#1 Song Review: Week of 8/3 – 8/9 (NMB48 v. Namie Amuro v. RADWIMPS)

Hello, Arama! Japan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw Nogizaka46 defeat Namie Amuro and RADWIMPS. This week, we have 2 returnees from last week facing off against a newcomer! Find out what various staff members thought of the songs that topped the physical and digital charts this week and share your thoughts on them too!

Oricon #1: NMB48 – Boku wa Inai (Recochoku #32 / not in the iTunes top 50)

Ronald: I feel like this song didn’t go anywhere and ended before it even started. The only thing I really remember about the song are them constantly saying that title and that cheesy ass canned guitar. This is cute, but not as cute as they normally do. It’s better than most stuff I’ve heard from these groups. 4/10

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Recochoku #1: Namie Amuro – Hero (Oricon #19 / iTunes #2)

Ronald: Same review as before: This song needs a hero. It’s just another piece of nothing song that I’ve heard a million times before from a million other acts. If Namie was going to do something of this tempo, she should’ve taken notes from “BRIGHTER DAY” because this is just a bore, lacking in character and excitement. 4/10

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iTunes #1: RADWIMPS – Zen Zen Zense (movie ver.) (not released physically / Recochoku #6)

Ronald: I’m not really feeling this. It’s OK, but it’s just that: OK. This could’ve been made by a bunch of other bands. There’s nothing really special here that is grabbing me and making me pay attention. Frankly, I’m bored by this song. 5/10

___________________

Ronald’s Rank:

1. iTunes #1: RADWIMPS – Zen Zen Zense (movie ver.)

2. Oricon #1: NMB48 – Boku wa Inai / Recochoku #1: Namie Amuro – Hero

___________________

Which one do you like the most?

Oricon #1: NMB48 – Boku wa Inai
Recochoku #1: Namie Amuro – Hero
iTunes #1: RADWIMPS – Zen Zen Zense (movie ver.)

Survey Maker

  • Comments

    • Sunny

      Ronald,I am unable to see video for MB48 – Boku wa Inai.

    • Ben

      Oh Ronald, It’s very obvious you have your own fav artists and genres. Not that there’s anything wrong about that for anyone to have their own music preference. But the fact of the matter is most music charts are dominated by popular pop acts, with Japanese charts, they are dominated by idols, pop singers and your typical happy go lucky/inspiration songs.

      Looking at your reviews, you’ve pretty much given most acts 5 or below and the reviews are pretty much the same esp the idol stuff. and your attitude “it’s not my fault they make bad music” is not helping since music is very subjective.

      Can we get more staff to do this feature? Just to get some diversity. It’s predictable. As soon as I see who’s number 1, I already know what you’re gonna write in your review, idol music or not. Not everyone is Shiina Ringo or Hikki.

      • Habunake

        I would love writing idol reviews and in general song reviews. Most of the songs Ronald reviews as bad are actually pretty good.

        I don’t know why they still keep him in charge of the reviews. He’s always like “boring, meaningless, i don’t like this, it doesn’t go nowhere, all idol songs are the same”

        • Ben

          I don’t mind his reviews but other staff (and we know there are others!) should participate/contribute in this section. We all know what Ronald likes but at this this point, it’s getting boring and repetitive. If you’ve read one of his idol reviews, you’ve pretty much read 99 out of 100 his other idol reviews.

          • Kanjo Maru

            Not sure if you saw but it used to be a group of authors who did this.

            There’s still some fragments of it in the format. E.g. “Ronald’s Rank:” instead of “my rank”

          • Because you have the same people making these songs…

            • Ben

              the word you’re looking for is GENRE. Seriously, just because you find them boring/”nothing I’ve never heard before” does not mean the rest of Arama readers share your taste. You really need to tone down your “your music taste is crap an mine is better” attitude. Japanese music does not revolve around your definition of music.

              God, I forgot how obnoxious and self-righteous you can be.

              • But when did I say that? And if you look at the credits for these songs, you’ll see what I mean by the same people are making these songs.

                • Ben

                  Didn’t you say once “It’s not my fault they make bad music” or something like that? and if you don’t see anything wrong with that, you just proved my previous points

                  You don’t see the irony here?

                  We’re getting the same reviews because it’s written by the same writer. Go re-read your reviews. They are almost words for words.

                  No I know what you mean. Yes 48 groups hire a selection of writers to write their songs. Yes, so does the Jpop industry in general. But don’t tell me NMB’s Boku wa Inai sounds the same, like, let’s say Nogi’s Hadashi or AKB’s upcoming song. You’re just putting everything you don’t like into one giant pot and call them “the same” even though they are not.

                  • There is nothing wrong with wanting change.

