This year, I actually took time to prepare for this year’s best-of unlike the years before where it was literally mostly chosen on the spot so there’s a big list of what A-sides I actually found to be great for this year…before we get into the 15 here’s the A-sides that were pretty damn good this year! (Alphabetically, not in which I liked them).
- Anna Tsuchiya – Master Blaster (UNCHAINED GIRL)
- Berryz Koubou – Ai no Dangan
- BREAKERZ – LAST†PRAY
- Brown Eyed Girls – SIGN
- Chiaki Kuriyama – Tsukiyo no Shouzou
- Do As Infinity – Ariadne no Ito
- Hello! Project Mobekimasu – Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku
- HIROKO – GIRLZ UP ~stand up for yourself~
- HYNA – TARATIKA
- JUJU – Sayonara no Kawari ni
- Kana Nishino – Distance
- KARA – GO GO Summer!
- KOTOKO – Light My Fire
- Kou Shibasaki – wish
- Mami Kawada – See visionS
- MAXIMUM THE HORMONE – maximum the hormone (Greatest the Hits 2011-2011)
- Meisa Kuroki – One More Drama
- Meisa Kuroki – Woman’s Worth
- MISIA – Kioku
- miwa – FRiDAY-MA-MAGiC
- Mizca – 1925
- Momoiro Clover Z – D’ no Junjou
- Morning Musume – Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai!
- Namie Amuro – NAKED
- NICO Touches the Walls – Diver
- Perfume – Laser Beam
- Porno Graffitti – One More Time
- ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D – IN MY WORLD
- S/mileage – Short Cut
- Sakanaction – Rookie
- Sayaka Kitahara – Kanari Junjou
- SCANDAL – LOVE SURVIVE
- School Food Punishment – How to go
- SuG – Crazy Bunny Coaster
- TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE – W.M.A.D
- Tsuki Amano – CORE
- UVERworld – CORE PRIDE
- YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz – THE END OF THE DAY
- You Kikkawa – Konna Watashi de Yokattara
- YUI – Green a.live
- Yui Sakakibara – Blue mind
- Yui Sakakibara (PHANTASM) – Preghiera no Tsukiyo ni
- YUKI – Hello!
The 5 that almost made the cut!
Yup, this year it was tough deciding who was going to be in the top 10, more or less in the 5 that just missed it since most of the A-sides listed above were all mostly capable making the list! Namie’s One Piece song, Fight Together really made a mark on me since it’s pretty different of an offering we usually get from Namie to begin with. Fits the anime series VERY well to be honest. Unlike last year in 2010, there wasn’t a lot of impressive debut A-sides but one of the few came in the form of a K-pop song in Tick Tack. U-KISS really blew me away with this one and it’s great to see that they had a very good 2011. JASMINE this year was pretty quiet only releasing two singles this year but ONE was the great one from her this year. It’s a very positive song about individuality and she struck gold with that! Funny that MOMAJIK’s Headlight is the only ballad on the list but it’s catchy, simple, and pulled us out of that rather redundant album in “westview”…Last but not least, one of AKB’s sub-units, DiVA debut with Tsuki no Uragawa and to be honest they are some of the strongest singers (and dancers) under Aki.P sad to see that it’s now a 10-nin group though.
10. TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE – Limited addiction
2011 saw me as sinking into the idol world (as you can tell, there’s been a surge of me loving girl groups as of recent). TG’S was a group that I wasn’t very impressed with them back in 2010…However somehow they’ve ditched the typical idol style for a more edgy and (in some ways controversial) style and Limited addiction is an amazing song for them. I mean the lead singers really brought it and mixed in with a classy 90’s pop style and you have this song. Mix in with the PV it got and it left a mark on yours truly! For being young gals, they’re riding the mature train on a very good note.
9. Meisa Kuroki – Wired Life
It was hard deciding between this and “One More Drama” since both were pretty kickass songs, but I fell in love with Wired Life much quicker than the former. I love the mysterious glow of the song mixed in with Meisa’s whispery vocals in the verses and growing into the heavy chorus. Plus, I always find myself humming to the song and then going ~cut the rope, cut the rope, cu-cu-cut the rope~. It’s pretty damn unique in Meisa’s catalog.
8. girl next door – Dada Para!!
What isn’t there wrong with Dada Para!!? Every era as I’ve said before harbors one amazing song from GND (however they’re going lowercase nowadays)…I really love the energy of Dada Para!! since it’s easy for people to do some Parapara dancing and all that. Add the happy vocals from CHISA and you get this package of just dancing and letting it all out. It’s definitely the most energetic of the songs on the list and that’s always good!
