Welcome to week two of our latest project where we blatantly rip off Rolling Stone’s Greatest of All Time lists. These imperfect and perpetually recurring features from the Gray Lady of rock journalism have a special place in my heart. As a young teen who only knew David Bowie from “Let’s Dance” and Labyrinth, my first browse through Rolling Stone’s inaugural best rock album list introduced me to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The encounter was genuinely life changing.
Hopefully, through this exercise of recognizing some of the most influential underground, indie and alternative idol albums of the last decade, you will not only encounter many of your personal favorites, but make some new discoveries as well.
For an overview of how the Homicidols dot com contributors came to compile this collection of greatness, or a recap of albums 41 – 50, please visit last week’s post. Below are the next ten entries in our countdown and one very worthy honorable mention that didn’t quite make the final list:
40. Minna no Kodomochan, ‘A World Without Walls‘ (2018)
Kodomochan’s debut album is ambitious, not just in it’s innovative kawaiicore mix of dark wave and doom metal (frankensteined together by Jin Tanaka of the ska-punk, BACK DROP BOMB) but in its artistic aspirations. Honoka, the unit’s chief visionary and lyricist, imbued the album with the cohesive, existential themes that had long-haunted her literary work. The result are songs that desperately scamper from morose resignation to a bright, frenzied high leaving the listener emotionally exhausted yet craving another dose. While misfortune ended Honoka’s tenure with the project in 2019, the album established a disturbingly brilliant and melancholy legacy for her prodigy and bestie Cinnamon to carry on.
39. HAMIDASYSTEM, ‘down‘ (2019)
The only album from the group where the members weren’t allowed to smile on stage was as big of an emotional gut punch as you’d expect. Super idol producer Sayshine’s emo post-rock combined with members Me (now Mikoto) and She (Shiika)’s theatrical, highly emotional performances are a perfect storm here – this album is every negative emotion exploding all at once. Instantly, the opening track, “Hizumi” throws you down a deep, dark well of angst with the most melancholic bass guitar you’ll ever hear and from there on, you’re in for a ride. All the way from the titular track’s scornful take on romance to the strange sonic landscapes of, “Tasogare no Kimi”, Down is a journey, deep down into deep emotion that you won’t ever forget.
38. Chiaki Mayumura, ‘Meja Meja Monja‘ (2019)
Chiaki Mayumura is an obscenely talented person who makes astonishing and brilliant yet mostly effortless sounding songs, like she can just quickly write an instant anthem while she waits for the toaster to pop. The Artist Mostly Known As Prince of idols, basically. This was her first major album of new songs, songs that eat genres like they were popcorn and leave a delicious taste afterwards, like, er, toffee popcorn.
37. Maison book girl, ‘yume‘ (2018)
Those queens of deep thought known as Maison book girl gave René Descartes a run for his money with “yume.” Blending the surreal with the everyday is par the course for the now disbanded group, but this entry in their catalogue is their absolute peak for good reason. For instance, the loudness of the clapping sounds on the titular track correlate to the brain activity of a test subject in a sleep study – fusing the tangible and intangible to create a melancholic yet surreal audiovisual landscape. With gorgeous piano riffs, their signature drum machine sounds and fMRI tests as album interludes, even if you want to, you won’t be able to tell if you’ve awoke from the serene dream that they entrapped you in.
36. Oyasumi Hologram, ‘2‘ (2016)
You could give yourself an aneurysm trying to work through OYSM’s incredibly deep catalog and find any one “best” there. The ethereal alt-dream-pop-EDM-rock-whatever no-longer-duo and the full roster of impressive talent they had at hand just didn’t miss. 2, though, stands out for its density of all-timers and particularly the first appearance of the incomparable “Neuromancer”. This is the perfect album for playing while driving slowly through a busy city on a summertime night; it can’t be an accident that other artists that just so happened to pair dissonant vocals with dreamy soundscapes started to pop up like chika weeds in 2016 and ’17.
