Better late than never, here they are.
0101. GReeeeN – KISEKI
“KISEKI” is an unconventional ballad; an intimate love song delivered with a very masculine sound. As the group yells out the chorus I found it hard not to get chills. It is one of the few songs that can make me feel sad, uplifted, and nostalgic all at the same time. I find it nearly impossible to listen to this song and not get choked up.
0202. m-flo – come again
The first song I heard by m-flo was “come again.” It’s a great song about getting your mind off somebody. I love it because it doesn’t take the over the top route and try to sound tragic; I can connect with the song because the music and lyrics perfectly fit the theme of the song.
0303. Shiina Ringo – GIBS
The lovely Miss Ringo can always inject a great deal of emotional power into her songs. It’s hard to describe why I love “GIBS” so much. One of my favorite quirks of the song is in the line “I wanna be with you” which is written in the lyrics as “i 罠 B wiθ U.” To me, it always felt like she was emphasizing how hard it can be to say those words sometimes, so it added an extra level of greatness to the song. But then again, I’m a nerd, so, whatever.
0404. Angela Aki – MORAL no Soushiki
It was difficult choosing between this song and “Uchuu” from her debut album, “Home.” Though they are both amazing songs, it was “MORAL no Soushiki” that made me realize what a brilliant artist Angela Aki is. This song is epic, it centers on the funeral of “morals”. In the song, ideas like love and wisdom are embodied as attendants of the funeral. The composition is gorgeous, and the lyrics are quite interesting.
0505. GLAY – Winter, Again
This song, while not as epic as songs likes “Missing you” or “Kodou,” is a testament to the timeless quality of GLAY’s music. The intro always makes me think of the chill of winter, and by the end of the song, I always find myself singing along to the chorus before I ever realize it.
0606. Momoe Yamaguchi – Ii hi Tabidachi
This song is a classic, and that’s a big reason that it’s on this list. On first listen I fell in love with this song, it’s dramatic, gorgeous, and I have yet to hear a cover of this song that is not great. As Japanese music fans, we are often busy keeping up with current releases, but this song is a perfect example of why it never hurts to go back and check out the artist that came before Utada and Hamasaki.
0707. RIP SLYME – ONE
A song that focuses on how great and important it is for people to be unique could have easily been cheesy, but RIP SLYME was able to craft a strong and genuine anthem for the people of Japan.
0808. DOUBLE – BED
“BED” is another one of those songs that’s hard to describe why I love it so much. I’ve been listening to this son for such a long time. It’s a classic, and a great example of how a good R&B slow jam can be pulled off. The sisters voices are perfect together, and the I always found the lyrics to be interesting in the relatively safe world of Japanese music.
0909. Utada Hikaru – Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro
This is far from Utada Hikaru’s strongest song, but the lyrics are so moving and at often times, depressing, that it stuck with me when I first heard it.
1010. Kato Miliyah – Dear Lonely Girl
How could I not love a song that samples “Sexual Healing?” Not only does Miliyah make the most of the original, she makes it her own.