#1 Song Review: Week of 10/15 – 10/21

Hello AramaJapan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week, Nogizaka46 came out on top, besting JUJU and SPICY CHOCOLATE. This week we have 4 new songs! 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: Kanjani8 – Ittajanaika / CloveR (not released digitally)



Ronald: (Ittajanaika) Ohh God… I really just don’t like this. It’s like so forcibly happy that it just turns me off even more than usual. I loathe being forced to smile and laugh and whatnot and this song seems like something one would play to get that reaction out of me. It’s just cringe. Like my lower jaw hurts a tad right now reliving this song. 1.5/10

(CloveR) One Direction? That’s what I get when I first hear this. And then it veers into some lanes that they wouldn’t cross over into. And that’s not a good thing. Like I really just don’t get why this group exists…  The only enjoyable part of this song is the first 15 seconds before they start singing and that tired pop rock track takes over. 2/10

Single total: 1.75/10


Zara: (Ittajanaika) When I first heard this song, the lyrics pretty much guaranteed something crazy and the PV does not disappoint. I’m a fan of Kanjani and personally they haven’t let me down with this song, I love it. The lyrics are funny, the PV is all over the place (in a really good way) and it’s one of those songs that, if you’re in the mood, you can sing really off tune whilst jumping around your room to let off energy (points at self). 7/10

(CloveR) My first thought, on the PV, was ‘if I went to the end of the rainbow, what would I find there? o_O’ and the second was that I thought I was watching another one of their PV’s again, Kuruto. This song is fairly lighthearted, of which I’m a particular fan of. It’s something I’d have playing in the background while I’m studying and it would put me in a good mood. Unlike Ittajanaika, which is funny, CloveR is pretty, light and not meant to be taken seriously. 6/10

Single total: 6.5/10


Ryusenkai: (Ittajanaika) As always, I’ll preface this with the fact that I don’t particularly like idols, but I still like to give each song I listen to a fair shake even so. “Itta Janai Ka” is actually not that bad musically, if very, very safe. I’m fairly sure that if I put my mind to it and looked a bit, I could find a fair number of generic pop-rock songs with very similar melodies without too much effort expended. The vocals aren’t horrible, but aren’t great either (groups with this many vocalists almost always end up being a mixed bag, no matter how hard you try). The lyrics… are really kind of repetitive and don’t have a lot of meaning to them. I can see those who like ‘catchy’ songs really enjoying the way they’re structured though, since it’s an easy song to sing along to with friends or at a party. Still, even considering that, “Itta Janai Ka” is pretty run-of-the-mill, so I’m going to score it accordingly. 3.5/10

(CloveR) “CloveR” is in a very similar vein to the previous A-side, to the point where I’d have actually advised against pairing these two together were I in-charge of tracking this group’s singles. It’s maybe a bit more “twinkly” and open to some slightly more electronic touches at a couple of moments, but it still comes across as attempting to be a light-hearted pop-rock romp. The problem here is that I’ve seen this done so much better, which admittedly somewhat lowers my opinion of this song much as I might try to not let it be so. Couldn’t find a proper translation of the lyrics, but what I can pick up doesn’t exactly alter that opinion either. So, I’m going to rank “CloveR” a bit behind “Itta Janai Ka”, since I just can’t shake the humdrum haze that seems to linger over this track. 2.5/10

Single total: 3/10


Recochoku: Sandaime J Soul Brothers – C.O.S.M.O.S. ~Akizakura~ (Oricon #3 / iTunes #2)

Ronald: I just get this feeling that they’re trying to get another Hanabi and they keep falling short… I haven’t really liked their ballads since that one. But then again they’ve been really hit or miss for me for quite a while now. Probably since after SPARK. This is just trying to be grand and emotional but I’m not getting that emotion… Something just isn’t hitting the mark. It’s like the ingredients are there but something isn’t quite adding up. With Hanabi, I got the emotion, it made an impact. This is no Hanabi. Try something different next time. 5/10

