My High J-Pop Songs countdown continues in its expanded format! We’ve acquired fifty of the very best (largely idol) tracks Japan needed to supply, with many nice selections relegated to the honorable mentions. As a result of I don’t write about all of those songs the way in which I do for Ok-pop, that is at all times a enjoyable countdown to compile.
It was a lop-sided yr for J-pop idoldom, with some companies (Johnny’s) completely proudly owning my playlists and others (LDH) having a extra modest string of releases. You’ll see a pair names pop up typically, which received’t be too shocking for long-time readers.
As at all times, I’ll warn that this listing tends to be much more biased and targeted than my Ok-pop listing. I merely don’t pay attention to each single J-pop launch in the way in which that I do for Ok-pop. However music for music, I believe I really want these 50 tracks to the 50 Korean releases I wrote about final week. Hopefully you’ll discover some new favorites!
Travis Japan – Massive Bang Boy
Official HIGE DANdism – Crybaby
Hey! Say! JUMP – Gunjo Runaway
KAT-TUN – We Simply Go Arduous (ft. AK-69)
SHINee – Celebrity
Nissy – Get You Again
Sekai No Owari – Tears
Information – To The Future
Hey! Say! JUMP – Adverse Fighter
Exit – Celebrity
50. Kamenashi Kazuya – Pure Ice
(full music video – youtube hyperlink is a brief preview of all solo tracks)
I by no means would’ve anticipated KAT-TUN’s Kamenashi to sort out a minimalist lure music, nor would I count on to get pleasure from it a lot. However, Pure Ice drips with texture and thrives on its sense of understated cool.
49. HiHi Jets – Eyes Of The Future
I’m patiently ready for HiHi Jets’ debut, and foolish dance tracks like this are a part of the explanation. It’s huge and dumb and great, with a few of my favourite random English lyrics of the yr. I want “I’m an excellent, duper zap!” printed on a t-shirt proper now. (full evaluate)
48. Takao Sakuma – Set off
You possibly can by no means go fallacious with an Ultraman theme, particularly if you need your pop music to sound as should you’re approaching the Massive Boss Degree, weapons blazing. Adrenaline fuels this boisterous rock/dance hybrid in breathless vogue.
47. BUZZ-ER. – Run
Run is clearly impressed by Attractive Zone’s personal 2020 masterpiece, all the way down to its brassy catharsis and wall-of-sound refrain. However should you’re going to repeat a J-pop monitor, it’d as nicely be the very best one to return out in years. I’d fortunately take 100 of those.
46. SixTONES – Boku ga Boku Janai Mitai da (I Don’t Appear To Be Myself)
I wasn’t at all times certain what to make of SixTONES’ 2021 output, however Boku ga Boku Janai Mitai da is an easy sing-along, thriving on the group’s sturdy vocals to ship a potent shot of rousing power. (full evaluate)
45. Exile x Sandaime J Soul Brothers – Digital Love
Launched just some days in the past, the mighty Exile and Sandaime J Soul Brothers mix their abilities for an immensely slick digital dance monitor. It’s the very best both have sounded for months, paired with an eye catching music video that’s considered one of yr’s most thrilling.
44. SixTONES – ST
Heralding the discharge of their first full album, the heavy ST is a good instance of SixTONES’ straight-ahead rock sound. Its shout-along refrain is an particularly efficient purge of emotion. (full evaluate)
43. Capsule – Digital Freedom
Capsule returned this yr and saved their strongest music for December. Digital Freedom is cool and aloof, however its vibrant synths conjure a neon fantasy that melds completely with Toshiko Koshijima’s icy vocals.
42. Generations – Liberation
The Jr.Exile teams launched into a cool animated sequence of movies this spring, kicking off with the high-octane Liberation. It provides Generations the possibility to launch their most energetic single in a while. Liberation is so slick and satisfying. (full evaluate)
41. Official HIGE DANdism – Pending Machine
Official HIGE DANdism throw down an addictive groove with album spotlight Pending Machine. Satoshi Fujihara’s intense vocals at all times convey emotion, and that high quality is very beguiling when paired with such rhythmic materials. This one will work its method beneath your pores and skin.
40. Kis-My-Ft2 – Luv Bias
After a so-so 2020, Kis-My-Ft2 rebounded in 2021 by embracing a extra mature sound. Luv Bias‘s immense refrain is a keeper, proving increasingly efficient because the months went on. They provide you precisely what you need in a pop music. (full evaluate)
39. Solidemo – Taking Off!!
Solidemo’s music has at all times been hit and miss for me, however they discovered the right companion in Taking Off‘s surging drama. From its stomping verses to that euphoric refrain, the music merely soars. (full evaluate)
38. Snow Man – Boku no Kanojo ni Natteyo (Be My Girlfriend)
My 2021 MVPs make their first look with the slick, sinfully catchy Boku no Kanojo ni Natteyo. Brassy breakdowns give strategy to electro-swing verses and an insistent hook. However, I’m obsessive about the Thriller-esque bridge. These synths and guitar!!
37. EMPiRE – IZA!!
IZA!! is a tense, prickly surprise. Its verses pulse throughout a welcome catwalk strut, but the brash vocals preserve the monitor from feeling too bubblegum. The seesawing refrain is a complete winner, even when I’m tempted to hum Shakira’s She-Wolf each time I hear it.
36. Nissy – Say Sure
Ever the showman, Nissy provides fixed charisma and heat to the easy Say Sure. The music incorporates so lots of the yr’s hottest developments, but at all times feels indebted to his unmistakable star energy. (full evaluate)
35. Snow Man – Namida no Umi wo Koete Ike (Go Over The Sea Of Tears)
Because the theme for the primary season of their selection present, Namida no Umi wo Koete Ike has been round earlier than 2021. However, it was paired with a full mv (not the youtube model embedded above, sadly) early this yr. It’s a complete rallying cry, with a refrain that opens with a shout and by no means seems to be again.
34. Nakamaru Yuichi – Change Your Thoughts
(music video – youtube hyperlink is a brief preview of all solo tracks)
KAT-TUN’s solos ended up impressing greater than their group work this yr, and Nakamaru’s electro-stomper Change Your Thoughts stands on prime of the pack. His processed vocals completely merge with the insistent throb of synths, powering the music towards an epic refrain.
33. Nogizaka46 – Wilderness World
Nogizaka46 launched a couple of 2021 songs that just about made my countdown, however Wilderness World stays my favourite. I really like the vocal results that open the monitor, matching the breezy — but intense — drive of the instrumental. The refrain beneficial properties energy via its subdued melody, shifting a mile a minute however at all times remaining magically ethereal. (full evaluate)
32. Ryuji Imaichi – Future Lovers
So many acts borrowed from synthwave this yr, however Ryuji Imaichi’s Future Lovers will get the sound excellent. The instrumental’s driving depth contrasts with the mushy vocals, blooming into a stunning call-and-response refrain that’ll have your reaching in your 80’s sun shades and neon jacket. (full evaluate)
31. Kitayama Hiromitsu – 灰になる前に (Earlier than It Turns into Ash)
Every member of Kis-My-Ft2 launched solo materials this yr in celebration of their tenth anniversary, however it was the eldest Kitayama that stood out most with the darkish alt-rock of Earlier than It Turns into Ash. The music suits his voice like a glove, swerving via tough melodies and bringing the type of gritty ambiance we hardly ever hear from Johnny’s idols.