TOP! Part 8 – Hello! Project Singles

20 01 2012

Okay, this was hard.  Really, really hard.  I don’t think I realized what I was getting into when I decided to do this next installation of my TOP! series.  For those of you who are new to my blog, TOP! is my series of countdowns of favorites.  There’s a page in the menu bar with previous TOP! posts.

Today I bring you my personal top 25 Hello! Project singles.  No, really, that was the smallest number I could muster.  There’s just as many honorable mentions.

Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin

25. Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin – v-u-den

Oddly enough, I think I hated this song when I first heard it.  But it slowly became my favorite v-u-den single.  Their favorite song of mine is by far “FANTASY” from their last album, but this song is a close second.  It’s addictive and completely embodies everything that v-u-den was.  I think a close second (single) would be Koisuru Angel Heart.

Koi no Telephone GOAL

24. Koi no Telephone GOAL – Abe Natsumi

This is such an adorable song.  Morning Musume’s #1 member took on Spanish in this song, and it was so adorable that you can’t help but love it.  It’s very endearing and one of her last interesting singles before taking the trip down H!P boring soloist road.

Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu

23. Shochuu Omimai Moshiagemasu – °C-ute

I actually own this single I love it so much.  It’s so summery and °C-ute.  It’s been the theme song to my summers the past couple of years and it’s one of those few songs that makes me sohappy each and every time I hear it.

GOOD BYE Natsuo

22. GOODBYE Natsuo – Matsuura Aya

I love all of Ayaya’s first 15 singles or so before she also took the trip down boring H!P soloist lane.  But if I had to pick just one to be my favorite and better than other H!P singles, it’d definitely be this one.  I first heard it at the 2006 Wonderful Hearts concert by Takahashi Ai, Suzuki Airi, and some other person (Murakami Megumi maybe?) and it was love at first listen.  This song got me into listening to Ayaya’s solo music.

Pepper Keibu

21. Pepper Keibu – Morning Musume

I think I really like H!P cover songs.  This was a brilliant single.  It was incredibly addictive and catchy.  While I don’t like the focus on Reina, I thought the way they transitioned lined and gave the Pandas a significant part was awesome.  The b-side, “ROMANCE,” was like the icing on the cake.

20. Uchouten LOVE – S/mileage

This song was the end of S/mileage was we knew it, and my personal favorite H!P song of 2011.  It’s a modern recreation of the best of old school Hello! Project, like a mix between Minimoni and Petitmoni and everything awesome.

19. Rottara Rottara – Buono!

Ah, Buono! at it’s finest.  Both the a-side and b-side were so… Buono!  These are how I want to remember this group, not the crap that they’re releasing now.  Buono! is best as the best adorable group in Hello! Project, not some faux-rock Jrock unit.

Chokotto LOVE

18. Chokotto LOVE – Petitmoni

This song is so addictive.  While the b-side left something to be desired, I haven’t grown tired of the title track to date.  Granted, it’s not on my iPod, but it always gets me excited to see it on a setlist or to do a cover of it.  While I’m not the biggest fan of Yasuda Kei, two of the most charismatic singers to grace Morning Musume, Goto Maki and Yoshizawa Hitomi, graced the debut single of this unit, combined with the awesome song, made this group something worth paying attention to.

Special Generation

17. Special Generation – Berryz Koubou

You may say overdone, but I say best Berryz Koubou single ever.  While I do have a couple ranked higher on here, it’s only because I’ve heard this song a few too many times.  Contradiction?  No.  Go to a concert where this is performed.  You will instantly understand why Berryz have been trying to recreate this kind of addiction ever since.  Scratch that, Tsunku has been trying to recreate this in all of H!P.  And it hasn’t worked.  If you haven’t heard the b-side, “Koishiteru Koi wa Itsumo…”, give it a listen.  It’s very underloved but a great song.  It’s slow-tempo but not boring.  It’s like a better version of “VERY BEAUTY.”

Miss Love Tantei

16. Miss Love Tantei – W

In my eyes, W can do no flaw.  It was very hard not to put all of their singles on here.  W was the second greatest idea Tsunku has ever had, and they came from his single greatest idea ever.  Stick around for #1 to find out what that is (but if you’ve read my previous TOP! posts, I’m sure you have an idea).  What I love about this song in particular is the rap.  So rare in Hello! Project, but always amazing when they pop up.  The dance is adorable, the PV is adorable, and did I mention the rap?  Yeah, I love the rap.  I wish W would reunite.  Seriously.  This was a great single to end on, but I would love to see them get back together.

