Although I have to rely on translations to understand idol music, I believe there is certain brilliance to the lyrical content in this genre. Depending on the group, they frequently talk of themes that people of all ages can easily relate to. Idol fans are usually young males but the themes sung in the songs themselves are so broad that they can relate to many audiences.
Most idol songs are usually about young love. Depending on the group, the topics could range from being in unrequited love to the timing of your confession or even to the feeling of being in a relationship with the person you adore despite the idol rules against it. I suppose that last bit is hypothetical.
Either way, I believe this is what attracts young audiences to idols. While the songs are sung from a female perspective (excluding several AKS songs), I think young males especially aged 15-30 are especially moved by the lyrics. They might relate it to their situation with girls they know in their life and feel like the lyricists understand their feelings. They may even see the messages of the lyrics as a reassertion that girls have the same uneasy feelings about love as they do. Personally, as a fan of romance shoujo, these kinds of lyrics are absolutely fantastic to my eyes. They can even appeal to older generations of listeners. While the topics of the songs themselves are very youthful, it can remind more mature fans about their time in high school or college where it was a lot easier to fall in love.
Furthermore, the songs are often filled with motivational lyrics. I’ve always said that idol music is the most optimistic form of music in the world and with examples such as “Roudou Sanka” and “Oki Doki” I’d say I make a very good argument. Songs like these can help almost anyone get through their day. What we lack in energy, motivation, or positivity we can find in the lyrics sung by these girls. Even songs with somewhat childish lyrics such as “Wani To Shampoo” have their place. While attracting children to the group, the cute lyrics bring a smile to the face of an older listener.
Also, as overseas fans we have additional enjoyment out of our idol music. We listen to idol music without understanding the majority of what they’re saying. Often times I find myself checking the lyrics to my favorite songs and having extra enjoyment added by the realization of the song’s meaning. While we often spend lots of time defending the fact that we cannot understand a Japanese song, I believe that most of us cannot deny the enjoyment we get when we read a song we love’s lyrics.
I admit I am generalizing a bit. Idol music does happen to be about other themes especially with older AKS singles and smaller groups. However, the positivity from these kinds of lyrics is the exact reason I got into idols in the first place. While only being able to understand bits and pieces of idol lyrics, it still brings a smile to my face every time.