With 5 years and a variety of songs under their belt, I always wonder just where new listeners can start when it comes to the joy that is Houkago Princess? I mean, the group itself has a rather diverse sound within their discography collection, from cool to cute songs, ballads and energetic pieces fit for crowd participation. Some songs are staples, whilst others are used sparingly, however there is no denying that this group, in their short five year career as Idols, have created some memorable tracks that will appeal to whole host of people, depending on what your tastes are!
So, to celebrate Houkago Princess and their recent Anniversary, I am sharing a small collection of posts introducing fans both old and new to the group, including member introductions and, right now, some samples of what Houkago Princess can do in sound. So, if you have heard these pieces or not, be sure to check them out, and see what you enjoy! Let's go!
Now, I do want to start off by saying that, whilst I feel I have picked a good variety of what this group can do, this list is also completely subjective - I am one person, and I am also a huge fan of this group and their work, so of course it will contain what I think is great. There might be something here that appeals to you, but there may also be nothing in here that you click with; it's just how it is, and I know that my tastes do not match everyone else's.
Regardless, I do hope you enjoy this post, and I do sincerely wish that you find something here to enjoy from Houkago Princesses discography, whether it's one or two songs, or all of them. And, with that said and done, I present to you all the Houkago Princess Selection: The Top 10 Songs New (and Old!) Fans should hear, at least according to Chiima. Let's go!
*For everyone's convenience, I have uploaded the songs included in this list onto SoundCloud, for your listening pleasure. That way, you can decide for yourself whether or not you enjoy the songs. Enjoy!
Okay, so let's be honest here: figuring out the #10 spot for this list was a lot harder than I had anticipated, because I had a few songs that could have sat here, however of the few I had lined up, Dream Door lucked out in the end. Why? Because it's cute, it has that group-effort feel overall, and heck, I just really like it. It's one of those feel good songs, you know?
It's also my favourite song on the Seifuku Cinderella soundtrack, and one of the first to include almost all the members singing at least one line each. So yeah, that kind of works in its favour, here.
I genuinely feel that this song, in all its cuteness, is a great addition to the HouPri playlist. It's filled with hope and energy, happiness and dreams, and was the song that was created for their major debut, pretty much. I feel elated listening to this, and just want to share it with the world. Of course, I don't think it will appeal to everyone, but if you like that generic happy-go-lucky Idol sound and that motivational tone, this is a great track to put on and enjoy.
Manatsu no Yoru no Yume
I am quite possibly going to get slapped for placing this song so low, but honestly, there are other songs I like more on this list, and heck, if it wasn't for the fact that this song got HouPri noticed, I probably wouldn't put it here. Truth must be told, yo!
Honestly, I do like this song. I like how cool and catchy it is, and how it was the first dark looking song to come out of HouPri in a while. I also liked that they went with a mature feel to fit Maika's vocals for her first single release with the group, whilst also showing that HouPri, despite their cute and charming look, could be cool, too. It was a refreshing change of pace and showed a new side to the group we hadn't really experienced, at least in terms of their A-side songs. Basically, it was rather welcoming, and again; it got the group noticed, and it probably helped them get their major contract with Universal Music.
It's a bittersweet song with some great lyrics, all about a one-sided love, and I love that it hints to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in its title. Also, if you're the sort who isn't overly keen on the cute and peppy soundtracks from Idol groups, this is the song to go for; it's mature and bittersweet tone is sure to surprise and delight, and hopefully impress you.
One of the groups more 'beautiful' songs in sound, Junpaku Antoinette is Houkago Princesses second major single release, and the first to focus on a Historical Queen as opposed to a fictional one. A spring piece, the song focuses on White Day and Valentines, and is every bit as pretty as the covers look. Its bridge, especially, is a treat for the ears, allowing the song to showcase yet again just how diverse this group is in sound and image.
This is, yet again, one of my favourite songs from the group. I love how light yet energetic it is, and I enjoy how tinkling and sweet the sound is. It's not too high, but it's not that cute, either; it's just romantic and nice, and though Odagiri's vocals sound rather forced here, I feel like the members did a great job singing here.
It's a great piece, and I love how it makes use of piano and the baroque style in the bridge, allowing it to stand out from previous tracks, and creating a unique sound the group had not tried before. So, if you want something with a romantic vibe, pop this one on and see how you like it.
