I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Modern Idol Classics - My Selection

A few days ago, I was rewatching some music videos and it crossed me that one particular song would be one of my picks when it comes to the most representative songs of the late Heisei era in terms of idol music - it's catchy and prone to be liked by the general public. So, I decided to brainstorm a few others I would consider worthy of entering that category and joined them in one post. It is a top 6 of my Modern Idol Classics (from 2010 to 2019).

1. BiS - nerve

This one takes first place for me because it is personally one of my favorite idol songs ever, and I feel like it embodies what was the late Heisei for idol music. The traditional idol trope started to be defied by some groups such as BiS and now we have a pot-pourri of genres being presented by the kind of performer one would consider an idol. I also feel like, even though there is still one or two major groups ruling the idol scene, there is a larger number of "tiers" when it comes to popularity. No longer do we have the popular idols and the underground ones, there is more to that, and the idol scene in this moment is very diverse.

2. AKB48 - Koisuru Fortune Cookie (恋するフォーチュンクッキー)

To me, this was the absolute peak of AKB48, since which they have started losing momentum as the "national idol group" of Japan. So, it seemed like an obvious pick for this selection. To this day, this is the go-to song to present in all kinds of TV specials, and had a small revival when it propelled the Thai sister group BNK48 to national stardom. I like this song very much! It's catchy and retro sounding and I don't really get tired of listening to it. I think it is the true classic of AKB48 and showcases the very best this group has to offer.

3. Keyakizaka46 (欅46) - Silent Majority (サイレントマジョリティー)

I feel like it had been a long time since any group had such a strong debut single as Keyakizaka46 did. This song was the absolute hit of 2016 and made me hooked into the group for quite some time. Besides this A-side, "Saimajo" is a very solid single with really good songs (I feel like I still want to write about it someday). I haven't been following Keyaki closely, but it seems to me that the popularity they achieved at the time of their debut has vanished a bit. Still, Silent Majority is unforgettable.

4. Maneki Kecak (まねきケチャ) - Kimi Wazurai (きみわずらい)

This is actually the song I mentioned at the beginning of the article. I don't know if it is surprising, since this group is, let's say, at a different level of popularity as the other groups I mention in this article, at least in the West. But to me, this song is an absolute classic. I think it's the whole progression, starting slow and then building up to a quick succession of emotional lyrics. At first, I had to get used to the difference in sound and skill in the members' voices, but it definitely grew on me.

5. BiSH - Orchestra (オーケストラ)

Well, Orchestra comes in the same category as Kimi Wazurai - a slow progression that builds up quickly. I find it better executed technically in Orchestra, but there is something about the rawness of vocals and emotions in Kimi Wazurai that also pulls me into that song. But when it comes to whether they are classics, they both are. And Orchestra is one of the songs that brought BiSH into national fame, and they keep rising by the day, which has been amusing to see! Let's hope Reiwa brings a lot of success for these girls.

6. Nogizaka46 (乃木坂46) - Kimi no Na wa Kibou (君の名は希望)

I wanted to include a Nogizaka46 song because they are the current top idol group in Japan, and whenever I think about Kimi no Na wa Kibou being used as a jingle in the Nogizaka Station, the song stands out to me as a classic. The thing about this group is that they have several songs that stand out to the general public, but not one that one can pin-point as their true number one hit. When it comes to sales, I think Influencer takes the cake, but Kimi no Na wa Kibou is, in my opinion, the one tune that better appeals to the general public. It's a pop song without a doubt, but it sounds so warm and with lyrics so encouraging that I would recommend it to anyone.


  1. Hello, Joana, and thanks for your good list of Modern Idol Classics. I've at least seen and/or heard all of these groups except for Menaki Kecak over the past few years, and it's good to read some insight about them since I'm not particularly well-versed with the most recent groups.

    Speaking of Menaki Kecak, that's quite an acceleration of "Kimi Wazurai" from the intro. I wonder if it had been used as the theme song for a drama or anime. It does have that sense of inspiration and encouragement.

    BiS was definitely a group that pushed the envelope in terms of what it means to be an aidoru unit. They may not have been everybody's cup of tea but I've heard and enjoyed some of their other tunes such as "Ash".

    Of course, AKB 48's "Koi suru Fortune Cookie" is one of the songs that I've liked since it does bring back the ol' disco, and I've been quite nostalgic for that genre for years now. :)

    Finally with Keyakizaka46, that young lady in the middle has stood out in her performances. Whenever I've seen them in the Kohaku Utagassen or on other regular NHK music shows, she seems to have quite an aura around her. I'm not sure if you have picked up on this, but I think when she does eventually graduate, I could see her completely disappearing from the industry or becoming a solo force of musical/acting nature.

    1. Hello, J-Canuck! Thanks for your comment.

      In fact, Maneki Kecak does some anisong, but as far as I know, "Kimi Wazurai" wasn't used for that purpose. But I can see where you're coming from.

      About Keyakizaka46, yes, Hirate Yurina ("Techi") is my favorite member of the group. She has always reminded me of Yamaguchi Momoe. That's why I also agree with your speculations.


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