#1 Song Review: Week of 1/20 – 1/26 (NEWS v. Urashima Taro (Kiritani Kenta) v. AI)

Hello, Arama! Japan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw ONE OK ROCK win against Inaba Koshi and SMAP. This week, we have 2 newcomers and a blast from the past. 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: NEWS – Hikari no Shizuku / Touch (not released digitally)




Ronald: Hikari no Shizuku – This is pleasant. It’s a pretty standard ballad, and the vocals on this are better than they are with most of the other Johnny’s groups. This actually reminds of the kind of song that would do well digitally. It reminds me a bit of GReeeeN or back number instrumentally. It’s soft, but does building into something bigger, and has a touch of sentimentality. 6.5/10

Touch – For some reason, as soon as this song starts, I just get Carly Rae Jepsen, but I’m not mad at it. I actually do like this song. Like Carly’s recent work, it’s well executed pop that revels in being what it is and doesn’t try to be anything else. I appreciate this honesty. It’s just a genuinely happy pop song that fulfills its purpose. 8/10

Single average: 7.25/10

Amanda: Hikari no Shizuku – While I was not always a NEWS fan, I have been listening to some of their earlier music and am becoming more of a fan. As for Hikari no Shizuku, I liked on first listen. In many ways, it is a typical Johnny’s ballad-type song. It somewhat reminds me of something Arashi would do. I enjoyed the song, though it is certainly something I have heard before. I think that the NEWS members’ vocals really compliment each other. Overall, it was a nice listen. 8/10

Touch – I liked the intro and background instrumental throughout the song. This was a fun, catchy and upbeat, if not a little bit on the saccharine side. I think the song manages to have just the right balance of cheesiness (mostly present in the lyrics and sweetly sung vocals), but with a good instrumental and solid versus and chorus to balance it out. 7/10

Single average: 7.5/10


Recochoku #1: Urashima Taro (Kiritani Kenta) – Umi no Koe (not released physically / iTunes #4)

Ronald: Same review as before – I’m not a fan. This just seems like a bad parody. His voice on this just seems like a shout a lot of the time. It’s like he’s trying to be emotive, but he’s missing the mark. It makes everything seem like a joke. 3.5/10

Amanda: This song wouldn’t be bad…if sung by someone else. I like Kiritani as an actor but not really as a singer. The song itself is decent. It’s just Kiritani’s singing that is a little grating. Listening to it, you can tell that he is singing to the best of his ability, but it’s just that the best of his ability, technically speaking, isn’t that great. All in all I don’t think this song is bad at all, and I guess Kiritani is what gives it character. However, I wouldn’t quite sit down and listen to this. 6/10


iTunes #1: AI – Minna ga Minna Eiyuu (not released physically / Recochoku #2)


Ronald: AI is one of Japan’s best singers, and this song really showcases her vocal power. That being said, this song doesn’t really feel like a song, but more like an extended jingle. I know it’s a CM song, but it doesn’t feel like a fully realized song. And something about the instrumental just gives me nursery rhyme. This song is getting her buzz, but she would be better off doing better work. 5/10

Amanda: The reverse of what was the issue of Kiritani’s song is the issue here. I didn’t like the song all that much, but obviously AI is a great singer. She delivers a great vocal performance here as expected. The song sounds like something you would hear in a CM, but probably wouldn’t care to actually listen to on your own. I don’t care much for the borrowed melody, either. I feel like the song is trying to be something great but falls short because of that annoying nursery rhyme melody. 5/10


Ronald’s Rank:

1. Oricon #1: NEWS – Hikari no Shizuku / Touch

2. iTunes #1: AI – Minna ga Minna Eiyuu

3. Recochoku #1: Urashima Taro (Kiritani Kenta) – Umi no Koe


Amanda’s Rank:

1. Oricon #1: NEWS – Hikari no Shizuku / Touch

2. Recochoku #1: Urashima Taro (Kiritani Kenta) – Umi no Koe

3. iTunes #1: AI – Minna ga Minna Eiyuu


Which one do you like the most?

Oricon #1: NEWS – Hikari no Shizuku / Touch
Recochoku #1: Urashima Taro (Kiritani Kenta) – Umi no Koe
iTunes #1: AI – Minna ga Minna Eiyuu

Poll Maker