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Japan Top 10 is now an official affiliate with CD Japan! If you like any of the songs listed here, then we would greatly appreciate it if you click on these links and buy the official CD from them! They are a 100% official website to get music goods from Japan and record sales from their site are tabulated onto the Oricon Charts! They have very reasonable prices for shipping and all prices for their goods are set at standard prices that are listed on the CD (or any other product you purchase). Many other sites that sell goods to foreigners either have very expensive shipping costs or raise the prices of products from the standard price set by the record companies. CD Japan does not have any of these cash grabbing techniques! So if you like any of these songs, we highly recommend you guys to purchase the song!
Japan Top10がCD Japanと正式に提携しました！こちらで気に入った曲は是非CD JapanでCDをご購入ください。CD Japanは公式ウェブサイトで、このサイトからの購入はオリコンチャートに反映されます。送料も安く、商品価格も正規価格です。他のサイトは送料・商品価格共に高額となっている場合がありますので、ご注意ください。
We update this page with 10 new J-Pop songs once each month, on the day first day of each month.
If you like it, then we recommend you guys to listen to it a bit more and if you still like it, please click the CD Japan link and consider purchasing the CD. Hey, hint hint, special bonuses like posters are often given out in first editions, so don’t wait too long! CD Japan offers great bonuses to first edition CD’s! For songs that are only released digitally, we’ll still link you guys to the song’s iTunes or Recochoku page.
These reviews are as of January 2017.
April 1, 2017
1. COLTECO – “Surely (featuring CHIYORI)”
Nick’s thoughts: What a groovy song to kick off our list. Love the minimalist beat with the synth keyboards. Gives it an 80s vibe. The catchy “doo’s” and “ooh’s” mesh well with the instrumental and fittingly achieves COLTECO’s self-described title as a “future disco trio”. However, the music drowns out Chiyori’s mellow voice in the latter section of the song. 8/10
2. 片平里菜 – “なまえ”
Nick’s thoughts: Okay, so I’m a little impatient. I enjoy a calming song but this isn’t the case. When the slow pace of the song finally picks up halfway through, I’m introduced to a jarring childish flute. Luckily it doesn’t last very long but the rest of this tune is more or less the same thing. 片平里菜’s voice is decent but unspectacular and the song sounds like it came straight from a fairly tale, albeit a very mundane one. 4/10
Namae [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] Rina Katahira
3. KEMURI – “GO! GO! GO! GO! GLOW!”
Nick’s thoughts: KEMURI’s creation is not unlike a shōnen anime opening. I like the singer’s husky voice and as hinted by the title, KEMURI takes you on a ride through the near almost-3 minutes. Although the guitar riffs are pretty awesome, the general song composition shows little variation, and is nothing out of the ordinary of J-Rock. 7/10
FREEDOMOSH [CD+DVD] KEMURI
4. 大原櫻子 – “ひらり”
Nick’s thoughts: I’m a fan of Sakurako Ohara, so naturally I’m a fan of her vocals which I find are suitable for the chorus. I feel like the main driver for this ballad would be its emotional appeal, but Sakurako’s performance isn’t enough to break the language barrier to immerse me in that emotion. Without this feeling, I’m left with a decent, but generic pop ballad. 6/10
Hirari [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Type B] Sakurako Ohara
5. 三代目 J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE – “HAPPY”
Nick’s thoughts: The pop beat is alright and I normally appreciate a catchy pop tune but this song doesn’t do much creatively to stand out for me. It certainly fulfills the “HAPPY” requirement yet I don’t feel motivated to get up and party in this pounding, relentless dance tune. 5/10
Sandaime J Soul Brothers (3JSB) from EXILE TRIBE
6. JUJU – “Because Of You”
Nick’s thoughts: JUJU’s voice is fantastic. From her flying falsetto’s to her emotional crescendo’s, her experience in R&B and jazz are evident. The music seems to be built around her voice alone, which is the clear centre of attention. Whatever JUJU sings, the music has to follow her lead, as opposed to having both the vocal and instrumental portions compliment each other. And that’s what’s holding her back from creating a good song to a great one. 6.5/10
Because of You [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] JUJU
7. Diggy-MO’ – “首都高２”
Nick’s thoughts: Knowing nothing about Diggy-MO, I almost expected a female singer. His singing voice isn’t the smoothest, but I can feel the emotion behind him. The combination of instruments is interesting: strings, pop synths, and a dance beat combined with a singing rapper. But somehow, this wonderful organized mess meshes so well to create a unique sound that I can jam to. 8.5/10
