The Contenders: Team Homicidols Best of 2022 (So Far)

We lost so many veteran and A-list talents last year that there were thoughts that 2022 would have a dearth of compelling new chika idol releases. To our surprise, the first several months of this new year have instead seen veteran idols producing some of their best ever work while new units have been dropping captivating releases from the word, “Go!” We usually wait until much later in the year to start tossing around contenders for “Best of the Year” nods, but Team Homicidols is finding ourselves so overwhelmed by the volume, diversity and quality of new music that we felt it was important to make some mid-year citations for posterity. 

Please note that, for the purposes of “Homicidols Best of” years, we go from December to November, so the this piece is considering works released from December 2021 though the end of April 2022.  Also, this is in no way a definitive list of the overwhelming excellence that has been dropping each week for the last several months, just the works that have left the most indelible impacts on Team members. As always, the official “Homicidols Best of the Year” will be cultivated from fan nominations and votes sometime around November. The following are Team Homicidols’ premature and, likely, misguided opinions.  Feel free to let us know all of the ways in which we are wrong over on the Homicidols Discord Server, and drop your own thoughts on the best releases of the year while you are there.

Best Albums of 2022 (so far)

Green (RAY)

Green instantly pulls you inward with the first track “Gyakkou”, which calls out like a siren, and proceeds to press you through a gamut of emotions with 17(!) glorious songs written composed by top tier songwriters like Yusuke Hata and Asuza Suga. I believe I once said that RAY’s first album, Pink, was something you can play for people generally not inclined to idols as a textbook example of what the genre can achieve beyond the usual expectations, and that just might hold even more true here.  It’s not merely a great idol album, it’s a great album period. – Brian

circle (Crossnoesis)

Crossnoesis are one of two continuations of Hamidasystem, the bleak melodic electronica group spearheaded by Sayshine as their music producer. After three years as a group, their debut album circle is a full… circle, of creativity. A natural evolution from Hamidasystem’s bleak melodic electronica concept, Crossnoesis explore “the light in the dark” and what they’ve given us with this is something that feels like a true work of art. The flames of a small flicker in a dark void have been fanned into a bright, burning fire: Crossnoesis’ burning heart, beating at the heart of this album. – Cal

Blood Orange (YUP YUP)

While YUP YUP dropped Blood Orange and then immediately went to retool the unit, they at least left us a minor masterpiece to contemplate while we await their next creative phase.  The “alternative pop” unit have always displayed a curious depth to their hip hop infused postpunk electronica, but seeing the full breadth of their sophistication on full display in this, their debut album, is pretty breathtaking.   – DAEMON

Orion za Ryuuseigun (Machida Girls’ Choir)

An idol concept album is always a great thing and here the concept is spaaaaace.  It rocks out in places but it’s mostly a relaxing warm bath of an album with beautiful three-part harmonies throughout. – chris

Bad+ (innes)

I find TRASH-UP!! projects to be especially fun to watch as they take shape. The label has a way with channeling optimism, experimentation, and street-level DIY grit that’s molded from the most charming diamond-in-the-rough fledgling idols ever recruited into a true gift.  The songs here are a bit all over the map genre-wise, (including a SAKA-SAMA cover!) but that’s because aside from being an album, this is a warm, endearing document of new group figuring things out and evolving.  – Brian

Best Singles of 2022 (so far)

Seizon Senryaku (Isiliel)

Initially teased late last year at NECRONOMIDOL’s European tour, the long-awaited debut of Tsukishiro Himari’s solo project showcases just one of many reasons why she’s such a beloved figure in the alt-idol community. With lyrics by miss Tsukishiro herself, and composition by Coaltar of the Deepers’ frontman, NARASAKI, Himari guides us on a turbulent journey of loneliness, longing and eventual hope that compliments today’s chaotic world while still being listenable enough to enjoy with a nice book on a commute home. I know I’m not the only one who’s excited to see what she’ll bring next. – Kerrie

Under the Sun (Lion net girl)

The perennially underrated Lion net girl truly capture the full, dramatic energy of their fierce live act in this three-track single. The guitar and vocal work of the title track and second A-side, “Thor”, are extraordinary enough, but stick around for the exhilarating  B-side, “Abyss” to experience this unit’s full power.  – DAEMON

Alpaca (SPECIAL CHEESE MENU)

When SPECIAL CHEESE MENU and their similarly ludicrously-named personnel (Rabbit Fur Houston?!) first announced their presence we didn’t know what to expect but we couldn’t have imagined this.  Part of the Animal Trilogy, it mainly consists of rapping, silly noises and someone enthusiastically saying “Alpaca!” a lot.  And it is in fact ten times better than I have made it sound.  Certainly puts the llama in the rama llama ding dong. sorry. – Chris

PARADE GOES ON (GANG PARADE)

