Friday, 23 September 2016

[Single Selection 2016] Single Recommendations So Far (According to Chiima)

... So, it is September already, and soon it will be October. Already I have failed in what I originally planned to do; create a post called a 'Single Selection', where I had aimed to post my favourite singles from the Half-Year gone by. I wanted to recommend to everyone what I found the most entertaining in terms of single releases from the first 6 months of 2016, however... I didn't. I don't know why. Time was not an issue, so it comes down to the fact I procrastinated. For that, I'm sorry.

However, I am not going to let that stop me from posting these recommendations, even if the post itself is 3 months late. No, instead I will just throw in some singles from the other months that I have enjoyed, because I still want to recommend to you all the single releases I have thoroughly enjoyed, and let you know what I consider the pinnacle of 2016 thus far.

Also, I like lists, and I like explaining why I like things, so I won't let this go to waste! No. Freakin'. WAY! It's too good to let go, y'know!?

So, with this list, I will follow a similar pattern to my Music x PV Selection posts. Here, I will give you the singles I find worth your time, and I will try my darndest to explain just why they are so great. So, for the past 9 months of 2016, what have I been listening to, and which singles listed here will you recognise?

Are you ready to play some music?

Now before I start talking about my loves of early-to-mid 2016, I want to quickly point out that here, I am going to be talking about the singles which have impressed me through most, if not all, of the songs present on its track list. So, if a single has 3 songs, and 2/3 of them appealed to me, it is eligible for me to hail and laud over until the cows come home. But, if it's a single that I found entertaining through only 1 song out of the entire set, then it's not making the cut. I ain't wastin' my time praising one song over about 3-4 that could have also entertained me, and didn't.

Ain't nobody got time for that, and also, I could just as easily do that in my Music Selection for the up-coming months. This post doesn't work that way, and that is how it shall be!

And, as a final say, for any singles listed here that I have reviewed previously, either on this blog, Selective Hearing or elsewhere, I will include links somewhere within the small description of why the single was chosen, and what I liked about it. That way, you can get my thoughts on it in full from the posts linked.

Now, with all said and done, let's take a dive, and see what music from 2016 has impressed me so far, and discover some releases worthy of your time... well, according to Chiima, that is. Let's go, Go, GO!


Zero Tokei by Oda Kaori (2016.02.10)

One of the first single releases that I highly anticipated this year, Oda Kaori's Zero Tokei is thankfully still standing strong even after 7 months of play time on my laptop. With gorgeous vocals and three great songs to tune into, I consider this one of my favourite singles of the year already. Of course, whilst one song might be as strong as the other two, I still think that this is a stellar release, and one to consider tuning into if you haven't already.

It's memorable, emotive and gorgeous in tone. Zero Tokei is, in my opinion, a mesmirising collection of songs that strike you with just how beautiful the instrumentals and Kaori's vocals are, and just how passionate she is in each song given. It's music to my ears, and Lord, I am glad my anticipation for this single was not in vain.
I Kill by DEEP GIRL (2016.02.17)

Holding one of the most memorable PV's this year has delivered thus far, I Kill as a single is just as strong as its video is, and leaves an impression on those who dare to give it a go. Though it might not fit everyone's tastes, I've found absolutely nothing to fault this single and all it delivers. If you want something a little more dark and mature than your average string of bubblegum Idols pop, then this is the single to look for.

I Kill itself is a very deep, meaningful song, with powerful lyrics written by the members themselves from their own experiences in bullying and harassment they have received since becoming Idols. STEREO, though not as dark or thrilling in sound as I Kill, is a catchier piece with trickles of screamo throughout, and definitely sets itself apart from the title track, but is definitely just as strong.

I've reviewed the single previously already, so my thoughts on how good I find it are already out there, but, in my opinion, it's definitely one to check out if you enjoy something a lot heavier than the usual cutesy Idol tunes out there that we all know and love. It's a great change of pace, but it's also a single that will make you think thanks to its amazing title track.

