Sunday, 1 November 2020

Welcome to Cake Month: The Top 11 J-pop & Idol Songs Of All Time (According to Chiima)

*All songs listed are subject to my own personal taste and opinions. I do not and will not expect you to agree with my choices, nor do I perceive this list to be anything other than a creation made for my personal entertainment. Please do not take it seriously, and do not consider this to be a legitimately compiled list with the Top 10 songs of all time. This is simply what I like, and what I wanted to share with everyone. Thank you for your understanding.

And so begins the journey of celebrating Okay! Musume Time's 10th Cake Day with a few posts to celebrate...

It's 5:30am in the UK on June 16th, 2020, and I am high on Pepsi right now. Enjoy whatever stupid commentary ensues from Past Chiima.

Welcome to the beginning of my new Hell, or, as it will otherwise be known: Cake month. Yes, you read it right; Cake month, a month in which I dedicate myself to writing a bunch of posts as a way of celebrating this blogs 10th Anniversary. A month that will be filled with agony and turmoil, a lack of imagination, and much stress on my part in regards to thinking up what the fuck to post.

Now if I have planned it accordingly and thought ahead, I will have successfully created a months worth of posts for you to read. If I haven't done my job as a writer and thought this out in a half-arsed nature, then you will at least have a handful of articles at your disposal. And if I really do fail? Well, you'll have this post, and the actual Birthday post to look forward to. Honestly speaking though, I hope that Chiima from the distant past of June 2020 has sorted her shit out, and that she's actually finished writing everything before November actually hits.

November Chima here: I have not finished everything and November has started. Oops.

Well, whatever happens post-wise, I can assure you that I went mad during the lead up to this very month because - Jesus Christ - why have I put myself through this?

Love. That's why. The most basic-ass answer you can get because it's true. I love this blog and have a great amount of pride for it, and whilst I have certainly slacked off in the past, I want to celebrate Okay! Musume Time's 10th anniversary in style, because damn, how the fuck did I get this far?

November Chiima: I wonder how the hell you got this far, too. It's probably all those shit posts and ranking lists you did back in the day.

Right, I have written enough already, so let's cut to the chase: My aim is to create a bunch of posts for my blogs 10th Anniversary, and today we are kick-starting this Hellish month of the Cake with the style of post I do best: Stupidly Long Lists.

For this first list (there will be more, I assure you), I will take a look at my Top 11 J-Pop & Idol Songs of all time (at least for now). These are the songs that I will consistently return to, the ones that I remember well, those that feel nostalgic, and the tracks that have a lot of meaning to me as a listener. For one reason or another, these 11 songs are incredible important to me, and today I will share why with all of you.

Let the Cake month festivities begin.

(or #10.5)
Afterglow by Kurosaki Maon (19.08.2015)

Figuring out the #11 spot on this list should have been easy. Hell, it should have been the first song I finished up on this list, but because I am an indecisive fool who likes too many songs, I actually had more grief with which song to place here than the others. Honestly, this was a bitch to figure out, despite this being one of my initial choices for this list.

Also, this was originally at #10, however I bumped it to #11 after realising which song should be there over this one. It happens, and whilst I do love this song, the other song undoubtedly deserved to be at #10.

Anyway, I really like Afterglow, though it isn't a song I tune into as much as the others on this list. Thing is, it's the kind of song that comes to mind a lot, and one I think about pretty consistently. I just can't be bothered to look for it sometimes, and simply sing it to myself, or dance along to it in my head. It's one of very few songs on this list that I seldom return to, but I still consider it a favourite because I think of it a lot.

Back when I first heard Afterglow, I couldn't help but fall in love with it. For some reason, my first listen of Afterglow reminded me of my favourite song, despite neither of them sounding at all similar. Yet to me it sounded familiar and nostalgic, and I immediately became enamoured with this song. It really hooked me in a magical way, and I came to love the power and beauty of Kurosaki Maon's voice.

