Sunday, 11 October 2020

Music Digest: 3rd Quarter

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The Autumn and Winter months are on their way and the end of the year is nearing, which means that it is time for the third installment of my Music Digest, otherwise known as the 3rd Quarter. Sure, the sounds of summer may be a faint memory to some, but it's time to reminisce on all that music brought us in the months of July, August and September.

Once again, this quarter of the music digest aims to act as a reflection on the music that I enjoyed these past few months, as well as to introduce everyone to a new singer or group, or maybe give you a reason to catch up on a past Idol you had since abandoned? Whatever it is, I hope that this list ignites your music-loving flame and gives you something different to listen to.

With that said, all indiviual releases listed here are subject to a change in opinion come the end of the year. What I feel now may not be how I feel come December, so whilst I may love it now, I may think differently come my End of Year list. This digest is simply to look back on the music I have enjoyed in the past few months, and to reflect on how it made me feel and why I took to it.

I look forward to bringing you into my world of music once again, and look forward to sharing some new finds with you all. As always, I hope that this quarter's list introduces you to something a little different, or reintroduces you to a lost love within the vast world of Japanese music. Once again, Spotify links are provided at the end of my spiels, and I hope that you all enjoy the music I share with you today.

It's time to invest yourself in music and fill your ears with happiness, and hopefully we can find something to enjoy together. Are you ready to engulf yourself in the warmth of summer's sound before the cold of the Autumn sets in? If yes, then press play and hum a little tune with me~

July

Albums

Tragicomedy by SHE'S

Release Date: July 1st, 2020
Editions: 3 (Regular Edition / Limited Edition / Limited DVD Edition)

In their 4th studio album, SHE'S create a beautiful experience in the form of Tragicomedy. Filled with variety and brimming with quality, this is a memorable album that is not only entertaining, but emotive and offers something different to suit a variety of tastes. If you want to cheer up with a song, reflect on something or maybe even listen to a more sombre song, this album probably has something to fit your needs in that moment.

Tragicomedy is absolutely beautiful, and something I did not expect when I played it for the first time. I was surprised by its charm and quality, and realised quickly that this is the kind of album I never want to pause, and there are no songs I want to skip. It is just too beautiful and an absolute blessing. Tragicomedy, despite its name, is neither tragic nor comedic, and has allowed me to experience something so breathtaking, as well as fun. This truly is an album that you need to experience at least once, because the songs are wonderful. So, yes; please enjoy Tragicomedy to your hearts content!

You can listen to Tragicomedy on Spotify.

Singles

Hanarete itemo by AKB48

Release Date: July 1st, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

With the recent pandemic and the restrictions it has set, the Japanese music industry has seen a small rise in songs that focus on the topics of staying at home, keeping your distance and being there even when you are apart. Of course, it makes sense that AKB48 would create a charity song in the form of the beautiful Hanarete itemo, a tune that features both current and graduated members of the group. With a sweet and sentimental melody, this song reaches out to those in need of some comfort and hope, and reminds us that even when things become difficult there is still someone there for us.

I enjoy Hanarete itemo, though I would not consider it my favourite of the recent pandemic songs that have surfaced. It is a beautiful piece of course, and it makes me smile whenever I hear it. I love how nostalgic and warm it feels, and it is certainly one of the most moving tracks I have heard from AKB48 in a while. Of course, it may not entertain listeners who are not fans of ballads, but I do think that it's worth the listen for those who are interested in another song inspired by the pandemic.

You can listen to Hanarete itemo on Spotify.


So many stars by E-girls
Release Date: July 5th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

A frequent favourite of mine, So many stars is a gorgeous mid-tempo ballad that fills your heart with an overwhelming amount of gratitude and sadness thanks to the meaningful sound and the feelings that have been poured into the vocals. Due to the nature of the song, it seems like a perfect send-off release for E-girls, who will disband at the end of the year.

This song has been the most present for me when it comes to any one of these releases on this list. I continued to think about it even when I was not listening to it, and during some of the drearier days, I would think about the beauty of So many stars. It's the sort of song that I would turn to regardless of my emotional state, and because of that I consider it incredibly strong. I absolutely adore So many stars, and I am so happy that E-girls could produce something with so much meaning and heart. This truly was a song that shined when it seemed like my world was at its darkest.

