#1 Song Review: Week of 12/3 – 12/9

Hello AramaJapan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw BUMP OF CHICKEN come out on top of AKB48 and Che’Nelle. This week we have a returnee plus another new act! 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 – Gamushara Koushinkyoku (not released digitally)

Ronald: I’m not as annoyed by this style of song as usual. It’s cheery but not in a super cringe sort of way like a lot of these songs are. I do feel like I’ve heard it before though. It’s generic in that Johnny’s way. I do think it’s cute how the voices in one part of the song mimic the bells that are happening at that moment as well. It’s a nice little touch. 4/10

Ryusenkai: As always, idols usually aren’t my thing, but let’s not waste any more time with that than is necessary. Last time I reviewed Kanjani8 here I recall myself not being all that thrilled with them, and a couple of seconds into “Gamushara Koushinkyoku” I kind of remembered why. This song is one of those relentless upbeat pop tunes that I definitely feel as though I’ve heard from another Johnny’s group before – possibly even Kanjani8 at an earlier date. The instrumental, while not poor, does comes off as both safe and dated, particularly the latter. The vocals are… fairly par for the course for what I’ve come to expect from this group, that meaning for the most part not terrible, but certainly not anything spectacular either. I will admit that I find the singing to match the pitch of a school bell bit to be kind of cute though. While I can’t find a translation of this track, what I can pick up using my own knowledge of Japanese doesn’t make me really think that I’m missing anything. On the whole, I’d say that “Gamushara Koushinkyoku” has convinced me that Kanjani8 should probably work with outside composers more often (as they did with Yuzu’s Kitagawa Yujin for “T.W.L.”), since while my ears weren’t too bothered by this song, they were definitely getting rather tired of it by the end. 3/10


Recochoku / iTunes: Che’Nelle – Happiness (Oricon #25)

Ronald: Same 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

Ryusenkai: Same 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. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1 : Che’Nelle – Happiness

2. Oricon #1: Kanjani8 – Gamushara Koushinkyoku


Ryusenkai’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1 : Che’Nelle – Happiness

2. Oricon #1: Kanjani8 – Gamushara Koushinkyoku