12 Best Jpop Songs I’ve Heard in 2016

nogizaka46 sayonara no imi last single of nanami hashimoto

Nanami Hashimoto and company showing their stuff in their first ever million-selling single, “Sayonara no Imi”.

New year, new songs. In my case, there are songs that are the year’s issues while some songs are old gems waiting to be discovered. If I hear them for the first time in any year, I consider them ‘new’ – new to my ears, that is.

Any song that is new to my ears will have fighting chance to land in the list of the best I have heard in a given year. Since I listen to Jpop material, I compiled this Jpop list. I could have come up with a list of all songs I have heard this year but the number of non-Jpop songs I like failed to reach double digits (not even half). I have even left out many Jpop songs from this list. They are all good but not as good as the ones that make it to this list.

The ones I include in this list are all LSS material. They are songs I want to listen to whenever I am in my element or when I turn my player on. In alphabetical order according to artists’ names, I present to you the 12 best Jpop songs I have heard this year:

+Plus, “Fiesta

We Filipinos love fiestas but I wonder how many of us have even heard this song. Perhaps only anime and manga enthusiasts, especially fans of Fairy Tail. This has got to be the most partiest pop-rock song I have ever heard. This is a worthy videoke staple.

AAA, “Lil’ Infinity

AAA is one of the best pop vocal bands I have ever listened to. Watching them perform in their music videos brings me back memories of pop music groups such as Steps, S Club 7, A*Teens, and Jump5. Their songs are easy-listening and their vocals are more than amazing – they all blend harmoniously. They are a wholesome act.

I’d like to suggest that AAA bring in two more ladies to the line-up, if that is not too much to ask.

Keyakizaka46, “Silent Majority

This song is one of the three most anticipated 48/46 singles (in my opinion), the other two being from AKB48 and Nogizaka46 (the group’s elder sister act). Keyakizaka46’s debut single impressed me but they failed to deliver on their succeeding singles. Nevertheless, “Silent Majority” ranks second in the best 48/46 songs released this year (again, in my opinion).

Kobayashi Tatsuyuki & Konimi Suzuki, “NEVER-END TALE

If you are a Fairy Tail fan, you will recognize this as the anime’s opening theme #20. This is Natsu and company’s most powerful opening theme to date. The energy of the song and the vocal prowess of the two artists bring into mind the struggles Fairy Tail endured in their battle against the Nine Demon Gates of Tartaros. Listen to this song multiple times and you will really feel the ferocity of their battles, the magnitude of their losses, the impact of their hard-earned victories, and the intensity of their emotions.

Mikuni Shimokawa, “Kimi ga Iru kara

Fairy Tail’s closing theme #4 is the most soulful of all the anime’s closing themes as if it is being graced by the beauty and melody of Mirajane, one of its most beautiful and powerful characters. The soulful melody and the sweetness of the singer’s vocals give me warmth and I feel it from many angles. From one angle, this is a song to sing when parting ways with friends after a struggle is overcome and a battle is won. From another angle, this is a song to sing to a loved one who is going through a very hard time in life. I imagine this song being sung amidst the sunset.

Nogizaka AKB, “Mazariau Mono

The aces of AKB48, SKE48, HKT48, and Nogizaka46 combine to deliver what I consider to be the best song out of AKB48’s 10th anniversary single. I cannot imagine the 48 gals donning outfits and dancing steps the Nogizaka46 way. And if you ask me, this is a 46 material, not a 48 one. On the other side, Kojiharunyan is so adorable, don’t you think?

Nogizaka46, “Buranko

A standout song from the Under Members. I cannot imagine the Senbatsu members belting out this track. In other words, this is specifically composed for the second unit. With its edgy R&B feel, this should become one of Nogizaka46’s signature songs.

Nogizaka46, “Kakikoori no Kataomoi

nogizaka46_sorezore_no_isu

Album cover of Nogizaka46’s second album (Image from http://www.stage48.net)

Heartbreak songs and songs about unrequited love are best sung by a girl – by the girls of Nogizaka46, that is. This song is better than the group’s another song about one-way love (“Kidzuitara Kataomoi”, their 8th single released in 2014). This one’s not mushy unlike the other one.

Nogizaka46, “Sayonara no Imi

This is my most favorite Nogizaka46 song now. Nanami Hashimoto’s last single with the group – and their first million-selling single – is the best Jpop song of 2016. No contest. If not, the best by a female act, by a duo or group, or by a 48/46 group.

SKE48, “Sotsugyoushiki no Wasuremono

This coupling song off SKE48’s 5th single released in 2011 is the thing I need to get over Rena Matsui’s departure last year and forget about the group’s declining sales and popularity this year.

SKE48, “Temodemo no Namida

This AKB48 (Team B) original has spawned multiple versions but I identify it as an SKE48 song due to its edgy pop sound – and because it’s them I heard singing this song when I was browsing YouTube months ago. I fell in love with the SKE version in one of my most memorable days of 2016.

SOLIDEMO, “Landscape

Fairy Tail fans recognize this as Fairy Tail Zero’s closing theme. The lyrics and the melody of this song perfectly sum up the joys and miracles of friendship and the comfort of companionship. But try to ‘embrace’ the melody and you will feel the pain of parting.
So that’s it, my dear friends! It has been a great year for me when it comes to my music discovery. I believe there are songs that I haven’t listened to yet and I hope to find – and appreciate – them in 2017. Hope you can check out my list for 2017.

Advance Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

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