Gosh, I’ve been meaning to create this best-of list for years now. But now that AAA are on their way to a nebulous (permanent?) hiatus, it seems like a good time to look back at their best singles.
For me, AAA are *the* co-ed J-pop group, impossible to fully replicate because their diverse set of performers just have so much charisma and chemistry with one another. At over seventy singles to choose from, this wasn’t an easy list to compile, which means there are a lot of honorable mentions. If you’re already familiar with the group, you’ll notice that a particular album (2011’s Buzz Communication) is represented very strongly in my top ten. What can I say? It’s just that good.
Rainy Skies And Love Sound
Still Love You
Hurricane Riri, Boston Mari
Blood On Fire
10. Let It Beat! (2006)
Though I find much of the group’s early work to be hit-and-miss, Let It Beat aped debut track Blood On Fire’s aggressive dance sound to great effect.
9. Dejavu (2018)
Likely the last upbeat AAA single for a long time, Dejavu didn’t disappoint with its edgy electronics and bright pop chorus. It’s the sound of a group at their prime, able to successfully deliver a variety of tones and textures with ease. (full review)
8. New (2016)
A hand-clap happy pop track that finds AAA at their most mainstream, New compels listeners with a ridiculously sunny hook and filtered verses that replicate the sound of an old radio on a long summer drive.
7. Scent Of Summer Memories On The Wind (Kaze ni Kaoru Natsu no Kioku) (2014)
So much of J-pop excels at invoking a sense of wistful nostalgia, and Scent Of Summer Memories On The Wind is a sterling example of this. Its emotive melody and airy production rewards repeated listens.
6. Paradise (2010)
The first track from what I’d consider one of the best J-pop albums of all time, Paradise hits early with its soaring, Eurodance chorus, but truly impresses with the whirlwind force of its verses.
5. Undefeated Heart (Makenai Kokoro) (2010)
Another track from their flawless Buzz Communication album, Undefeated Heart hits hard right from the start. Its stadium-ready stabs of synths portend a track that pushes everything to eleven, surging on power vocals and unrelenting drama.
4. Party Up (2013)
Party Up takes the EDM trends of its era and improves upon them, anchored by a rousing chorus and personality-rich performance. It’s probably AAA’s most instantly accessible single, and certainly one of their most energetic.
3. Even Though I Love You, I Can’t (Aishiteru no ni, Aisenai) (2015)
AAA at their belt-it-out best, Even Though I Love You hinges on the incredible amount of emotion the group is able to infuse into the song. It’s a ballad with bite, pulsing forward on a sense of earned catharsis that gives each member a chance to shine.
2. Dream After Dream (2010)
A mammoth dance track, which might as well be tied for the number one place on my list. From the opening, chorused hook to the breakneck verses and insanely potent chorus, this is as good as pop music gets.
1. To Meet With A Reason (Aitai Riyū) (2010)
Not only my favorite AAA song, but one of my all-time favorite J-pop songs, period. Reason radiates emotional urgency from the very first moment, and never lets up. The instrumental is pure synth majesty, perfectly supporting the group’s diverse and powerful set of vocals. The melody is so strong and memorable, and draws on its simplicity to maximum effect. The fact that this was a double a-side with Dream After Dream is just stunning. Truly a feat of pop perfection.