#1 Song Review: Week of 12/31 – 1/6

Hello AramaJapan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw Nishino Kana beat off Kis-My-Ft2 and Che’Nelle 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: Kamen Joshi – Genkidane☆ (not in the Recochoku top 50 / not in the iTunes top 10 all week)

Ronald: This has to be the most blatant ripoff of another successful act in recent memory. This is clearly an attempt to cash in on BABYMETAL’s success. The mix of metal and idol pop with a bit of rapping just screams BABYMETAL. Well I guess it worked to some extent because here we are talking about it. The song is a complete mess. It’s the equivalent of an audial gangbang. There’s too many things going on, there’s no sense of direction, and it just goes on for too long. At least with BABYMETAL, I can see an effort to blend musical styles. I can’t see that at all here. The blending here is as lazy as the blatant copying. I hope BABYMETAL’s people call their lawyers. 0/10

Ryusenkai: Though most probably know this by now, idols usually aren’t my thing, but I give everything a fair shot here. Before they topped the Oricon charts a couple weeks back, I honestly had no idea who Kamen Joshi were, so I really didn’t know what to expect going into this (though the song’s title did make me somewhat wary). “GENKIDANE☆” kind of has a somewhat similar split personality to what I understand BABYMETAL possesses, and while I do like certain types of metal (I actually go out of my way to try to find good power and folk metal) I’m not really a fan of the style in use here (or of the way it’s used). Furthermore, the two distinct halves of this song seem to be… “stitched together” I think is a good way to put it, since the tonal shifts are rather sudden and don’t really to seem to have much connection. The composition here reminds me very much of what Hyadain tends to produce, though I’ve no proof that he was involved, but I have my suspicions with this double-minded sonic footprint. In addition, I think that “GENKIDANE☆” really could have been cut around 2 minutes or so shorter than it actually is, since the song drags a fair bit towards the end. Lastly, the lyrics are very much in the kind of overly motivational upbeat style that seems to be rather dominant in the Japanese mainstream these days (during the “heavier” parts of this song they’re kind of out of place as well) and that I’ve expressed my dissatisfaction with plenty in the past. In the end, I really can’t bring myself to say that I like this song, since I very much don’t; it’s just not my type of music, in two distinctly different ways. 2/10



Recochoku: Nishino Kana – Darling (not in the Oricon top 50 / iTunes #3)

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 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: SEKAI NO OWARI – Dragon Night (Oricon #24 / Recochoku #2)

Ronald: Same review as before – Generic in a way that this isn’t likable. I’m not here for this Avicii Japan-only bonus track featuring SEKAI NO OWARI. And the banjo, WTF is that? It was like a bad sound effect on one of those Fisher Price kid’s toys. This is so generic that they’ve ripped of Avicii’s country/EDM hybrid shtick. There’s something about this band that I just really don’t like. They’re like the band version of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, childish and gimmicky. It’s makes sense that the singer is banging her… 2/10

Ryusenkai: Same review as before – I’ve a weird relationship with SEKAI NO OWARI as a band, since I actually do quite like their compositions for the most part; there’s clearly a lot of work put into them. Where the problem begins to creep in is with their (in my opinion) overuse of auto-tune and lyrics which are frankly… really not very good. I’ve had the auto-tune described to me as a stylistic part of their music, and if so, it’s possible that said style just isn’t for me; I don’t mind artists experimenting with auto-tune as an effect, and I’ve even supported it when BUMP OF CHICKEN and Southern All Stars have dug into it in the past. However, it’s not something that I feel goes with every song and should not “replace” singing, so to speak. Those two factors end up making a lot of SEKAI NO OWARI songs feel repetitive to me fairly quickly. This brings us to “Dragon Night”, which contains both of the above problems PLUS a composition that’s been invaded by EDM stylings. Throwing yet another repetitive element into a style of song that already ends up somewhat repetitive for me probably isn’t the best of ideas, and this is honestly one of my least favorite SEKAI NO OWARI songs. Even so, I do enjoy it more than V6′s effort this week by enough to name “Dragon Night” my pick of the week. This song at least has one moment within its instrumental that shines – the impressive banjo run followed by what sounds like a few notes on a xylophone. That’s enough to allow it to pull ahead in this race, even though I think both songs are far from the front of the pack. 4.5/10



Ronald’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1: Nishino Kana – Darling

2. iTunes #1: SEKAI NO OWARI – Dragon Night

3. Oricon #1: Kamen Joshi – Genkidane☆


Ryusenkai’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1: Nishino Kana – Darling / iTunes #1: SEKAI NO OWARI – Dragon Night

3. Oricon #1: Kamen Joshi – Genkidane☆