You can listen to So many stars on Spotify.

Negai boshi by ayaka & Miura Daichi

Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

With the desire to write a song that focused on what could be done now through music, ayaka began to work on Negai boshi whilst adhering to the COVID-19 stay at home order that happened earlier this year. With the help of Daichi Miura, Negai boshi becomes a song that will connect the listeners despite the distance they have been keeping from one another.

There is a lot to enjoy about this song for me. Firstly, it is a heartfelt ballad filled with hope and meaning, and the second is that it is very symbolic. By making use of the title, you can really feel the connection that ayaka and Daichi want to create with this song. Despite the fact that we are so far apart due to the pandemic, we are still connected and watched over by the starry night sky. Because of that, it becomes a meaningful track that is beautiful, and it brings us a little more hope despite the current world issues.

You can listen to Negai boshi on YouTube.

CAMEO by =LOVE

Release Date: July 8th, 2020
Editions: 4 (Type A / Type B / Type C / Type D)

With four new songs to enjoy, CAMEO is a varied release that features both the cool and cute side to this incredible group,. With a strong opening track and four memorable accompanying tracks, CAMEO is yet another strong and entertaining release from =LOVE, who continue to showcase their strength in performing a variety of songs and styles.

With that said, the title track is actually not to my tastes, but it's the accompanying b-sides that truly make this single a wonderful experience for me. Kimi to Watashi no Uta is actually my favourite song, but I enjoy the other b-sides just as much, and find them to be charming and memorable in their own ways. Still, CAMEO has its own charm, and whilst I enjoy its catchy moments, I don't think the song is that likable or even memorable, at least when compared to the beauty of the three accompanying tracks. Oh, well. We can't like them all, can we?

This is a fun release overall of course, but the b-sides are certainly my favourite here. I just love them all, and think that they are so well done and truly fit the style of =LOVE best!

You can listen to CAMEO on Spotify.

Sunflower by I Don't Like Mondays.

Release Date: July 21st, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

With a smooth, upbeat sound, Sunflower feels like the perfect song to listen to during a drive on a warm summers day. With its laidback sound and warm feel, Sunflower is the perfect song to tune into on a lazy summers day, and is an easy, fun listen for anyone who wants to give the song a try.

I honestly love listening to Sunflower, because it reminds me of summer days during my childhood, walks on the beach and looking up at a bright blue sky during a trip with my family. Though the song itself doesn't sound nostalgic, it makes me remember the warmth and joy of a summer holiday, and makes me think of simpler times without restrictions. It's a little like an escape song, because it allows me to fall into a different time, and experience a world that is different to the one we currently live in. Sunflower is a beautiful song to listen to, and thanks to how it makes me feel, I consider it a pretty powerful track.

You can listen to Sunflower on Spotify.

Route 246 by Nogizaka46

Release Date: July 24th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

Though this song feels more suited to the recently rebranded Keyakizaka46, Route 246 is a welcome addition to Nogizaka46's discography. With airy and elegant vocals that suit the simple but effective instrumental, Route 246 is a song that will easily get stuck in your head thanks to its catchy sound and memorable chorus. Because of its familiarity to previous Keyakizaka46 songs, it feels a little uniform and makes me think of a march, but that only adds to the songs charm.

Even when I didn't listen to Route 246, I did find myself thinking about the song every now and again, hence why I consider it a memorable tune. It is quick to stick in your mind, and though it is not the groups most original piece, it's still a strong and present sound that commands your attention. I really enjoy it, and I think it shows off the strength of Nogizaka46 well.

You can listen to Route 246 on Spotify.

Smoke by Akira Yuki

Release Date: July 29th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

Released as a digital single to promote the August release for the EP of the same name, Smoke is a gorgeous symphony of beautiful vocals and a simple yet pretty instrumental. With its quiet yet powerful sound, Smoke is a force to be reckoned with thanks to its charming quality, and will hopefully pull you into its intriguing world after the first listen.

This is a more recent find, however I enjoy it a great deal. Akira Yuki's voice is incredible here, and Smoke is simply beautiful as a song. I actually hoped that the rest of the mini-album would be as interesting as this song, however it is simply not to my taste. Still, I'm glad that I could fall into this song the way I did. It soothes me, and it makes me feel at peace whenever I listen to. Smoke is nice to listen to, and I simply enjoy how it puts me at ease.

