#1 Song Review: Week of 9/9 – 9/15 (SMAP v. Nishino Kana v. Leo Ieiri)

Hello Arama! Japan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw Arashi defeat Sandaime J Soul Brothers to take the top spot. This week sees 2 newcomers and a returnee from previous weeks battling it out. 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: SMAP – Otherside / Ai ga Tomaru Made wa (not released digitally)


Ai ga Tomaru Made wa

Ronald:  Otherside – This sounds like a B’z song. It is a pretty average rock song. Nothing exciting at all. Somehow SMAP manages to make a song that is supposed to be exciting really dull. Their singing is just so flat and non-emotive. It’s like they’re just going through the motions. A total phoned-in job when they’re trying to give off this badass vibe. 2/10

Ai ga Tomaru Made wa –  This is like SMAP doing Gesu no Kiwami Otome. karaoke. This is because Gesu no Kiwami Otome.’s frontman, Kawatani Enon, wrote and composed this song. I really like it. SMAP works with a lot of people that I like, but most of the time I feel like SMAP somehow manages to bastardize their work or the song creator is just giving them a song from their reject bin. I don’t feel that way in this case. This song feels like a Gesu no Kiwami Otome. song that SMAP just happens to be singing.  Enon is the best thing about this song. The song has a really good, energetic rhythm to it. Enon’s good with melodies and the melody of this song is quite good. SMAP doesn’t sound dead on this song, so I guess that’s a plus. I wish Enon had kept this song for Gesu no Kiwami Otome. because it’s kinda wasted on SMAP. This song should’ve been the main A-side on this single instead of the dismal dated rock of “Otherside.” Enon is the future of the Japanese music industry so why relegate his work to exalted B-side status? 8/10

Single average: 5/10

Thomas: Otherside – I was looking forward to this because of MIYAVI’s involvement. What a letdown. SMAP’s vocals are so monotonous on this song that they completely ruined the song for me. In my opinion, it’s utterly annoying. Not even the instrumental (which sounds pretty cool) can fix this for me. 3/10

Ai ga Tomaru Made wa – Except for the sometimes cringeworthy vocals and some parts of the lyrics, I don’t mind this as much as the other A-side. The arrangement is what sticks out positively in this song, too. 4.5/10

Single average: 3.75

Ice: Otherside – I’m not gonna say anything about the vocals here since you generally know what you’re going to get when you listen to SMAP. Regarding the other parts of the song, I’m not exactly sure what this song is suppose to appeal to so I’m obviously not the target for this kind of song. Anyways, it’s a rock song with some concert band undertones in it with the trumpets that generally plays whenever the boys sing. Umm yeah, it bored me. 3/10

Ai ga Tomaru Made wa
Am I listening to gigolo music here? Like really, I see a bunch of like old women in the crowd cheering for this so i’m going to assumes it’s for them. Anyways, this seems like more of an average idol song that I would expect from a guy group, but this kind of sounds like it came from like the 90s or something. Anyways, this song did nothing for me and I don’t really have much to say except that it was boring and it felt really dragging. 3/10

Single average: 3/10


Recochoku #1: Nishino Kana – Torisetsu (Oricon #6 / iTunes #2)

Ronald: Dreadful. I can’t with this twee, babyish crap she puts out now. I’ve really and truly reached my limit after these past few singles of the same throwback Taylor Swift crap. I hate this. 1/10

Thomas: I think the lyrics are really clever for this kind of song but the song just screams cliché. For some reason, Kana’s earlier songs sound way more mature than her latest few efforts. This whole “Japanese Taylor Swift” thing needs to stop. Out of the three new songs this week, it’s still the one I’d pick if I had to. 5/10

Ice: Unlike Kana’s usual style of a sentimental ballad, this is a more fun and happy fast tempo’d folk-like song. Kana did not use anything particularly impressive here when it comes to her vocals but it’s mostly stable and consistent throughout the whole song. I did not feel that this was anything particularly interesting as even in the category of fun and happy songs, there are a lot of songs that do the job better. 5/10


iTunes #1: Leo Ieiri – Kimi ga Kureta Natsu (Oricon #31 / Recochoku #2)

Ronald: Same review as before – Honestly, I’m just bored. This is so middle of the road. There’s nothing here that really catches my interest, and there’s nothing here to keep my interest. It’s just way too pedestrian for me to enjoy. 4/10

Thomas: Same review as before – Leo proves that it doesn’t take much to create a good song. The lyrics, the arrangement and the melody are very simple, but it all works together pretty well. It reminded me a lot of YUI’s early songs, in a good way. No wonder people are calling her YUI’s successor. 7/10

Ice: This is a more ballad orientated song rather than Leo’s usual style of rock. It’s accompanied mostly by piano and an acoustic guitar. There aren’t any tricks in this song either by the instrumentals or the vocals so it seems to be one of those songs that you listen for comfort. The tone of the song is very meleancholic with Leo singing about a love that fell apart. Overall, this song isn’t exactly bad, it’s not like there is anything new or really creative here. 5/10


Ronald’s Rank:

1. Oricon #1: SMAP – Otherside / Ai ga Tomaru Made wa

2. iTunes #1: Leo Ieiri – Kimi ga Kureta Natsu

3. Recochoku #1: Nishino Kana – Torisetsu


Thomas’ Rank:

1. iTunes #1: Leo Ieiri – Kimi ga Kureta Natsu

2. Recochoku #1: Nishino Kana – Torisetsu

3. Oricon #1: SMAP – Otherside / Ai ga Tomaru Made wa


Ice’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1: Nishino Kana – Torisetsu / iTunes #1: Leo Ieiri – Kimi ga Kureta Natsu

3. Oricon #1: SMAP – Otherside / Ai ga Tomaru Made wa


Which one do you like the most?

Oricon #1: SMAP – Otherside / Ai ga Tomaru Made wa
Recochoku #1: Nishino Kana – Torisetsu
iTunes #1: Leo Ieiri – Kimi ga Kureta Natsu

Poll Maker