Best-Of J-Pop Round-Up: February 2020 Edition

First and foremost, The Bias List will always be a K-pop website. However, that leaves a lot of great J-pop off the table. I try to review singles here and there, but I just don’t have time to spotlight the industry’s many buried treasures.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to start a (monthly?) feature to help share some of my favorite J-pop tracks of the last few weeks. Some will be singles, but most will be album tracks that otherwise get no internet love from English-speaking communities. This won’t be a place for Japanese songs by Korean artists. Those will get their own review or buried treasure posts, as usual.

I probably don’t need to tell you this by now, but expect these features to be very biased. My J-pop taste is not all-encompassing, so these songs will be picked almost exclusively from the idol world, with certain agencies much more likely to be highlighted simply because that’s where my interest lies.

Will this feature be popular? Will it last? We’ll see!

SixTONES – Telephone

Both of the b-sides on SixTONES’ debut single are very strong, but this cheesy electro-thumper is a force to be reckoned with. There’s no resisting that rhythmic chorus. It actually reminds me of another famous Telephone, which came courtesy of Lady Gaga and Beyonce way back in 2010.

Ballistik Boyz – Front Burner

K-pop, take note. This is how you do an edgier hip-hop concept without sacrificing energy or groove. I love the guitar in this. It almost reminds me of BTS circa 2014 (which is ironic because Ballistik Boyz were criticized for being a BTS copycat even before their 2019 debut).

Also, K-pop: please notice how the instrumental doesn’t automatically lurch into half-time every time a rapper opens their mouth. Works pretty well, right?

E-girls – Another World (Bessekai)

As E-girls wind down toward their planned disbandment at the end of the year, they’re not placating us with some maudlin ballad. Instead, we get this bouncy dance track that borrows from many of the current trends we see in K-pop. However, it’s a particularly good example of the form, soaring on euphoric production and great vocals.

Shuta Sueyoshi – With Me

Sueyoshi’s new single SO-RE-NA is tons of fun, but I want to spotlight With Me, which immediately follows on the album. I can’t tell if this is all-English or just 95% English, but I’m loving the upbeat, retro production and buoyant chorus. It sounds like summer.

Genic – Histories

With AAA going on indefinite hiatus after this year, Avex seems intent on pushing another co-ed group. I really hope it’s Genic. They’ve yet to release any music outside of youtube, but I’m obsessed with their Sungenic EP. Histories is probably the most instant of the four tracks, but that’s like trying to pick the sweetest lollipop in the candy store. Sun Comes Up and Ready Go are also just massive dance pop songs.

Sexy Zone – Melody

I often rant about autotune and vocal effects, but I think it adds a cool twist to Melody. The song is absolutely slathered in it, to the point where the guys are essentially robotic in their delivery. It sounds like no other Johnny’s song I can recall, and adds a really cool tone to the track. For those listening to the album sampler below, I also recommend tracks five and nine, in addition to the singles from last year of course.


5 thoughts on “Best-Of J-Pop Round-Up: February 2020 Edition

  1. I almost took hiatus from Jpop for Kpop, and now I wanna go back, but I heard Egirls disband, I can’t believe I have always loved AKB48 Golden Generation, N48, K46, C-ute, Flower, and Egirls and so many more


  2. Should keep a lookout for JO1 – the first permanent group to form out of Produce 101 Japan’s first season as well as these upcoming groups:
    ORBIT (made up of mostly trainees who didn’t make it into JO1)
    G-EGG (a group forming from another upcoming Japanese idol survival program)


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