Saturday, 18 July 2020

Music Digest: 2nd Quarter 2020

And these are a few of my favourite songs (from the 2nd quarter of the year) ~


With the first half of 2020 complete, it is time to head into the second stage and take a look at the 2nd Quarter edit of my music digest for the year. With a lot of new music to throw myself into, the months of April, May and June have truly been kind when it comes to offering up amazing content, both in the form of digital and physical releases.

Much like the 1st Quarter, the choices made here will not completely reflect how I feel towards these songs come the end of the year. This is simply a list of the songs that I have enjoyed these past few months, but there is always the chance that some of these songs will be forgotten, whilst those that didn't even make the final cut may appear out of nowhere, because I simply enjoyed them later down the line. This is just how I work, but I do think that it is good to reflect on the music I have enjoyed up until now in a list such as this one.

Hopefully with this second quarter, I have introduced a hoard of new groups or singers that you can all enjoy alongside me. Similar to the last post, I have included Spotify links for most of the releases on here, if available at the time of editing. Ultimately I hope that you all enjoy the music that has been included in this list, and of course I pray that you find something new to love and invest your time in.

It's time to read on and sink yourselves into some new music. Maybe you will find something different to listen to, or perhaps a rekindled love of a group you left behind is in the stars? Whatever happens, my only wish is that you come out of this thoroughly entertained, and humming a little tune to yourself.

It's time to press play and throw ourselves into a world filled with music~

April

Albums

20204 by tiny little charm

Release Date: April 18th, 2020
Editions: 2 (Physical / Digital)

With their first album release since their start in late 2019, tiny little charm deliver an album that aims to create a variety of feelings perfect for the spring season. From romantic tracks to those that speak about the difficulties of spring, this is a charming little album that will keep you entertained throughout its eight-track duration.

This is a new addition to my ever-growing playlist, however I have taken to it very quickly upon discovering one of the groups songs, flora, which is also present on this track list. 20204 is extremely pleasing to the ears, and I can’t fault it in terms of its sound or its vocals.

You can listen to 20204 on Spotify.

Singles

Start Line by Kimura Yuka

Release Date: April 6th, 2020
Versions: Digital

Acting as my introduction to Kimura Yuka's music, Start Line is the bright and upbeat digital release that aims to put a skip in your step. With its hopeful and energetic sound, Start Line is the perfect Spring release for what has been a less than perfect start to the year.

Yet another great addition to my 2020 favourites, Start Line is one of those songs that I simply enjoy replaying. It's such a beautiful track, and I can't help but be taken by Kimura's flawless vocals. This is a great track, one that continues to sweep me away when I put it on, and I am beyond delighted that this is the song that introduced me to Kimura Yuka and her music. I love it, and I look forward to replaying it like crazy throughout the rest of this weird, misplaced year.

You can listen to Start Line on Spotify.

Aozora Moment by Gunjo no Sekai

Release Date: April 14th, 2020
Editions: 5 (Type A / Type B / Type C / Type D / Type E)

Despite being one of their weaker releases, Gunjou no Sekai's Aozora Moment is one of those songs that caught my attention, and has since captured me like a camera captures a picture perfect moment. With a cute and catchy track list, Aozora Moment as a whole is a great introduction to the group, and includes three great songs that will appeal to a variety of listeners.

Aozora Moment is already one of my favourite releases this year, and whilst I have certainly slowed down in my obsession with it, I still think back to the songs, and will hum or sing the lyrics to the title track specifically more often than not. I just really like this release, and despite not listening to it as much as I had been a couple of months prior, I continue to regard it highly. It's catchy, cute and - in my opinion - great. I simply adore Aozora Moment.

You can listen to Aozora Moment on Spotify.

Tsumetaku Shinaide yo by CHIHIRO

Release Date: April 15th, 2020
Versions: Digital

You can listen to Tsumetaku Shinaide yo on Spotify.

Otome no Route wa Hitotsu jyanai! by angela

Release Date: April 22nd, 2020
Editions: 2 (Limited Edition / Anime Edition)

With the title track acting as the opening theme for the first series of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, it comes as no surprise that Otome no Route wa Hitotsu jyanai! is a catchy affair that features upbeat pop mixed with some classical elements. Paired with some impressive vocals courtesy of lead singer, Atsuko, this release is a bundle of fun that is a must-hear for AniSong fans.

