So the results are in. The best Hello! Project single of 2015 according to you the voters is…
Taikibansei – Angerme 20% (12 votes)
Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki – Morning Musume ’15 10% (6 votes)
Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru – Morning Musume ’15 6.67% (4 votes)
Dondengaeshi – Angerme 6.67% (4 votes)
Endless Sky – Morning Musume ’15 5% (3 votes)
The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~ – C-ute 5% (3 votes)
Gamushalife – C-ute 5% (3 votes)
Yuugure wa Ameagari – Morning Musume ’15 3.33% (2 votes)
Oh My Wish! – Morning Musume ’15 3.33% (2 votes)
Arashi wo Okosunda Exciting Fight! – C-ute 3.33% (2 votes)
Nanakorobiyaoki – Angerme 3.33% (2 votes)
Desugita Kui wa Utarenai – Angerme 3.33% (2 votes)
Itooshikutte Gomen ne – Country Girls 3.33% (2 votes)
Survivor – Kobushi Factory 3.33% (2 votes)
Dosukoi! Kenkyo ni Daitan – Kobushi Factory 3.33% (2 votes)
Ima Koko Kara – Morning Musume ’15 1.67% (1 votes)
Sukatto My Heart – Morning Musume ’15 1.67% (1 votes)
Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi – Morning Musume ’15 1.67% (1 votes)
One and Only – Morning Musume ’15 1.67% (1 votes)
Otome no Gyakushuu – Angerme 1.67% (1 votes)
Wonderful World – Juice=Juice 1.67% (1 votes)
Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne – Country Girls 1.67% (1 votes)
Nen ni wa Nen – Kobushi Factory (either version) 1.67% (1 votes)
Seishun Manmannaka! – Tsubaki Factory 1.66% (1 votes)
Everything else – (0 votes)
So Angerme win (and come third). A really strong showing from them. Things must be looking up. I hope nobody spoils this by graduating. Oh…
As is traditional I will now run through my own top ten. Starting at eleven with…
11. Nanakorobiyaoki – Angerme
It’s not often Angerme/S/mileage make an appearance in my top ten although I did give them an honorary 11th place last year as well. A special mention two years on the run! This of course is a big change to how things used to be. I was a hardcore S/mileage wota during their 4-nin days. Still life as a wota has it’s ups and downs. Musically they became a bit bland and Yuuka graduating didn’t help keep my interest. Even so sometimes they still produce the goods and this year there are signs of a resurgence. This song sounds like it could be a Momusu single. Musically the arrangement is very much like some recent Momusu singles but with more of a kick. As for the members the third gen definitely seems more immediately appealing than the second one was. Especially with Rikako’s vibrancy. That name change is still pretty weird though.
10. Gamusha LIFE – C-ute
C-ute only had two releases this year although there were five singles spread amongst them. Their first entry on this list is Gamusha Life. It’s a pleasant enough song without quite reaching C-ute’s usual heights. Nevertheless the song is uplifting and deserves it’s place here as it’s been one of my most listened to songs this year.
9. Sukatto My Heart – Morning Musume ’15
Momusu had three releases this year but spread out 27, 865 songs amongst them. Okay slight exaggeration. Anyway sadly most of them were not all that interesting truth be told. It was a bit of a weak year. I’ve enjoyed their musical direction in recent years but this year was a bit on the bland side. Ss for this song, well I know Hello! Project songs tend to have the same people producing them but each group tends to have their own style. But if Angerme sounded like Momusu on Nanakorobiyaoki then Momusu sound like Juice=Juice here. If I had heard the song without knowing who it was I’d have guessed Juice=Juice for sure. Luckily though it sounds like early Juice-Juice and their early singles are their best so it’s okay.
8. One and Only – Morning Musume
Sneaking in at the death is this adorable upbeat English language song. Wow. When I became a fan of Hello! Project the idea of ever seeing a H!P group in Europe seemed far-fetched. Yet now with trips abroad pretty much the norm and with official Twitter and Facebook English accounts giving English speaking fans information not to mention all those English subtitles on Youtube PVs we are being truly spoiled. This song spoils us even more. It’s not just because it’s English language that it’s in my top ten either. Even in Japanese this song would be in here. This is perfect pop happiness and deserves to be loved.
