Cal proposed this project some time ago. “Let’s all come up with our ten favorite idol songs,” he said. “It’ll be fun,” he said. It’s actually a pretty agonizing experience. Getting the list down to about 25 or 30 favorite songs isn’t too difficult, but whittling it down from there becomes extraordinarily painful. You can see that, in the end, I copped out and included an extra 10 songs that I couldn’t bear not to mention. I’m doing a terrible job at selling this, because the whole point of this intro is to try to talk you into going through the exercise yourself.
Please complete this Google Form to tell us your ten favorite idol songs, and why. Entries that are fit to print will be featured here on this very blog. The last thing we want is for Homicidols to exist as an echo chamber of Team’s crappy tastes and opinions (no matter how erudite and correct they may be), so please let us know what you think.
You can use any criteria you like in picking your top songs, but for reference, here’s how I landed on my final ten:
- I made a personal rule that I would only have one song per artist in the final ten, just for the sake of diversity. So if I had multiple song candidates from the same artist, I only included my favorite for that artist.
- To refine the list among the final 30 or so candidates, I used the criteria of how often I currently listen to the artist with bonus points going to songs and artists that had a personal influence on me over straight-up jams.
- As a tie breaker between any two artists, I used the following mental exercise to make my decision: Imagine that the two artists are playing a multistage taiban and are scheduled to perform at the same time. Who do you choose to see?
Feel free to use whatever rules you like to come up with your top ten. If you want to submit ten songs by the same artist, go for it. There are no wrong answerers to this exercise.
Daemon’s 10 Favorite Idol Songs
10. DEVIL NO ID, Sweet Escape
DEVIL NO ID was an ambitious project mixing a serene style of immaculately produced Okinawa J-Pop with dub step, drum and bass and other more adventurous EDM elements. While the trio from the southern island only left us with one masterful album, 2019’s Devilmatic (and have since rebooted as BLUE BLUE BLUE), their innovative artistry was forward-thinking enough that their ingenious tracks will sound fresh for years to come. DEVIL NO ID still feature in almost every playlist I put together, and not a week goes by that I don’t immerse myself in “Sweet Escape.”
9. 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-San, ROSE OF KILLER
As you compile your own list of ten favorite idol songs, I offer you this piece of advice: if you include an entry by Hanako-San, she will be much less likely to murder you in the toilet. Hanako-San offers a lot of great songs to choose from, like the unfortunately-not-on-streaming classic, “HUMAN DIE!” or the bouncy fun of “destroy hug”. “ROSE OF KILLER” ekes out as my favorite as it travels the full breath of Hanako-San’s range, violently mashing a Nick Cave-esque creepy carnival, folk metal vibe together with face shredding, grindcore punk. It’s is also interesting to note that, while this tune is labelled as the short version, it is the longest running song in Hanako-san’s catalog.
8. CLOCK & BOTAN, Gloomy
As someone who came of age in punk and industrial mosh pits, it might seem odd that a full 40% of my top ten falls into the Shoegaze/Dreampop category. I was a bit shocked myself until I remembered that even back then, after ruining my ear drums in the clubs to Ministry and Janes Addiction (tinnitus is no joke; wear ear protection) I would go home and chill to The Cocteau Twins and Dean Can Dance. In that vein, CLOCK & BOTAN, solo project of the legendary Ayano Yanagisawa (ex. BELLRING Girls Heart, Gu-Gu LULU and more), has blessed my life with one of my ultimate chill tunes. “Gloomy” is a fascinating comfort track. The lyrics would be emotionally devastating if Ayano didn’t deliver them in such a deadpan style, and the resulting disparity is strangely uplifting. It’s the aural equivalent of bingeing on ice cream after heartbreak.
7. BiSH, Beautiful Sa
BiSH is one of the few artist who could have conceivably found multiple tunes on this list if I had not instituted the rule in the first bullet above. I could easily do a “Top Ten BiSH Songs” list. It would basically be, “Is This Call” and then every tune with lyrics authored by Ling Ling, especially “Am I FRENZY.” The reason I settled on “Beautiful Sa” is that the song is probably most responsible for turning my “like” of BiSH to “love” and propelled it’s lyricist, Ling Ling, into the running for my personal Kami Oshi. I mean, who else do you know who could pen a tune like “VOMiT SONG” and then rock a mullet down a high fashion runway?
