List 2: My top 25 favorite songs of the first half of 2011

So far 2011 has been pretty varied with the music that’s been coming out (with both Nana and Minorin releasing contrasting singles, and the introduction of Morning Musume’s 9th generation); but, overall, the first half of 2011 has presented us with some pretty good songs. The thing about these lists is that I have a limited pool of artists that I follow, and I am a very, very devout Mizuki Nana fan, so many of her songs make these lists, which may not be the most appealing thing to see. But, it is my list, so I don’t care.

25. 思い出 (Omoide) — Berryz Koubou
I really grew fond of this song after listening to it a lot since “Ai no Dangan”‘s release (this being the B-side). It just barely made the cut though, beating out Morning Musume’s “Motto Aishite Hoshii no” (I like synths, ok? XD)

24. レーザービーム (Laser Beam) — Perfume
This was probably the song that I anticipated the most on this list. I watched the Kirin commercial multiple times every day and was ecstatic when the full version was finally released. But the thing is, this song had so much potential from its commercial version, but it didn’t seem to go anywhere. The song sounds like it’s a complete blend of “VOICE” and “Nee”, which isn’t bad but it’s lesser of the two. The song dosen’t seem to pick up much, with its catchy chorus being all it really has going for it. Nevertheless, it’s still really fun to listen to.

23. 雑草のうた (Zassou no Uta) — Buono!
I thought this song was going to be higher, but similar to the last song there just isn’t enough umph, and umph is something a good Buono! song always has. This song is great because it’s Buono!, and it makes for an awesome comeback song, but it’s nothing like their stuff back in 2008 and early 2009. Perhaps as the members mature, so does the concept of Buono!, but I can’t say I haven’t been missing the Cafe Buono! era.

22. さよなら涙 (Sayonara Namida) — Kikkawa Yuu
This song came as the B-side to the limited A version of Kikkawa Yuu’s debut single 「きっかけはYOU! (Kikkake wa You!)」 . Kikka’s voice is really nice, and this song really suits it. The whole single was just a great sample of what she can sing. I feel like I’d brush this off as a generic pop tune if she didn’t sing it.

21. プラチナLover’s Day (Platinum Lover’s Day) — Tamura Yukari
There’s not really much I can do to explain why I like Yukarin, I just do. The chorus to this song is so freakin’ catchy and it’s consistant with her usual style. I like the abrupt opening too, which is usually a thing I don’t like in songs. The cover and the music video are obviously very spring-inspired (even if this single was released in January) and…I just like this! Don’t ask! XD

20. raison pour la saison — Chihara Minori
The first B-side of 「Defection」, which sounds like a continuation of the A-side. The whole single is really cool, and this song is just a much more mysterious, slow-paced “Defection”, which I love. Minorin should do more of this single’s style.

19. Evidence — Daisy×Daisy
I’m really glad that Mika released this single only a few months after her last. I really hope she keeps growing in popularity (perhaps her label is holding her back, but I have no idea). One day I think it would be absolutely awesome if she got invited to Animelo. But anyway, “Evidence” is a really nice song that’s a lot like “HOLY SHINE”, but less anison-like. Aside from the awesome that is “Brave your truth”, Daisy×Daisy seems to be a bit of a break from the more hardcore anison stuff I listen to or the fast-paced H!P songs.

18.微かなカオリ (Kasuka na Kaori) — Perfume
This song just ended up being better than “Laser Beam”. It’s really different from the songs Perfume has been releasing recently, and the piano sounds remind me of some kind of Christmas ballad, Perfume style. I really like this. When I first heard it I knew I was going to end up liking this more than “Laser Beam”, and that quickly happened. It’s a unique song, which “Laser Beam” sadly wasn’t.

17.Kiss me 愛してる (Kiss me Aishiteru) — °C-ute
I like °C-ute and all, but their newer stuff really hasn’t wowed me like “Namida no Iro” and “Tokaikko Junjou” had. This happened to do it though. Chisato lines = win always. Seriously, I’m really glad she’s getting recognized now because she has the best voice in the group (sorry Airi). The synths in this remind me of a freakin’ Kirby game. Really really cool and just how I like my H!P songs: a lot going on. The best °C-ute song since “Bye! Bye! Bye!” in 2009.

16.Don’t Interupt Me — Kawada Mami
This has to be Mami’s best B-side ever. It seriously could be an A-side it’s so good. I think the 「See VisionS」 single has to be my favorite of her singles in terms of overall package (“PSI-missing” is my favorite song of hers). “Don’t Interupt Me” is full with tough synth beats and an absolutely awesome chorus breaking into softer verses. It’s badass. It feels like with each release, Mami gets more confident, more powerful with her songs (ie. the masterpiece that is “linkage”).

15.KEY FOR LIFE — Chihara Minori
Minorin pop songs are usually hit or miss and this one hit. It’s playful and unique to say…the B-sides (haha). I think the fact that it made a nice pair with “Defection” with the double single release added to why I liked this. The single wasn’t 「Freedom Dreamer」 part 2, it was a new single entirely because of how it was released.

14.足跡 (Ashiato)– Goto Maki
I normally don’t dive into the mainstream pop scene, but Maki is an exception. I really like her voice, and this is probably my favorite song of hers released in her major discography thus far (“fly away” from her SWEET BLACK mini-album being my favorite; and I like “Ashiato” more than her H!P songs). I usually won’t entertain a song unless something sectacular or unique is going on, but Maki’s vocals alone are able to make me like this song, and her new music in general. This is a great song, and Maki’s singing is spot on.

