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Alright, I disappeared once again. But the year isn't ending without my Top 20 song list! I decided I'd change things up a bit and do the top 20 songs of the year in a mixtape style. The reason is really because I'm too indecisive to truly sort out the best songs in order, so I'll just dump everything in a playlist for you guys to figure it out yourselves.

Essentially, the 20 tracks I've put together are the songs that really made the year for me. Some were plain wow on first listen, some were growers, and some just made me think, "Did I just wet my pants again?" So it may or may not truly represent the best songs of 2014 (as it always have been on this blog anyway), but it's a varied list that will hopefully be an enjoyable one for you guys. Let's go bitches.

p/s. 8tracks playlists of mixtape at the end of the post. Woohoo!


#AGARU
JASMINE

2014.03.12
Welcome to Jas Vegas
LISTEN HERE


As mentioned in a previous review, this is dance-pop done right by JASMINE. Her vocals aren't the best here but everything else compensates for it anyway.


HOTEL
Koda Kumi

2014.08.06
HOTEL
LISTEN HERE


Finally, Koda Cum-on-mi did something different for a summer song this year which worked for me. Yes, it's just another Westernised J-Pop song, but hey, no Western artist can really beat Kuu's nasally voice in this! To really feel this song's happy vibes, you should probably read it with its translation. (Right now knock on this hot summer's door / This service can only be found here, we're at the top / Knock knock / You can get anything for your order / "I want dreamy boys at once!" – oh yes.)


hero #51
JUJU

2014.03.05
DOOR
LISTEN HERE


JUJU normally leans more towards pop more than jazz / R&B, but this is probably the only song in the album that's heavily influenced with hip-hop / R&B beats that surprisingly works pretty well with her otherwise thin voice.


Hachisu no Hana -single version-
sakanaction

2014.10.29
Sayonara wa Emotion / Hachisu no Hana
LISTEN HERE


sakanaction didn't have a particularly happening year, but Hachisu no Hana eventually grew on me for its subtly-accented, toned-down arrangement (as with most of their songs this year, really) that you just kinda grow to appreciate.


Lack of Communication
KLOOZ

2014.02.12
Seasons
LISTEN HERE


Sick beats, sick rap, sick hook. This dude is talented, but damn, he shoulda let someone else take the microphone... but you'll probably get used to it if you listen to it seven times in a row hahahaha!!!


Shout It Out
BoA

2014.09.03
WHO'S BACK?
LISTEN HERE


Yes, I'm intentionally using the album cover because it's so hideously designed and shot. How could I resist? The last time I was this impressed with a BoA song was back in 2008 with Eien, and I can't believe that was 6 years ago?! Anyhoo, can somebody tell me if BoA really had work done? I'm not judging, I'd love a nose job myself, but I just want an objective answer from people who are NOT hardcore stans.


Play!
Galileo Galilei

2014.10.01
See More Glass
LISTEN HERE


It's probably one of the more underrated songs on the EP because it wasn't as heavily promoted as Mrs. Summer, but as the name implies, I like the playful nature of the arrangement and delivery. If you liked their Baby, It's Cold Outside EP, you'll appreciate this.


Everything is Alone
FOLKS
2014.02.12
NEWTOWN
LISTEN HERE


I'm beginning to lose faith in FOLKS because their latest single was really meh. But Everything is Alone still winds up being one of my favourites this year because there really isn't anybody else in Japanese music who is producing the kind of music that they do, unless I'm missing out on something.


IT'S SO DELICIOUS
Koda Kumi
2014.03.26
Watashi to Drecom -DREAMS COME TRUE 25th ANNIVERSARY BEST COVERS-
LISTEN HERE


The tribute albums for DREAMS COME TRUE and Utada Hikaru this year absolutely put the cover albums of May J., JUJU, etc. to shame. THIS is what it means to make a cover. I can't believe nobody's been taking notes.


StarRingChild
Aimer

2014.06.25
Midnight Sun
LISTEN HERE


I really like Aimer a lot. For one, she's not an attention whore. Nobody knows what she really looks like, and that's so rare for Japanese female soloists today. She also has a very low, lullaby-like voice that makes a cool juxtaposition against the rock songs she make, like this one.


Lelio
ayumi hamasaki

2014.06.18
Colours
LISTEN HERE


Yes, this is going to raise a lot of eyebrows. Yes, I will admit it is my guilty pleasure. But I'm not even sorry for it. ayumi hotmessaki waxes lyrical about a radio Lelio DJ and is probably the best song on her album for its deep lyrical content (Lelio lelio leli lelio DJ / Yeah there a-a-a-a-at you). I refuse to believe that nobody ever had even just a slight pussy pop listening to this. Come on.