Another one I will probably get slapped for based on its low ranking, however it should be said that PURE HEART is one of my favourite tracks from Houkago Princess, and should be sung a lot more in concert performances. Seriously, it's great, and I really do wish more people knew about it. Also, where it sits within this list is no indication of how little I think of it, because this song was one of the first I said would be on this list. So, yeah, I think highly of it, and now I shall stop defending my choices, in the hopes of not being hit (xD).
One of the groups more powerful songs, PURE HEART is mature in sound, yet upbeat thanks to its fast pace in tone and lyrics. Currently, there are two versions of the song floating around, the first being the original sung by Team Black (Odagiri Nana, Miyashita Mayuka and Kishitani Yuki), and the second a 2013 remake (Odagiri Nana, Nagafuji Aoi and Sakuragi Nene). At the time of its release, the song felt out of place in the groups cheerful music lineup, however it quickly became one of my favourites thanks to its memorable sound and catchy beat.
Basically, this is a great song, and I love it the more I listen to it. It's perfect for looping!
I'd say the only downfall of this song is that, for some reason, it makes use of some of the weakest singers (Odagiri Nana, mostly), despite how powerful and effective it seems. Still, it's a great piece, and one I highly recommend for its wonderful pace and cool, mature tone.
A personal favourite, Sakura saku is one of two graduation songs within the groups current discography, with this being the latest. Happy in tone but sad in execution, the song speaks of walking down new paths and a futures beginning as children graduate school and lead new lives away from their friends. It's a piece filled with hopes and dreams, as well as promises of meeting again in the near future, no matter what. Lead by Ayase Miho, who made her final appearance in this single, it is one of the more emotional songs from Houkago Princess, and is certainly filled with the love and feelings of those who sang it for the member who was graduating at the time.
I adore this song. Every time I hear it, I can't help but cry. I guess I love it because I have sentimental feelings towards it, as Ayase Miho was my favourite member. That said, I enjoy sentimental and heartfelt songs anyway, but by having Mihotan as a lead within this song, I feel that Sakura saku became even more powerful than before, despite her weak vocals, not that that matters here; It is her final song, and she and the other members poured their hearts into it.
I treasure this song, and much like Sotsugyoushiki (the first graduation song HouPri releases), it is an emotional piece. With its upbeat tone and energetic approach, however, that bittersweet sound becomes so much more, and feels a hundred times more emotional than it could have done. That is the power of happiness and departure, I guess; together, more tears are produced, and the impact is a lot stronger than you had originally thought it would be.
Juliet ~Kimi wo Suki na 100 no Riyuu~
This was originally going to hold the #1 spot on my list, however, there are other songs I think are more deserving, and also; I can put this song wherever I please. It's a great song regardless, but it's not the best. It is, however, the most well-known of the groups songs, and has multiple forms thanks to it being reproduced each and every year, changing its lineup along with the group that is Houkago Princess.
Juliet ~Kimi wo Suki na 100 no Riyuu~ is a staple Idol song. It's energetic, bubbly, carefree and easy to sing along to. The tune is catchy, its sound is happy, and the overall effect is charming. Basically, it's generic Idol, and it's a crowd-pleaser for anyone who goes to a concert and sees these girls perform. It's a pretty big hit, always played at the end of a concert as the en-core, and is the groups 'theme song', if you will, and it would honestly be sacrilege if I didn't mention it in this list for all to hear. Yeah, it's that important to the group, and it's pretty important to the fans, too.
If you're already a fan of the group, then there is a big chance you've heard this somewhere before, whether it's the original form from 2011-2012, or the recent update that is on the Seifuku Cinderella track list for 2015. And, if you're new, then hey now, you've finally given it a whirl and you're in on HouPri's biggest song. How does it feel?
This is one of those songs that, when I don't hear it, I think it's 'meh', yet once I put it on, I remember just how good it is, and truth be told, I can't deny that Kiete, Shirayukihime is a great song, because it truly is. Mature and deep, this song is an unexpected twist on the Snow White tale that a lot of us know and love. With its lyrics of jealousy and a dark tone, the song actually speaks more about the Evil Queen than it does Snow White herself, and how she wishes for the love and affection her step-daughter easily receives.