This is a strange one for the list, only because it is a track I seldom return to, but continue to think about a great deal. Regardless, I do think it has a place here. This song gave me plenty of happiness when I first heard it, and I just adore the magical quality it has. It's remembered for a reason, and I really do think that I should return to it more now, because it really is a great song.

Kimi to Mirai Tsukuritai! by Doll☆Elements

Though my love for Doll☆Elements would eventually filter off, I still look back and think of this song and how happy it made me. It was one of my favourite songs at one point in time, and even became my #1 song back in 2015. And now that I look back at some of my favourite songs of all time, I realise that no matter how much time has passed, and even after their disbandment, I still think of this song and the happiness it brought me.

I actually had a tough time figuring out whether or not this track should even be on the list, but after listening back to Kimi to Mirai Tsukuritai! I realised that, out of all the songs that I could choose from, this was one that had to be on the list. Regardless of whether it is at the bottom of the top or not, Kimi to Mirai Tsukuritai! is far too precious to me as a song, and to ignore its importance to me would be downright silly.

That, and my friend who mutually adores this song and group would kick me in the head for not including it, because we have discussed how great it is.

Back in 2015, Kimi to Mirai Tsukuritai! was a song that delivered happiness and positivity, and motivated me more than I could have hoped for. It was my Spring track, the song I listened to throughout the year, and my undeniable favourite. Now, it is a song that evokes tears and reminds me of a group that once was, and the love that I held for this song once upon a time.

Kimi to Mirai Tsukuritai! is important, and I do return to it, but I honestly don't listen to it enough.

Baka da ne by Houkago Princess (23.09.2014)

With Houkago Princess being one of my favourite groups, it makes sense that there has to be at least one song in their collection that has stuck with me since its release. For me that song is Baka da ne, and whilst there are plenty of songs I return to when it comes to HouPri, none of them bring me as much joy as Baka da ne does.

I don't know what it is, but Baka da ne simply uplifts and encourages me. It's so energetic and fun, and six years since its release it continues to entertain me as a listener. I just want to dance whenever I hear it, and the happiness I feel whenever I tune in is indescribable. It's simply a song that delights me, and no matter how many times I listen to it, I can never get sick of Baka da ne.

This is my undeniable favourite when it comes to HouPri's songs, and whilst it may not be their best, it's one that sticks with me no matter what. I love songs that are lively, bright and optimistic in its sound, and I think it helps that this is a nostalgic track for me; it's one of the last original songs to be released from the groups original indies era, as well as one of the last non-Princess themed tracks. Because of that it has a lot of meaning to me, ultimately making Baka da ne the song that reminds me of the HouPri that once was.

Baka da ne is precious and holds a special place in my heart like all these other songs, and it brings a smile to my face whenever I hear it. I could never get sick of Baka da ne, and feel grateful that it was released during one of HouPri's strongest periods as a group. I love it to a point of crying whenever I hear it, and I just can't help but think it's amazing.

COSMO no Hitomi by Bump.y (16.01.2013)

When it comes to Bump.y and their music, it's COSMO no Hitomi that has a special place in my heart, and the one I always come back to when I need a healthy dose of nostalgia and happiness from one of my favourite groups. Of course, I can't help but think highly of this track, and will often return to it, no matter what sort of mood I am in.

It's no secret that I adore this song - I talk about it a little too much, sometimes - and when I was compiling this list, I'm pretty sure it was one of the first few songs on here. It's so very dear to me, and whilst Bump.y may not be around any more, I can still relieve those memories of happiness through this song, while simultaneously wallowing away in my sadness over Bump.y's disbandment.

This is the kind of song that makes me cry because of my nostalgia and sadness, but it's the type of track that makes me smile as well. It delivers conflicting emotions, but no matter what, my love for it continues to grow stronger to this day. I couldn't be without this song, and I have a weird connection to it that I never want to sever. COSMO no Hitomi is simply special to me, and has somehow stayed with me since its release.