7. Takibansei – Angerme
Two Angerme songs in the top
ten eleven? Two? What witchcraft is this? Well I’m not sure but the song about a witch certainly isn’t making an appearance. This song does though as it’s so uplifting. It flies down, sweeps you up and carries you away in it’s powerfully happy grip. And you can’t help feeling kind of begrudgingly happy for it. Sure you are worriedly keeping one eye on Vampire-chan the whole time but Dawa is there and Takechan and Rikako so it’s alright. I think I might have been mildly bitten at some stage though as Countess Muppetula seems slightly less frightening and a bit more likeable these days. Please send garlic. Well at least enough to tide me over until spring when Meimi will stake herself live on stage. Now that’s a graduation ceremony worth watching!
6. The Middle Management – C-ute
This is pretty much a typical 2014/2015 C-ute song. One of many fine singles that will be on their upcoming album. Actually it’s been so long since their last album they could have just filled the album with singles. It’s been far too long. Where C-ute are concerned “typical” means “premium quality” for as anyone sane will tell you they are the best group. The one slight niggle though would be that maybe this song is now a bit too typical. Groups are always evolving. I think C-ute are perhaps getting ready for the next stage. This may be the last single with this particular style. Still damn good though so I’m not complaining about it.
5. Dosukoi! Kenkyo ni Daitan – Kobushi Factory
It’s always good when some bright and talented trainees finally get the chance to shine. It’s even better when they are given their own group to do it in. A group with it’s own dynamics. No already-established members. Just a bunch of newbies learning together. Like Berryz and C-ute did. 2015 gave us Kobushi and Tsubaki Factory. Tsubaki are the odd ones. Kobushi Factory burst onto teh scene all happy young energy. tsubaki are maybe more for the long game. An interesting bunch of misfits who will maybe grow into something unique. For now though it’s all about the mighty bushi (see what I did there?) Their first single was released and on it was three excellent songs. Every one a winner. Much hapiness. Much excitement. Much listening. Rejoice!
4. Nen ni Wa Nen – Kobushi Factory
Keep on rejoicing! Originally released in theatres only as a companion to the Weekend Survivor musical this song was rejigged for their major debut. Well I say “rejigged” I mean “do you want extra nen with that?” For which the only sensible answer is “it’s Kobushi Factory. I’ll have extra anything”. Kobushi Factory have been given a guitar driven sound which is a nice contrast to the other Hello! Project groups of late. I hope it’s something they continue with.
3. Tsugi no Kado wo Magare – C-ute
C-ute turn the next corner on their ten year career with a big concert at the Yokohama Arena and a three song release of which this is the standout track for me. I’ve listened to all three songs quite a lot and this is the one that I’d turn to first even though I like the others a lot too. It does have the most boring pv though. Nevermind. When it comes to C-ute you can never actually be bored watching them. Any group with Nacy, Maimi and Airi will spellbind. I really hope C-ute can somehow break through the confines of idol music and become a group that operates directly under Up-Front. Or in other words I’m sure boyfriends and adult life are coming around a nearby corner. Please don’t disband!
2. Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san no Uta – Kobushi Factory
This could so easily have been number one. Yes it’s a big stupid song about someone loving ramen and being loved by the person watching them loving ramen. Who cares? It’s about as happy and goofy and joyous as you could ever hope for. Kobushi Daisuki! Idols are so many things but amongst them they are fun, silly, inspiring and like a shot of positivity adrenalin right to the heart. This song hits all the right spots. It’s glorious!
1. Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru – Morning Musume ’15
Best pv of the year and just about my favourite song of the year. It was a pretty lacklustre year for Momusu but this was a debut for the umpteenth gen that had real kick. It promised so much that the rest of the year failed to deliver on. Nevertheless this has been my most listened to song this year. Keeping in mind my love for C-ute and my excitement for Kobushi Factory that’s quite an achievement. So the one year Momusu don’t win the public poll I put them number one. I’m so contrary. I do think after Three Two One and Wakuteka Take A Chance this is their best post-platinum single though. And that’s coming from a perspective of thinking the last couple of years have been pretty strong. So high praise. A deserved winner. Although Kobushi Factory and C-ute were damn close behind.