#1 Song Review: Week of 7/29 – 8/4 (Johnny’s WEST v. Carly Rae Jepsen v. Shiina Ringo)

Hello Arama Japan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw Nogizaka46 beat out Carly Rae Jepsen to take the top spot. Carly is back again this week, along with 2 newcomers. 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: Johnny’s WEST – Bari Hapi (not released digitally)

Watch here.

Ronald: This doesn’t make me feel very happy. It actually makes me cringe A LOT. This is some bad some eurotrash garbage from the 90s that didn’t need to be received. I know the 90s are back right now, but there are better forms of music to recycle from that era. This is like a polka song on crack. .5/10

Thomas: This is beyond cringeworthy. I have always disliked Schlager but this song made me hate it even more. Instead of “J-pop meets Schlager”, we get “Musikantenstadl” (an Austrian Schlager TV show) presented by Johnny’s boys. There is no twist to the song. It’s an Après Ski song in the middle of summer. I can see that some people might like this type of song and I’ll let them have it but it’s definitely not for me. 1/10


Recochoku #1: Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You (not released physically)

Ronald: Same review as last week – I actually like this song, but not enough to play it on my own accord. It get why it’s popular in Japan. It’s a cute song. It’s cute, not not in that really saccharine, cheesy way like a lot of idol songs are. I could imagine someone like Nishino Kana making a song like this (if she ever stopped pretending to be last decade’s version of Taylor Swift like she currently is). It’s a fun song. 6.5/10

Thomas: Same review as last week – This is one of the western songs that could as well have been J-pop. It’s upbeat, catchy and bubblegummy. I really liked (no pun intended) that “I’m pregnant” joke. I’m not a big fan of Carly’s voice and I feel like her songs always go in the same direction (maybe because of her weak vocals?) but I guess it’s an alright bop. 6/10


iTunes #1: Shiina Ringo – Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri (no physical release til 8/5 / Recochoku #6)

Ronald: I think this may very well my favorite song I’ve had to review in this series so far this year. This is a summery jazz song. She’s assisted on it vocally by Ukigumo, Tokyo Jihen’s guitarist. His addition is a nice touch. She’s also assisted by some electronic vocal effects that really aren’t needed. They don’t make me dislike the song, but I don’t really see the need for them. The song is really smooth and sophisticated, but with a kick to it still. 8.5/10

Thomas:  I really like the overall atmosphere of this song. The final version turned out to be a bit different from the one featured in the Coca Cola CM but I’m glad they changed it. This version is rather dark but it still has the typical “summer hit” feel to it. The arrangement complements the vocals very well and a lot is going on in the background. However, I’m not a fan of the heavy autotune and haven’t gotten used to it after many listens. 7/10


Ronald’s Rank:

1. iTunes #1: Shiina Ringo – Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri

2. Recochoku #1: Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You

3. Oricon #1: Johnny’s WEST – Bari Hapi


Thomas’ Rank:

1. iTunes #1: Shiina Ringo – Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri

2. Recochoku #1: Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You

3. Oricon #1: Johnny’s WEST – Bari Hapi

Vote here!