35. NECRONOMIDOL, ‘VOIDHYMN‘ (2018)
Featuring the legendary line-up of Sari, Hina, Okaki, Rei and Himari, VOIDHYMN is a joyful celebration of gothic terror from The Darkness Girls in their prime. The album fuses a diversity of influences with NECROMA’s signature, vocal-driven darkwave including the groove metal infused, “DAWNSLAYER”, the ethereal dream pop, “Psychopomp”, ska-flavored Halloween carol, “SAMHAIN”, and campy power ballad, “STRANGE AEONS”. The album wraps up perfectly with a power metal arrangement of “Skulls in the Stars”, completing a hauntingly exquisite volume of NECROMA’s dark, beautiful best.
34. You’ll Melt More!, ‘Youtopia‘ (2017)
By this point in their career, Yurumerumo! were well-established as the group that loves to mash every genre they can find into a swirling stew of pop-rock-madness. But while their previous albums could feel like a chaotic science experiment that was often all over the place, (not a complaint, by the way) Youtopia represents the most cohesive vision the group has ever put together. It’s more of an actual conceptualized album as opposed to your eclectic friend’s drunken mixtape, and that makes it a different type of rewarding (it also marks the golden age of YMM! as a prolific MV making machine!). Youtopia is a perfect archive of the four-piece core group that we all love. Of course, this would change eventually too, but that’s just another adventure for another time!
33. Koutei Camera Girl, ‘Ghost Cat‘ (2015)
The astounding techno-trance hip-hop monster that introduced the world to Tapestok Records’ unique take on idol and also to the world’s best helium-voiced rapper, Sugar Sugar La La, currently leading O’CHAWANZ. The songs have titles seemingly generated by a chicken pecking at a dictionary made of corn paper (“Wedge Sole Eskimo”? “Swallow Maze Paraguay”?!) but are all exhilarating floor-fillers, even if that floor is the one in your kitchen, filled only with you dancing in your underwear.
32. Yukueshirezutsurezure, ‘Antino Mideology‘ (2016)
How could we neglect to feature the first release of Tsurezure with the shock of it’s heart-shattering screams? Their effortless transitions between harsh and clean vocals were groundbreaking for the time and pivotal in establishing the standard for what is now a common vocal technique across chika idol. While many of us might also regularly listen to the near-identical -Kashiki- version which features Cococo and Tsuyame, it couldn’t exist without this foundational release. On this version, Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da is featured more prominently, a great move by Codomomental to ensure a smooth trickle of fans of their first project would also check out their new venture. To this day, I have not heard anything that pulls at my heartstring in quite the same way as, “Shinjuku Cinema Connection” or sonically devastates like, “Ideology“.
– Papermaiden & Daemon
31. BiS, ‘URYAOI!!!‘ (2014)
“What, what is a Best Of doing in a top 50?”
Well, how else are you supposed to account for all the goodness that the original incarnation released? Please consider their absolutely stellar lineup who all went on to do great things after the disbandment. The only member featured on this best-of list who is not in another standout group is Tentenko and that’s solely because she is not an idol anymore. Don’t punish yourself by ignoring this cornucopia of masterpieces. Need a little boost of energy? Pop in Uryaoi!!! Feeling for a nostalgic afternoon but also want to get punched in the face a little bit? Uryaoi!!! is there for you. I think this album belongs in the music library of anyone who likes the kind of idols we cover on Homicidols.
Honorable Mention: Screaming Sixties, ‘Zetsu‘ (2019)
The Screaming Sixties are one of the defining chika idol acts of the past decade. After emerging in 2014, the punk unit lived in constant tour mode, averaging around 300 frenetic lives per year. While they seldom made stops in the studio, their must-see performances more than proved that the duo of Montero and Kai possessed the talent and gritty appeal to be counted among the alt-idol royalty. As their one-and-only album (released just a few months before Montero abandoned the road for motherhood), the 18-tracks of Zetsu serve as an almost definitive Zekkyosuru 60 Do collection, memorializing the stellar work of one of the best-ever acts in underground idol.