Thanks to being slightly obsessed with the anime that this title track is attached to, I will admit that I have a slight bias towards this release. It has been one of my most-played releases of the past 2nd quarter, and whilst the accompanying track has been heard a little less, I do enjoy it and consider it a wonderful addition to the single. I just like this release as a whole, and I doubt I will stop listening to it just because the 2nd quarter is of the year has wrapped up because, let's be real; it's too good to stop listening to!

You can listen to Otome no Route wa Hitotsu jyanai! on Spotify.

KIRIFUDA by PENGUIN RESEARCH

Release Date: April 22nd, 2020
Versions: Digital

Honestly speaking, I love this group name. It's the entire reason I decided to check out the song that is KIRIFUDA, and whilst I have not listened to this song as much as others, it has left an impression on me. With its catchy sound and brilliant vocals, I have enjoyed my time listening to this song, and look forward to going back to it every now and again.

This is a great song, and whilst it does have a lack of a defined pace - it's all over the place, actually - I do like how it doesn't have a dedicated sound style. It's a lot of fun to listen to, and I appreciate how energetic and cheery this song is as a whole. I like it a lot, and whilst it isn't my favourite of the songs I have listened to since 2020 began, it is one of those songs that has simply entertained and delighted me.

You can listen to KIRIFUDA on Spotify.

Start Line by cota

Release Date: April 24th, 2020
Versions: Digital

Another song that I repeatedly return to since discovering it, cota's Start Line is the exact opposite to Kimura Yuka's song of the same name. With its beautiful and soothing sound, cota's earthy vocal tone and a repetition of finger clicks, Start Line is a great song to relax to, and one of my undeniable favourites from the month of April.

This is such a calming song, and whilst it isn't the type of track I would usually seek out, I'm glad that I was able to find this gorgeous piece. I enjoy its simplicity, the slow but careful pacing of the song, and I love the overall effect it has on me. Start Line is a chilled out tune, and I love how easy it is to get into. Again, I am glad I discovered it, because cota's Start Line is a great change of pace for me when it comes to the my usual choice of songs that I listen to on a daily basis. It's great and definitely worth a listen.

You can listen to Start Line on Spotify.

Kono Te Wa by Misawa Sachika

Release Date: April 29th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Regular Edition / Limited Type A / Limited Type B)

Kono Te Wa is a pleasant surprise to my favourites from the 2nd Quarter of 2020. With two songs to listen to from this release, Misawa Sachika's Kono Te Wa will either soothe and surprise you with its title track, or simply entertain thanks to its poppy, upbeat B-side.

This release is simply enjoyable, with both songs providing a rich and pleasant experience for me as a listener. The instrumentals are catchy and memorable, Misawa Sachika's voice is absolutely gorgeous, and I simply enjoy listening to these tracks both individually, and as a pair. It's such a fun release, and whilst one song is certainly a little more dominant than the other - Kono Te Wa over Atoippo - I can not fault either track. It's a wonderful release, and one I look forward to experiencing again and again.

You can listen to Kono Te Wa on Spotify.

May

Albums

So Sweet Dolce by Suwa Nanaka

Release Date: May 13th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Regular Edition / Limited Edition Type A / Limited Edition Type B)

Cute, upbeat and sugary sweet, So Sweet Dolce is voice actress Suwa Nanaka's debut album, and the perfect release to compliment her adorable vocals. With 10 songs to sink your teeth into (but don't get a toothache!), So Sweet Dolce is the perfect listen for fans of the voice actress, or for those who simply like something a little more adorable when it comes to their music.

So Sweet Dolce is simply up my ally. It's adorable, energetic and fun, and whilst it can steer towards the more generic side of J-pop, it is still a lot of fun, and an incredibly catchy release. Granted, Nanaka's voice will not be to everyone's tastes - it's a generic, forced type of cute that is typically seen in Anime voice actresses - but for those who don't mind the vocal aspect of a song, this album will provide some entertainment and happiness. Thankfully I really like this release, though I was apprehensive at first... now, I'm kind of hooked! And why not? It's so enjoyable, and really freakin' cute!

You can listen to So Sweet Dolce on Spotify.

