I thought that there couldn’t be a better way to start writing on Selective Hearing than with a year-end post! I figured since I’m doing my own year-end post on the Wonderland, I’d do a little more straightforward year-end post on Selective Hearing! The one on my personal blog is a little bit broader and is less of a list and more of a series of groupings of songs and PVs in various categories.

This list however is pretty much just a list of my favorite songs by idol groups I followed in 2012 and a small commentary about why I liked each song! The list consists of a variety of A-sides, B-sides and even a few album songs by different idol groups.

I also think doing a list of my favorite songs can highlight what styles and types of music and idols I follow, further giving an idea of what I might write about on Selective Hearing in the future! So with that out of the way, let’s take a look at my personal favorites of 2012! Before we get into the actual list, here are some honorable mentions that just barely didn’t make it into the top twenty!

Honorable Mentions:

Chelsea – BiS

Fashion Monster – Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Hikaru Monotachi – Watanabe Mayu

Junjou U-19 – NMB48

Magical Lip Kiss – Naaboudoufu@nana

Song for the Date – Mano Erina

Tsuyogari Tokei – SKE48

20. Kanashiki no Melody – Morning Musume

I’ve noticed over time that whenever I listen to an A-side that I dislike, I always gravitate towards the B-side depending on how much I disliked the A-side. For instance, if I hated a song then most likely I would really enjoy the B-side. This is the case with PyokoPyoko Ultra and Kanashiki no Melody. I’ve mentioned on more than on occasion how much I loathe PyokoPyoko Ultra so for me, Kanashiki no Melody was the redeeming factor to the single. Is it a new style for Morning Musume? Absolutely not. They’ve covered that darker and sadder “Emo Musume” style many times in the past but this was the first time with the 9th and 10th generation I believe. The melody is pretty and while the Dubstep can get awkward at time, it’s enjoyable. Shame this song couldn’t have been the A-side…

19. Bad Flower – Tokyo Girls’ Style

It’s nice to know that TGS still has some edge! I admit, after the release of Tsuioku, I was feeling a bit blah towards the idol group; they hadn’t released anything that had really grabbed me this year and I’d not had much interest in them. I didn’t even know they had gone on temporary hiatus to train some more until the PV for their next single was released. But when I saw the PV and heard the song, I could tell that hiatus had paid off. Bad Flower was a return to the darker sound the group had dabbled with in the past in songs such as Limited Addiction and Liar except this song incorporated the use of guitars and harder-sounding instruments. The breakout vocals are definitely Hitomi’s although you can tell everyone has improved. Bad Flower was a great comeback for the Avex group!

18. Loving you too much – Berryz Koubou

Sometimes I like to pretend that this song was the only B-side on Cha Cha Sing and that Yurushite Nyan! doesn’t exist. But alas. It does. However, that horrid song can be easily ignored thanks to how much I enjoy the A-side and Loving you too much. Both are Thai covers and both are two of my favorite songs of 2012. Whilst Cha Cha Sing is much more energetic, what I like about Loving you too much is that it has a very nice and flowing melody. Of course I could have done without the awkward rap (well… Miyabi’s rapping at least) but overall this is a very enjoyable song and it’s another great cover! It’s one of the songs where I get happy just by listening to it and I end up humming the song in my head for days and days because I don’t want to lose that happy feeling.

17. Discord – Tokyo Girls’ Style

This B-side really stood out to me on the Road to Budokan single, even a little bit more than Bad Flower! It’s strange because the two songs sound very alike; they both have that same dark tone and really hardcore vocals and instrumentals. Well… as hardcore as an idol group fool of teenage girls can get. Discord feels a lot like the electrified version of Bad Flower but honestly, I think it works for this song. The song isn’t electropop but it has elements of it and at its core, Discord is more of a rock-ish song. Still, it has an Avex sound to it; think W.M.A.D. or maybe even Don’t be Cruel to get an idea of what kind of sound I’m referring to. Overall, the electronic effects used in Discord along with the hardcore sound that matches Bad Flower add to the high quality of Road to Budokan 2012 ~Bad Flower~.

16. Wakuteka Take a Chance – Morning Musume

One Two Three may have been the first song that showed Momusu’s change in direction, but Wakuteka Take a chance was the song that pulled it off better. I enjoyed One Two Three but one of the biggest problems I had with that song was that the Autotune was too heavy and the vocals sounded too robotic. In Wakuteka Take a chance, that Autotune is still there but it’s drastically toned down and the vocals are more spread out so no one sounds like a robotic AI. The electropop instrumentals also flow better in this song and the tune sounds more cohesive with a nice buildup from the verses to the insanely energetic chorus. There’s a lot of energy but it feels more concentrated and deliberate than all over the place. Now if only I could say the same thing for Help Me…

15. Next Flight – Passpo

You know, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into Passpo if I hadn’t heard this song! I hadn’t really heard hardcore rock from an idol group besides Scandal until Passpo released this song but that’s what makes it so memorable! The first in the group’s “Airline Trilogy”, Next flight took on the music style of LA metal and while it’s not anywhere near as much of a scream-tastic headbanger as real metal is, it’s still a pretty kickass song! It helped that the group’s producers got actual rock artists from actual rock bands to provide the instrumentals, making for a prettty rocking song! The vocals also added to the rockishness; while the idols didn’t sound gravelly or spend the song screaming their heads off, they sounded great and this was a great start to The Airline Trilogy!