You can listen to Smoke on Spotify.

August

Albums

First Paradigm Shift by MeniPara

Release Date: August 1st, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

Made up of six original songs that the group has been performing since they debuted in September of 2019, MeniPara finally released their first EP to digital platforms a month before their first anniversary. With a variety of styles and lyrics penned by the members or other established lyricists, First Paradigm Shift is a delightful introduction to the group thanks to its variety of song styles, as well as the bright, energetic vocals of the members.

I have eagerly awaited MeniPara's first official song release, and I am delighted that First Paradigm Shift is filled with the personality of the members, and the joy of an idol. It is such a fun release from beginning to end, and truly shows off the variety that this group wants us to have as listeners. Whether it is an orthodox idol song, something that feels like an adventure or a cute, silly bop that we will hum along, it's here. It's such a cheerful release, and I am so thankful that First Paradigm Shift is as great as I hoped it would be. I adore it, and I keep returning to it, as you would expect. Please give it a listen, and I sincerely hope that you enjoy it just as much as I do!

You can listen to First Paradigm Shift on Spotify.

HRGN by Hiragana Kamiyado

Release Date: August 12th, 2020
Versions: Physical / Digital Release

After releasing almost all of the songs digitally months prior, HRGN was finally released in its full glory. Containing a mixture of original and cover songs, Hiragana Kamiyado's first full release is a colourful affair that will please both Idol and Anime fans, and hopefully intrigue new listeners into following the group on their journey.

In the last Quarterly Digest, a few of Hiragana Kamiyado's digital releases popped up on the list, so it makes sense that I will praise the full release of their album here. It is such a fun and delightful release to sit through, and whilst there is one song I am not as keen on, I think that it is an impressive debut album for the group. I love the use of both cover and original songs, because it shows where they started and what they achieved along the way. It's simply wonderful, it makes me happy, and I love reliving every moment of this album. I am so happy to have found Hiragana Kamiyado and their cute, energetic music.

You can listen to HRGN on Spotify.

Singles

Ashiato by LITTLE GLEE MONSTER

Release Date: August 5th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

Released a month prior to the official EP, Ashiato was composed for the group by junior high school students during the 2020 NHK National School Music Contest, whilst the lyrics were written by LGM members. With its soulful sound, Ashiato's instrumental is perfectly paired with the crisp, harmonious vocals of LITTLE GLEE MONSTER, who do a splendid job in reflecting the emotion that this song needs from its performers.

I have recently come to enjoy the work of LITTLE GLEE MONSTER, so falling in love with the beauty of Ashiato should come as no surprise. It's such a pure and sentimental release, one that fills my heart with a mixture of joy and melancholy. It's simply beautiful, and the vocals of LITTLE GLEE MONSTER are once again phenomenal. This group is so talented, and I just love the work that they have been producing recently. I'm glad that Ashiato was released ahead of schedule, because this track is pure bliss and I want to relive it over and over again.

You can listen to Ashiato on Spotify.

Trust in... by UNDERBEASTY

Release Date: August 5th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

A recent addition to this list, Trust in... is the u-tempo digital release from UNDERBEASTY, a visual-kei rock idol group who also moonlight as a more regal, orthodox counterpart on the side. With a heavy pop-rock sound that veers towards a more romantic vibe at times, Trust in... is a fun release that will intrigue both alternative and orthodox idol fans thanks to its blend of heavy and light instruments.

I don't really listen to UNDERBEASTY, however I cam across this song and was intrigued by it. Sure, it's nothing new in terms of alternative idol music, but it's certainly been a refreshing break from my pop ballads and adorable idol songs that have consumed my time recently. Trust in... is also beautiful, in a way. I just love the vocals here and certain parts of the instrumental, so I'm glad that I found it when I did. It's such a fun listen, and certainly worth giving a try if you are as new to UNDERBEASTY as I am.

You can listen to Trust in... on Spotify.