Yu-on Club ~2nd Grade~ by ayaka

Release Date: May 13th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Regular Edition / Limited Edition / Fanclub Edition)

Yu-on Club ~2nd Grade~ is the second cover-album by ayaka, and includes 10 songs on the regular edition of the release, with an additional 4 included in the Fanclub edition. With a mixture of pop and ballad releases, ayaka is able to provide a mellow and pleasant experience for her fans, and those who choose to give this release a chance.

I had no idea who ayaka was prior to this, and whilst I may not reach for her songs like I do other groups or singers, I was honestly taken aback by how beautiful this release is. Of course, I had no idea it was filled with cover songs until I started to properly look up the dates for this release and any additional info necessary, simply because I don't listen to the artists she has covered. With that said, I have found some beautiful songs in this album that have been re-arranged accordingly to fit ayaka's earthy vocal style. But honestly, who isn't surprised that I like this? It contains ballads, and we all know that I am a giant sucker for most ballad-type songs.

Singles

Zenbu Anata no Sei Nan da by I Don't Like Mondays.

Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Versions: Digital

Much like a variety of songs on this list, this one came as a surprise when I listened to and liked it. I mean, what is there to not like about this song? It's absolutely gorgeous, and I can't get enough of how catchy and memorable it is.

Zenbu Anata no Sei Nan da sadly only offers one song, but damn it is impressive. This song is such a smooth and beautiful experience, with some amazing vocals courtesy of vocalist, Yu, and I just can't help but love this song. It's wonderful, and incredibly different to the usual types of songs I enjoy. So, yeah... check it out, and see for yourself if you enjoy it. I Don't Like Mondays. might just surprise you.

You can listen to Zenbu Anata no Sei Nan da on Spotify.

SUPER HERO by HIRAGANA KAMIYADO

Release Date: May 22nd, 2020
Versions: Digital

In preparation for their debut album, HIRAGANA KAMIYADO have been giving fans a steady stream of songs that will feature on the up-coming release, which will drop in August. One such song is SUPER HERO, an upbeat and energetic track that shows a lot of promise for this group, who have been active for just over a year now.

By far one of my favourite songs by them, SUPER HERO is a positive track that gives me hope and makes me smile. I loved it from the first listen, and I continue to return to the song because of how catchy and cute it is. It's enjoyable, and whilst SUPER HERO was not my introduction to this group, it does make me want to stick around for more of what HIRAGANA KAMIYADO have to offer. I enjoy it a great deal, and I think it's a great addition to my ever-growing list of favourite tracks from 2020.

You can listen to SUPER HERO on Spotify.

Toki Toshite Violence by halca

Release Date: May 27th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Regular Edition / Limited Edition / Limited Anime Edition)

Fuelled by the cute and endearing vocals of anime songstress, Toki Toshite Violence as a single filled to the brim with energy and happiness. With three tracks to tune into, each song hits a little differently, but all have two common denominators: They are all catchy, and they are just as good as the previous tracks.

Okay, so this may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for fans of anime songs and upbeat tracks that will boost your energy, this is the perfect single to get stuck into. It's such a blast, and whenever I listen to any of the songs - alone or together - I can't help but enjoy myself as I fall into the world of halca. It's a great experience, and I just love this single even more with every listen! So, yeah... give it a try, and see if halca appeals to you as much as she appeals to me!

You can listen to Toki Toshite Violence on Spotify.

color by HIRAGANA KAMIYADO

Release Date: May 29th, 2020
Versions: Digital

With another release from HIRAGANA KAMIYADO to prep for their up-coming album, color offers a nice change of pace with a pleasant, almost relaxing sound that feels refreshing against the likes of SUPER HERO. It's sweet and refined, and whilst it is not in your face like other songs on this list, it is still a memorable and fun track to get stuck into.

When it came to keeping this song on the list, I had a little battle with myself in regards to whether I should keep it here, or scrap it. In all honesty, I love color, but my apprehension came from my inability to describe it in an effective, coherent way... so I was going to take it out because I couldn't write down why I liked it. Of course, I kept it in because I enjoy the song! It's so fresh and cute, and I keep coming back to it along with SUPER HERO. So, I'm glad I kept it in: it's a promising track, and whilst not the most vibrant or poppy, it definitely stands out and gives me a little bit of colour in my daily life.

You can listen to color on Spotify.