                    • Ben

                      and there is nothing wrong with criticizing closed minded lazy reviewers who basically just say the same thing over and over again for every song (idol or not) for the past 6+ weeks.

                      • I think what I think. I could very easily say “boring” and leave it at that.

                      • Ben

                        Or you could just not review anything anymore. since everything (regardless genres/artists who arent your favs) sounds the same to you

                      • Ntouch

                        There is no sense of reasoning with someone who doesn’t take their position as a “Staff Writer” seriously. The music today are successful because they are entertaining the public. If one does not find it enjoyable and be content of the what it is then they are left miserable in their own reality.

            • Habunake

              Tsunku has been making over 90% of Hello! Project’s discography. Are their songs the same? No.

              It’s the same with 48G, you are too ignorant to actually give these songs a good listen before reviewing them.

      • starlightshimmers

        Truth. I’ve called out Ronald plenty of times, his argument was that good J-pop music exists in the form of indie acts, but not everyone is a hipster.

        • Sorry, but BENI is tired now.

      • Michele

        But if you let the fans of that particular act/genre review the song, you’ll always get somewhat positive reviews.
        Ronald is harsh, but a reviewer has to be like that. The charts are stale and these reviews help to put things in perspective, which is what a music blog should do.
        You can’t blame the reviewers for the negative votes if the acts involved keep doing the same song over and over.

        • Ben

          >But if you let the fans of that particular act/genre review the song, you’ll always get somewhat positive reviews.

          I disagree. I listen to all kinds of music. From someone like Shiina Ringo, Ketsumeishi to cheesy idol songs like 48 Groups. I personally have not liked any 48 group songs since Koichun and my reviews won’t be like his for every single review “Nothing I’ve never heard before”

        • Kanjo Maru

          “But if you let the fans of that particular act/genre review the song, you’ll always get somewhat positive reviews. ”

          I disagree with this.

          Logically, if someone who likes a genre is expected to always rate positively, then wouldn’t someone who dislikes the genre be expected to always rate negatively, and someone who is so-so on it should be expected to always rate them so-so?

          I don’t think so. Within a genre/type of act there will always be variation. I can’t think of any group I’m a fan of where I’d give their previous year’s worth of releases a similar rating. But if it was a genre I wasn’t interested in at all, it would end up very repetitive, I suspect.

          Besides, the suggestion isn’t to replace Ronald, by any means, but to get a variety back. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what a person into genre x thinks, as well?

    • kogamo

      Week later Zen Zen Zense still sounds like a Bump of Chicken’s song.

    • Heart Station

      Namie queen

    • l3012

      I agree about the possibility of having more writers and rotate the music reviews once in a while, to include more points of view: Arama is rather aloof when it comes to idols and a lot of other genres, and while I understand that a lot of people doesn’t like them much, there are a lot who do (I’m kind of an on-and-off fan, nothing interests me that much lately tbh).

      Personally I like Boku wa Inai, but mostly because it sounds nostalgic and sad (it was the last single for one of the members, and the song is reflecting about her absence). I’m trying to like Namie’s song but I just can’t…it’s like the Japanese version of Rise: a song in mid tempo that tries to sound epic but falls short to what you were expecting.

      RADWIMPS…it’s a situation of ‘it’s not terrible but I’ve heard this before’. I had to replay it one more time to elaborate a better opinion, but I just can’t. It has that ‘something’ that tingles like an anime song but that’s it.

      • Michele

        “I’m trying to like Namie’s song but I just can’t…it’s like the Japanese version of Rise: a song in mid tempo that tries to sound epic but falls short to what you were expecting.”

        This is pretty spot on. They both share the same flaws (even their respective PVs are equally boring).

      • Nervi Taralin


        i love this version more <3

    • surfboardt

      While I agree that more reviewers are needed (Although we should keep in mind that staff/writers aren’t paid to run Arama, so we can’t just tell them to take more time away to do it), the flipside to the issue is “So what should Ronald do to make everyone happy?” Start giving out 10s every single time a LDH/48G/JE/etc stan bitches and moans about his low score (Which defeats the purpose of a review by eventually being forced to give everyone 10s)? The reality is that all reviewers have their biases/preferences, and Ronald isn’t any different nor is any other reviewer compared to Ronald.

      And that leads me to my other problem. Not to name names, but every single time this happens, it’s the same people for the same specific group/act/franchise/agency. If you really have a problem with Ronald’s biases/preferences, where were you when he displayed his biases in reviews on groups/acts you care less about? Do you really care about Ronald being biased or are you just upset that someone you like had a low score? And not to single out the LDH fans in particular (Because I could easily pull another instance of this issue for another act), but look at how LDH fans reacted to the post about HIGH & LOW movie’s second week profit drop. Any form of critique sets people off, and it wasn’t even Ronald that exclusively made the critique (Nor was he the writer of the post). It’d be naive if the criticism about Ronald isn’t at least partially fueled by stans/fans’ own biases.