14. Kanashiki Heaven – C-ute

I think a big part of Kanashiki Heaven’s appeal to me is who sang it. Airi and Chisato are the main ones carrying the song with Maimi, Saki and Mai getting a couple group lines too. But it’s essentially an Airi and Chisato duet and it works so well for them. The vocals are the best part of this song and there’s a great harmony between the two best singers in C-ute. Airi’s softer and prettier voice provides a beautiful contrast from Chisato’s louder and deeper voice and together the two sound wonderful. I also like the use of the acoustic guitar in this song since you don’t really hear that much in the currently electropop-dominated Hello! Project.

13. PPCC – BiS

Oh, debuting on a major label was such a great move for Brand-new Idol Society. When it was first announced, I had my doubts about how the group would be promoted and if switching to Avex would affect their image or not. PPCC showed me that there was no way in hell that was happening any time soon. PPCC is another one of those songs that hooks you with a really catchy chorus but the rest of the song is also very well done. It’s in the vein of rock/pop, a genre that isn’t new to the idol group but it’s still a fun song! You can really hear a lot of energy packed into it! It’s an energetic song with a kickass chorus and the PV has a giant showdown between the group and a massive horde of thugs. What’s not to love about this song?

12. Show Fight! – AKB48

Show fight! was probably the only song I really enjoyed from AKB48 this year. All their other songs I thought were okay, forgettable, or flat-out terrible. But this song… I enjoy this song a lot. I first heard a snippet of it in a CM and that was enough to make me want to hear the whole song. What I love most about this song is that it has a lot of aggressive energy behind it that I felt like a lot of AKB’s singles were lacking in this year. It reminds me of the music you’d normally hear over a training montage in some cheesy kung fu action movie but more memorable! The B-side is also incredibly catchy, mainly the chorus and its use of repetition. I think the PV also deserves an honorable mention because idols beating the crap out of each other is always entertaining for some reason…

11. Koe ga Kasureru Kurai – SKE48

Never did I ever think that I could feel sorry for a soft drink. I guess it helps that the soft drink in question was Matsui Rena. I originally heard Koe ga Kasureru Kurai through the incredibly creative PV it had and I like the sound of the song. It had a bit of a perky rock edge to it but at the same time it sounded very, very melancholic especially when it hit the chorus. I think the vocals are what really carry and set the tone of the song because the girls all sound very… dejected. Maybe it’s because I’m used to hearing SKE48 bounce off the walls with happy hyperactivity but hearing a slower and sadder-sounding song from them was quite the 180, even more so than Kataomoi Finally! But the direction worked and I love the beautiful but sad flow of this B-side!

10. What’s up? Ai wa Dou no no yo~ – Morning Musume

At first, I didn’t really pay much mind to this song. I thought the dance video the group released for it was pretty cool but I was more focused on the dance than the song when watching the video. But after listening to the Colorful Character album, I think What’s up? is my favorite song on the track and my favorite Momusu song released this year. I can’t really explain why… the song just has such an addictive sound to it. Like in the beginning when Mizuki and Sayu are rapping and then the actual singing comes in. There’s something about this song that I can’t put my finger on that makes me really love it. Maybe it’s how cheerful it is. Maybe it’s the perfect blend of different sounds and elements put into the song. Whatever it is, I really enjoy listening to this song!

9. hitoribochi – BiS

I could probably put most of the tracks from Brand-new Idol Society’s Idol is Dead album, on this list but doing so wouldn’t leave many places for other songs by other groups! The album really is one of my favorites released this year and Hitoribochi is one of the best songs on the album. What I think makes it such a great song is partially its placement on the album. The album is very loud with a lot of instrumentals and energy and Hitoribochi is a well-done 180 from all that loudness you hear for the first nine tracks. Hitoribochi is the ballad of the album and it has everything I like in a ballad; it’s pretty but it’s not forgettable. There’s still energy in the song but it’s directed in a softer direction and I can hear the emotion in the song. I love hearing that in ballads, this one especially.

8. WING – Passpo

I myself am surprised at how much Wing grew on me, especially since I didn’t think another Passpo song could top Next flight. But in the end, Wing ended up being a song I liked even better than Next flight. I’m fairly certain German metal doesn’t sound like Wing but the song still has a lot of guitars and a very… interesting chorus. It’s good but it almost… it reminds me a chorus if a chorus were given a rock band. I suppose relating the song to a chorus is stretching it a bit but I really think if the instrumentals were re-done and the tempo of the vocals was slowed down, Wing could very easily pass as a chorus song. Overall, Wing was a perfect conclusion to The Airline Trilogy with a great blend of darkness and Halloween for its October release!