Junpaku Antoinette by Houkago Princess (2016.02.17)

I am aware that not everyone is into the one group I love with all my heart, however, I do think that this single is good, I genuinely do. It's pretty in sound, it fits that fairy tale romantic theme the group has going on, and it was a new kind of sound for HouPri, which was romantic yet a little bit whimsical. It was also the first single to feature a historical figure, as opposed to one written by the likes of Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm. Whilst definitely not a homage to what actually happened to Marie Antoinette, the focus was on the music style, the costumes and the overall prettiness of being a Princess, if you will.

The title track, Junpaku Antoinette, is extremely pretty, and thanks to Maika, beautifully sung. Even Nana isn't that aggravating here, with the tone of song fitting her voice quite well. Also, the chorus parts are very well done.

Sakura saku, however, is my favourite track on the single, because it's a bittersweet piece that speaks of a graduate leaving on her own path towards an uncertain future, but despite this, she is happy with the things she has done and choices made, and will move forward with an optimistic look, and will meet her friends again one day in the future. It's a beautiful, delightful goodbye to Ayase Miho, who graduated after the release of the single and even centers the song, and whilst she's not the best singer, there is still emotion and passion in this song, and it makes it all the more wonderful knowing Mihotan was given a song to lead for the first time in HouPri.

Basically; I love this release, and I could talk about it more, but I've already reviewed it on Selective Hearing, so I need not say more about it.

SKY GATE by Cheeky Parade (2016.02.24)

Given that this single and its two songs have appeared numerous times on my Monthly Selection posts, it might come as no surprise to any of you that this very release would appear on this list. I mean, so far this year it's been one of my most played, most well-loved releases, to the point where it has quite possibly burned a hole into my hard-drive. I play it a lot, and I have taken such a great liking to this release, it's quite... well, it's nice, actually, because I don't think I've ever taken to anything from iDol Street this much.

This will not be everyone's favourite, I understand that completely, and I know some might find this overly generic and boring. For me, though, I personally love the energy and cheer the title song has, and the beauty of Faith, the coupling song. Both have their pros for me, and both have been used for writing on numerous occasions, too, aiding me in creating something for my personal writing, or for essays. These songs bring me such delight and aid in so many ways, and really, I can't be more thankful that I listened to this single, and fell so deeply in love with it!

Unmei no Roulette Mawashite / Sayonara wa Hajimari no Kotoba by La Pompon (2016.03.23)

Another single that has featured on my Monthly favourites many a time, the Double A-side that is La Pompon's 4th single release is a favourite of mine for its energy and passion throughout, as well as the beauty of its second song, Sayonara wa Hajimari no Kotoba, which has served as both a song of leisure, and a source of inspiration for story writing, and essays in general.

At first, I only liked the one song, however after reviewing the single for Selective Hearing, I pretty much fell hook, line and sinker for the first track, Unmei no Roulette Mawashite, and began to use that song for aiding me in writing, too. Basically, both songs are great to type to and create from, whilst also making me happy as I listen to them, too.

If you like Idol pop (so... that fits the bill for all of these singles, right?) anime song covers with a nice updated twist, and pretty ballads with sentimental vibes, then I say check out this one. It's a great single to get into, and it shows off just how wonderful La Pompon are as singers... at least, in the studio after some heavy rendering, that is!

Two songs, but both equally as good as each other, and a very memorable release with much playback value. What could be better?

Hito wa Arasoun Darou? / Summer Wind / Jinsei wa STEP! by C-ute (2016.04.20)

With the groups 29th single and first of 2016, C-ute really impressed me with their range of songs that all fit this nostalgic theme that makes me think of Old Hollywood and Speak Easy's, despite all three sounding vastly different from each other. In my personal opinion, whilst some are weaker than others, and one certainly more unpopular than the other two, I think that all three songs have their merits, and are equally well done.