      I guess what I’m trying to get at is that while it’s clear that we need more reviewers (And it would solve the problem that people are having with these posts), Ronald is not the sole person to blame for that issue (Unless it turns out he’s literally holding staff members hostage and preventing them from participating or something of that sort), and some of the criticism that Ronald receives (At least for song reviews) is honestly unconstructive, unwarranted, and petty as a result of this issue (Not that he should be free of criticism, but “he gave my fave a low score, therefore he’s a terrible reviewer” isn’t a valid critique unless you elaborate on it).

      • Ben

        (Not that he should be free of criticism, but “he gave my fave a low score, therefore he’s a terrible reviewer” isn’t a valid critique unless you elaborate on it).

        I never said that. My criticism always with Ronald’s lazy mentality. “It’s the song I’ve heard before” is basically his review for every pop/idol song. Just review them. “it’s the same song from these groups.” “nothing original” “boring”. Same words.

        He’s not a terrible reviewer, he’s just too close minded when it comes what is good music and what’s not. This is also another reason why I dislike his reviews. He literally said “Not my fault their music is bad”. before. You don’t like music by particular artists? Not into idol songs? cool. No need to insult them and those who like them. There are others who enjoy them just because you don’t. Your definition of music does not apply to everyone. His attitude is tiresome and annoyingly obnoxious.

        Jpop is mainly dominated by pop music and yet he wants something “edgy” and “new”, Like I said, not everyone is Misia, Shiina Ringo or Hikki. Idols and pop music is general. Honesly he doesn’t need to review anything anymore. It’s gonna be the same thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s Idol or not. Even if it’s Namie Hirai Ken,or Nishino Kana. He will always say/imply the same thing for every genre he’s not into “It’s the same thing” “Nothing I’ve never heard before”

        • surfboardt

          I never said it was your comment in that post (At most, maybe that time you accused the open voting/nomination awards poll as being a reflection of Ronald’s biases, but you clarified that you didn’t read the post, so it was a knee-jerk reaction/assumption). If anything,

          “He’s not a terrible reviewer, he’s just too close minded when it comes what is good music and what’s not. This is also another reason why I dislike his reviews. He literally said “Not my fault their music is bad”. before. You don’t like music by particular artists? Not into idol songs? cool. No need to insult them and those who like them. There are others who enjoy them just because you don’t. Your definition of music does not apply to everyone. His attitude is tiresome and annoyingly obnoxious.”

          That is a good example of critiquing Ronald’s reviews with reason behind it (e.g., saying that needs to stop using the same phrases (Which I actually also have a problem with because it comes off as a copy/paste after the first few times, so I just scroll straight to the rankings and score), issues with his boundaries on insulting fans/artists). But if you look at past reviews, you’ll see that some people don’t provide any constructive feedback like that and simply bash on him for not liking a song/group/act. And if you pay attention to who does it, you’ll notice that many of these people only show up with those type of comments when certain artists are being reviewed.

          But regarding the part about his preferences and what he considers to be good music, that’s how critics work. They give their opinions about the music. It may or may not fit with what your opinions. That’s the part that isn’t really fair for him to get criticized for as a reviewer. The problem is due to him being the only reviewer, but it’s not his fault that he’s the only reviewer nor should he be criticized for having preferences that differs from some people. That’s what I’m personally bothered by this situation: While there are things that are open for criticism for Ronald, some of the critiques he’s getting are things that should be addressed to the staff as a whole (As opposed to dumping it all on Ronald) or things he shouldn’t even be criticized for because the single-person review sets him up to have the critiques (That wouldn’t be a problem with multiple people) people have about him.

        • The thing is though is that I’m not really into JPop, I’m more into Japanese music, and that consists of more things than just pop. And I have called Utada’s recent material boring. I believe I said that “she should’ve stayed on hiatus if she was going to come back with this.” And I just put Ken’s new album as one of my selections for July so…

          If anything, I’m pointing out how stale and predictable the songs that top the charts in Japan are. The stagnant nature of today’s hit songs isn’t my problem, but more the industry’s, coming in large part from them allowing gimmicks to make a joke of things.

          • Ben

            “The thing is though is that I’m not really into JPop, I’m more into Japanese music, ”
            WE KNOW!

            But like I said for the millionth time, the japanese charts are dominated by pop music just like any other music charts. Hence, why people are criticizing you.