Natsuiro finale by Nanahira

Release Date: August 10th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

A sparkling summer release, Natsuiro finale is the adorable digital release from Utaite, Nanahira. With a fun instrumental and sugar-sweet vocals, this song is sure to make your day a little bit brighter thanks to how cute and bright it is. It may be a little too sweet for some listeners though, but for the ones who enjoy something a little bit simpler, this is a nice song to tune into on a bright summers day.

Okay, so I have not been playing this song on a loop like others, but it is one I keep returning to out of curiosity, and one that I enjoy a great deal when I do listen to it. It's so cute! It's also a fairly light, sparkling tune that feels nice to listen to against the ballads or heavier tracks I enjoy sometimes. It's certainly not the most original song on here, but for some reason I am drawn to Natsuiro finale. Maybe it's the vocals, or perhaps the instrumental and how it reminds me of cute anime ending themes; whatever it is, I am drawn to this song and enjoy listening to it whenever I happen to put it on. You can't go wrong with a simple pleasure track, huh?

You can listen to Natsuiro finale on Spotify.

Sunday! Sunshine! by Wasuta

Release Date: August 12th, 2020
Versions: 3 (CD / CD+Blu-Ray / CD+Blue-Ray2)

In their refreshing new release, Wa-suta take on the summer heat in Sunday! Sunshine!, an energetic and bright release that truly showcases the vibrant personalities of the members in both the sound of the song and their vocals. With a slight jazz appeal, the leading track takes a new turn in regards to the groups usual sound, whilst the coupling tracks showcase a cuter flare, as well as a ballad style that introduces a more mature sound to the group. With three different songs, this is a varied release that brings out the groups strength and showcases their vocal ability with a variety of styles.

The first time I heard this single in full, I couldn't help but think that it sounded extremely refreshing, and that each song was great in its own way. It honestly surprised me, because whilst I do enjoy listening to Wasuta, I have never been this impressed by their music. Yeah, these songs may not be the most unique from the group - with the exception of the title track, that is - but for some reason, I enjoy this release and the difference each song provides in terms of atmosphere and style.

It's an intriguing release, if anything, and worth a listen. I like all three songs for different reasons, so please check it out and see if any one of them impresses you, too.

You can listen to Sunday! Sunshine! on Spotify.

Dare ga Sono Kane wo Narasu no ka? by Keyakizaka46

Release Date: August 21st, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

In their last digital release before rebranding their name and image, Keyakizaka46 gave us Dare ga Sono Kane wo Narasu no ka?, a powerful and emotional track that ends the groups journey as they currently stand. With loud vocals and an even louder instrumental that falls deadly silent at times, this is the perfect end to a journey that started 4 years ago.

This list would feel incomplete without the inclusion of Keyakizaka46's final single, and whilst a digital release feels a little empty for the groups last single, the song alone is powerful enough that it fills the coupling tracks would have left. It really is a resonating track, one that makes me look back on the incredible journey this group had, as well as the hardships they faced and more. It makes me cry, but it makes me feel thankful that I could be a fan for even a year or two, and it also makes me sad to see them end in this way. Dare ga Sono Kane wo Narasu no ka? makes me feel a lot of things, so to me that means it is an incredible song thanks to how it moves me. I love it, and whilst I wish that Keyakizaka46 could go on without being in Techi's shadow, and I am glad to hear such a wonderful track as this for the last single release. Dare ga Sono Kane wo Narasu no ka? is really amazing, and whilst I am saddened by the loss of such a wonderful group, I look forward to their rebirth.

You can listen to Dare ga Sono Kane wo Narasu no ka? on Spotify.

September

Albums

GARDEN by Hayami Saori

Release Date: September 2nd, 2020
Editions: 2 (Regular Edition / Limited CD + Blu-Ray)

Featuring six new tracks - four of which are composed by Hayami Saori herself - GARDEN is a charming release that is fitting of its namesake thanks to its vibrant and refreshing sound, as well as the feeling of calm it brings to its listeners, much like a garden on a sunny day. For fans of the seiyuu this may be another release to enjoy, but for new listeners like myself, it is a pleasant introduction that may surprise you upon first listen.