Like a few other singles, I have already reviewed this one elsewhere, so my thoughts are floating about. Basically, I find this single as a whole quite refreshing and beautiful to listen to, and I think all three songs are great for different reasons. Hito wa Arasoun Darou? is great to listen to for something a bit uplifting but also mature, whilst Summer Wind is the type of music I would turn to for writing thanks to how atmospheric it is. In fact, the music sounds a little bit creepy if you ask me, and definitely pulls me in way more than the other two do. Jinsei wa STEP!, finally, is a great track that is so energetic and charismatic, I can't help but enjoy it. I really do get why it's the fan favourite.

For long-time and new fans of C-ute, I think anyone would love this. The 29th single of a great group shows off just how much they have grown, and how wonderfully the mature and womanly look suits C-ute right now. They really did pull out all the stops in both sound and image, and so far, this might be my favourite H!P release of the year. It's pretty damn good.

Innocent Promise by TRUSTRICK (2016.05.11)

In the past year, I have found myself becoming quite biased with TRUSTRICK, and why not? Their music is catchy and beautiful, and Sayaka's vocals, though not perfect, are absolutely gorgeous in all of their raw glory. I love the imperfection and how she does not pretend she cannot hold some notes, how her voice will crack a little. It's small things like this that made me fall in love with TRUSTRICK, and Innocent Promise is basically everything I've just mentioned; beautiful, with imperfect vocals that fit the song oh-so wonderfully.

Both songs are great, actually. This may be my bias for both TRUSTRICK and pretty songs coming through, but I find Innocent Promise great for writing to (I see a theme here... >o>) and just general listening, and mint gum is just really calming. It's nice for thinking to, actually, and a good song for writing as well, but really, I love listening to it for the fact it makes me feel at ease. It's a beautiful, well paced song that just makes me happy and calm.

If you're into songs that are easy to listen to, pretty and tinkling, and basically just all around great... TRUSTRICK. TRUSTRICK everyday, every night.

... Oh, and I've reviewed this one, too, so... >o> YEEEEAH!

Utakata Saturday Night! / The Vision / Tokyo to Iu Katasumi by Morning Musume '16 (2016.05.11)

I don't know what it is with groups this year, but honestly, the graduation singles have generally been pretty bomb, Suzuki Kanon of Morning Musume's included. Fun and energetic, and a nice mix of songs, this is definitely something that looks and sounds interesting, even if two of the songs of the three present are basically recycled crap from previous releases.

Now, just because I find The Vision and Tokyo to Iu Katasumi (especially the latter) completely unoriginal, it doesn't mean I dislike them. Honestly, the only one I think is absolute bull is Tokyo to Iu, and that's because it really isn't original or, in general, that good... but those are my thoughts, and I know for certain others love it. Aside from that one bad egg in the bunch, however, the other two songs I actually enjoy thoroughly, and even when The Vision is just as recycled as Tokyo to Iu, at least it still sounds decent. Plus, it's one of my go-to songs when writing serious or emotional scenes in stories... so, yeah, that's why I like it.

Utakata Saturday Night!, however, is this entire singles saving grace. It's original for the current lineup, and it is absolutely choc-full of energy and smiles thanks to its upbeat, fun style, and it honestly suits the group so much better than the other two songs and all previous releases since H!P decided MoMusu weren't good at the fun thing, and ruined them forever after.

In short; this is a decent single, a good one if you will, and I do enjoy it, even if one of the songs in there kind of doesn't work for me, personally. It's diverse and fun in its own way, and a great send off for my Zukki.

... AND GUESS WHO REVIEWED IT? Me. I did. Go over to Selective Hearing and see for yourself. Cause I seem to review ever. Damn. Thing. Wow!

Daisuki by Ohara Sakurako (2016.06.01)

Before I even dare talk about this, let's just get this out of the way: My review of this single can be found on Hashire! Idol Manic, so if you want further thoughts on it... there we gooooo!

