We are nearing the time when we start wrapping up 2022 which, as I’ve mentioned a few times in the Weekender over the past few months, could be dubbed The Year of the Solo Project. While we saw an enormous increase in the number of new idol projects in general versus the last couple of years, the sheer number of idols striking out on their own was something new and particularly noticeable.
The origins of chika idol are not well documented, at least in readily available, English language sources, but the apocryphal tales out of the late 90s are of solo, self-produced idols trying to attract audiences to small, basement stages of clubs in Akihabara. Perhaps it was the self reflection driven by the isolation of COVID that kindled a desire in so many idols to stand on stage alone and turn the genre back to it’s fabled roots. Whatever the reason behind the phenomenon, the end results have been pretty stellar.
We have certainly gushed over Isiliel, the solo project of Himari Tsukishiro of NECRONOMIDOL, as well as the 2022 solo releases of other legendary veterans including:
- Yurapico (APOKALIPPPS and ex. BURST GIRL and Guso Drop)
- Nonamera (KAQRIYOTERROR and ex. FRUN FRIN FRIENDS)
- Beni Usakura (ex. APOKALIPPPS, avandoned and FRUN FRIN FRIENDS)
- Cent Chihiro Chittiii and Aina the End (soon to be ex. BiSH).
In additional to these A-listers of the alternative idol scene, there were many other notable solo idol projects that we want to make sure you have on your playlist as we close out the year.
Minami Hoshikuma of WAGAMAMA RAKIA fronts this masterfully produced, melodic idolcore project. With only a couple of digital singles and slick MVs, DEATHNYANN has garnered a ton of attention, even counting Oli Sykes of Bring Me the Horizon among their fans.
swancry is technically a band project, but it’s definitely worth prescribing as the best cure for anyone still suffering the effects of the disbandment of Yukueshirezutsurezure. swancry is the project of hikage (the idol formerly known as Futamaruya Shidare) and hews closely to the aesthetic and tone of vintage Tsuerezure at it’s most contemplative complete with chilling drops into electronic hardcore. The project has had a very productive debut year, releasing multiple digital singles and the stunning EP, albireo. As an added bonus, the project includes collaborations with former Tsurezure band-mate Michi Shito who has contributed vocals, album art and video production.
Rin, whose position in Yumegiwa last girl is listed as, “in charge of shoegaze,” has been working on her solo project, UTERO, for a couple of years now but just dropped her debut EP, For You On Sleepless Nights, this post march. This stellar collection of electronic shoegaze tracks have retained a prominent place in my rotation all year, especially getting a lot of play around bedtime.
The goal of Guilty Kyun’s (Cinema & Boy CQ) DIVA Project is to “awaken the DIVA in the listener’s heart.” To that end, Yukkyun released the project’s ten-track debut album, DIVA YOU, this past March featuring a masterful production team including Yoko Hamasaki (Urbangarde) and Gen-yu Nøu (shinowa) who also composes songs for SAKA_SAMA and innes. The ambitious album’s “One Room Diva” concept is meant to inspire listeners to believe, “My life belongs to me…!”
YUP YUP began 2022 as a duo but went on hiatus shortly after dropping Blood Orange in late March, an EP that has stood up as one of the best of the year. Over the summer, when we still hadn’t quit mourning all of that lost potential, Feww (a veteran of Koutei Camera Girl Zwei and Drei) revived the unit as a solo project. YUP YUP quickly proved that they hadn’t lost a step while on hiatus, quickly dropping three new singles on par with the best, and most creative, new music in the genre.
Ilie is the solo project of Kaneko Rie (ex. LADYBABY and trolleattroll) performing music by Kenta Sakurai, the composer behind Maison book girl. The project debuted in 2021 and but dropped their first album, the absolutely mesmerizing urageshi, this past summer.
Combing chillout, city pop and electronica influences, COTOTOI is fronted by solo vocalist and lyricist Mimei who describes their sound as, “late night traffic navigation music.” The project is produced by the music label behind Yureru Landscape, Yumegiwa last girl and Buddha TOKYO.
Feel free to share your favorite solo idol projects of 2022 below or over on the Homicidols Discord server.