June

Albums

rainy by Kimura Yuka

Release Date: June 25th, 2020
Editions: 2 (Physical / Digital)

With six songs - the first being a prologue, of sorts - Kimura Yuka delivers a beautifully packaged mini-album in the form of rainy. With a variety of songs on offer, rainy is the perfect end of Spring release that treats its listeners to the beauty of Yuka's gorgeous voice and the lovely instrumentals that are perfectly paired with her.

I can not help but fall in love with the songs introduced in rainy. With each song just as wonderful as the next, this mini-album offers a diverse but complimentary range, all of which fit in with the atmosphere of the album. It's incredible just how the songs work together, ultimately creating a cohesive story between the songs and tying them all together with certain instruments or effects. It's a stunning release, one that I need to talk about in a little more depth. Please listen to this, and please immerse yourself in the world that Kimura Yuka has created for us all. She is just so damn good, and this mini-album is such a joy to sit through.

You can listen to rainy on Spotify.

Singles


TUPILAQ by NECRONOMIDOL

Release Date: June 2nd, 2020
Versions: Digital

After a turbulent start to the year, NECRONOMIDOL made sure to remind us that they are still here with TUPILAQ. Dark, enticing and a little bit sexy, NECRONOMIDOL's rebirth song delivers something a little different to the tracks we have heard before, and only enhances my interest in the group further.

This was the first song for the month of June that I heard, and whilst I do not think it's the best that June has to offer, it certainly stands out. With its use of darkwave, the beautiful vocal work and that heavy, heady sound, I just can't help but succumb to the darkness that is TUPILAQ. It's such a cool track, and I enjoy every moment of it. It really does feel like NECROMA's rebirth; it has elements of the NECROMA I fell in love with, but still sounds unique against the rest of their music, and I am here for it. Guys, check it out and make your verdict on whether or not this song is worth your time.

You can listen to TUPILAQ on Spotify.

Kokoro no chizu by HIRAGANA KAMIYADO

Release Date: June 5th, 2020
Versions: Digital

Another digital release from HIRAGANA KAMIYADO, this time in the form of a cover song originally performed by the idol group, BOYSTYLE. For fans of the long-running anime series, One Piece, you may recognise this as the series' fifth opening track, but for folk like me, it's just a catchy, entertaining track that draws you in, and interests you in the group further. This song is also a nice nod to the fact that, during their first year as a group, HIRAGANA KAMIYADO would sing covers of anime tracks due to not having any of their own original content.

I have probably heard Kokoro no chizu before, because the track itself is pretty recognisable, however up until now I didn't really know it. With that said, I really enjoy HIRAGANA KAMIYADO's rendition of the song, because whilst changes have been made, the group has stayed pretty faithful to the song itself. It's a nice update to the original, and it suits the group perfectly. I enjoy it a great deal, and have periodically returned to this song especially. It's just so damn catchy, and so much fun to listen to. Yet another great addition to the up-coming album, and a great track all around!

You can listen to Kokoro no chizu on Spotify.

rainy by Kimura Yuka

Release Date: June 6th, 2020
Versions: Digital

Yes, this I posted the full mini-album release on here. And yes, I am going to post the digital release of the song on here, too. Why? Because I have been joining the songs individually, and as a complete package, and because I need to gush about this singer and her amazing music.

One small part of a bigger release, rainy is the title track to the mini-album of the same name, and for good reason. A gentle and pretty piece, Kimura Yuka truly pulls you in with her sweet voice and the simple instrumental that reflects her vocals perfectly. With the addition of rain and water droplet sound effects, this is the perfect song to tune into on a relaxing rainy day.

I love rainy and its simple but beautiful sound. It feels like such a reflective, sentimental track, one that I would happily listen to when walking outside in the rain. It's just so pretty, and whilst I myself dislike rainy days with a passion, this type of track makes me think of how beautiful the rain is. It's a great song, fairly atmospheric, and Yuka's vocals - as well as her harmonising - are top notch. She is a fantastic singer, and I honestly look forward to all of her future releases. She is simply amazing, and knows how to bring you into her world through the use of her voice and instrumentals. Incredible.

You can listen to rainy on Spotify.

Kimi no Kage, Orange no Sora by angela

Release Date: June 14th, 2020
Versions: Digital

After finishing up the first season of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, a song that had been inserted into one of the more emotional episodes caught my attention. Gentle, filled with hope and perhaps a tiny bit romantic, Kimi no Kage, Orange no Sora stood out as the perfect accompaniment to the aforementioned single release, Otome no Route wa Hitotsu jyanai!, and would have made the perfect B-side track.

