Homicidols Best: Daemon’s Top Ten Favorite Idol Songs of All Time

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 HeartGu-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:

3 thoughts on “Homicidols Best: Daemon’s Top Ten Favorite Idol Songs of All Time

  1. Thanks for your interesting top 10 (and a few extras). I shall definitely submit one, but as you say it is a near impossible task (it would be hard enough to whittle down my top 10 Babymetal or Yukueshirezutsurezure or Zenbukimi tracks). I did just want to say how so many of our sentiments match soo closely such as Megitsune and the impact Babymetal had on me – yes they literally changed and saved my life. Also your comments on Lilii Kaona and the frustrations of not being able to find anyone to share the love and connection with. It can be such a lonely existence being an idol fan, especially as a 58 year old in the uk. I have the same issue with Zenbukimi , trying to find someone who shares my view about just how great they are.
    I nearly wet myself with joy when I saw OSM Hologram in your honourable mentions. I actually bought the 7” vinyl single of that on one of my pilgrimages to Tower Records Shibuya. I bought it purely on the strength of the title, the display in the store and that it was a 7” single (what more incentive do you need). I genuinely thought I was the only person in the world outside of Japan that knows the track, so to see it in your list made my day.
    BUT the biggest thing about your Top 10 that made me go OMFG was your no 6 choice. I bought Kabe no nai Sekai on a trip to Tower Records along with loads of other things such as catching up with the Babymetal related Sakura Gakuin DVDs, the back catalogue of Yukueshirezutsurezure and stuff I listened to instore and liked. After getting home to the uk it takes a while to work through the CD/DVD mountain, so it was a few months before Minna no Kodomo-chan made their way to the top of the pile. However it is one of those where the Cd cover and info is entirely in Japanese and due to my ignorance had no idea who the cd was by, what it was called or anything. I do have quite a few that fall into that category. In all honesty I didn’t even recall buying it at the time. It fast became one of my fav idol albums ever and remains so. But not knowing anything about them. So 4 years later and I scroll to track 6 in your list !!!!!! What was even more intriguing was that the video version you posted (and for “I wish I could wake up Dead”) were different to the album versions I know. Finally I can at long last say to someone that the beginning of Fukyou no Hana sounds like what Eddie Van Halen would have been like if he had got a Stylophone for Christmas instead of a Guitar 
    It is proving hard to get my head around what defines a unit as Idol rather than Japanese Band or whatever. For example Scandal or Band Maid or Lovebites play their own instruments. So are they Idol.? I definitely would include “Just abandoned myself” by Boris in a Japanese top 10, but are they idol? (If not then why ARE Tanukichan, Ray Idol who’s music is a similar genre?). I guess it’s all “just” music to me. Babymetal are idol but when for example Suzuka sings Akatsuki, it is a rock singer with a live Band.
    One more thing (and then I shall shut up) is that it was cool you namechecked Cocteau Twins. Treasure has always been an all time fav album and I would listen to it with lights out in bed and be lulled to sleep. I mention this because another of my “are they Idol?” Bands from Japan are “Luby Sparks” who are dreampop. It may interest you to know they did a collaboration with Robin Guthrie called “Somewhere”. You definitely know it is him 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the recommendation. I did not know Luby Sparks, so I’m diving right in. It’s good stuff.

  3. Ok, have been dropping by here on and off, and finally felt the need to register to leave my mark with my personal top 10 list (+10 honourable mentions). Haven’t been too heavily in the game since I first discovered Yurumerumo by accident some 5-6 years ago, never been to Japan to witness the madness first hand up front, only been watching it from a distance here up towards the North Pole (Norway). And as I listen to sooo much different, I neither have time, capacity or interest to discover every tiny little bit of idol activity. Thus my knowledge is probably just the top of an iceberg compared to the most autistic ones. Anyway, I don’t think this list is much less of a pain than any others, even a top 10 YMM, BiSH or BRGH would be Hell to compile. So some compromises has to be done, but here goes, in alphabetical order, because finding the top 10 (20) songs is difficult enough, if not putting them up against each other…

    Band Ja Naimon! – Yakimochi
    (Simply because it’s such a crazy, jazzy and sweet tune)
    Bellring Girls Heart – asthma
    (Well, they have tons of classics, but if this one doesn’t make you want to jump up and down, then you’re probably already dead. And that a bunch of girls who can’t hit a clean note even with a gun pointing at their head still can make a man with a pretty decent musical ear go ballistic about them is an achievement in it’s own…)
    BiSH – Orchestra
    (Again incredibly difficult to pick one to represent them, but as the goosebumps factor on the “And Yet BiSH Moves” live version is sky high, it gets my vote)
    EMPiRE – Akaruimirai
    (First song I heard by them, and still my favourite. Pierce and EMPiRE Originals are right behind)
    Hauptharmonie – Assuage His Disappointment
    (One of my favourite idol groups, while this song isn’t a banger it’s incredibly beautiful)
    Maison Book Girl – Snow Irony
    (Because everybody needs some MBG and 7/8 rhythm in their life)
    Melonbatake A Go Go – Kouya No IDOL
    (Spaghetti western idol any day, every day, and rockabilly from outer space as topping)
    Ray – The End Of The World With You
    (Well, choosing between almost every song from Ray or Dots is like choosing between your own kids, but this one is one of the bestest)
    Wagamamarakia – Survive
    (As energic as a moon rocket, as beautiful as a shooting star)
    Yurumerumo – Sweet Escape (Live from We Are A Rock Festival DVD)
    (The completely electronic studio version is great, but if I’d choose a studio song it would have been another, maybe “A Dog Which Walks Slowly”, or another of a bunch of candidates. But this crazy, noisy live version with a bunch of musicians, in particular the “Fab four”, Kechon, Chiffon, Ano and Younapi, going bananas on stage, is not of this world. My favourite tune to get drunk to alone at 4AM)

    Honourable mentions goes out to:

    ASP – The Emperor’s New Clothes (365 days a year Christmas carol, all right)
    BiS – primal. (Just because everybody needs some primal BiS)
    DaiDaiDai – ZZ Allin (Having the most over the top amazing music video ever)
    The Lunabell – Happy Halloween Tonight (Circus music extravaganza)
    Manacle – Mahoroba (I fancy some blastbeats in my alt idol too)
    Minnano Kodomo-Chan – Ano Ne (DAT guitar melody, holy macaroni)
    Necronomidol – R’lyeh (I don’t like everything, but sometimes they hit gold)
    Shihatsu-machi Underground – Kanjo-Sen Wakusei (Groovy underground)
    There There Theres – Perikan (Perikan perikan perikan perikan perikan perikan perikaaaan!)
    Yukueshirezutsurezure – Paradise Lost (Simply a shame they got sacrificed so that Zenkimi could live, but I guess it’s survival of the fittest/most popular)

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