Riddled with nostalgia, COSMO no Hitomi is a favourite that holds a special place in my heart, and means more to me than I can ever describe. It's important to me, and always will be. I can't express how deeply I love this song.

Akai Freesia by Melon Kinenbi (29.01.2003)

I don't remember when I first heard this song, but after being introduced to it many years ago as a dubber, I have continued to love Akai Freesia and regard it as one of my favourite Hello! Project tracks.

Subjectively speaking, this has to be one of Hello! Project's finest works. From its vocals to how pretty the instrumental sounds, there is nothing but joy imbued into this track. It's catchy, bright and sweet, and the consistent feeling of happiness only keeps me coming back for me. I can't get enough of Akai Freesia, and listen to it multiple times each year. Heck, I even do my own personal karaoke session in front of my laptop to it, I love it that much.

I adore this song in every sense of the word, and no matter how many times I listen to it, I still feel the butterflies of excitement in my stomach when it starts to play. I feel excited to sing along to it, I'm always bobbing my head along and clapping to the beat, and I can't help but smile as it plays. It's such a feel good track, and every moment I spend listening to it is filled with joy.

Akai Freesia is undoubtedly a favourite of mine, and no matter how much older I become, or how old the song itself is, I still find myself obsessed with it. It's my little slice of happiness, and it's a song that has certainly stood the test of time.

Hetappi Wink! by Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 (03.08.2011)

Even before I liked AKB - and well before I got off my high horse and realised it was stupid to dislike a group simply because I liked another - I became a casual fan of Watarirouka Hashiritai 7, and was especially enamoured by their song Hetappi Wink! and the cuteness it exuded. Of course, I haven't given up on the track itself; I am still as invested in it today as I was way back when.

If I'm looking for a pick me up song, this is one of two or three tracks that I will immediately think of. It's such a happy, uplifting tune, and I have a lot of fun singing along to it. When I'm having a hard time and want to feel motivated, or perhaps even de-stress, I will often look to this song to give me that sense of happiness that I am probably lacking at the time. In many ways, I consider Hetappi Wink! to be a positive influence on me, and I think that has a lot to do with the time it came out and where I was during that time in my life.

Hetappi Wink! is a positive and carefree, and the kind of song that gets me out of a funk when I need that help the most. There is a lot of importance in this song, and whilst many may have forgotten it, it has somehow stuck with me since its release. I adore it, and I love how it makes me feel.

SHAMROCK by THE HOOPERS (09.08.2017)

Though THE HOOPERS have since disbanded, a song that I think about a lot is SHAMROCK. It's such a great cover, and the excitement that I feel upon hearing those opening bars is indescribable. There's something about this song that is just so charming, and I can't help but smile and have a good time whenever I hear it.

It's another song that uplifts me when I need it most, though it has also become a track that I simply listen to for no reason at all. It's an immersive song for me that I can easily sing along with and fall into, and thanks to its strong presence and charismatic vocals, it has never once become a background track that I can just forget is on. I'm constantly aware of SHAMROCK, and I highly doubt that I will ever get tired of this song because it is just so memorable, and so bloody good.

Though I have not played it for a few months, SHAMROCK is still fresh in mind and one that continues to bring a smile to my face. I adore this song and the happiness it brings me, and can only gush about how amazing it is. I adore it, just like I adore the other songs on this list, and will forever consider it a favourite.

SHAMROCK is amazing, and whilst THE HOOPERS are no longer active, this song will live on and remind us of just how amazing they were. I am so glad that this exists, and that I can continue to listen to and enjoy it now. I love SHAMROCK.

Hear ~Shinjiaeta Akashi~ by Chise Kanna (16.03.2016)

One of the most recent of the songs on this list, Hear ~Shinjiaeta Akashi~ has been a long standing favourite of mine since its release, and is one of the most replayed tracks on this list, if not the most replayed song. To give a better idea of how much I listen to it, I will typically replay this song about 30 times or more on any given day for a week or more, and I will usually come back to Hear ~Shinjiaeta Akashi~ every two or so months.