Okay, so to keep it short and snappy; I loved this single for a good dang while, and though I may not listen to it a lot right now, I still think highly of this release. It's catchy, entertaining, beautifully sung, passionate, and downright awesome. It's got three amazing songs that do not fail to please my ears, and its replay ability is fantastic. I'm not sick of this release yet, and it also introduced me to an amazing singer who has stunning vocals. Seriously... she's awesome. But that may just be me, y'know?

I love everything about this single, from start to end, it's great, and I feel so delighted that I found out about Sakurako when I did. By far, one of the best releases of the year, and one of my favourites the year. It's so good, I actually put it higher than HouPri in terms of how good I think it is. Sure, that doesn't mean it's favourite tier... but I know her talent is greater than HouPri's, and her songs are a lot better, too. In fact, let's just go ahead and say in terms of how great this single is, in my mind, it's better than everything else listed here.

Enough said. Moving oooon!!!

Sweet Sensation / Baby, My First Kiss by Murakawa Rie (2016.06.01)

... I reviewed this one, too! Wanna check it out? Ahahaha!!! (This time, it was actually on this blog... surprising, I know o-O)

Okay, so first off, let's get this out there; this single will either be your cup of tea, or you will hate it to the high heavens, because hot damn, Murakawa is squeaaaaky. She has a helium high voice, the song is all sugary, sweet generic, and it's everything some people hate, and everything others adore. For me, myself and I, this single can be absolutely hit or miss, depending on my mood and what I want to listen to. If I have a headache, I cannot stand this, but if I want to up my cavity dose by about a million, then this is a great song to turn to.

So, yeah, you're warned.

BUUUT, I do genuinely like this single, hence why it's here. It's been played a lot since I was able to hear it in full, and whilst Murakawa's voice is all forms of infuriating sometimes, it's also really energetic, cute and fun, and I think she definitely brings out the passion and love in her voice for this single. She's very entertaining as a singer, and I can't help but think she is enjoying herself throughout the recording of this. So, yeah, that makes it great in my mind. Plus, the entire single itself is just so energetic and adorable!

It's a good single, if you like this sort of thing. I think I've pointed this out on my review, so you have basically been warned. Don't want a headache? Would you like to keep your pearly whites intact? Then seriously, don't listen to this... you'd hate me, otherwise.

Seishun Mermaid by Houkago Princess (2016.06.29)

YO! I got a review for this one too, so head over to wherever you have to go, and read it if you want a better idea of why I like it. Yeah!

It is honestly no surprise that I like this single because, let's be honest, it's HouPri, and everything they produce right now is gold. Granted, I would probably call out a shit song when it hit, however I'm in HouPri bliss, and this song is bliiiiiss, mostly because it's Maika heavy, and really freakin' catchy! Seriously, have you heard this song yet? If not, check it out, because of all HouPri's songs so far, I think this is probably the best, at least in terms of A-sides. It's amaaaazing!

The b-side is pretty good, too, and for all those Maika fans out there, it's pretty much a blessing, considering it's her first original solo song within HouPri. It's a very pretty song, if anything, and very emotive thanks to Maika and her incredible voice. I won't go as far as to say it's my favourite, however I do appreciate how well done it is, and how nicely it fits with the actual single itself. This is a very consistent release, and whilst I would have loved a coupling song featuring everyone a but more, I get why management made this choice;it's a single about a siren in love, and sirens tend to be great singers, so why the heck not give Maika a solo?

It makes a lot more sense than giving Nana one, if you ask me.

In short; good single, highly recommend, especially if you're wondering what to get into in regards to HouPri first. This is a great starting point, and so far, one of their best from their major releases thus far. Give it a whirl!

Re:Call by i☆Ris (2016.08.03)

One of my favourite releases from August, i☆Ris left a really big impression on me with Re:Call, the coolest freakin' sound to come out of the group since ever. It's dark, mysterious, cool and absolutely amazing, and one of the best displays of their vocals I have ever heard. Though an initial surprise to such a mature sound come from such a cutesy, Idol-like group, I was left wanting more, and loving the group all over again. I mean, I like them well enough already - their songs are great - however, this song is just... well, it's the bomb, and it's definitely one to check out if you don't know the group that much.