8. RINNE HIP – “KITTY”
Nick’s thoughts: The “doo-doo”s off the intro are reminiscent of a Super Mario Bros. tune, which is fitting given the playful, nonsensical nature of “KITTY”. In fact, most of the quirky, repetitive instrumentals sound like they could be substituted for video game music. If you’re into the ordinary, you do not like this song. I’m not quite sure what I make of it, after 3 minutes of RINNE HIP I can say that I had a positive experience. 7/10
9. 平井堅 – “僕の心をつくってよ”
Nick’s thoughts: Ken Hirai has a delicate voice that pairs sweetly with the accompanying piano. The trumpet solo suits it nicely and is a great juxtaposition to his vocals. Backing vocals only come in towards the end of the song which makes for a fitting build up. But I’ve heard so many solo ballads you’d need to do something insane to impress me. Objectively, it’s a pretty good song. Just maybe not for me. 6.5/10
Boku No Kokoro Wo Tsukutteyo [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] Ken Hirai
10. HY – “ありがとう”
Nick’s thoughts: I love the creativity from the intro to the verses. There are tasteful sprinkles of instruments that pop out during each verse that feel like the perfect condiments to HY’s unique voice. Because she has a lower register, the higher pitched bells and whistles (figuratively and literally) flesh out the tune scrumptiously. The only thing lacking is the chorus, in which the choir uncomfortably drowns out HY. I would’ve appreciated a bigger spotlight on just her. 7.5/10
Chance [2CD+DVD / Limited Edition] HY
March 1, 2017
1. AAA – “Magic”
Recca’s thoughts: The fat horn section loops give it a bit of Vegas flair that jives perfectly with the title and magic motifs in the music video. This strong start builds to a somewhat underwhelming standard K-pop-influenced pop song, however. Despite AAA’s unique mixed-gender lineup, for me, at least, their songs tend to be either mediocre or great, and this is definitely the former. 5/10
Magic [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] AAA
2. Misokkasu – “Dancing Monster”
Recca’s thoughts: I was definitely not expecting a vaguely ska-infused rock number with some fun synth hits, a vaguely disco beat in parts, and a very upbeat chorus. I don’t listen to too much J-rock, but I really enjoyed the unique sound of this one. I feel like more and more rock groups are using electronic elements in their music due to EDM’s current global popularity. 7/10
Dancing Monster [Regular Edition] Misokkasu
3. Necronomidol – “NEPENTHE”
Recca’s thoughts: This group takes the “idol” concept to a whole different level with their occult, horror, and gang-inspired look and performances. I can detect BABYMETAL’s influence in this group, although Necronomidol doesn’t sound as polished. I’ll give them brownie points for a unique visual style, at least, but frankly, this just isn’t my kind of music. 5/10
Deathless (SANGUIS Ban) [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] / NECRONOMIDOL
4. Tempalay – “ZOMBIE-SONG”
Recca’s thoughts: Tempalay brings us a psych-infused sing-song hip-hop number that transitions into a sweet little chorus. There’s a very strong resemblance to pioneering Brazilian psychedelic band Os Mutantes, as well as some of the more ambitious tracks by Japan’s own Happy End. I’m a big fan of the weirder end of the pop spectrum, so I really enjoyed the craziness of this song. 8/10
5. aimer – “Kogoesou na Kisetsu kara”
Recca’s thoughts: An icy, classic “big J-pop” song with a slightly New Age otherwordly feel. I was almost expecting a “Let it Go” based on the beginning piano riff. This song is decidedly more pop-rock-influenced, though. Aimer’s vocals and the tense melody in the chorus are not my cup of tea in the chorus, but otherwise this song stands out slightly from many similar-sounding tunes. 6/10
BEST SELECTION “blanc” [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Type B] Aimer
6. Ohashi Trio – “DOLLY”
Recca’s thoughts: Ohashi Trio has worked on some film scores, so it seems fitting that this song feels like the start of an epic journey. I detect a sprinkling of Beatles influence here, specifically “Here Comes the Sun” and “Day Tripper.” It’s no wonder, then, that this song feels nostalgic despite being brand-new. 7/10
7. Perfume – “TOKYO GIRL”
Recca’s thoughts: Full disclosure – I’m a giant fan of Perfume. The rhythm of the melody in this song is very similar to their recent “Pick Me Up”, and the more Japanese-influenced melody recalls last year’s “Flash.” Both of those songs are superior to this one, sadly. It suffers in the quieter parts, like many Perfume songs, because the heavily-processed vocals don’t sound quite as good without a lot of electronic music behind them. This song just doesn’t get me up on the dance floor and feels a little like “more of the same”, but that being said, it’s still a good song. 8/10