            I never said it’s your problem, I’m criticizing your reviews for the same reason you criticize these songs. “Uninspired” “boring” “nothing i’ve never read from your review before”

            • Ran

              Nope… Today’s JP charts are dominated by idols units NOT pop music. Idol music is only a small part of the Jpop genre. I love pop music, but honestly idols songs that deserve more than a 5/10 are really a rarity these days. Most of those songs are just built on a template of the same song structure and arrangements. They just tweak the melody and the lyrics and bit. And the vocals are awful. How would you justify to give them a better review then ?

              • Ben

                I never said they should be given good reviews. Like I said music is subjective. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it but don’t go around acting all high and mighty and looking down on people who enjoy the music you don’t.

                My 2 main issues with Ronald is

                1. His “not my fault they make bad music” attitude
                2. His lazy reviews. He basically just copy and paste his reviews. Go re-read his reviews for the past 6 weeks.

                • Ran

                  The problem imho isn’t Ronald but the “Chart no1 review” concept. We know that in today’s JP charts, No1 will most of the time be an AKB / LDH / Johnny’s type of song. So you will get the same type of review because all of those songs are most of the time the same type of song. Just shows a lack of diversity in today’s pop charts.

                  • Ben

                    That’s true. But like I said in other post. It’s the same everywhere even in the states or UK. The charts are dominated by your typical pop acts. Rihanna, Ariana, Britney, Gaga, 1D, etc with a few rap dongs every now and then.

                    • Ran

                      Have to disagree. Japan is 90% idols songs on the top of the charts right now. Other big music markets are dominated by pop acts, but you have a far broader mix of pop genres (solo acts, units, commercial rock, rap, dance music, EDM based pop songs). Japan used to be like this too, but these days there is a real lack of novelty. If I was in Ronald shoes, I would have stopped those reviews months ago !

                      • Ben

                        “If I was in Ronald shoes, I would have stopped those reviews months ago !”

                        It’s the better option because as a reader we’re getting the same reviews anyway every week. almost words for words

                    • The songs that hit #1 in the West are very different. How is Adele like Rihanna like Bruno Mars like Taylor Swift like Desiigner?

                      • Ben

                        They’re pretty much in the same genre pool. Ballad, pop music with r&b elements here and there. See, how it feels for putting everything in one giant pot?

                        Nogizaka is different than AKB. AKB is different than Namie or NewS. Perfume is different than E Girls. Just go re-read your reviews.

                        Boku wa Inai is idol pop but it’s not the same as Must Be Now or whatever they released before. Namie’s Hero is a jpop ballad but it doesn’t sound anything like others… you said ” It’s just another piece of nothing song that I’ve heard a million times before from a million other acts”..

                        One can argue… how is s Swift’s music is any different than Katy Perry’s? or Rihanna’s? How is Adele’s any different than Katy’s Ballads? or Swift’s ballads? or Rihanna’s ballads? They all fall under one giant umbrella just like idol, namie, nishino kana, etc. You can see the difference between the western acts despite they all have something in common… yet you put all jpop songs into one giant pop and call them “nothing i’ve never heard before?” oh please.

                      • You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.

                      • Ben

                        Oh yeah. I keep forgetting you’re the one who has the last word what is “good” music and what is not. What sounds alike and what doesn’t. Silly me.

                • Copy and paste songs get copy and paste reviews. And I don’t look down on people.

                  • Ben

                    Lmao and you wonder why people think your reviews are cringeworthy. and yeah you do.

      • But I have gave several of the acts from those companies high scores.

        • Ben

          one in every 100 songs. and for the other 99, you just copy and paste your reviews pretty much

          • Ran

            Copy / pasted reviews for copy / pasted songs… seems perfectly good to me !

    • ren

      i dont mind ronald’s reviews, obviously everyone has their own taste and opinions so there’s nothing wrong with him disliking the typical jpop sound and favouring other genres of music, and rating them to that order. and it’s not like his some sort of music professional critic (unless…he is?) either. reviews are subjective to one’s taste so its not like hes going to give a typical idol song 10/10 when he doesn’t like it, because its just not his thing.
      though i have to agree, because it is only ronald doing these reviews most of the time, the scores and reviews do become easy to predict. id like to see more staff and other reviews in this segment.

      • Ntouch

        Yeah, but Ronald’s reviews can be very cringeworthy.

    • Ntouch

      Look at the feedback from the reviewer reviews as if it was really important and valid lol. But I do expect better from a so-called “Staff Writer” though. Must be a struggling writer in school. Go easy on the kid guys ;)

    • lolipopo

      That NMB song is so forgettable honestly. I get that they wanted to go for a typical sad sappy type of song for Milky’s last song but this is just so stale.