I find this entire release extremely likeable, and whilst I did not think too highly of it at first, I have come to really enjoy all that GARDEN has to offer. It is a mesmerising mini-album, one that has taken me by surprise thanks to how enjoyable it is. I think what surprises me most about this though, is the fact that it is a seiyuu's release, but it sounds like an artists release more than anything. GARDEN is mature and bright, and reflects Hayami's vocal quality perfectly, but not once does it step into that stereotypical 'seiyuu Anisong singer' style of music. Overall I am impressed, and I look forward to listening to this over and over again, and falling even deeper in love with Hayami's voice.

You can listen to GARDEN on Spotify.

L& by King&Prince

Release Date: September 2nd, 2020
Editions: 3 (Regular Edition / Type A / Type B)

In this cute and romantic release that is sure to make your heart flutter, King & Prince deliver L&, their second full-length album with a regal feeling. Though it may be a stereotypical Johhny's & Associates affair in terms of music style, this is a fun release that will make you smile as it takes you on a sparkling adventure, and will most likely have you singing along with the boys whilst you listen.

As I said above, this is a cute album. The amount of songs on here that makes me smile is pretty vast, and whilst most of the songs are definitely generic when it comes to that typical JE sound, I really can't fault it. It's just so damn adorable, I enjoy tapping my foot to the beat, and I just think it is so wholesome and fun as a release. King & Prince really brought their energy and happiness in L&, and I simply enjoy it for that alone! It's a feel-good album, one that makes your heart warm and your smile grow! You can't go wrong with that now, can you?

Singles

Kokuhaku Bungee Jump by halca

Release Date: September 2nd, 2020
Editions: 3 (Regular Edition / Limited Edition / Anime Edition)

In a cute new release, halca introduces Kokuhaku Bungee Jump, which features the title track as the ending theme for the anime series, Rent-A-Girlfriend. With her husky yet cute vocals, halca once again produces an entertaining and varied single release for her fans in this adorable and memorable release that.

Though it isn't as strong as her previous release, I have really come to enjoy Kokuhaku Bungee Jump. Granted, I thought it was a fairly boring song at first, but as time moved forward, I found myself listening to this song more and more. It's upbeat, fun, and it seems like halca is having a blast singing this! I also really like the chorus and instrumental in this, as well as the personality thrown into it thanks to halca herself. In short, Kokuhaku Bungee Jump grew on me, and the accompanying b-sides are undeniably great in their own way and only add to the charm and energy of this release. As expected of the wonderful halca!

You can listen to Kokuhaku Bungee Jump on Spotify.

Omoidaseru Koi wo Shiyou by STU48

Release Date: September 2nd, 2020
Editions: 5 (Regular Type A / Regular Type B / Limited Type A / Limited Type B / Theatre Edition)

With its light, refreshing sound, STU48's Omoidaseru Koi wo Shiyou is a pleasant addition to this list, though lacks the usual bulk of coupling songs that typical 48 releases include. Included are two variants of the leading track - an STU version and a Kenkyuusei 2nd Gen. version - as well as two other coupling tracks that create a fun, breezy end of summer feel to the single. It's a complimentary single, and perfectly showcases this groups gentle image in its sound.

After witnessing the music video, I came to enjoy Omoidaseru Koi wo Shiyou, however I find the entire single to be a pleasant affair that will certainly tickle the fancy of fans and casual listeners. Whilst this release does have that familiar 48 sound that feels a little generic, there is a more refined quality to this release, I think. It's just so appealing and warm, and I can't help but enjoy how pretty it sounds as a whole. I really like this release, and though it isn't the strongest on this list, I do keep coming back to it every now and again because it's so damn pretty.

That said, I do wish we had a few more b-sides, though I appreciate two variants of the leading track (even if they sound almost the exact same vocally).

Rainbow by Anly

Release Date: September 9th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

Rainbow is not my usual fare in music, but I have been attracted to this song a fair bit during the month of September. It's such a refreshing, bright tone against the rest of the songs I have been listening to, and is a great introduction to Anly. With her wonderful voice and this upbeat instrumental that reminds me of county fairs and campfire music, this is a great song to tune into if you want something a little different.

Another song that surprised me, I really enjoy the country feel that Rainbow embodies. By making use of what I assume is a banjo, as well as clapping and a proud, energetic voice, Anly has introduced me to a fun song that I could see many people singing along to when they join together. It's a warm song, one that reminds me that despite the difficult times we face right now, one day we can come together again and appreciate music in our own ways via attending live shows, etc. I really enjoy Rainbow, and I am so glad it could introduce me to the wonderful sound of Anly. I hope that this won't be the last time I listen to her music, either.