The two coupling songs that come with it, however, are a little bit different to the title song, and definitely ring true to the groups PriPara days. Kagami no Labyrinth feels a lot more Idol and Anime, and definitely sounds like their PriPara opening tracks, however it is still pretty, and a great song for all vocals heard here. Manatsu no Hanabi to Himitsu kichi, however, is just downright adorable and filled with sugar, and whilst it might get on my last nerve on a bad day, it's still a great song, and shows off just how high these girls can go without sounding like they are in pain. This is an Idol song to a T, in short, however it does it well.

This is a diverse single, a very well done one. It's got a nice set of songs here, from familiar sounds to surprising ones, and it's a definite must-listen if you want to give the group a go anytime soon. I love it to pieces, and wow, this was a great release for August! A definite favourite, ayeeeee!

un secret by Shimotsuki Haruka (2016.08.10)

Surprisingly, this single does not have a review to accompany this small excerpt, and that's because it's a pretty new favourite in this list of singles I have recommended for you all. In general, though, it doesn't matter if I have a review for it; I still find all these singles great for different reasons, and I don't need to explain myself in a separate post why... I just happen to do that cause I want to, and it's nice to share opinions!

In regards to un secret, though, I was honestly attracted by the cover, and then once I delved into it, I fell for the whimsical, fantasy-like sounds produced. The title track is like a fairy tale, and it speaks to me on so many levels as a lover of the mystical and whimsical, I couldn't help but adore it. Haruka's voice is also very nice here, twinkling and high, but not so much that it hurts my ears. She has wonderful control, and just so happens to enhance the song with her airy backing vocals and charmingly sweet main vocals to create a beautiful piece befitting of a walk in the forest, or to simply help me with my writing.

The coupling track Yume no nukegara is just as pretty, and reminds me a little of the 1982 short film, The Snowman. I say this, because the song has a very dream-like quality to it (hence the word Yume in the title, I suppose), and feels a little more wintry and cold, if you will. It's probably my favourite of the three songs present, actually, and it will probably be great to write to, like many of these songs present on this list.

The third and final song is not my favourite, however, Anata no iru to is growing on me quite quickly. The least whimsical of them all (for me, at least), it really did not stand out to me at first, however the more time goes on, the more I listen to it, I find myself enjoying it greatly and thinking it quite pretty. It's a beautiful song, and it definitely has something that that interests me greatly about it, so once I give it a few more listens, I am confident I will come to enjoy it even more in the future. Here's to crossing that bridge!

So, all in all, this is a strong release. Each song has its own merits, and I find all quite pretty in their own way. It's a whimsical, fun single, and if you like music that reminds you of fairy tales and all things twinkling, check it out before you go. It's worth a listen, if anything.


And for now, these are the releases that I have enjoyed throughout the year of 2016! Though we still have a few months to go, I thought it would be nice to let everyone know what I have loved and adored this far into the year! Hopefully, before December breaks and we fall into 2017, I will give you another list of further singles I've enjoyed... and if not, we still have the Top so-many of songs I have loved from 2016 to look forward to!

On this list itself, though, are there any singles present that you have enjoyed, too? Are there any you wish were on here, instead? Of course, this being my own blog, the list I have created is completely subjective, so we may not always agree... but if you have your own list, big or small, feel free to share it with me and many others! It would be awesome to know just what you enjoy!

But for now, I hope what I have recommended finds its way to your ears, and that you enjoy the songs just as much as I do! And if not, then ah, well! We can't like everything!

Until next time everyone, please take care, enjoy music and life, be happy and healthy and, of course, LOVE THOSE IDOLS! Yosh!

Much Love and Smiles all around!

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