#1 Song Review: Week of 4/29 – 5/5

Hello Arama Japan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw Gesu no Kiwami Otome. beat out Sandaime J Soul Brothers for the second week in a row, along with newcomer HKT48. This week has all new entries. 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: Hey! Say! JUMP – Chau# / Wo I Need You (not released digitally)

Ronald: Chau# – The first thing that strikes me about this song are the bells. They’re very Christmas-y. Which is weird because it’s about to be summer. The other thing that strikes me about this song is how child-like it is, and I don’t mean that as a diss. It very much reminds me of the theme song of a kids’ tv show. I’m not really sure if this is what they were going for, but that’s what I get. The song is cheery, but not in an obnoxious way like a lot of idol songs are. I do like the first part of the bridge. It’s a bit different. 4.5/10

Wo I Need You – Ok, this is pretty damn annoying… This too is child-like, but in a bad way. This is an insult. It’s just fast for no reason. It’s random; there are random voices and sounds in the song that don’t make sense as to why they are there. It features that horrible fast talking at some Johnny’s try to past off as rapping. This definitely shouldn’t have been an A-side because it’s just not a good song. It would’ve been better off left on the floor of the studio. 0/10

Single total: 2.25/10


Ryusenaki: Chau# – As per usual, I’m not the biggest fan of idol music, but I’ll always give every song that comes my way a fair shot. It’s been a good long while since I’ve had to review a Hey! Say! JUMP song on here (since early September of last year I think), though the bell part at the start of “Chau#” made me feel as though I’d been transported back half a year to December. Even after the song starts up proper, I can’t completely shake the sweet, saccharine feeling that it seems to exude, the relentlessly upbeat tempo and happy shouting interspersed throughout the track only strengthening the impression. As far as the actual intrumental goes, “Chau#” comes off as a mixture of a peppy, pop-rock track and a celebratory pop tune, a few faint horns and bells supporting the guitar and synths that serve as the main focus of the melody. The singing wasn’t too bad here honestly, though I’ll admit that a number of the parts do start to melt together on additional listens, the repetative nature of the song’s lyrics the most likely culprit for this particular offense. While I genuinely don’t find “Chau#” to be terrible, there’s something about the sheer amount of sugary sweetness that the people behind this track attempted to cram into it that comes off as both forced and somewhat offputting to me; as a result, I can’t really see myself listening to it very much at all. Still, I’ve definitely heard worse. 2.5 /10

Wo I Need You: Well, that was a fairly sudden drop into the second A-side, but manic though “Wo I Need You” can be I actually prefer it to “Chau#” by a good margin. The arrangement here is undeniably messy and the song moves at a nearly breakneck pace, though it’s perhaps because of the latter that the former sort of works here, unlike in “Weekender” (where I criticized the arrangement for being all over the place). The instrumental itself is a mix of synths and brass that sounds decidedly retro, with a few modern touches here and there to make the song seem more current. While there isn’t a terribly big difference in the vocal quality (nor the lyrical quality) on these two songs, I do feel as though a bit wider range of emotion was put on display in “Wo I Need You”, which is really quite welcome after the track that precedes it. That said, the backing chorus does come off as a tad unnecessary, but I suppose it doesn’t really take away from the larger product. I can’t quite explain what it is about this song that gets me, but I think I’ll ultimately attribute it to its juxtaposition with “Chau#”, which just feels so very restrictive. While nothing too amazing, “Wo I Need You” feels wild and fun by comparison. 3.5/10

Single total: 3/10


Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: Nishino Kana – Moshimo Unmei no Hito ga Iru no Nara (Oricon #11)

Ronald: When the music video for this song came out, I voiced my dislike for it. I’m still not a fan. It’s the follow up to her massive hit “Darling”, and it seems as if she’ll be continuing in this country-pop vein. I’m not a fan of this genre. I remember comparing Kana to Taylor Swift years ago because they were both their respective country’s darlings because they were young female singer-songwriters who made inoffensive music for the masses. But Taylor has somewhat spiced things up since then, while Kana really is making music like Taylor used to make. I never liked Taylor Swift, so I certainly don’t need a Japanese clone. Especially when said clone has made better music in the past. It’s like part of me wants to like Nishino Kana, but then she releases aural wallpaper like this… 4/10

Ryusenkai: I can’t say that I’m surprised to see Nishino Kana here again, nor can I say that I’m paritcularly surprised to see her following in the footsteps of her very successful hit “Darling”. This follow-up, “Moshimo Unmei no Hito ga Iru no Nara”, has a bit more motion to its melody and on the whole appears to be an attempt at a jaunty, mid-tempo track that won’t stray too far from what Kana’s known for, but still take an incremental step towards something a bit different. Assuming that was their goal, I can say that her and her team have succeeded quite handily, since that’s exactly what we’ve got – it’s inoffensive, it’s lilting, and it’s even just a bit cute. When we break down the composition a bit more, it’s a fairly simple pop song that wears its light country and folk influences on its sleeve, supported primarily by piano and acoustic guitar, though there are also some more varied orchestral touches ranging from bells, to flute, to what sounds to my ears to be timpani. I like that there’s a bit more liveliness than I might usually expect from Kana’s vocals on an A-side here, though the same can’t really be said for the lyrics, though I believe I’ve already gone into that at length in the past. Still, I’d call “Moshimo…” my overall pick for the week, primarily due to the instrumental variety on display here, though the generally ‘fun’ atmosphere that pervades the song is worthy of a nod on its own. 5/10


Ronald’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: Nishino Kana – Moshimo Unmei no Hito ga Iru no Nara

2. Oricon #1: Hey! Say! JUMP – Chau# / Wo I Need You


Ryusenkai’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: Nishino Kana – Moshimo Unmei no Hito ga Iru no Nara

2. Oricon #1: Hey! Say! JUMP – Chau# / Wo I Need You