You can listen to Rainbow on Spotify.

SPARK-AGAIN by Aimer

Release Date: September 9th, 2020
Versions: 3 (Regular Edition / Limited Edition / Anime Edition)

Once again dominating the scene with her mesmerising vocals and beautiful instrumentals, Aimer brings us SPARK-AGAIN, an atmospheric and pretty EP that engulfs you in its sound. Though some of the instrumentals may sound like Aimer's usual fanfare, SPARK-AGAIN is just as expressive as her past releases and will send a chill down your spine thanks to how beautiful each track sounds.

I enjoy most of Aimer's release, and whilst I do think that SPARK-AGAIN especially sounds like a generic Aimer song, I can't help but love its sound and energy. This whole release is inexplicably beautiful however, and once again Aimer showcases her talent and passion in each track, making it a worthwhile and entertaining release that amazes me with each listen. It's simply beautiful, with all four tracks offering something a little different from the last song played. As I said above, it's atmospheric and engulfs you, and with each new listen I can not help but appreciate Aimer's music even more and fall even further into the depths of her glorious sound.

You can listen to SPARK-AGAIN on Spotify.

Time Warp by Perfume

Release Date: September 16th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Regular Edition / Limited Edition / Perfect Limited Edition)

Catchy and energetic, Perfume's latest release, Time Warp, contains a duo of tracks to entertain you no matter what kind of day you are having. Whether you want something to dance along to, or perhaps a pick-me-up song to blow the gray clouds away, this release is certain to make you smile thanks to its bright sound and twinkling instrumentals that will catch your attention right away.

Time Warp is such a quirky release, which isn't saying much in regards to Perfume - they have a fair few quirky, fun songs under their belt already, but out of all the releases on here, I think that this is by far the most fun and intriguing. It's a blast to listen to, it's memorable and fun, and it just makes me want to dance and be silly. I don't think that I can get over just how entertaining Time Warp is as a whole, and I am happy that I gave it a chance because, damn, it's so good! I love this release and how it sounds, and can't wait to listen to it even more down the line. It'd be a waste to not listen to it, actually. So, yes: Listen to Time Warp, because it is glorious.

You can listen to Time Warp on Spotify. (Sadly, the coupling track Saisei is not available on free streaming platforms).

Natsukaze by MACO

Release Date: September 25th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

The Queen of romance songs and pop-ballads returns wit Natsukaze, a digital release that is sure to warm the cockles of your heart with its beautiful sound and gorgeous vocals in MACO's latest digital release. With a beautiful melody and warm sound that is fitting of a summer romance, let yourself be swept away by the blissful sound that is the gorgeous and endearing Natsukaze.

It comes as no surprise that MACO is on this list, because whilst I do not follow her as closely as I do other singers or idols, I continue to enjoy her work and the beauty of her vocals. Sure, this may not be her most original piece - in fact, you could probably mistake it for another work she has done in the past - but it's still a beautiful, heartfelt number that mesmerises me with each listen. I swear, her voice gets better with each new song, and Natsukaze further proves to me just how much of a talent MACO is. It's glorious, I love it, and I will listen to it a few more times before the year ends. It's just so freakin' gorgeous!

You can listen to Natsukaze on Spotify.

Kimi wo Toshite by Amamiya Sora

Release Date: September 27th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

Used as an insert-song for the anime, Rent-A-Girlfriend, Amamiya Sora's latest release is a cute and upbeat track that will make you smile with each listen. The chorus is especially catchy and has that slight anime feel to it, however the song as a whole has its own identity and feels like a wholesome, feel-good track that will pick you up on even the dreariest of days. Paired with Sora's sweet vocals, Kimi wo Toshite is a great song to get into if this is your first time listening to the AniSong singer.

