The Greatest Alt-Idol Drops and Breakdowns of All Time

It has been a a few weeks since we asked members of the Homicidols community to identify their favorite choruses, drops and hooks in the genre of alternative idol. We published the nominations for Best Alt-Idol Choruses a short while ago, and now it’s time for the breakdowns!

For the exercise, we defined the category of drop or breakdown pretty loosely, with the primary requirement being that the element marks a sudden change in the dynamics of the song. The submitted entries essentially fall into two different categories:

The first are examples of the hardcore breakdown, where a tune takes a ruthless drop into harsh vocal or screaming metal territory. In idol terms, these are brutal examples of where the gap is bridged, the kawaii slams into the kakkoii, and the sugar and spice gang up and punch you in face. 

The second category are songs that are completely devoid of harsh vocals or metal elements, but accomplish startling breakdowns via sudden and distinct shifts in tempo, tone, and genre.

The one thing they all have in common is that each and every one is a vivid example of the  innovative songwriting and captivating performances that makes the alternative idol genre the most provocative musical laboratory on the planet.

The examples below are all teed up for you right before the breakdown (as long as YouTube cooperates). Also, while not every nomination made it into the article, we did try to include them all in this handy Spotify playlist so you can binge everything in full.

Enjoy!! 

BABYMETAL – MEGITSUNE

Nominated by: kirintsune

“This is so obviously the best breakdown that writing about it feels offensively condescending to the reader. The only other drop even remotely close is the a cappella verse in BABYMETAL’s BxMxC.”

It does feel obvious kicking off our list with what is arguably the most iconic drop in the genre, but the breakdown in “MEGITSUNE” must be a part of this discussion. The song literally screeches to a halt, suddenly descending into a dreamlike march of shotgun double-bass drum blasts and a dub step arrangement of Sakura, Sakura. SU-METAL’s voice then drifts out of the doom metal fog as if singing a lullaby, “Kitsune, Kitsune. I am Megitsune,” followed by a deeply sober declaration delivered in a tone that brooks no disagreement: “Women are Joyous.” Even after 100 listens, it’s chillingly effective every time.

PassCode – Taking you out

Nominated by: Patrick

“Proper hardcore beatdown slow down sandwiched by poppy synths – that is what this genre is about.”

PassCode are masters of the harsh vocal drop, but in “Taking you out” they pull off a full hardcore meltdown featuring brutal growls and chiptune. It’s an appropriate dip into nintendocore for a tune that served as a tie up for a video game.

Zenbu Kimi no Sei da. – Romance Sect

Nominated by: Eric Sutherland

“It’s just so heavy.”

Zenkimi demonstrates how a breakdown can be put to effective use and spur audience participation. As the nomination process was underway, we had a good discussion over on the Homicidols Discord server about what defines a breakdown. One definition that would apply here: it’s the part of the song that inspires the entire audience to break into dogeza headbangs.

Minna no Kodomochan – I’m going to die

Nominated by: Daemon

Kodomochan perfected a signature mash-up between post hardcore and electronica, but also loved to occasionally intensify their tunes courtesy of deep, dark, doom metal drops. Perhaps the most effective example of the practice is here in, “I’m going to die,” which lands like a demonic sonic boom.

Q’ulle – DRY AI

Nominated by: JoJo

Jojo nominated this one for “the transitions and complexity of the structure of the song” and, absolutely, there is some multi-layered songwriting going on here.

It’s hard to imagine that this song is six years old, but major label prog rock idols, Q’ulle, were always ahead of their time.  This breakdown has everything you could ask for: a screaming guitar solo, a rap bridge, and a sweet transition to a nice, minimalist piano-backed chorus that builds to the song’s climax. Q’ulle is dearly missed.

MAZE – Grotesque Creatures

Nominated by: Terry (Ramen on the Homicidols Discord)

“Its hard to believe the song is even performed by idols to begin with.”

True indie unit, MAZE, is blazing a twisted trail of electropop, nu metal, and metalcore but with a bit more complexity than most idolcore units. Their songs are a mix of sparkling brilliance and careening drops into brutal darkness, and “Grotesque Creatures” is a perfect example.

SHINGEKI – Gouhou trip:boil hazard

Nominated by: Pepijn Klaassen

“SHINGEKI are the queens of the drop and breakdown. This song alone has about 20 or so. One even sicker than the others…”

REBEL REBEL – SHOUT UP BABY

Nominated by: Bob (BobIsRandom on the Homicidols Discord)

“It’s not often you have a piano solo in a rock song but it works here, and works well”

Bob nominated several songs for best breakdown, but I couldn’t include them all or this post would be far too long. I did make sure to include this one since, as the West’s #1 REBEL REBEL fan, I know he would never want to to pass up the opportunity to expose more people to the unit. I also love it as this tune is an incredibly surprising place to drop an acid rock, electric keyboard solo.

Zsasz – it’s so good

Nominated by: ricardo oviedo

“A short but fun breakdown, which goes from a techno sound to a heavier section with screams and leads coherently back to the chorus.”

ATARASHII GAKKO! – mayoeba toutoshi

Nominated by: Daemon

Songs by international superstars AG! specialize in the kind of breakdown that can inspire a fierce dance sequence.  It was a tough call between this and the acid jazz breakdown in “Night Before the Exam,” but a screaming guitar solo is so rare in an H Zett M tune, that I had to give “mayoeba toutoshi” the nod. 

MADMAO – GAME

Nominated by: Fredo

“This is just essentially a UK Bassline track which I adore, so it was a shock to hear the sound on an idol track. This drop always brings out the stank face and gun fingers.”

BiS – thousand crickets

Nominated by: Bob (BobIsRandom on the Homicidols Discord)

“Had I joined the Homicidols community earlier, I would’ve been known as a huge 3rd-gen BiS fan. They hold an immensely special place in my heart. In fact, “Thousand Crickets” is THE reason I’m as into idol music as I am. It literally changed my life, hearing it for the first time. The guitar solo is great!”

Finger Runs – Yureru mirai

Nominated by: Denis

“Not sure if it’s exactly a breakdown because the music doesn’t have a normal structure I feel, but, the stuttering electronic sounds suddenly stopping only for the amazing horns from the start of the song to come back is godly. Then there’s a verse from Mitsuki with enough room for a member call. Listening to the “Yama ari tani ari Nakatani Mitsuki” even from a stream is always so cool. Then it’s Komugi’s turn, followed by another member call window for her fans to scream that Komugi is their number one!”

Qumali Depart – Yes Mochi Fever

Nominated by: Carrythezero

“It may not be the longest or most complicated breakdown but it has that Spaghetti Western meets Ska kind of sound (think The Skatalites cover of the theme from “Guns of Navarone” and the like) that just instinctively makes you want to dance.”

Broken By the Scream – Over the Sea

Nominated by: Fredo

“BBTS are obviously no strangers to a breakdown, but I think this is my favourite of the lot, vocals are ace, I love Kagura’s screech at the start. Instruments all on point, nothing too over the top, even in the solo at the end. Can’t help but headbang to this one.”

Broken By the Scream are the reigning Queens of the Brutal Breakdown, so it’s no surprise that they close out our list. Any number of their songs could have accomplished the task, but Fredo surprises us with an excellent example from this deep cut.

Be sure to tell us what you agree with and what we missed over on the Homicidols Discord server.

Here’s the Playlist:

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