Rather than doing our usual recap of 2019’s musical offerings we have decided to take a look back at the decade that was. The participants for this article are Selective Hearing’s admin Greg, Selective Hearing’s second in command ToZ and Okay! Musume Time‘s Kelly Mae. (a.k.a. Chiima)
The criteria for our selections were:
- Select 1 single and 1 album that you thought was the best for each year from 2010 – 2019. If you are wishy-washy you may also include 1 runner-up in each category for each year.
- Qualifying songs/albums must have a release date within the calendar year you are putting an entry in.
- At minimum make an entry for 5 of the 10 years. Which years did not matter.
- An exception will be made for 2019. Please choose 3 songs and/or albums that you liked this year.
Given that this is kind of a long article we will thank you in advance for looking back with us if you make it all the way to the end.
Favorite Single: AKB48 – Heavy Rotation
Well the video by itself is memorable enough just because of the whole cock tease imagery. I remember writing an article about this video way back when talking about it in great length. Video aside, the song itself is incredibly catchy and has become popular enough to be considered AKB48’s signature song.
Favorite Single Runner Up: AKB48 – Beginner
So this I clearly remember for having a fairly graphic video for a mainstream idol group. It’s not every day you see members getting killed in a virtual world video game. While not as visually appealing as Heavy Rotation the concept of the video was pretty cool and the song itself was also an interesting deviation from the group’s pure pop sound.
Favorite Album: Namie Amuro – Past < Future
In my review of this album and mentioned that this was a change in musical direction for Amuro after milking all she could out of the Hip-Pop gimmick. It was not a complete shift in sound and felt more like a gradual transition.
The edgier, electro pop influences that start near the middle point of the album would set the stage for the sound that would define her music until her retirement. It still holds up well to this day with many of the singles (and a few album cuts) from this album still in high rotation on my daily playlist.
Favorite Album Runner Up: KARA – Girl’s Talk
KARA’s Japanese debut featured Japanese language versions of songs from their fourth Korean mini-album Jumping and a few original compositions for the Japanese market. Coming in hot with Mister as the lead single it paved the way for KARA to become one of the more successful South Korean girl groups to crossover into Japan.
Even though it is basically a rehash of previously released material, it was a perfect fit for the world of J-Pop at the time. I particularly liked the rearranged version of Umbrella as it added a few extra touches to an already great song.
Favorite album: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I can’t blame anyone who has given up and moved on from Kanye in the years since this album came out, which makes this album stand out even more. I demark his career with this album. There is a distinct change of his sound and his public persona after this album, and it’s easy to see the seeds here. The soul-sampling meets experimentation with maximalist vision.
Despite being titled as my ‘Favourite single’ or album’, anything I place here is pretty much a ‘placeholder’ or ‘Selective Hearing’ variant of my actual favourite releases from the past decade, only because I’m trying to make up my own list on my own site. That said, these are all songs / singles / releases I have loved a great deal over the past decade.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy this selection of Idol music from 2010 until now.
Favourite Single: C-ute – Campus Life ~Umarete Kite Yokatta~
Though 2010 had a few decent releases, one of my favourite is Campus Life ~Umarete kite Yokatta~ by C-ute. This basically kick-started my love of the group thanks to how upbeat and entertaining the song is, plus it allowed me to fully appreciate Okai Chisato as a singer, because finally I could hear her sing more than a syllable or one line.
It’s definitely not the best song out there, but I enjoy it a lot. I have some good memories with this song.
Favourite Single Runner Up: AKB48 – Heavy Rotation
I agree with Greg on this one; Heavy Rotation is AKB’s signature song now, but I do genuinely believe this one defined a generation. In terms of popularity, this song is up there. It’s still one of the top Karaoke songs within Japan to this day, but it speaks volumes for AKB themselves – their image, their visual magnificence, the amount of gravure they put out… and more, I guess.
They definitely cross a certain line for some, but Heavy Rotation has managed to stand the test of time. Oh, and the song is a lot of fun, too.
Favorite Single: 2NE1 – I Am The Best
This is 2NE1 at their swagalicious best confidently asserting their dominance over an aggressive, synth heavy beat. There is some incredibly cool imagery throughout the video. Well maybe except for that John Cena spinner belt.
Favorite Single Runner Up: Perfume – Laser Beam/Kasuka no Kaori
Perfume’s double a-side was a blend of their tried and true, dance floor shaking Electro Pop in Laser Beam and something a little softer sounding in Kasuka no Kaori. Both are equally strong songs and great lead-ins to the album they would land on later in the year.
I tend to gravitate towards Laser Beam just because I prefer Perfume’s higher tempo songs.
Favorite Album: Perfume – JPN
The follow up to 2009’s Triangle was basically a collection of Perfume’s singles leading up to JPN’s release date with a few new songs thrown in here and there. When I reviewed it those many moons ago I called it a fairly safe album for them.
Unlike their material that followed after there wasn’t that much of a progression for the group between albums. Given the type of Japanese Pop I was listening to at the time this was far above everything that year in regards to the few albums that I did invest my time in.
Favorite Album Runner Up: The Black Eyed Peas – The Beginning
I got into BEP when they were pure Hip-Hop so I wasn’t the biggest fan of their pop period with Fergie. The Beginning is an exception to my dislike as it was an all around fun album that made use of the whole sample from the past to make future hits formula quite well.
I also liked that it was very dance music-centric with plenty of guilty pleasure songs that one would turn up to 11 and sing along to badly in the privacy of their cars or homes.
Favorite Single: IU – You & I
The year I became an IU fan. Similar to Kanye’s MBDTF, it’s fun to revisit this song and see how far she has come. It’s still cute like Good Day, but there are hints of maturity and a beginning of scratching the surface of what she would do musically after this. Also, it’s still a fun holiday-sounding song.
Favorite album – Shady 2.0 Cypher
Not an album, but boy was I excited when Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf signed to Shady Records. I really thought it would amount of something, and sadly it didn’t. But I’m picking this BET cypher video cause of how excited I was at the time.
Favourite Single: Bump.y – Kiss!
Kiss! Remains one of my favourite singles from 2011 to this day, along with many others, because it’s an amazing release from an equally awesome group. It’s a fun summer song influenced by K-pop, a genre of sorts that was at the time on the rise in Japan.
Though Bump.y were not the first to take on a K-pop inspired release, they were certainly one of the earlier groups to be influenced by the sound and style, and they did a good job here in terms of representing the colourful style and fun tone that 2010 – 2011 K-pop had back then. It’s a cute, fun release, and the accompanying B-sides are pretty damn good, too.
Favourite Single Runner-Up: PASSPO☆ – Shoujo Hikou
Shoujo Hikou is certainly one of PASSPO☆’s weaker songs, however it was their major debut release, and therefore it is a special release in my heart as well. I was a fan of the group during their indies era, but seeing Shoujo Hikou and watching their major debut release was a super sentimental moment for me. I enjoy the song even now, though I don’t actively reach for it as something to listen to. Regardless, I have good memories of obsessing over this song and enjoying every moment of it.