A very, very recent addition to this list, Kimi wo Toshite was an immediate hit, though I honestly didn't consider it for this list initially. However, after listening to it on a loop multiple times and absolutely loving the heck out of this song over and over, it would be a bit of a crime to leave it out. Kimi wo Toshite is a great song, and whilst it may feel a little generic to some listeners, I continue to have a blast with it. It makes me happy, I sing along to it frequently, and I just love how it makes me feel. You can't beat a feel good song like this~

You can listen to Kimi wo Toshite on Spotify

Acacia by BUMP OF CHICKEN

Release Date: September 29th, 2020
Versions: Digital Release

In tribute to the legacy of the Pokémon franchise, Acacia is a vibrant and upbeat song that aims to entertain and cheer you on. With its energetic sound, the song feels like a perfect fit for one of worlds most recognised franchises, and that idea of it being a good fit is further reflected in the special music video that was made for the song. Paired with the bright imagery and fast pace of the Pokémon anime, Acacia becomes a song that will cheer you up, and also bring a sense of nostalgia and familiarity.

As someone who rarely listens to BUMP OF CHICKEN, Acacia came as a surprise to me. Of course I enjoy it, both for the positive and catchy sound, as well as the fact that it is a song used to pay homage to my beloved Pokémon. It's a wonderful track, and I am so glad that something this bright and fun was given to a franchise that means so much to me. It is wonderful, and I will gladly listen to it on a loop again and again. It's just so catchy and fun, just like Pokémon!

You can watch the Special Music Video for Acacia on YouTube.

#Yappa Motto by Ohara Sakurako

Release Date: September 30th, 2020
Editions: 3 (Regular / Limited Type A / Limited Type B)

To end an already strong month in music, Ohara Sakurako brings us #Yappa Motto, a beautiful trio of songs that will bring on the tears, many a smile and perhaps a few sing-alongs as well. Catchy, memorable and varied in sound, the latest release from the bubblegum pop fairy that is Ohara Sakurako will allow you to fall in love with her beautiful voice once again, and will hopefully remind you just how worthwhile her music is.

Despite only finding this recently, I absolutely adore #Yappa Motto and all that it contains. I have smiled whilst listening to it, cried and sang along with every ounce of my being. It's the type of single that I love no matter what, because all of the songs bring me some form of joy or make me feel a specific way. It's just so much fun and jam-packed with Sakurako's personality, and once again I fall in love with her voice and the music that she produces. She is such a gem, her music brings me so much happiness, and I absolutely adore everything about her. #Yappa Motto is incredible, and whilst I do think it veers into her usual style of music to a point where it may feel generic to others, I can't help but adore everything about this release. It makes me happy, and that's what matters, right?

Please give #Yappa Motto a listen, and please enjoy the beautiful and pure sound of Ohara Sakurako's gorgeous voice.

You can listen to #Yappa Motto on Spotify.



Once again this 3rd Quarter has proven that, despite the circumstances of the world and the restrictions we have been given, the music has once again been a fantastic source of happiness and escapism. We have been given some amazing releases, with some focusing on the distance and restrictions we are facing here and now, but no matter what, all of these releases have given us strength when we needed it most.

This is not all of the music I listened to from the past three months, either, but these are the releases that really stood out to me and gave me such joy during a time where I struggled the most. Hopefully you have found something to enjoy here too, but for me these are the songs that really made me smile and feel something, the songs that made my dark days a little brighter, or the songs that helped me through a time where I thought help was no longer available. No matter what they did for me, these songs provided a crutch for me and made things a little more bearable.

Before I end this list, I will mention one or two songs that missed this list, only because I didn't listen to them enough, or they just missed the mark somehow. So, honourable mentions are in order for:

1. Rose Quartz by CHICHIRO (July 8th, 2020)
2.  Kokoro Knock by YuNI (August 14th, 2020)
3. santa sangre by NECRONOMIDOL (September 13th, 2020)

With that, the Music Digests 3rd Quarter of 2020 comes to end. I hope that you share your favourite releases as well, and I look forward to hearing your opinions about the songs listed here. Of course, I hope that everyone continues to share their favourite music with the world because, as we know, sharing is caring and can help our favourite artists, groups and Idols become a little more known in this wonderful Japanese music fandom.

Until the next post, please take care, enjoy your music and Idols, stay safe and happy, and remember to be considerate of those around you whilst also maintaining your own wellbeing. Please continue to be happy and healthy, both mentally and physically, and thank you very much for being here.

Enjoy music and live life without regrets,
Chiima~

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