#1 Song Review: Week of 12/24 – 12/30

Hello AramaJapan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw Che’Nelle beat off Super Junior to come out on top. She’s back again this week along with a returnee from the past plus 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: Kis-My-Ft2 – Thank you Jan! (not released digitally)

Ronald: I feel like I’ve heard this song a million times before. It’s another happy go lucky, upbeat song from a Johnny’s group. There’s nothing fresh about this. I found the split second of dubstep in this song to be really, really odd. Why was it there? Why was it so short? I’m so confused. I end up focusing on that random split second because it’s the most interesting thing about this song and leaves me with so many questions. 2/10

Ryusenkai:  As per the usual, idol music isn’t typically my thing, though I always endeavor to give it a fair shake. If my memory’s right, this is actually the first time that I think I’ve reviewed a Kis-My-Ft2 song for this feature, though “Thank You, Jan!” seems to fit right into the type of old-school, happy go-lucky upbeat song that I’ve come to expect from some Johnny’s groups a few times a year. I do like the old timey piano at the beginning though! Really, I like the piano whenever it shows up in this song, even though there’s really nothing particularly interesting or adventurous about this twinkly instrumental (is that twinkling quality something that’s more common in songs released towards the end of the year? I wonder…). It sounds like there’s some kind of strange effect over the vocals for this song, or maybe it’s some kind of interference from the synth or the bass – I really can’t tell, but it’s somewhat annoying and I really wish that it wasn’t there. Couldn’t find a full translation for the lyrics, but what I can pick up really doesn’t lead me to believe that I’m missing all that much from this upbeat tune. On the whole, I actually don’t mind “Thank You, Jan!” as much as I do some other idol songs (beyond whatever that vocal effect is), plus I’m kind of in a nostalgic mood music-wise right now, so this gets a resounding “It’s Ok!” from me. 4/10


Recochoku: Nishino Kana – Darling (Oricon: not in the top 100 / iTunes: #4)

Ronald: Same review as before – Good God, is this song dull… This is like the crap Taylor Swift was pumping out a few years ago. I like Kana in theory. She has some really good songs, but then she releases pap like this that makes me question why I even like her. She can do so much better than this. Maybe it’s the producer’s fault? I wouldn’t be surprised if she released a new album by the end of the year and to be completely honest, I’m not anticipating it. The singles this era have all been pretty lame. This country pop bore can get added to that heap. I don’t like country music so that isn’t helping things. I downloaded this single and this song has absolutely 0 playback value. 4/10

Ryusenkai: Same review as before – Innocuous” happens to be a term that I’d also apply to Kana Nishino, since while she’s certainly possessed of an above-average voice, a lot of her songs tend to end up sounding the same. I’ll give ‘Darling’ credit, since it does try to disguise some of the touches that have practically become hallmarks of her music behind a more folksy instrumental. That’s about all I can say for the song though, since other than this (practically) cosmetic alteration, there’s really not much different about this song compared to most of her recent output. Still, I suppose trying has to count for something. Trying, and the fact that I do rather enjoy folk music. 4.5/10


iTunes: Che’Nelle – Happiness (Oricon #38 / Reccohoku #4)

RonaldSame review as before – Don’t get me wrong, Che’Nelle has a really nice voice but most of her songs leave a lot to be desired. They’re just so standard, so expected, so generic. She’s that foreign girl who sings generic ballads in Japanese. I hear this and I just think “God, haven’t I heard this a million times before?” It’s like… was May J. not available? 4.5/10

RyusenkaiSame review as before – Che’Nelle is another in the group of singers like May J. who have a particularly pleasant vocal tone to listen to, but really could use a bit of work on their overall vocal technique. Che’Nelle in particular needs to get a better handle on her breathing, since it’s something that you can’t help but notice once you’re aware of it. That said, I still do quite enjoy the R&B-tinged vocal performance that Che’Nelle gives in “Happiness”, since I’m something of a sucker for these emotional styles of singing – particularly at this time of year. Her command of both Japanese and English is also to be praised, since it’s not something that you see done this well all that often. The lyrics are trite and the instrumental sparkling and pretty. Over time this song has started to wear on me, so I might drop it half a point. 5/10


Ronald’s Rank:

1. iTunes #1 : Che’Nelle – Happiness

2. Recochoku #1: Nishino Kana – Darling

3. Oricon #1: Kis-My-Ft2 – Thank you Jan!


Ryusenkai’s Rank:

1. iTunes #1 : Che’Nelle – Happiness

2. Recochoku #1: Nishino Kana – Darling

3. Oricon #1: Kis-My-Ft2 – Thank you Jan!