Starting in 2012 Japanese idol fans have been able to vote every year for their favorite idol songs in an online event called the “Idol Musical Composition Awards” (アイドル楽曲大賞 – aidoru gakkyoku taisho). The event features several categories but the main ones are “Best song by an idol/idol group signed to a major label” and “Best indie idol song.” As a way of shining a light on some lesser known artists this article will be introducing what Japanese fans thought were the top 10 indie idol songs of 2016.
Indie idols are idols that are not signed to a major record company. While this means that these groups tend to have much less money to spend on music videos, outfits, music production etc., it also means that they have a level of creative freedom that mainstream idol groups often don’t. This year’s ranking features a few songs that really manage to illustrate this quite well and as such need to be highlighted before moving on to the list itself.
The first song that needs to be talked about came in at 2nd place and is called “kokoku no machi” (Town of advertisements). It’s performed by the group sora tob sakana and arguably features the most unique and interesting composition of all the songs on the list. Although the girls in the group seem like fairly typical idols aesthetically, the music is definitely far from mainstream. It seems like their music producer is a fan of some eclectic music genres because there are plenty of moments in this song that almost make you think you’re listening to a freestyle jazz band or some experimental rock band, instead of an idol group. The group also managed to get two other songs on the list. The songs, which came in at 4th and 6th place are also musically complex in their own right and definitely warrant a listen but it’s hard to compete with the unique sound of this year’s 2nd place song.
Lastly, there’s one more song which warrants a quick mention. The song, which came is at 7th place is called “Alien Party People” and is by Up Up Girls. Even though this song is nothing revolutionary in terms of musical arrangement or complexity it is somewhat unique for what the song is about. The song highlights a Japanese group of people who call themselves “paripi” (パリピ). Paripi is a word that is derived from the English phrase “party people” and refers to people that like to go to nightclubs and party. Needless to say, this is not a group of people that are typically associated with mainstream idols so it is very interesting to see how this group seems to be trying to appeal to them by adopting elements of club culture and music. Also, it's a pretty fun song.
Alright, so without further ado, here is the list. There was a tie for 10th place so that is why there are two songs in the last spot. Enjoy.
1. Kimiwazurai (きみわずらい ) by Manekikecha (まねきケチャ)
2. Kokoku no machi (広告の街) by sora tob sakana
3. Kimi no shiranai monogatari (君の知らない物語) by Aidorunaissance (アイドルネッサンス)
4. Maho no kotoba (魔法の言葉) by sora tob sakana
5. Funny Bunny by Idolnaissance(アイドルネッサンス)
6. Natsu no tobira (夏の扉 ) by sora tob sakana
7. Party People Alien (パーリーピーポーエイリアン) by Up Up Girls (アップアップガールズ)
8. Mujun hajimemashita (矛盾、はじめました) by Negicco
9. Kagirinaku boken ni chikai summer (限りなく冒険に近いサマー) by Niji no conquistador (虹のコンキスタドール)
10. Traveller’s high (トラベラーズ・ハイ) by Idolnaissance (アイドルネッサンス)
10. Kimi to iu kasetsu (君という仮説) by Up Up Girls (アップアップガールズ)