7. 2PM – Take off
The only other debutee this year was 2PM who like U-KISS are a part of this Hallyu Wave that’s happened in 2011. Likewise with the other group 2PM debuted with an original song in Take off. I want to say that it’s hard to describe why I love the song but it comes down to the impressive vocals and the flight-like atmosphere of the song (plus the sheer fact that it was an ending theme to Ao no Exorcist helped it). It’s just a fun song to listen too (and try to sing along with it as well).
6. DUSTZ – Criez
I know I mentioned a lot of DUSTZ here recently, but Criez was released back in April and I’ve loved this A-side a whole lot since then so it makes the list just fine. It’s pretty aggressive but at the same time has this dark, yet experimentive vibe that just worked for the trio. Add in the fact that it’s only sung in French and English might be unfair, but it’s whatever the song is still one of the strongest rock songs of 2012.
5. AAA – CALL
Like with gnd, it seems AAA always finds a song for me to fully enjoy and this year in amongst the rather mediore stuff they released, CALL is prolly their best of 2011 (not better than “Dream After Dream” mind you). It felt so refreshing after “Buzz Commincation’s” era that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Plus, all the members got solo lines which is rare to see on an AAA A-side. Kind of like “Dada Para!!”, it’s a song to make you happy and just have a good time dancing with it!
4. °C-ute – Kiss me Aishiteru
Actually, I think that °C-ute’s song is the most energetic on this list. I wasn’t expecting a song like this to come from this group who at the time was still trying to find themselves after “Shocking 5” and this song really solidified them onto my ears. Though I am disappointed with the direction they took after their sixth album, this song still did a great deal of awesomeness with it’s epic dance number and the whole repetitive of ~nee~ and ~please~…I didn’t think I would like this as first…but damn it Tsunku you made a gem this year!
3. ONE OK ROCK – Re:make
ONE OK ROCK might still be underappreciated but damn this song is probably their magnum opus for right now! Before I knew Taka used to be a member for NEWS (you know, that JE group), I just thought this was badass…but after hearing that, this song is even MORE badass. The angry atmosphere, the gritty vocals from Taka and just epic guitar riffs left and right. It’s definitely rock song of the year for me
2. Berryz Koubou – Aa, Yo ga Akeru
2011 was definitely Berryz’ year since all of their A-sides were pretty good. However I was most pleased with Aa, Yo ga Akeru (even though it has a lot of unusual flak against it). I know it’s now the most evenly distributed song (most compare this to the equality found in “Ai no Dangan”) but I still loved this WAYYYY more than that. It’s a classy song and mixed in with this 90’s pop sound, it worked for everyone IMO. Plus the high notes Risako and Miyabi hit are just orgasmic to me. Best H!P song of the year (and boy there were actually a lot of great H!P A-sides this year hmmmm!
1. Kalafina – Magia
There hasn’t been such a strong song from Kalafina since “progressive” IMO, and so to have Kalafina bless the #1 spot with Magia is such a great thing to see! It’s ruthless and just dark and aggressive in all the right spots. Plus it seems that whenever HIKARU leads a song, it’s always badass. Then again, KEIKO’s solo lines were just as much. I just loved this song to its core and it stands up there with the best from them (which is basically all of their songs in the first place XD). CONGRATULATIONS KALAFINA!!!!
So like with the Bests, I have done the same…let’s start with the list that weren’t bad enough but enough to make me frown this year!
- Aki Misato – Saigo no Tabi
- Aki Toyosaki – SHUN PU
- Ayaka Hirahara – Wakare no Kyoku
- HIROKO – Saigo no Koi
- eufonius – Literal
- kanon×kanon – Koi no Doutei
- KARA – Jet Coaster Love
- Kie Kitano – Kizuna
- lecca – Right Direction
- Miliyah Kato – BABY!BABY!BABY!
- Minako Kotobuki – Dear my…
- Momoiro Clover – Mirai Bowl
- Not yet – Naminori Kakigoori
- Satsuki – SYMPATHY
- SDN48 – Ai, Chuseyo
- SID – Fuyu no Bench
- SPYAIR – BEAUTIFUL DAYS
- Stereopony – Arigatou
- Sukima Switch – Saigo no Hi
- Tohoshinki – Superstar
- UVERworld – MONDO PIECE
The 5 that are just lucky to miss this list!