7. ASH – BiS

When I first heard the preview for Ash on Avex’s channel, I wanted the full song. I wanted it so badly. And when I heard the whole thing, I loved it. Something you should know before giving this song a listen is that it’s loud. Really loud. And honestly? I think that’s what makes it such a great song. BiS has been a group that I’ve really started to like more and more ever since I discovered them and that’s mainly because they have so much variety with their music. They’ve done pop-punk, rock, alternative, even metal and Ash is… space rock? I always think of space rock whenever I hear this song and I’m not even sure how space rock would even sound. What I do know is that the onslaught of synths and electronics and all these other sounds I can’t identify make Ash another diverse and great song to add to the unconventional idol group’s discography!

6. Spring of Life – Perfume

It sure felt like Perfume had sprung back to life when this song was released! Spring of Life was the first song for the group after transferring from the Tokuma Japan label to Universal Music Japan and it was a great first song to release under the new label! The song sounds so youthful and full of life, something that I found lacking in Spice (although it worked for the tone of that song). The whole  song carries this incredibly upbeat, almost hopeful, energy to it that you can hear in the energetic vocals from the girls. It really conveys that feeling of “springing” back to life! Then the bridge comes in and the music gets a little dark then springs back up to being so happy and as short as that part is, I love it. I love this song and I love the light-up dresses that came with it.

5. Cha Cha Sing – Berryz Koubou

I’ve always felt like Berryz worked best when they’re given highly upbeat songs; not to say that serious songs can’t work for them either. I just feel like a lot of the Berryz songs I’ve gravitated too are their really ecstatically energetic songs and Cha Cha Sing is one of those songs that highlights the type of music that Berryz pulls off so perfectly. Cha Cha Sing is a cover a popular Thailand song called Roh Man Sing and what I love about this song is that it’s a great cover but it also stands alone as a really good song with a good Berryz spin on it! The chorus is the best part, when the repetition reaches insane levels and the music gets really loud; I was humming that chorus for days after hearing the song. Wow, covers seems to work pretty well for Berryz, don’t they?

4. Chou Happy Song – Berrikyuu

I actually listened to this song before giving Because Happiness and Shiawase no Tochuu listens and looking back, it does feel like those two songs were meant to be together. They have similar tones and the vocals could easily be layered onto each other without sounding like a giant vocal mess. Chou Happy Song is a refreshing change from the lifeless blandness of the groups previous single, Amazuppai Haru ni Sakura Saku. The idea of blending two songs together and the result actually sounding cohesive is enough to make for an appealing song but this song also sounds fun and youthful! The H!P Kids (I guess they’re the H!P Women now…) sound great together and having them sing in one song that’s actually good feels long overdue. I hope we can see more songs like this from Berrikyuu in the future!

3. Kataomoi Finally – SKE48

What I think makes this song great is that it works so for such an energetic group like SKE48. This song could have easily been heavily depressing and dark but the energy SKE48 has is infused into the song.  I think if the song had been dark, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much since I think energetic songs work so well for SKE48. The song still has a more serious tone to it than a songs like Aishiterabu! but it’s also very upbeat. I can’t deny that another thing that really made me appreciate this song was the PV; the PV and its subject matter made it one of my favorite PVs of 2012. But as a song alone, Kataomoi Finally is still really powerful and the PV only added to my love for the song. Together, it’s one of my favorite releases from SKE48.

2. Hurly Burly – Perfume

The definition of “hurly burly” is “disturbance; a disorderly outburst or tumult” and Perfume’s song lives up to that title pretty well! To me, the breakout songs of this year for Perfume were the two B-sides of Spending all my time. Perhaps that’s because I have a rather low opinion of the A-side itself  and I see its B-sides as superior for having more variety. Hurly Burly definitely isn’t a new direction for the techno group but it is still a very refreshing song to listen to. Hurly Burly is a huge contrast from Point; while Point seems to glide, Hurly Burly bounces off the walls. The intro of the song has an incredibly upbeat and bouncy quality which only builds as the song continues to play. By the time the song is over, I always feel incredibly energized and it’s such a fun song from Perfume!

1. Point – Perfume

I actually had a very hard time deciding whether this song or Hurly Burly would be at number 1. In fact, if you’d asked me which one I liked better when Spending all my time was released, I probably would have said Hurly Burly. But over time, Point has really grown on me and often I find myself listening to it at the most sporadic of times. I think what made me love this song so much was how pretty and light it sounded, so much that I felt like I was drifting through the sky when I listened to it. Point is a great song when I want to be in a calm mood but just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it can’t also be a memorable song. Point is pretty in the best possible and that’s why I love it. This B-side is utterly beautiful to listen to and that’s why it has become my favorite song of 2012.