Underappreciated Idol Power Rankings December 2014


It’s that time again, another month gone by and only one month left in 2014. What will our idols give us to close out the year style? Or will they close it out with a fizzle? Well let us see just what we have for the month of November.

BabyraidsbabyraidslogoBabyraids have been on a role recently with their past couple singles, and using the haters comments for some really positive PR. "Tora Tora Tiger!!" keeps it going with what I want to call an aggressive rock song. Speaking of the song itself, the instrumentals are very heavy on the drums which seems to be a signature sound in recent singles, beyond that it's a pretty standard rock sound. The instrumentals, at least the guitars tend to fall off during some of the verses letting the vocals keep the energetic upbeat sound going.

I feel I should say more about the song but just don't know what to say. Babyraids has had to fight to get the exposure they have, and "Tora Tora Tiger" sold 24K which is respectable, I also expect they will be announcing Budoukan concert soon. So keep an eye on them because as long as they keep the fighting spirit they will be big.
RhymeberryrhymeberrylogoTime to get ill? I guess some people might be getting sick of sound that Rhymeberry has. Personally I really like the sound even though it is very similar over all of their singles I've heard. "Idol Illmatic" doesn't change that, at least not entirely but it is different. I had to go back and listen to their previous singles to notice the differences in their sound. While previous singles have had a lot of brass in them, "Idol Illmatic" moves away from the brass and uses a lot more sound samples and synth.

The thing that I think everyone associates with Rhymeberry sounding the same is the vocals, with the tone and effects applied to Miri and Hime's vocals and the synth that accompanies them it gives their singles a very similar feel to them. After listening again, the improvement that Miri and Hime have gone through is pretty clear, their vocals are much smoother with less stuttering and slurring, also much faster. The biggest change we got with "Idol Illmatic" is DJ Hikaru singing and doing a good job of it. This is a strong return after their hiatus and losing a member.
Mayama RikamayamarikalogoThis choice should generate some interesting comments. Mayama Rika released her first solo single "Liar Mask" this month, the theme song for the "Akame ga KILL" anime. I believe this is the first solo single for anyone past or present from Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku and what a single it is. "Liar Mask" is a split personality of a song, switching from a near classical song to a hard hitting rock, maybe even metal song multiple times and Mayama transitions beautifully between the styles. The song has a very anthemic or epic feel it.

The PV also supports the split personality concept and it was while watching the PV that I felt they missed a few chances to mix in a second vocal track with her singing counterpoint to herself. The b-side "Shinkirou" feels much slower, and loses the tension that "Liar Mask" has, Mayama also sings in a much airier voice. I knew Mayama was a decent singer but this single has allowed her to show she has more depth and layers than Ebichu has allowed her to showcase to this point.
Ganbare! VictoryganbarevictorylogoHow could I not include someone who rocks an Aerosmith t-shirt? Okay seriously though, "Ganbare! Victory" is another new group though I suppose band would be more appropriate in this case. Their second major single "Fly High!!!" is a solid pop-rock song, which considering their choice in what appears to be favorite bands is really no surprise. All the videos I find of them have them in their favorite bands t-shirts which include Aerosmith, Nirvana, Blondie, Kiss, and Led Zeppelin. This is probably the first idol band that I feel could reach a level similar to Zone, at least on first impression.
Shiritsu Ebisu ChuugakuebichulogoHere we go, the one group I almost didn't include this month. Ebichu's new single "Haitateki" is possibly the worst song I've heard from them. The instrumentals sound rather dempa to me, noisy, chaotic, trying to be rock. The vocals is where 90% of my problems are with the song. Hirota Aika (Aiai) is using more of her natural voice while still trying to use that high pitched childish voice, if she had gone completely one way or the other it might not have bothered me. Kobayashi Kaho's voice is really out of place for me and just doesn't seem to fit into the group, the rest of the girls have a similar tone to their voices and Kaho's is different enough that she really stands out and for me it's grating. The other big spot I have problems with is the chorus, there is very little harmony in this song, I know it's ironic because we complain a lot that about groups like AKB48 all sounding the same, but in this case there are plenty of solo lines where we can hear and tell the individual girls apart.

The B-sides on the other hand are not bad, "Namida wa Niawanai" is a pretty standard idol song but still has individual personality and Kaho's voice doesn't bother me at all there. "Can't Stop the Lonliness" is in English, very hard to understand English. I have no idea why they did a song completely in English but we have it now. The song also has a very cover song feel to it, I can't say if it is a cover or not though. "Chupakabura" is weird and I like it. I'm not sure how to describe the song, its got kind of an island flavor to it, there is one part that has this kind of tribal drumming to it. Its instruments seem to include wood blocks, hand drums, shakers, and a few others I'm not even sure about. "Chupababura" feels much more Ebichu to me than the other songs though.

This was really frustrating to write. What music you like can be very dependent on your mood and when I first started writing I really didn’t want to listen to anything that I was pulling up and it just made me not want to write this. In the end I probably ended up writing more for this month than any previous. As for others that could have made it, Vanilla Beans were up there, while “Uchouten Girl” isn’t a bad song it was poorly arranged and just didn’t do justice to Vanilla Beans.

Let me know what you would have added or changed in the ranking and why and maybe you can show me the error of my ways.

About Charlie Cowdin

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