I’m on a never-ending quest to make people like the songs I listen to. I spam them at the workplace, in the hope that my colleagues end up liking them, and even show the PVs and OPs to create an imagery for them since they don’t get Japanese. All for the sake of popularising my favourite artistes/songs.
Now, in this country, not many people know Japanese. The scene is predominantly English and Mandarin based music. While there was a massive J-pop boom a few years ago thanks to Hamasaki Ayumi and Amuro Namie, I felt the majority of J-pop singers that reached people here were crap popsters. While pop isn’t a bad thing, I hate manufactured over-exposed pop that relies on pretty faces and snazzy MTVs.
That said, I also loathe a particular type of anime song – the sugary high pitched made-for-anime type that you would never dare to play in front of non-anime friends.
Anyway, here’s the list. In no order of merit. And I am heavily influenced by what I’m listening to right now, so you can be sure that any old song that makes it to this list is a mega classic.
Break the Cocoon by Yoriko/ ED2 of Speed Grapher
This could possibly be one of my favourite female Jap rock songs ever. Actually, it is my favourite. Yoriko, who isn’t exactly pretty, doesn’t rely on her face to popularise her songs. This slow, sentimental piece is so apt for Speed Grapher’s little loli Kagura. BoC may be 6 minutes long, but it’s 6 minutes of audio heaven.
1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou by Siam Shade/ ED7 of Rurouni Kenshin
I was a mere 13 year old when I heard this song and it was the one that got me into J-music in the first place. Ah, sweet memories of youth. Pity the lead singer, Hideki, sounds like a sissy. If that weren’t the case, I’m sure they would’ve been a lot more popular. Everyone pretty much knows this song, so I shan’t go into it. Btw SS have disbanded since a few years ago.
Sakasama no Chou by sNoW/ED of Jigoku Shoujo
Great song by yet another female that doesn’t sell her body and looks. It helps that the OP consists of the oriental goth loli Enma Ai in various intriguingly sexy poses. I like the lack of Engrish, melancholic semi-acoustic guitar, melody, chorus, verses. Isn’t that everything?
Shounen Heart by Home Made Kazoku/ OP3 of Eureka seveN
I didn’t like rap. But HMKU, along with Orange Range to a much lesser extent, changed my mind. HMKU’s Thank you!!, Home Sweet Home, and OR’s Asterisk and Hana are the songs that were the keys to my opening the door of Japrap. Japanese has only 5 basic sounds, A I U E O, as I mentioned in previous posts, and thus everything sounds fluent and rhythmic. Btw everyone MUST listen to HMKU’s new album, Musication. Oh no, I have said nothing about Shounen Heart at all. Ok, it’s typical HMKU style, with catchy chorus and rap verses, trumpets, bass and stuff. Being the OP for the would-be greatest 50 episode anime of the past few years helps too.
Nanka Shiawase by the Oystars/ OP of Flame of Recca
Dark horse! Or is it… this OP singlehandedly raised the profile of Japanese music, at least in my school and the entire South East Asian region. Back in the late nineties, FoR was the hottest thing around my area. A bit like Dragonball. So everyone was singing Nanka Shiawase, even the jocks who had no interest in anime before. The greatest pity is the retarded cut-short ending of the anime, and 90% of the people who did not know of the amazing manga. The ED 1 and 2 are good too, especially the second one.
Moon on the Water by Dying Breed featuring Koyuki or the Sowelu version/ ED2 and insert song of Beck
Everyone who has watched Beck will love this. Heck, everyone should love this. This song wins thanks to its integration into the story. As a fellow music lover and guitar player, I was really impressed by this series and the music. Too bad about the engrish, but get over it. The other songs were real good too. Yeah BECK!!
Sunday by Babystars/ ED1 of Yakitate Japan
Great, super addictive pop song. I actually bought the Babystars album, which is kind of rare. I don’t buy music lol. I’m cheap. I spend all my money on figurines. The PV for this was a girl skipping along, and you could only see her skirt and legs. Pretty cool. I listened to this song for 6 months…
Himitsu Kichi by Takadu Kozue/ ED1 of Eureka seveN
In case you haven’t noticed, I love all the E7 songs except for Days by Flow, the first OP. This is, however, up there with Shounen Heart and Taiyou no Mannaka e. Female non-rock singers should be like this, instead of the whiny generic faces they normally are. Slow, with decent lyrics unlike 99% of Japanese songs that employ excessive metaphors of love, wings, sky, dreams, hands, heart, light, darkness, running. Btw I’m pretty sure Himitsu Kichi aka Secret Base, does have the above words, but the main focus of the lyrics were pretty much about growing up, if I remember correctly.
Love Somebody by Fukui Mariko/ Insert song/ ED2 of Taiho Shichauzo aka You’re Under Arrest!
This is the greatest love song for anime. Ever. If I ever get married, I’ll want this to be playing in the background. The scene where Natsumi and Toukairin meet at Narita Airport, I’ll remember forever together with Love Somebody. Remember, this is the greatest. But listening to it on its own doesn’t have the same effect of following the entire series to see your beloved character finally finding a man who’s destined for her. While this song’s playing in the background. Have I mentioned that this is the greatest anime love song ever? If not, I’ll say it again – this is the greatest anime love song ever.
Lithium Flower by Scott Matthew/ ED of Ghost in the Shell: SAC
I like the bass, weird lyrics and how it fits the series. One of Yoko Kanno’s creations, this song gives the really cool dark sci-fi vibe which is my favourite.
Did I say top 10? I must have missed out a tonne of legendary music. Please leave some comments and suggestions on what else should belong in the realm of anime music heaven. And high-pitched whiny songs are banned.