In Search of the Best Drops, Hooks, and Choruses in Alternative Idol

It takes a village to be an alternative idol fan, and I mean that in all sincerity. There are simply too many idol units, idols, music releases, MV drops, tours, graduations, disbandments, reboots, retirements and returns to keep up with the massive amount of activity all on your lonesome. It is why there is a whole team behind the running of Homicidols, and it is also the primary reason for the existence of the Homicidols Discord server.

It is why we also turn to you all, our Homicidols community, when we are seeking the best that the entire genre has to offer. I mean, if I wanted to know the best GANG PARADE drop, I’d turn to Cal. If I wanted the best Isiliel chorus, I’d turn to Kerrie. If I wanted to know the best Korean live idol hooks, I’d turn to FarFromSleep. Papermaiden and I have pretty similar tastes (except for my obsession with shoegaze and dreampop), so we don’t have to ask each other anything except for help in locating candidates for our next oshi.

Now, we seek the community’s assistance in identifying the best drops, hooks, and choruses in the entire pantheon of alternative, indie, and underground idol.

I have to give credit for this idea to the denizens of the Homicidols Discord Server. Over there we have folks like BobIsRandom and Lunageek who share with us their Chorus of the Day or Song of the Day. We also have occasional discussion about song structure and what defines a breakdown or a hook (crucial conversations).  We also have RoseFaye who suggested we add a Best Breakdown of the Year category to our annual awards (we’re still considering it). So it seemed like it would be worthwhile to undertake this latest venture as a community-wide project.

To start this undertaking, we will need to establish some definitions:

Chorus

This is the easy one. Everyone knows what a chorus is: it’s the repetitive part that comes between the verses. 

The best possible example of an effective chorus in alternative idol is demonstrated by the absolutely essential tune, “Gimme Chocolate!!” by BABYMETAL.  Sandwiching the bright, catchy, and kawaii brilliance of “Chekara! Chokoreto” between thrash metal verses proved to be a perfect aural contrast. The end result is irresistible and responsible for inspiring more Westerners to start exploring Japanese rock, metal, and idol than any other in the past ten years.  While the rest of the song and accompanying choreography are catchy as well, it is the chorus that is responsible for cementing the tune in place as one of the cornerstones of the genre. 

While “Gimme Chocolate!!” is the quintessential example, there are plenty of other effective and brilliant choruses in alternative idol. One of my absolute favorites  from recent years is “fall into sky” by Ringwanderung. With an assist from a pre-chorus that slowly builds anticipation, the chorus bursts free from the downcast verses like a ray of sun breaking through the gloom of storm clouds.

I am sure everyone else has their own unforgettable choruses in mind, and we want you to tell us what they are.

Drop/Breakdown

A “Drop” is a sudden, dramatic shift in a song, in either tempo, tone, rhythm, or style. The term itself comes from Hip Hop (as in, “drop the beat”), and can mean something very specific in certain electronic music genres. For this exercise, we are using the term more like it is understood in the Metal genre, where “Drop” and “Breakdown” are often used interchangeably and can refer to things like guitar solos. The most important element that makes something a drop or breakdown is that it marks a sudden change in the dynamics or tone of the song.

One of the most common drops we encounter in alternative idol, is the harsh vocal drop, where otherwise traditional singing is suddenly interrupted by brutal screams or growls. The early masters of this technique are, of course, Yukueshirezutsurezure.

In addition to vocal drops, there are instrumental drops. Minna no Kodomochan were a master of this technique, interspersing their electro punk with sudden, brief departures into doom metal. 

The breakdown is also useful in live idol for creating opportunities for audience participation as evidenced by this multi-part breakdown in “Checkmate” by THE ORCHESTRA TOKYO.

Hook

A “Hook” is a short riff, lyrical phrase, or beat. They can be melodic or rhythmic. Lyrical, instrumental, or percussive. They can be incessantly repetitive or only recur sporadically, but they are always memorable and catchy (hence the term, “hook”). Classic examples include The Crystals’  “Da Doo Ron Ron,” The Ramones’, “Hey Ho, Let’s Go!”  or the signature guitar riff in Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child of Mine”.

A perfect of the example of a hook at work in alternative idol is provided by You’ll Melt More! in “Here!”

I’m sure I don’t have to say it, but just in case: the hook is the, “Ooh! Ah! Ooh!”s. 

For a more traditional approach, a fantastic example of a electric guitar hook can be found in “Cockroach,” the  Screaming 60s collaboration with THE HEANA CAT.  Between the ska verses and the pop-punk choruses, it is the hook provided by that grungy guitar riff that ties the whole song together.

Electronic music is notorious for ignoring the rules of traditional song structure, and “SUMMER” by CY8ER is perfect example of that, as well as a demonstration of the use of a hook as the predominant element in a song.

“SUMMER” starts out with a dance inducing hook consisting of short, harmonic blasts of synthetic horns immediately followed by a chorus and the first verse. Rinhamu then delivers one of the finest pre-chorus of all time (at :47) but then skips the chorus entirely and slams straight back in to that monstrous hook. We don’t actually get a second chorus until two thirds of the way through the song , but it doesn’t matter because that hook keeps the dance floor moving the entire time. The hook is only about a dozen notes long in it’s entirety, but it serves as the underlying, cohesive element that ties the whole song together and makes it so infectious.

Now It’s Your Turn

Now, tell us what you believe to be the best choruses, drops/breakdowns, and hooks in all of indie, underground, and alternative idol in the form below.

We will also be asking you to provide a brief narrative to support your decision. Submissions may be featured in a future post here on Homicidols dot com, so the better case you make for your nominations, the more likely they are to be utilized.

The only requirement for nominations is that the song needs to be currently online as an MV or available via an accessible music streaming platform.

Also, your sumbmission shoudl be recived by Monday, February 26th.

You may submit multiple nominations. Please note: ballot stuffing (nominating the same song several times) will have no impact other than possibly annoying us.