Zara: After what happened last time with EXILE TRIBE I was approaching this song with extreme caution but actually it’s not that bad. Very…what’s the word, emotional. It’s probably going to piss a few people off but whenever I see these guys, I get a really strong kpop vibe from them. It’s probably the leftovers of Big Bang and 2pm but that’s just me. The PV is slow motion, close ups and pretty people but the song itself isn’t bad. It comes down to taste, if you’re an EXILE TRIBE fan, you’re probably going to like this.  5/10

Ryusenkai: Well, J Soul Brothers happen to be one of the two LDH acts (the other being ATSUSHI) that I can actually trust to deliver something a bit different on occasion, so I’ll usually at the very least check out their new releases to see how they sound. Before I begin, I’ll give the artistic stylings of the music video a nod despite them not factoring into my overall examination of of the track, though will also note that I’d like LDH to change said stylings up a bit at some point. Anyway, “C.O.S.M.O.S. ~Akizakura~” is certainly not a bad track and actually falls into the style of “seasonal ballad” that I rather enjoy at this time of year. However, it also reminds me a LOT of previous ballads they’ve done like “Hanabi” and “Fuyu Monogatari” (the latter moreso during the chorus), and if I’m going to criticize Kanjani8 for similarity between tracks, I’m sure as hell going to do the same to J Soul Brothers. The lyrics for “C.O.S.M.O.S.” tend towards the theatrical, and while technically well-written and flowery… seem to lack a degree of real emotional backing, which kind of undercuts what a ballad like this is attempting to do and the feelings which it is attempting to convey. The vocals for the song are, however, quite on point and do pick up some of the slack left by the lyrics. In the end, despite its faults, I’m still going to name “C.O.S.M.O.S. ~Akizakura~” my pick of the week, since sometimes overall execution can trump innovation. 6/10


iTunes: Nishino Kana – Suki (Oricon #9 / Recochoku #2)

Ronald: God, what a snoozer… She really seems stuck… I liked her more when her singles had more of a R&B sound but now everything sounds so dull, so generic, so basic… I don’t really have any expectations for her upcoming album except for it to be dull as well for the most part. I low key get the feeling that she’s forced to do these lackluster songs since her B-sides do have more of an R&B sound. The 2 B-sides on this single are much better than this sentimental pish. 3/10

ZaraI like her voice, it’s soft on the ears, really nice. This song is light and fluffy, perfect if light and fluffy is what you’re after. PV aside, because it’s fairly self explanatory, the song leaves a good afterfeel – like most Nishino Kana songs I suspect. It’s just nice and fluffy . 6/10

RyusenkaiRight, so back when I was talking about “Darling” about a month ago I mentioned how a lot of Kana Nishino’s songs tend to fall into this innocuous vein and have a lot of the same hallmarks. “Darling” tried to differentiate itself from that just a bit by adding in some folkier elements, and while it wasn’t wholly successful, it at least tried (in retrospect, I probably should have given that track a 4.5 rather than a 4). “Suki” is Kana unabashedly going back to doing what Kana does, i.e. a very safe, yet very pretty ballad that talks almost exclusively about love (which I guess would kind of be expected given the title). I can tell from just one look at a translation that this song isn’t aimed at “me”, or rather my demographic. Kana isn’t a poor singer, at least in terms of tone, but could really stand to work on her breath control (and I expect her posture as well, though I’d have to check lives to be sure). The song’s instrumental is kind of typical, though the choir moments are still a nice touch. “Suki” is a song that I just consider to kind of be… there – I don’t feel strongly about it one way or the other and just kind of wish that Kana had kept trying to stand out a bit more. 4/10 (To give you an idea of how little Darling really did try)


Ronald’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1: Sandaime J Soul Brothers – C.O.S.M.O.S. ~Akizakura~

2. iTunes #1: Nishino Kana – Suki

3. Oricon #1: Kanjani8 – Ittajanaika / CloveR


Zara’s Rank:

1. Oricon #1: Kanjani8 – Ittajanaika / CloveR

2. iTunes #1: Nishino Kana – Suki

3. Recochoku #1: Sandaime J Soul Brothers – C.O.S.M.O.S. ~Akizakura~


Ryusenkai’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1: Sandaime J Soul Brothers – C.O.S.M.O.S. ~Akizakura~

2. iTunes #1: Nishino Kana – Suki

3. Oricon #1: Kanjani8 – Ittajanaika / CloveR