Boku wa Pegasus Kimi wa Polaris
MISIA

2014.04.02
NEW MORNING
LISTEN HERE


One of the best MISIA efforts in recent years as her music matures alongside herself. Grand arrangement, sleek production, smooth vocals, perfect mastering.


Movin' on without you
ayumi hamasaki

2014.12.09
Utada Hikaru no Uta
LISTEN HERE


Reading the news of ayumi hotmessaki agreeing to participate in an Utada Hikaru tribute album brought as much shock as it did when I found out Namie Amuro did a song with Jolin Tsai. Is this reality? Or is ayumi hotmessaki just too damn desperate to make a quick buck to save her career? Regardless, this was easily one of the best tracks on the tribute album. Not only does it have a banging beat, but they also found the right balance in the amount of auto-tune used – you're not sure if they're auto-tuning to suit the genre of the song or to mask a certain vocalist's wrecked voice. Score!



BRIGHTER DAY
Namie Amuro

2014.11.12
BRIGHTER DAY
LISTEN HERE


Hooray for another Namie song that sounds just like another ONLY YOU / Contrail! It's a song about encouragement, but Namie looks like she's dying in the single covers, and I have no idea what was even going on in the music video (other than the fact that she looks ~*pretty darn amazing*~). Once again, Namie never fails to confuse, which makes this song an A+.


Kimi ni Shikanai Mono
lecca

2014.08.06
tough Village
LISTEN HERE


I only discovered lecca earlier in the year and it's one of the most surprising discoveries I've made in a loooooong time (the last time was probably Angela Aki, 7 years ago). She definitely has one of the strongest voices in J-Pop, which is easily attained when you sound manlier than Ken Hirai. This R&B-infused reggae track was my earworm for a good part of the year while her annual dancehall anthem, Vibes Up, failed to generate even a twerk).


Daredemo Lonely
YUKI

2014.09.17
FLY
LISTEN HERE


I don't normally listen to YUKI because her voice is plain annoying, especially in her previous album. But it seems to mesh together well with dance songs like Daredemo Lonely. Think Kyary Pamyu Pamyu without the vocoder effects and the ability to sing in tune, combined with a little bit of Ai Otsuka. Stick to this track though, because the rest of the album isn't that impressive.


sonic manic
Kaela Kimura

2014.12.17
MIETA
LISTEN HERE


I initially wanted to give this album a skip because OLE!OH! sounded like the terrible kindergarten songs she always did. But I was at the Oricon site trying to see how badly everyone was flopping on the charts when a CM autoplayed on the site and this song was in the background, and I was HOOKED! It's like an uplifting version of Mamireru. Plus, at least there are no horrendous attempts at English in this one (read previous post).


Ai wo Karada ni Fukikonde
Superfly

2014.11.19
Ai wo Karada ni Fukikonde
LISTEN HERE


The key to every great Superfly song: guitar riff intro, instruments all come in, chorus includes some form of "Oh oh oh oh" / dragging of a vowel. She's done it again. And it sounds amazing. HOW DOES SHE DO IT?


Dance In The Rain
Koda Kumi

2014.11.05
Dance In The Rain
LISTEN HERE


Forget that the music video's the first to be ever made for the Oculus Rift (or whatever it is, I'm lazy to do my research). I love it when Koda Cum-on-mi dabbles in this style of music. Is it R&B / pop? I don't know, I'm retarded. Nonetheless, it has a slow tempo yet still danceable as fuck. Wouldn't wanna dance in the rain though, das just nasty.


Anata wo Omou Kaze
HY

2014.12.03
LOVER
LISTEN HERE

Here comes another nasally male vocalist! I have to say I absolutely adore Nakasone Izumi's voice though (chorus). It's your usual pop-rock affair with added rap elements and structured a little differently, which makes it all the more interesting.

-------------------------

2014 brought me lots of awesome musical discoveries that made me wished I had done so earlier, but as a whole, I thought it was a pretty darn good year. Other notable songs that could've been contenders for the Top 20 were Ai Otsuka's LOVE FANTASTIC / 5:09am -Tonic- and Perfume's DISPLAY, and I would've included Jolin Tsai's I'm Not Yours too, but well, that's not J-Pop.

If there are any other songs that I might have missed out that run in a similar vein to the 20 songs listed above, do share some of that goodness! And speaking of sharing, I've compiled two handy dandy 8tracks playlists for you guys to listen through the mixtape in two parts – the first half and the second – because it's all about spreading joy this festive season yo!


Here's hoping for a good musical year in 2015!
KAMPAI!

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