Dakishimete Dakishimete

15. Dakishimete Daksihimete – Berryz Koubou

This was the transition single, for me, where Berryz went from “They used to be good, but they’ve grown boring, just like every Hello! Project group” to “WOW THEY STILL GOT IT.  Berryz is definitely a group to watch!”  It’s very Kpop-y, but that’s a good thing, considering the global rise of Kpop.  There isn’t anything I dislike about the a-side (except the usual Risako singing, but she looks great!).  I didn’t like the b-side at all, but a song like that doesn’t need to rely on a b-side.

Aa Ii na!

14. Aa Ii na! – W

I feel like this single gets forgotten in the world of W.  While it’s certainly not their best, it’s better than SO MUCH of Hello! Project releases in general.  It’s really catchy, it has split harmonies (LOVE those in H!P songs), and the PV features several pre-debut Hello! Project kids.  Oh yeah.

Balalaika

13. Balalaika – Kusumi Koharu

Surprised?  No, I’m still not a Koharu fan.  Nor will I ever be.  Same with Kirarin Revolution.  I will never like it.  But this single.  This single was brilliant.  The a-side was brilliant and the b-side was a stereotype anime song, but still really catchy.  Wonder why?   Tsunku had absolutely nothing to do with this single.  In my mind, that’s H!P genius.

Tokaikko Junjou

12. Tokaikko Junjou – °C-ute

This song put °C-ute on people’s radars.  It won them multiple awards and suddenly this was a group to pay attention to.  I think they’ve had a couple singles on this level since, but nothing after this single has been quite as good.  °C-ute, what happened to the epic awesome that was this single??

Heroine ni Narou ka!

11. Heroine ni Narou ka! – Berryz Koubou

This was one of my favorite singles last year.  Even for Berryz (arguably the most vocally-talented group in H!P), this song was risky.  I think Risako pulled the quality down a little, they should have given her high parts to Saki or Chinami, but overall, it was pulled off very well.  Yurina as center is just brilliant, she’s really too tall to stand on the side and really shines in the center.

And now the… 

Ai no Imi wo Oshiete!

10. Ai no Imi wo Oshiete! – W

Whenever I hear this song, my eyes well up with nostalgia.  I really love this song, it’s so W.  The b-side is almost as good, and together they’re two bubblegum songs that make you want to dance, even when you’re driving (warning: don’t try that at home).

LU LU LU

09. LU LU LU – GAM

Why, oh why, did this unit ever disband?  They were the last good idea Tsunku had.  The two top vocalists of H!P at the time put together in one deliciously harmonious unit with sexy videos and stunning  vocals.  With the right promotion and marketing, I could have seen them being big not only in the H!P wotadom, but nationally as well.  I mean, have you seen the PV for French Kiss’s “Candle no Shin”??  It’s GAM with younger  AKB girls.  This was their last real single before Mikitty got herself kicked out of MoMusu.  Why that ruined GAM, I have no idea.  The song itself was beautiful and catchy and mature.  It’s not very often you hear a song like this in Hello! Project.  (PS, anyone else notice that Tsunku likes his rain logs?)

Uwaki na Honey Pie

08. Uwaki na Honey Pie – Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto

This unit was the last attempt to get Country Musume some attention.  Gosh, Mikitty can do no wrong.  Saved this group. I think most fans these days would recognize this without a second thought, but don’t know where it came from.  Personally, this song got me into Country Musume.  Granted, they only have one or two decent singles, including all of their “ni [insert more popular idol here]” units.  It’s hyper, addicting, and has a super easy dance that is a popular hit at H!P concerts.

Massara Blue Jeans

07. Massara Blue Jeans – °C-ute

I will never, ever grow tired of this song.  It was the first indie single ever released by °C-ute and the very best song they’ve ever had.  If you’ve only heard it at recent concerts, you’re really missing out, because it was SO much better before it was “Maimi and Airi solo with some back up girls.”  Erika actually was a lead on this song, and she has always been my favorite member of °C-ute.  I could have gone without Megumi, but she made a really good balance in the group and I honestly wish she hadn’t left.  Wow, can you imagine where H!P would be right now with Megumi in it…?  Anyway, this is one of the few singles on this list actually still on my iPod that I listen to regularly.  I seriously well never grow tired of it.  It’s probably the first single I ever listened to by a H!P group, and while Soku Dakishimete was originally my favorite, this one will never leave my heart as the best °C-ute song.