So, yes, I play this song a lot and quite possibly have an unhealthy obsession with it. But damn, I just can't get over how breathtaking it is.

Because of the amount I listen to this song, it was a given that it would be on this list, and was one of the first I thought of. I'm extremely aware of my love and adoration for this song, and can not deny how big of a role it plays in my life right now. On the days I simply need to cry, I will pop this on. If I want something to inspire me, I will give this a listen. If I simply want something pretty? Yeah, I go for Hear ~Shinjiaeta Akashi~. I can't get enough of this song, and I simply enjoy hearing the beautiful vocals of Chise Kanna.

It's one of my all-time favourites since becoming a J-pop fan, and another one of those songs that makes me cry. I just can't live without hearing this beauty right now, so I will continue to appreciate it for a little while longer.
Koi ING by Morning Musume (6.11.2003)

Much like all the other songs, there is a special place in my heart when it comes to Koi ING. For the longest of times it was my favourite J-Pop song of all time, and whilst that may not be the case any more, it's still my #1 Hello! Project song.

I have a great deal of fondness for Koi ING, and despite not finding out about it until a little later on into my idol fandom, it's one of those songs that has become an important part of my ever growing love for idols and music.

Listening to this song again, I honestly forgot how much it meant to me. My reaction upon hearing it again after so long was actually pretty visceral; I started crying, literal chills went up my back and down my arms, and all the butterflies returned upon hearing those opening bars. Koi ING is such a powerful track, and with such a reaction upon simply playing it, I can't deny just how important it is to me. It's my Idol anthem, and has seen me through some of my toughest days.

Koi ING is beautiful, it has power and it has passion. It's a song that pushes me forward and reminds me of simpler days, but also inspires me to continue working towards my future. I love this song with all my heart, and I am so happy that I came across it as a fan. Its importance is immeasurable, but I am glad that it continues to stand as one of my favourites so many years later.

Make it! by i☆RiS (20.08.2014)

After being crowned my anthem of 2014, Make it! continues to stand strong as one of my favourite songs 6 years later. Though it may not be the groups best song to date, Make it! has become a staple in my playlist, and is one of those tracks that I look back on with a lot of fondness, as well as the same degree of excitement and happiness that I felt when I was first introduced to it.

I still grin like an idiot when I hear it, and I still stand by everything I said in 2014 when I chose it as my favourite song of the year. I simply adore this song and the joy it brings me, and continue to listen to it regardless of my mood or the time of day. Still, it's pretty incredible that, of all the songs I have chosen as my favourites for each passing year, this is the one that has stuck with me the longest.

My love for Make it! continues to grow with each passing day, and whilst it may never be considered that great of a song - it's generic Idol Anime-pop, for crying out loud - it's a song that stuck with me for this long, and continues to brighten my day even when I am in the happiest of moods. Make it! inspires and motivates, and for that reason - amongst a few others - I feel like it deserves the #2 spot on this list.

A simple, cheerful tune that I won't forget. Like all of the other songs before it, I love Make it!, the delight it provides, and then some.

CROSS by Yonekura Chihiro (06.07.2005)

God, I love this song.

When I started to think about my favourite songs of all time, it was CROSS that was the first to come to mind, and the only song I could ever consider for my #1 spot. No matter how much I love the other songs, no matter what they make me feel, nothing can compare to the sound of this track.

I don't know if I can express in full just how important this song is to me, but I'll try. Of all ten tracks, this is the one I have known about the longest and have the greatest attachment to. It has the most nostalgic value, has fulfilled me with its sound at various points in my life, and has basically been the song that I would desperately search for whenever I recalled or needed it. CROSS has been there for a good period of my life at this point, and no matter how old I become, no matter how many songs I listen to, its the one that I have always considered a favourite.