For most listeners who have come into the HouPri fandom just recently, this might be a surprising track, despite the fact that HouPri have proven they can do cool and mature even before this song came out. Of course, I don't blame people for being surprised; HouPri have made an image for themselves that portrays them as sweet, demure and playful cute girls, yet in here, they demolish that very image and take on a womanly approach that probably shouldn't fit them, yet does. It's a great piece for those who see these girls as only dolls and cute Idols, and if you ever feel they aren't cool enough or far too cheerful for your liking, well... go stick this, Manatsu, PURE HEART or Ito4kute BALLOON on, and you might find a change in tune.
Again, this is completely subjective, but Seishun Mermaid, despite all its shiny newness, is quite possibly one of the greatest songs to come out of Houkago Princess since their beginnings. Its catchy, energetic, passionate, fun and just downright awesome. It's one of those songs that gets stuck in your head and, thanks to the power of Maika, is one of the nicest songs vocally. Heck, even Nana, in all her grating glory, is at her best here. Plus, it's a very pretty song, and both composers Ishitani Hikari and Ikoman did an amazing job here creating something that is both initially calming, and then suddenly driven with passion and power.
It's an incredible piece (I say that a lot about most HouPri songs, actually), and the finale of the entire thing is my favourite. It's easy to get into, memorable and fun, and despite the bittersweet lyrics, it's a piece that brings a smile to my face at how truly wonderful it is. So, whether you're new to this group or not, this is a song to check out for its vocals and its overall greatness.
Another favourite of mine, Itoshikute BALLOON was originally one of those 'surprise' soundtracks which, at first, completely surprised me with its mature sound and fast-paced rap lyrics, however it quickly came to define itself as one of my favourite numbers, as well as one of the more unique tracks from the group. Also, though completely subjective, I find this to be one of the best songs this group has ever brought out, period.
Originally a 4th generation song featuring Kizuki Saori, Hayamizu Rin and Yamakawa Risa, the song later became a group piece once Saori became the sole 4th gen within the group. Featuring a rap number in the bridge, it's definitely a song that stands out, and is currently the only piece to include a rap in any HouPri number to date. Its vocals are also second to none, and its enchanting composition is just perfect in every way. There is no denying that Itoshikute BALLOON, of all the generation songs compiled, is the best of the lot, and the one you should all give a listen because, well damn, it's amazing, and one of those songs you should never skip over for its sheer brilliance!
Baka da ne
Now when it comes to #1 track with any group, what you like the most is completely up to you. With Baka da ne, though it might not meet the standards of some, meets my expectations as one of HouPri's best songs. It's undoubtedly my favourite, and one I feel everyone should listen to, at least once. A little bit silly, overly fun and a tad bit cute, this upbeat track is one that gets stuck in your head and stays there. Also, the vocals aren't really that bad.
The carefree sound to this is what attracts me to it, and the energy is undeniable. I love that it's neither romantic nor overly cutesy in its sound, and that it's found a nice medium where its just an all-around fun piece that is there to make you feel pumped and to deliver a good time all around. It's a song that will make you smile, and it's a song that perfectly portrays the absolute delight that is Houkago Princess. For all those reasons stated above, it has to be my most loved song from the group, and the one that will be hard to beat, in the long run.
And with that, of course, the post does come to an end, however I do hope that through this piece, you have experienced some of what I find to be Houkago Princesses best in music, as well as found something you enjoyed yourself, whether it was a fun song, a cool one or a downright adorable piece. Whatever it was, I hope you liked it, and that I have let you in on what makes HouPri... well, HouPri.
It was fun creating this, though hard at times, too, because when you love basically everything a group has to offer, compiling however many songs into one small Top 10 list is pretty darn difficult. Still, I was happy to create and complete it, and to share with all of you the joys of Houkago Princess, as well as the diversity of their music collection. Again, it's only a small piece of what they have right now, but it's a decent amount to get new fans started, and a nice throw back for those who are already familiar with these tracks and pieces.
Now, after listening to all of these songs, is there one that stuck out to you and has pleased your ears? Or, if you're aware of more of their music, is there one floating around that is your ear-candy? Do you have a favourite? If any of these apply, please let me know! I would love to hear about what everyone likes from Houkago Princesses music, so yes, let me know!
And until next time, everyone, please take care, stay happy and healthy, and of course, love your Idols with all your heart! I hope to see you again in the next post, but until then, I will say ta-ta!