6. Minna no Kodomochan, Futari wa Nakayoshi
It is no secret that Minna no Kodomochan is one of my all time favorite idol projects. When I want to introduce someone to the unit, I will recommend their debut classic, “I Wish I’d Be Dead When I Wake Up” which is probably their signature tune. But it’s “Futari wa Nakayoshi” that demonstrates the unit at it’s full potential. It is not background music. It is the kind of song that demands attention and a good set of headphones as it’s takes you on a complete, mesmerizing journey. Tour guides Honoka and Cinnamon lead the listener from the dissonant music box opening down a path of rhythmic, electronic noise through groove and doom metal drops building to the song’s hypnotic climax. Even years later, each repeat listen leaves me feeling like I’ve just experienced a revelation.
5. BABYMETAL, MEGITSUNE
There are other BABYMETAL songs that get more rotation in my playlists these days (my current favorites are “Shine” and the Prince-metal prog number “Brand New Day”), but it’s “MEGITSUNE” that makes this list as it’s the one most responsible for changing the trajectory of my life. Plus, it’s a revolutionary banger that I never get sick of hearing.
Back in 2014, this old, queer punk who hadn’t been to a live show in years came across an article on NPR about how a Japanese idol unit had rocked Heavy Montreal. I was fascinated and instantly clicked on the video for “Gimee Chocolate,” but it was the second MV that I watched, “MEGITSUNE,” that made me say to myself, “This is the real deal.” What has followed is an 8-year-and-counting journey to attend over 100 idol lives on three different continents. I’ve also somehow landed the position as caretaker of this venerable blog. Music changes lives, and “MEGITSUNE” changed mine.
4. LiLii Kaona, Rust
I think we all probably have at least one idol or unit that we promote to our friends (and blog readers) and they smile and nod and listen to it once maybe but never really get into it. At least, not to the degree that we feel the artist deserves. I mean, music which you firmly believe that anyone who listens to it should instantly recognize as objectively good and deserving of universal praise. For me, that artist was LiLii Kaona. I honestly don’t understand why more people weren’t drawn to them and why they didn’t see all the success in the world. They are gone now, and I am sad, but I will continue to listen to their music every day, as I have for the past few years. They have many great songs, but “Rust” is my favorite.
3. Yukueshirezutsurezure, Ideology
Yukueshirezutsurezure is another unit that could potentially see multiple entries on this list. Their music has helped sustain me for years. In the end, it was a toss up between this and “Doppelgänger”, but I settled on “Ideology” for it’s simple, mesmerizing nature. This song is probably most responsible for my early and enduring love of the unit as, like a siren, this MV kept calling me back to watch over and over. Even now, once this song starts, it is impossible to turn my attention away. I’m transfixed and have to listen to completion. A lot of idol units use vocal dissonance as a device, but Tsurezure elevated the technique to high art, and “Ideology” is the unit in peak form.
2. Yanakoto Sotto Mute, Lily
Like with some of the other artists on this list, there are other Yanakoto Sotto Mute songs that get more listens in my current playlist (“Shatouno Higashi” gets the most repeat plays at the moment), but their signature song, “Lily” will always be present. The song is exuberant and beautiful with a raw, understated power, much like he unit itself. There’s an exhilaration in the song’s climax that I still feel after hundreds of listens. The feeling is now tinged with heartbreak now that Mani Mamiya and Yadeshiko, whose original voices provided so much power to the unit, will no longer be part of the project. The true test of any new Yanamute lineup will be how well they do this song justice.
1. RAY, Everything About My Precious You
For the #1 spot I simply went with the song I love to hear the most, no matter what. The RAY and ・・・・・・・・・ projects have both produced many extraordinary songs, but this one comes as close as it gets to perfection. I have added “Everything About My Precious You” to just about all of my playlists because it makes the world a better place any time it comes on. It’s as simple as that.
Now that you’ve seen how it’s done, please tell us your top ten favorite songs.
Daemon’s Honorable Mentions for Favorite Song:
- Oyasumi Hologram, “Nueromancer”
- You’ll Melt More, “Nigenai!!”
- ・・・・・・・・・, ”Ne”
- There There There’s, “Perikan”
- BiSH, “Is This Call”
- lyrical school, ”Tokyo Burning”
- Screaming 60s, “Cockroach”
- GuGu Lu-Lu, “Picked”
- Migma Shelter, “Tokyo Square”
- Q’ULLE, “EMOTION”