Thing is, CROSS actually precedes my time as an Idol fan. It's the only song on the immediate Top 10 list that I actually liked well before I got into Japanese music, and I am aware that this affects the list a great deal. Thing is, I have a lot of emotional attachment to this song, and it means a great deal to me because it is what I consider the musical representation of the time I found it.

See, I found CROSS during the middle of my teenage years, back when I was heavily involved in anime and manga. I was a big fan of Fushigi Yugi at the time, and through the magic of YouTube I came across this song. I would eventually discover that it was the ending theme to a game that was a tie-in with the Fushigi Yuugi universe, but I was already invested in its sound. Now, many, many years later, I continue to link this song with my teenage years and Fushigi Yuugi, and with each fresh listen I fall in love with it more.

CROSS is a very important song to me. It represents my past and the things that I loved before I became an Idol fan, but it also represents my present and the love I now hold for Japanese music. I have been listening to this song for a long-ass time, and I have no desire to stop enjoying or thinking of it so highly. It's incredibly important to me, and is imbued with my own history. I am just so happy that all those years ago I could find it by chance, because I love CROSS.

As stated above, this was originally going to be a Top 10 list, but because I have the inability to choose one song over another, I eventually caved in and decided - Fuck it! - that this would be a Top 11 list, instead. Yeah, it's an odd number, but it's also a nice throw-back to some of my older Top-Whatever lists.

I used to write a lot of lists, now that I think about it. I was a big fan of Top-Whatever's back in my early blogging days, partly because they were easy to do, and also because I liked making them. Hell, I still love to make lists, but my main focus has shifted to reviews and not much else, with the only lists I create being Year End ones, which are hefty as all heck, and take up more time than something like this.

So, returning to this style of post after a long time is refreshing, to say the least, and I look forward to the other posts that I aim to create for Cake month. With that said, this was anything but easy to write. Choosing my favourite songs wasn't easy, because whilst I knew a handful of them off of the top of my head, some were more difficult to figure out. That, and I could't find the right voice to write in; back in 2010 / 2011, I could write these in a day and just be done with it, but now I can't. I take more time to write, I think about how to word things, and I simply care more about the content I put out.

And yet, I still add the f-bombs because nostalgia, damnit!

Anyway, this was a lot of fun to create, even if it did irritate me at times. A simple throwback post to my old days of blogging, and a decent start to this Hellish month that I have subjected myself to. I just hope that the rest of the posts are written a lot quicker, of course, but I can only dream.

Anyway, this is it. I hope you all enjoyed, and I hope that I have given you a few new songs to listen to. I know some of these songs won't be a surprise to a few of you, but hopefully there was also something in there that you weren't aware of. I also hope that this has inspired you to make a list of your own, big or small, and I hope that it makes you think about the songs that you like most.

And before I get a chance to end this, here is a little list of the songs that almost made the list, but didn't quite get there in the end:

Honourable Mentions

Kirari*Sailor Dream by Sae (19.11.2003)

STUDY x STUDY by StylipS (08.02.2012)

Hikari no Kage by 9nine (20.01.2010)

Say Yeah! ~Motto Miracle Night~ by Morning Musume (31.01.2001)

Tong Hua by Michael Wong (21.01.2005)

Fighting☆Hero by Ono Erena (29.05.2013)

Orchestra by BiSH (05.10.2016)

Just be yourself by Wasuta (19.04.2017)

Daisuki by Houkago Princess (29.02.2012)

Housoubu Please by Houkago Princess (02.12.2012)

SKYGATE by Cheeky Parade (24.02.2016)

Top Secret ~Setsunai Gokuhijikou~ by READY TO KISS (22.07.2015)

Mother Symphony by Mermaid Melody (20.09.2004)

Okay, I'm done now. Until the next post everyone, please take care, stay happy and healthy, and love your Idols. Peace out, and enjoy the Hellish month of the Cake.

Toodlepip and lots of love,

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