This is such a pretty tune, and whilst it may not suit everyone's tastes, it definitely hits the right spot for me. In the anime, it came up at the perfect time, and given the scene it was paired with, no wonder it hit me in the feels. By itself, I do think this song is great, but I admit that the power this song holds over me is all to do with the anime it's tied to. Still, I love Kimi no Kage, Orange no Sora, and I just wish it had been included as the b-side to the single angela released prior to this. With that said, I understand why they didn't: Why spoil the surprise of this songs existence before that specific episode aired?

In short: I like this song. Go figure!

GO!!! by HIRAGANA KAMIYADO

Release Date: June 12th, 2020
Versions: Digital

Upon first hearing this rendition of Flow's GO!!!, my brain went right into weeb-mode, and I was singing along to the song despite having forgotten it for about a decade or so. I also began to have some aggressive Naruto-related flashbacks, which eventually made sense when I looked up the song and - indeed - it was used as an opening for Naruto.

The weeb life never leaves, y'all.

Anyway, GO!!! is yet another cover that will be featured on HIRAGANA KAMIYADO's up-coming album, and whilst I don't think it's as energetic or powerful as the original, I do think it's a decent cover. Still, it's hard to make a great rock song completely idol, and HIRAGANA KAMIYADO managed to do just that and add their own cute twist to it. It's pretty damn enjoyable, and a nice nostalgia trip for me, so be sure to check it out if you were a Naruto fan once upon a time, too.

You can listen to GO!!! on Spotify.

Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye / Zesse Cleopatra by Houkago Princess

Release Date: June 17th, 2020 (Digital) / July 29th, 2020 (Physical)
Editions: 4 (Type A / Type B / Maika ver. / Tropical ver.)

With the Summer of 2020 round the corner, Houkago Princess saw fit to drop their up-coming double A-side release ahead of schedule. Available on digital platforms, Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye / Zesse Cleopatra is the groups 11th Princess themed single, and the second to focus on a Queen rooted in History. With the desert femme-fatale Cleopatra as their latest theme, Houkago Princess are ready to bring back the Summer heat with this upbeat and catchy release.

As expected, I love everything about this release. From the catchy, cool Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye to the cute and nostalgic Zesse Cleopatra, HouPri's latest release offers us the best of both worlds when it comes to their music. Yes, one song is going to understandably be a little more popular than the other, but I feel like both offer something for the fans. I enjoy both of these songs a great deal, and have listened to this single non-stop since its release. It's so catchy and fun, and one of the best releases this group has dished out in about two years. It's amazing, and I want everyone to listen to it and become fans of this fantastic group!

You can listen to Shakunetsu no Mystery Eye / Zesse Cleopatra on Spotify.



With the first half of 2020 finished, I am happy to say that - luckily - it has been filled with some fantastic releases. Though the year has kicked our butts in terms of cancelling almost everything, our favourite artists, Idols and bands have managed to pull through and deliver some amazing content. Yes, it's a lot of digital content, but it's content that has kept our spirits alive, nonetheless.

I have really enjoyed the music that 2020 has provided, and whilst this list is not big by any means - I cut a lot from it in my editing phase - this is still a lot of music for everyone to enjoy! That said, this is only a snippet of what I have been listening to for the past few months, but this is what I enjoyed the most, and would periodically return to without fail. Whether it's music that made me happy, tunes that lifted my spirits or the songs that kept me from going to a dark place, these are the tracks that made the past three months colourful with their instrumentals, and I couldn't be happier with my final list.

To end, I will now mention three of the songs that missed this list just by a smidge, but are still worth noting for no given reason:

1. Now And Forever by Merry Bad End (May 1st, 2020)
2. Happy Sweet Birthday! by Sasaki Ayaka (June 20th, 2020)
3. Make you happy by NiziU (June 30th, 2020)

And with that, my list comes to its end. What were your favourite releases from the 2nd quarter of 2020, and which song has been your most recent obsession? Please let me know, and share the music that helped you to escape the perils of the world.

Until the next post, thank you so much for reading and checking in with me. Please continue to take care of yourselves, stay safe, be considerate of those around you, stay happy and healthy (both mentally and physically), and continue to pursue all of the things that bring you joy.

Much love and happiness,
Chiima~

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