06. MY BOY – Buono!

I thought this song was going to be my #1 when I started this list.  If I was going to H!P singles since 2006, this one would be the best.  No, really, that’s when H!P started to go downhill.  I will say this: “MY BOY” has the single best PV ever from a Hello! Project group.  I remember I instantly fell in love with this song and it’s PV, which is rare for me, and I couldn’t stop listening for weeks.  This was the last really good single Buono!’s released.  The song is perfect.  The b-side is less desirable, but like many of the other singles on this list, it doesn’t need a good b-side to support it.

Melodies

05. Melodies – GAM

Flawless.  That is this single.  I can hardly offer any criticism because this single was so stunning.  If you haven’t seen the PV, you need to right now.  You’ll become an instant GAM fan, trust me.
Trust me.

Boogie Train '03

04. Boogie Train ’03 – Fujimoto Miki

No, seriously, she can do no wrong.  Some of you newer fans may be going “No, this is a S/mileage song!”  To which I say, oh, you have much to learn.  This is hands-down the best single ever released by a Hello! Project solo artist.  It will always be one of my favorites.  It’s fun and so different.  It literally has something to offer for everyone.

Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~

03. Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~ – Morning Musume

This single is was the epitome of Morning Musume’s golden age.  It’s the perfect example of why they used to be so awesome and why they’re not anymore.  The song is so uplifting and the group is huge.  There’s no solo lines to fight over, just enjoying having fun and singing a good song.  More than the a-side, though, this single is number 3 because of it’s b-side “KOI ing.”  It is, without a doubt, my favorite Morning Musume song ever.  It should have had it’s own single.  It is tear-jerkingly beautiful.  It’s slow but not boring.  I wish H!P knew how to do something this good these days, honestly.

Robokiss

02. Robokiss – W

Best W song.  Also flawless.  The b-side is complimentary to the a-side and not boring or a throw-away.  I think Sayumi and Risako performed this not too long ago.  They can’t even compare, but hopefully you all remembered the flawlessness that was Kago and Tsuji when they performed this song.

Koi no Hexagon

1.5. Suki Sugite Baka Mitai – DEF.DIVA

I couldn’t figure out where to put this on the list.  It’s better than an honorable mention, but didn’t really fit in anywhere.  So I stuck in in a half number.  Oh yeah.  DEF.DIVA was nearly flawless.  If it had Mikitty instead of Rika, it would have been perfect.  Has anyone else noticed that the soloist never used to just do their own thing?  They were shuffled in and out of all kinds of groups to get a broader fanbase.  Tsunku, where has your brain gone?  Why don’t we have a Mano Erina/Kikkawa You group yet??  Anyway, this song is one of the best to grace Hello! Project, I really wish it would get more love these days.

Are you ready?  For the best H!P single ever…??

01. Everything ever released by Minimoni

Yeah, I couldn’t pick any one or two or five.  It’s all of them.  If I had, it would have been “TOP! Part 8 – The Best W and Minimoni Songs with a Few Other H!P Acts Sprinkled In.”  Greater than all the rest of Hello! Project without doubt.  I’ve never kept my undying love for this group a secret.  They got a little less amazing with Takahashi Ai instead of Marippe, but nevertheless, they stayed amazing.  I know Tsunku’s tried to get back to this a few times, but to be honest, he’s never going to recreate Minimoni or anything like it.  Not even Linlin or Gakisan.  Only those four girls up there could make it as perfect as it was.

….

And there you go!  Four days later, I’ve finally finished this list.  It was a MONSTER.  I forgot a lot of singles from one-shot groups and a LOT didn’t make the list because it would have been 50 singles long.  So thus, here are the honorable mentions:

Morning Musume – Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari
Morning Musume – Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutan-jima
Berryz Koubou – Waracchaou yo Boyfriend
°C-ute – SHOCK!
°C-ute – Edo no Temari Uta II
Buono! – RenaiRider
Buono! – Hontou no Jibun
Goto Maki – SOME BOYS! TOUCH
Abe Natsumi – Koi no Hana
Melon Kinenbi – This is Unmei
v-u-den – Issai Gassai Anata ni a.ge.ru
Country Musume ni Ishikawa Rika – Hajimete no Happy Birthday!
T&C Bomber – HEY! Mahiru no Shinkirou
Mobekimasu – Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku (seriously, SUCH a good idea)
Guardians4 – PARTY TIME
Athena & Robikerottsu – Shouri no BIG WAVE!!!
Aa! – FIRST KISS
WaT x Hello! Project – Ready GO!!

There you go.  Best Hello! Project singles, very few of which are in the past six years.  😀

(PS – All cover images came from projecthello.com)

(PPS- If you’ve been following my TOP! series, you’ll notice my opinions have changed a lot :D)

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