in no time. Definitely give this release a chance.

You can listen to PEACE!!! here on Spotify.

Jumpin! Nappu! JAPAN! / Omatsuri Sawagi by BANZAI JAPAN

Release Date: March 24th, 2020
Editions: 5 (Type A / Type B / Type C / Type D / Type E)

The second major release from BANZAI JAPAN, Jumpin! Nappu! JAPAN / Omatsuri Sawagi is an erratic, entertaining release that plays on the vocal talents and personalities of the members, as well as continuing to hone in on that traditional and modern aspect with the instrumentals. Ultimately, these factors create a fun, catchy trio of songs that feel both unique and respectful of Japan's culture.

I feel like we should never expect anything less from BANZAI JAPAN. This is a great single release, and though I do believe it isn't their best, it is still a strong release that showcases the groups vocal talent, as well as their desire to bring traditional and present day themes into their releases. It's worth a full listen, and will hopefully raise your spirits a little thanks to its bubbly sound.

You can listen to Jumpin! Nappu! JAPAN! / Omatsuri Sawagi here on Spotify.

Haru wa Yuku / marie by Aimer

Release Date: March 25th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Limited Edition / Limited Anime Edition / Regular Edition)

With powerful, earthy vocals and four beautiful tracks to accompany her voice, Aimer once again charms her listeners in her latest double A-side. Magical in sound, this release feels like a theatrical score thanks to its use of string instruments and ethereal vocals.

Haru wa Yuku / marie is a beautiful journey of sound, one that explores Aimer's gorgeous tone and power. With four different tracks to explore, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this mesmerising release that sees Aimer toe the lines of delicacy and power.

You can find Haru wa Yuku / marie here on Spotify.

With that, I have finally tackled my favourites of the first quarter of 2020. The music has been pretty great so far, and I am happy to have already found a few favourites that are currently staples in my playlist. I actually have found very few releases that I dislike, and it makes me incredibly happy to know that 2020 has started off super strong in music, despite the current issues of the world.

Anyways, I hope that this list will prove useful to you all, and I earnestly hope that you have found something new to listen to, or perhaps you have found a new interest in a group or singer that you have neglected since who-knows-when. Whatever it is, I do hope that this list is useful in some way, and that my favourites of the 1st Quarter of 2020 will become some of your favourites, too.

Finally, this is for those who care, and for the curious few who are wondering what releases I don't care about from the first quarter of 2020:

1. My Princess II by Houkago Princess (January 29th, 2020)
2. Shitsuren, Arigatou by AKB48 (March 18th, 2020)

They disappointed me, but I'm not sad about it, mostly because there were a lot of other great releases that helped me to forget these existed. So, yeah. Not too bad for the first quarter of the year in music, me thinks.

Until the next one folks, thanks for reading. Please take care, stay safe, take care of your mental and physical well-bein, and please continue to enjoy your favourite things.



  1. Dystopia : The Tree of Life is definitely one of Dreamcatcher's best releases, and personally their strongest release!

    Also Chiima, since you liked Ziyoou-vachi's Introduction, have you tried to listen to their new track BL? I think it's another great track~ Maybe not as hauntingly beautiful like Dreamcatcher, but it's an eerie and dark hook for the soul (at least in my opinion) .+:。(ノ・ω・)ノ゙

    1. I do think it's one of their strongest, definitely. It's extremely varied and just different. It's like an evolution of theirs.

      And actually, yes, I have listened to it. Funny thing: I'm listening to it right now, just as I saw this comment and whilst answering XD I find this coincidence funny ahaha. It's not as a strong as their album was, but it's still REALLY good. I just love Avu-chan's voice! Definitely a killer track list from them this year :>

    2. Only reason it wasn't included in this list is because I wasn't really listening to it. When I first heard BL, I wasn't as keen on it as others. Now I'm re-evaluating my tastes XD Oh well, it is what it is~