13.まじですかスカ! (Maji Desuka Ska!)– Morning Musume
The 9th gen debut single, and the song that gave MoMusu fans hope for the future line distribution of the group: they were decieved, but we have this gem! This song has the best line distribution probably since before Ai took over as leader in 2007, and its the most upbeat, fun A-side since “Mikan”. The song gives a nice sample of everyone’s voices, and even Sayumi sounds really nice in this (she’s getting so much better!) This song has been stuck in my head since its release, so if I ever made a “catchiest song” list this would probably make it.

12.きっかけはYOU! (Kikkake wa YOU!) — Kikkawa Yuu
What I said about Perfume’s “Laser Beam” being my most anticipated single of this year–yeah, that was a lie–I forgot about this single. I would listen to this song nonstop until the single finally came out. I am really looking forward to Kikka’s career. This song is very H!P, but it’s still very unique in my opinion, and it made a good debut single for Kikka.

11.POP MASTER — Mizuki Nana
Here’s where the list starts getting unfair with the repeats. If the first of four Nana songs to be seen is #11 you can guess where the others are. “POP MASTER” is a really fun song, it’s upbeat like “SUPER GENERATION” and it’s the first of that kind of song as an A-side since “Aoi Iro”. Actually, towards the end of 2010 I was wondering what the next era would sound like, and I was kind of wondering about a single like this. I’m glad we got it! It’s Nana so it’s awesome, and this song is MEANT for otagei. I cannot wait to watch this live (I have to settle for the blu-ray since getting to Japan from east coast U.S. is rather difficult haha). But, oh well! Great song from Nana as always!

10.冬空花火 (Fuyuzora Hanabi) — Kikkawa Yuu
Yes, so soon we see another Kikka song. This song is the B-side on the Limited C version of her debut single, and it, like Perfume’s “Kasuka na Kaori” just got better with more listens. A song is really good if with each listen you like the song more (A reason why Mizuki Nana’s “Astrogation” is my favorite song). Again, this song dosen’t have much going on, but Kikka’s vocals and the pace of the song are really listenable.

09.HIGH-STEPPER — Mizuki Nana
The B-side to the 「SCARLET KNIGHT」 single. I can’t stop listening to this song! It’s like a secret agent version of “SCOOP SCOPE”. I can’t stop singing the chorus! So catchy! I love when Nana tries songs like these out as she has been recently, the last two, “SCOOP SCOPE” and “Mr. Bunny!” are just so fun to listen to, and this song isn’t excluded from that group. I love it! =D

08.JUICY HE@RT — Buono!
A B-side to Buono!’s comeback single, this one recieving a PV. Although vocally this song never really picks up much, something about it is really awesome. There aren’t anysolo lines, which is weird too, but again I like it. I can’t really explain it. Haha.

07.ヒロインになろうか! (Heroine ni Narou Ka!) — Berryz Koubou
Synth-Berryz is back! The line distribution in this song is excelent for a single, and the whole song is just really cool. Again, another song I can’t stop singing. Saki is awesome in this song just because it’s Saki and any lines she get are automatically awesome because I’m biased!

06.Candy Pop — Kikkawa Yuu
Now you can see why I anticipated the single so much: I liked so many songs on it. Of course I heard this first as a live version from the H!P Winter concert where Kikka sang this song as “Sayonara Namida”. Something about this song is amazing, although I usually use that word to describe intense, epic songs. It’s just really nice and mesmorizing to listen to. Again, maybe it’s just Kikka’s vocals. Love this song!

05.Only you — Morning Musume
Yes, this climbed the scale fast, but I really, really like this song. The best of H!P songs is embodied in this song, I feel. At least, the modern H!P I’m most familiar with. Anyway, this may be like “Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai” and stick around in my favorites for a while and drop off, or it may be lasting. Only time will tell.

04.See VisionS — Kawada Mami
This quickly became my second favorite Mami song. Its progression is epic, the violin and guitar inclusion is beautiful, and its entirely one-of-a-kind. The chorus is built up, which I love. And the reapeting “I’m always running after you/you’re my ideal, you are me” is really cool. Mami’s singing just makes it seem like she loves this song. It’s just so well done.

03.UBREAKABLE — Mizuki Nana
This song is so hardcore it’s awesome *__* So much at once! So much! It’s so cool! It could give you a head-ache if you listen to this too loud, and that’s why it’s awesome! Nana’s powerful voice + powerful instrumentals = intense song = win. Yeah, this quickly made the top 30.

02.Defection — Chihara Minori
I was starting to get worried about Minorin not releasing any epic synth or violin singles since 2009. This was quite a treat, and although strings-Minoring is better, synth-Minorin is still freakin’ epic. This song was the first song to really showcase 2011, although from the rest of what was released this sounds like something that should’ve been released in the futuristic-experimentation period of 2010. Wicked cool song, and it means that Minorin is still going to give us the epic songs, so of course this makes #2.

01.SCARLET KNIGHT — Mizuki Nana
What did you expect? The last Nana song released thus far to appear on this list is of course #1. “SCARLET KNIGHT” feels both new and a blend of the “IMPACT EXCITER” era and the “GREAT ACTIVITY” era. It’s got sort of scrunched in lyrics for its verses and chorus, but that’s part of what makes the song enjoyable to listen to and sing to. The violins and general epicness of the song are well-known to Nana, and Nana’s voice goes perfectly with this. Plus, the music video is one of Nana’s better ones (because her budget just keeps going up). You just can’t go wrong with a Nana song, and so “SCARLET KNIGHT” makes #1.

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