TOKYO GIRL [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] Perfume
8. KANA-BOON – “Fighter”
Recca’s thoughts: The backing strings and vocals give this song an edge over your typical J-rock number, and the bridge between the chorus and second verse is killer. I don’t listen to too much J-rock, but I reluctantly enjoyed this one despite myself. It seems like the perfect accompaniment to a shonen anime battle scene. 7/10
Fighter [Anime Ver. / Limited Edition] KANA-BOON
9. Niji no Conquistador – “No Life Baby of the End”
Recca’s thoughts: This is the theme song for a movie called “Sei Zombie Jogakuin” (Saint Zombie Girls’ Academy), which stars the girls of Niji no Conquistador. The title of the movie, the song, and this group themselves are certainly different from your typical Japanese idol group. The big band sound of this one and slight weirdness make it a standout for me, but I don’t care for the vocal stylings of certain members. 6/10
Drama Yori mo Dramatic [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] Beboga! (Niji No Conquistador Kigumi)
10. amazarashi – “Inochi ni Fusawashii”
Recca’s thoughts: Quiet, pensive, and relaxing – not exactly what I expected from a rock band like amazarashi. I don’t care for the singer’s voice, and in a quiet song like this that can be a deal-breaker. This song builds to that classic string-and-piano-driven “big J-pop sound”, but the quiet moments are just as strong. The second verse integrates another unique sound as well with some complex bass riffs. 6/10
Inochi ni Fusawashii [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] amazarashi
February 1, 2017
1. パスピエ – “夜の子”
Will’s thoughts: Everything in this track has a slow, moody tone to it. The light drums, bass, and guitar contribute to a sombre twilight mood that’s great to hear during those calming nights. Main vocalist Natsuki Ogoda’s soft tone compliments the song really well as she sings to you hypnotically – almost like a lullaby rocking you to sleep.
&DNA [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] Passepied
2. Flower – “モノクロ”
Will’s thoughts: “Monokuro” has a dominant power pop tone. The vocals and guitar riffs rises you energy. The beat is catchy and keeps the listener engaged throughout the run of the song. Not to mention that the rock sound gives the single an edge and distinguishes itself from other J-pop idol girl acts.
Monochro/Colorful [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] Flower
3. 三浦大知 – “EXCITE”
Will’s thoughts: A fast, techno song with a great hook that reminds me of the intro for a superhero show for some reason. It’s great for dance parties or whenever you’re about to hit up a night club. Overall, it has an exciting tone with lots of energy put into it to keep you engaged.
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid TV Main Theme Song: EXCITE [w/ Rider Gashat – Battle Song ver.] [Limited Edition] Daichi Miura
4. きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ – “原宿いやほい”
Will’s thoughts: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu returns with an EDM inspired earworm that\s won’t disappoint her loyal fans. Accompanied with a chorus that that almost immediately hooks the listener in, “Harajuku Iyahoi” has a really catchy beat and a great leading buildup to a danceable EDM hook. It’s energetic and makes you want to dance along with it. The best thing by far though is that it still captures Kyary’s quirky nature that we’ve come to know and love.
Crazy Crazy (feat. Charli XCX & Kyary Pamyu Pamyu) / Harajuku Iyahoi
Yasutaka Nakata, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
5. SKY-HI – “アドベンチャー”
Will’s thoughts: If you like Bruno Mars, you’ll love this song. SKY-HI brings a confident funk vibe that will convince you to groove along. The instruments complement the funk well and the beat is consistent throughout along with the saxes. This is a song that distinguishes itself from any other J-pop track out there.
OLIVE [Live Edition] [CD+DVD] SKY-HI
6. 土岐麻子 – “Peppermint Town”
Will’s thoughts: Vocalist Toki Asako’s vocals are on point in this single and match the overall mellow jazz vibe of the track. What you hear is a nice cool atmospheric sound that makes you feel like you’re waiting at a slow moody lounge. Asako\s voice is whispery, but you can make it out just enough to appreciate her range. The slow groove works well overall and creates a relaxing mood for anyone who listens to it.