New Year 2022 was truly emotional for GP fans: The group came back from the dead! The girls literally all found out at the same time as us, being given a newspaper with an advert announcing that yes, GANG PARADE were reforming and being told they had a few days to prepare for a performance. We got to experience their reformation in real time, hand in hand with the members, very apt for the WACK group known for wearing their heart on their sleeve. Not only that, they even brought out the “primal.” leitmotif present in their songs “LAST” and “OK“! From tip to toe, this single represents a pulse in the shared body and (13) soul of the group and whatever they do next, we know they’re here to stay. – Cal 

One Two Step (Craveit)

A fair number of chika idol units have been infusing swing and lounge influences into their catalogs lately, but none have been so dedicated to the genre as electro-swing evangelists, Craveit. The relatively new unit grabbed our attention last year with the irrepressible “Tap Tap Tap!” and, this year, have released a string of excellent singles. While they are all worth adding to your playlist, the best of the toe-tapping bunch may be “One Two Step” which channels a rave vibe that could get MIGMA SHELTER doing the Charleston.  – DAEMON

Best EPs of 2022 (so far)

I would prefer not to (situasion)

This is the EP that turned me into a true believer: situasion is the real deal and I will never go back on that opinion. Not since Yukueshirezutsurezure has a unit managed to be so hauntingly morose, profound, and disturbingly beautiful. Seeing the light has never felt so perfectly and joyously dark.  – DAEMON

MAD or DIE (MADMAO)

“An authentic EDM sound crossed with friendly pop” says their own blurb.  “Goes blimmin’ hard” says me.  And maybe I’m imagining it but I swear I hear little homages to 90’s rave classics here and there.  Thumping good fun anyways. – chris

Dance Punk Monsters (YOU’LL MELT MORE!)

“Dance Punk Monsters” is kind of a make or break for the current incarnation of YOU’LL MELT MORE! as they press on with an entirely new set of members. Thankfully for us, it confirms that the torch has been successfully passed! As the title suggest, the genre-hopping idols explore good feeling 90’s dance grooves and score big. I especially enjoyed the feel-good affirmation of “Life is Simple”, although I’m maybe not totally buying that it’s actually so easy! – Brian

Noise Tokyo (Buddha TOKYO)

The “neo-soul” Buddha TOKYO introduced themselves to the world by dropping this extraordinary collection of acid jazz and elctro-groove tracks. Less than six months into their existence, this fledgling unit is definitely making some noise. – Papermaiden

Best MVs of 2022 (so far)

I would prefer not to (situasion)

Trigger warning for anyone who believes fish have feelings.

The best song off of one of the best EPs from one the best new units in recent memory should also have one of the best MVs and situasion delivers. This video is artful, disturbing  and as emotionally disconcerting as the song itself. It is a difficult but rewarding re-watch, with new chill-inducing details emerging with each viewing.  – DAEMON

FiNAL SHiTS (BiSH)

Remember when BiSH ruined Christmas? That was fun. Their monthly countdown to the end where they release a single each month started with “FiNAL SHiTS” which, other than making fans want to die, serves as a nice prelude to everyone’s post BiSH careers. Lingling is busy with a dressmaker’s mannequin, Ayuni is playing bass and Momokan is writing away on a laptop. Chitti’s scene is more ambiguous, she’s looking back at a guitar she’s facing away from and she’s the member who’s future is seemingly yet undecided. But even with that ambiguity the message is clear; It might be “BiSH is OVER,” but they’ll be sticking around just like a sentimental STD. – Cal

Babuchan Saikyou Densetsu (Bubble Bobbdie Gum!!)

We can stroke our chins and talk of art-direction-this and powerful-imagery-that but in truth the idol MV I have watched by far the most this year is nothing more than a group messing about in a playground.  The song is a thing of candy-coloured wonder: approximately three different catchy choruses smashed into Twinkle Twinkle Black Sheep sung in barks and miaows – but there is something compelling yet unsettling about their unsmiling, bizarre minimalist choreography that makes up a lot of this video.  We could have done without the pacifiers though; we only just exorcised the horror that was Baby♡♡Holic. – Chris

M (ASP)

ASP always deliver with music videos that give off a “punk band that filmed this themselves in their hometown” vibe but “M” is all that and more! If you’ve ever had a celebrity crush you’ll probably really relate to this video, but only if the specific celebrity was Anthony Hopkins in “Silence of the Lambs.” Imagine if Hannibal was female and also 5 people. It’s just like that. – Cal

A MAD Honorable Mention

MAD JAMIE

For a group that just turned one year old, MAD JAMIE are on an absolute tear dropping one exceptional (and exceptionally loud) single each month of this year so far:

If they keep up this pace, they will not only solidify their place as front runners for the loudest and most crazy punk idols, but as leading contenders for Idol of the Year.

https://twitter.com/mad_jamie_2021/status/1520053811116937217?s=20&t=dA6Hxue04XZcH_aSBuMCng

(This link did work but then their account got suspended, so just pretend there’s something there.)

Be sure to let us know your own picks and everything we’ve missed over on the Homicidols Discord Server.

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