I will say there was less bad A-sides this year than lasts so I’m happy with that but there were some really bad songs this year. Piko’s Yume Hana failed to really stand out and it sounds a lot like his previous songs in his first era (which I wasn’t a fan of either). YuiKaori’s Shooting☆Smile was a clear addition since I’m not a fan of Yui Ogura’s vocals and there was a LOT of that and it didn’t work with this kind of meh genki song…just too much for me. Masterpiece by mihimaru GT was just messy and the rather sudden intro just took me out for most of it…I like their upbeat songs but not like this… Angela Aki might be a great singer and all that but she needs to have an equal great song and Hajimari no Ballad is anything but that. It just was too boring (especially since she has songs that are similar and better overall. Same can be said about Lia’s Kimi ga Hitori Nanka ja Nai yo, great vocals but terrible movement and boring arrangement.
10. JUJU – YOU -Single Version-
Third song in a row where the vocalist isn’t the fault of the song. In the case of YOU from JUJU (originally an album song from “YOU”) the single version has the problem of just a boring ass arrangement. The big difference between album and single is that the single got added strings which made the song even tougher to listen to with the long time length as well. Not a good song…
9. Koda Kumi – Poppin’love Cocktail feat. TEEDA (4 TIMES)
Terrible idea for this song to be the leading track off of 4 TIMES. I just couldn’t get into it mainly because of TEEDA…he blatantly destroyed the song IMO with his awkward rapping. Mix in the fact the song reminds me of “Hashire!” and it just doesn’t work. Kuu on the other hand isn’t so bad during her parts but they’re in between TEEDA’s crappiness…yeah bad collaboration!
8. YUI – HELLO
You can say she’s being emotional and playing her heart out but it doesn’t mean she was singing very well. This song grates my mind because I enjoy the bright and fun atmosphere (something she’s been slowly doing more of in recent times) but her voice is what kills me. The chorus might be the most vocally atrocious chorus of the year to be honest…high notes are not YUI’s strong point that’s for sure and she tries that too many times there. Emotionally singing does not equal poor singing (most of the time).
7. BREAKERZ – Zettai! I LOVE YOU
This secondary A-side was pretty messy for BREAKERZ IMO. I think it would’ve avoided the list if the song wasn’t so messy and wild as it was. DAIGO just sounds unusual singing the song plus the absurd amount of drums just turned me off from it entirely…it’s definitely their bad song this year TBH.
6. Not yet – Perapera Perao
Summer songs and me don’t really get along very well…moreso if it’s AKB-related like in the case of Perapera Perao which sounds like every other AKB summer single even the title reminds me of SKE48’s “Pareo wa Emerald”. I mean if you’re going to bore me to death with such an upbeat summery tune…at least make the title a little more original >.<
5. Minori Chihara – KEY FOR LIFE
KEY FOR LIFE shows us that Minorin just can’t be doing music like this officially…keep your damn seiyuu voice elsewhere! Didn’t help that the song itself felt rather unimaginative and effortless…almost like some typical cutesy-anime tune. Just terrible Minorin!
4. AAA – No cry No more
“CALL” might be their best of the year, but they also made No cry No more pretty damn bad. I don’t agree with Komuro working with them again and this is the sole reason why I hated this song. First, Misako leads and she isn’t their best singer. The other thing is that, this is a CARBON COPY of “Makenai Kokoro”, I mean listen to the choruses of the two and you’ll see what I mean. Blech, just shouldn’t have happened in the first place if you ask me.
3. Aimer – TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR
You may be wondering how someone can screw up such a classic little kids tune and yeah Aimer totally icked it up pretty harshly here. Aimer kind of at first made it sound nice…then she started to repeat…and repeat…and repeat certain parts of the song numerous times and that got me to the point where I was fuming. UGH…
2. Sayaka Sasaki – Zzz
Like I’ve said on both the single and album review for the song, Zzz is not Sayaka’s forte of sound and she sounds so headache inducing with this track. It’s just the kind of cute and sickly sugary tune that I just can’t take. Girl, I hope you don’t ever do this again!!!
1. Momoiro Clover Z – Z Densetsu ~Owarinaki Kakumei~
It’s weird that I love “D’ no Junjou” (the other single released simultaneously with this single) but hated the hell out of this song. I know there’s fans that adore this song…but to me, it’s a song of hell. It’s messy and the vocals are way underwhelming in my opinion. It really felt like it had no direction and the producers just pasted random parts one after another. Ugh, this was the worst song of 2011 for me!!!
NEXT TIME, B-SIDES Y’ALL ^_^