Pink [CD+DVD] Asako Toki
7. Mr.Children – “ヒカリノアトリエ”
Will’s thoughts: The acoustic guitar makes its presence known along with the other light instruments from Mr. Children. I get a slight folk, relaxing country vibe from this track and just sounds very familiar and friendly. Definitely share this with someone for a nice, thoughtful moment together.
Hikari no Atelier
8. テンテンコ – “ドライブ”
Will’s thoughts: This is probably the weirdest and most experimental song on this whole list. The synth in the beginning sounds like you’re about to start the first level of a retro Nintendo game. The vocals sound purposefully distant and echoey. This can sometimes make it hard to hear the song, along with the bleeps and blurps of the consistent synth beat. The melody is very unique and can put you in a trance like state if you let it.
9. [Alexandros] – “SNOW SOUND”
Will’s thoughts: SNOW SOUND has a melody that is awe inspiring and somewhat catchy. Vocalist Yoohei Kawakami’s voice is made known by his wispy, but clear tone throughout the song. It’s a great mix of pop rock and light EDM that conjures up images of a wintery landscape and snow capped mountains. Play this single for those really cold winters.
Snow Sound / Ima Made Kimi ga Naitabun Torimodoso [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] [Alexandros]
10. G.RINA – “ヴァンパイア ハンティング” (featuring Kick A Show)
Will’s thoughts: This quirky titled track is a nice, snappy J-pop/rap tune that’s got a nice beat to sway along to. I like the nightly R&B tone of the song, but a bit more rapping would’ve made it slightly more interesting. The ending is mellow and dreamy and the beat follows that lulling pattern. It’s a very relaxing and fun song that’s well worth listening to.
Live And Learn
January 1, 2017
1. ゆうき – 虹色シャワー
Mike’s thoughts: I really enjoyed the soft sound that came from both the vocals and the instrumentals here. Yuuki was able to transition to falsetto smoothly, something some singers really struggle with. 8.5/10
2. MIKA♡MISA – Make Honey
Mike’s thoughts: I liked the instruments used in thus song and the vocal work was very good. The only bad thing is that the music and vocal seemed to be competing with each other. 6.5/10
3. cero – ロープウェー
Mike’s thoughts: This song made me picture a couple walking along a beach at sunset. The smooth music coupled with the pleasant voice really came together well. 8/10
Machi no Shirase
4. カネコアヤノ – 退屈な日々にさようならを
Mike’s thoughts: I enjoyed the acoustic sounds of the verses that transitioned into a more reverberated sound for the refrain. The vocals also had the slightest bit of an echo with it being distracting. 8/10
Koi Suru Wakusei
5. back number, 秦 基博 & 小林武史 – reunion
Mike’s thoughts: I love a good compilation and this one worked well. The voices blended just right and the melody made me just close my eyes and smile. 9/10
Encore [Regular Edition] back number
6. 大森靖子 – オリオン座
Mike’s thoughts: I liked the simple instrumentals used in this song. I also enjoy the slightest tremble in the vocals during the verses. 8/10
Orion Za / YABATAN Densetsu
7. ONE OK ROCK – I Was King
Mike’s thoughts: The opening seemed like the start of a training montage which reminded me of some of my favorite movies. This was a really rocking song that seemed like it would fit at the end of and action or adventure film. 9.5/10
Ambitions [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] ONE OK ROCK
8. 家入レオ – それぞれの明日へ
Mike’s thoughts: Nice and strong vocals worked well with the music for this song. This was another one with good blending and an overall pleasant sound. 8.5/10
5th Anniversay Best [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Type A] Leo Ieiri
9. BUMP OF CHICKEN – アンサー
Mike’s thoughts: I really like the drum work on this song and it worked well with the rest of the instrumentals. Motoo Fujiwara is usually spot on with vocals and this song was no exception. Great performance as usual. 8/10
BUMP OF CHICKEN STADIUM TOUR 2016 “BFLY” NISSAN STADIUM 2016/7/16, 17 [2DVD+LIVE CD] [Limited Edition] BUMP OF CHICKEN
10. For Tracy Hyde – Outcider
Mike’s thoughts: The intro had kind of a country feel to it which is a change of pace from typical j-pop. The music worked well with the very young sounding vocals that almost reminded me of the first opening of the anime Rurouni Kenshin. 8.5/10
For Tracy Hyde